INTERVIEW: Andrew Carter
VM – How have you been?
AC – I have been busy. Which in my world is the greatest gift. Being able to do what I do for a living means every day, even the hard days, is kind of like a dream come true. And I get to sit down with VENTS today so that’s just further testament.
VM – Can you talk to us about your latest single “Ghost of me”?
AC – “Ghost of me” is a song about the mental, physical, and social symptoms of getting older. It’s about looking in the mirror and seeing an aging version of the child you once were. It’s about missing that child you were but coming to terms with the life you have forged in the years since then. It’s about the teenage you that seemed to have it all figured out and the adult you that knows better than to know it all.
VM – Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
AC – I was living in Nashville with a great group of guys who were younger than me and still somewhat new in town. Always up for going out and drinking and chasing girls. Around the seventh time they asked if I wanted to join them and the seventh time of me saying “no thanks”, it dawned on me, I was well past the age of putting any effort in to chasing anything other than a career in music. That night while getting out of the shower, with the earlier thoughts still on my mind, I caught my reflection in the mirror and the words, “I am just a ghost of who I used to be” came in to my head. I put some clothes on and grabbed my guitar and started sort of tinkering around with those words and a couple of chords. A few weeks later I was demoing the song at my florida studio.
VM – Any plans to release a video for the single?
AC – The only video for ghost of me so far is a really cool lyric video that will release October 3rd online. It’s a cool mix of live footage and photo stills with cool effects and things like that. Ha! Ha! But I do have an idea for a real video for it. But it would cost a little / lot more than my current budget would allow.
VM – How was the writing and recording process?
AC – I polished up the writing down in Jacksonville, Florida at my studio at my parents house. The lyrics kind of came to me quite easily as all I was really writing was the truth of who I was and who I am today. My Step-Father, Bob is a long time guitar player and writer and he even got in to some of the writing with me in the bridge line “My pants are gettin’ tighter, hairs are gettin’ whiter”. And while that may not be true for me in particular, it just really fit the song so I used it. After getting the acoustic version demoed out I emailed an mp3 of it to my band (The Bumbs) up in Nashville. A few weeks later I was back in Nashville with Merc (The Bumbs) and Zach (The Bumbs) literally on the street sidewalks on Broadway playing “Ghost of me” and all the other songs I had written while in Florida. After a few weeks of doing that we got together with the rest of the band and started playing indoor shows as a full band at various venues in and around Nashville. A year later we went in to Bomb Shelter Studios in East Nashville which is an analog studio. We tracked all the songs live just as we had been playing them for the past year. Doing it that way really helped to capture the feeling of the songs and the sound we had developed in our time playing stages around town. And doing it analog helped get that 70’s tone that was very important to me for these songs.
VM – What role does the south play in your music?
AC – Being born in Jacksonville, Florida and raised in Stockbridge, Georgia, most of the people around me were listening to Skynyrd, Daniels, Marshall Tucker, and bands like that. Then when my brothers and I were a little older in the 90’s we were listening to The Black Crowes and Drivin n’ Cryin and bands like that. and I have always loved Tom Petty. So the sounds of the south, in terms of rock n’ roll, play a rather large part in how I write today. It is in me so I just let it take over and lead the way. Growing up in Georgia and driving around the cheaper vacation destinations my family could afford when I was younger, Chattanooga, North Florida, Alabama and all that, helped me a lot for lyric writing. I just think about all the places and people I have come to love and to maybe hate from time to time and go from there. They say “write what you know” so I just do that. HaHa!
VM – How was the transition from playing covers to writing original music?
AC – It’s kind of funny because I was in a cover band for 6 years but I was the drummer. We only played in a friend of our’s garage. Seriously, for six years we never left that garage. We never cared to. We just wanted to jam and get better at what we loved. We actually developed a huge book of songs we could really jam out. In learning those songs, especially as the drummer, I was able to get the structure of popular songs burned in to my brain. So when I started writing my own songs down the road, I was able to use those formulas for my own chords I was into and really get going. I knew I wanted people to like my songs the way we liked the songs we learned in that garage. And those songs were songs we heard on the radio so I just figured, “Yeah, use their formula (A B A B C B). So I did.
VM – How has Lynyrd Skynyrd influenced your writing?
AC – They have been a permanent soundtrack in my life since I can remember. As a kid I would sing every word to every song that was on the radio or being played on vinyl at my house. And I would mouth every guitar solo that they played. Even as a teenager I could relate to the pain in his voice. In my early 20’s I was dating the daughter of Billy Powell (piano Lynyrd Skynyrd). I was living with them and going on the road with them. Billy taught me a lot about writing and when to write and when not to. He was fairly hard on my writing back then but that served to push me even harder to get to a more professional level of writing. Aside from that just being side stage when Skynyrd cranks those amps was enough influence for a lifetime.
VM – How’s your album coming along?
AC – I finished and released my “Self Titled” album this past January 2017. It is available on all online music stores as well as plenty of streaming sites.
VM – Any plans to hit the road?
AC – This past May I did a 46 day coast to coast solo acoustic tour playing bars and coffee shops all around America. I am currently working on a 90 date full band tour starting March 2018. I have a bunch of networking conventions around the southeast that I am attending between now and then and I am trying to get on some pick up shows here and there as I can find them.
VM – What is happening next in Andrew Carter’s world?
AC – I am working on a video for another song from the album called “The Weekend”. I am working with an amazing team on that and I am very excited to release that a little later this year. I am also writing songs for the next album that will release in late spring of 2018. I co-own a record label (Dog Song Records) and we just signed our second artist (Alex Miller) and will begin tracking his first release in October. I am producing it for him and we are just very excited to have him on the label.
2017 has been great to me and so has my time with you today.
Thank you so much for this opportunity and have a great year!
Hi Sal, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? Hey RJ! Not bad at all, …