When he’s not pouring beers at the Marrickville Bowlo, Sydney artist Andy Golledge is writing and performing some of the most honest and heartachingly fragile music you’ve ever heard. We were lucky enough to catch up for a chat ahead of a pretty big day for both Andy and his fans.
Today, Andy releases his long-awaited EP, Namoi. And when I use the term ‘long-awaited’, I’m not doing it poetically. Fans of Andy’s live shows, me included, have been yearning for this debut release for a number of years now. The first time I saw Andy was back in 2017 when a mate took me to see his showcase set at Brisbane’s Bigsound.
“To be honest, I don’t like showcases at all. If you’re going in there trying to get something out of it, or you’ve got a team behind you that can get something out of it, I guess it’s worth it. But we didn’t go with a plan, so it was a waste of money really,” Andy says when I ask him to recall memories of that gig.
But for me, that gig at the Bigsound captured my fanaticism, and since then I’ve been longing to get some Andy Golledge into my headphones so I can carry the joy I felt that night around with me, and I’m not alone. For fans who’ve caught one of Andy’s gigs at Tamworth’s Country Music Festival (he’s been playing there for about 4 years) or one of his manic and often tear-inducing shows around Sydney, Namoi is an excruciatingly anticipated release.
The vibe from Andy’s live performances has been captured beautifully on this recording. Much of that can be put down to the choice to record the songs live with a production team lead by John Vella and Ryan Miller, who’ve recorded many other Australian artists who thrive in a live performance environment, including Angus & Julia Stone, The Delta Riggs and The Jezabels.
“I wanted to capture a moment. That’s what we do on stage and that’s why people come to shows so it was kind of about jumping on that,” Andy answers when I ask why he chose to record the debut EP live instead of the traditional method of multitracking a studio recording.
“The recording process took a long long time. My guitarist Leroy introduced me to John, my producer, who we’d been recording with for about 5 to 6 years before we recorded the EP live. We’d even tracked a whole bunch of stuff and threw it out.
“If you’re a live performance band, it’s hard to capture that sound and produce it in a way that’s conducive to your live act. But I think we’ve done a really good job,” Andy concludes… And I have to agree.
Lead single, and closer from the EP, Run To The River, is anthemic and instrumentally brooding with an almost hypnotic swagger. As a listener, the song is a call to action to reach out to your kin when you find yourself in need. For Andy, however, this song is a deeply personal message for his twin brother. “And I know just what it is you fight, cause it’s my fight. You’re not alone” the lyric refrains. But Andy says that performing such deeply personal material live in front of people hasn’t always been an easy task.
“I couldn’t handle it for a very long time, but then I started taking antidepressants and that helps. It helps a lot,” he says when I ask him what it’s like to perform such personal and emotional material.
“But it’s important, especially as a male, to be open to expressing your emotions.
“But it’s also about setting those songs free. We’ve released Run To The River, When Your Mind’s Away and 1170. Playing those 3 songs is a pleasure now because I’ve set them free. When you write emotional stuff you generally carry the weight of those songs, and setting them free is like letting go. They’re out in the world and you don’t have to carry that weight anymore. They’re living their own life.”
It is perhaps 1170, the latest single from the EP, that beast captures that raw emotion and the live sound of Andy Golledge so perfectly. I ask Andy what inspired his sound and the places he takes his vocal, especially on this track.
“I was always driven and motivated by other solo artists,” Andy explains.
“I kind of didn’t want to be an artist who you listen to and go ‘oh, he sounds like this person or he sounds like that person’, I wanted people to listen to me and go ‘oh, that’s Andy Golledge’.”
Andy tells me that the band you see on stage at his live shows and who headed into the studio to record his EP have come together via natural attrition.
“With Josh, who drums, and Nick, who plays guitar, we were friends hanging out at the pub. I was playing a gig and I was just said ‘well, how about you guys get on stage and play with me’. They already knew the songs because they watched my gigs a bunch of times,”
“I was friends with them first before we started playing and then it was just kind of a natural process in getting on stage together,” Andy explains.
One of those people is artist Caitlin Harnett. I ask Andy what Caitlin brings to his artistry beyond her harmonies and playing.
“Caitlin is a powerhouse and she’s a very strong-headed woman. She brings a great energy, a great friendship and a great kind of carting for everybody,” he says.
“She also has a kind of carefree attitude, which is also great. It helps me relax a little bit. She’s pretty hard on me about my performance anxiety. She’s quick to squash that and tells me to relax.”
After our interview, Andy assures me that he’s locking in a gig in Newcastle later this year. But if you can’t wait, you can catch Andy’s EP launch show on 28 March at The Lansdowne with supports Ainsley Farrell and Shearin’.
You can, and should, buy Namoi, the debut release from Andy Golledge by clicking here. And you can listen to the EP in full on all the major streaming platforms.