Last month we reviewed the absolutely stellar new album from The Rain Within, Atomic Eyes (if you missed it you can find that article HERE). Not only does it prove that synthpop is alive and well as a genre, it’s in serious contention for one of the best albums released in 2018, regardless of categorization. In short, it’s good. Really good.
What better way to follow up a glowing review than with an interview with the man behind the magic? I can’t thank Andy enough for taking the time out of his day to talk to us. I’m always humbled when an artist that I enjoy so much shares a part of themself with Echosynthetic. Atomic Eyes is available wherever you buy your digital music (I’ve got it on iTunes, Bandcamp, AND digipak CD)! Alright, ready? Click play above and enjoy the article!
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! I imagine you have a lot of new listeners thanks to the booming success of Atomic Eyes. Do you mind telling us a little bit about The Rain Within?
The Rain Within is the result of reconnecting to my roots and rediscovering what I loved so much about the 80s without sounding like a cliché. I grew up on a steady diet of horror films… I couldn’t get enough of them and never grew out of it. But at the same time I found magic in those John Hughes movies and dreamed about dating someone as cool as Molly Ringwald. The two added up to an extreme love of dark art and life as a hopeless romantic. Those two ideas are swimming around in the sound of The Rain Within, and oddly enough I think they play very well together. You have to have something to lose for tragedy to count.
Speaking of Atomic Eyes, when you finished recording it did you expect the overwhelmingly positive response it has gotten?
I didn’t know what to expect. After spending hundreds of hours writing and recording these songs I was too close to them to know what kind of impact they would have out in the world. The first clue that I had something special on my hands came when I turned the album over to my record label and they wrote back raving. That got my blood pumping. And since then the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and before the album had been out a week my label was discussing a 2nd pressing.
When you write, what comes first, the lyrics or the music?
The music always comes first. But sometimes I work in sections, writing the music to a verse, then laying down the vocals before moving on to build a chorus. It just depends on what’s flowing at the time. And before I write lyrics I sing melodies without words until I am comfortable and happy with what I’ve come up with. I don’t ever try to force anything because I believe it can be heard in the final product.
You’re hitting the road in support of the album, including a slot at the massive NEON Festival in Rhode Island. What can fans expect from your live show?
They can expect a lot of energy! Mike Johnson drums for me at live shows and we both put everything into the performance. And NEON is going to be amazing! I love playing festivals where I’m as excited to see the other performers as I am to take the stage myself.
Your music strikes a balance between an obvious love of the synthpop of the 1980’s while maintaining a sound that’s very current…very now. Is it a concentrated effort or something that just flows?
That all happens organically. Sometimes I’ll start three or four different songs in the same night until something resonates and holds my attention. I find that thinking too hard about what I want to do can hinder getting anything done at all.
You’ve been at this for a while. How have you seen your music and the scene as a whole change over that time?
I think people are much more open-minded about music now than they were in the past. It’s no longer a sin to have Paradise Lost, VNV Nation, Slayer, and Lady Gaga in the same playlist. It feels like the phrase “guilty pleasure” is on its last legs and that people just love what they love. And I think that’s fucking great. Diversity keeps things fresh and blends ideas into beautiful new creations. My music has certainly evolved as I have matured as a songwriter. It’s much easier for me to get across the emotions I’m trying to convey now than it was years ago. And I think people are really feeling that. Years of practice have also made me a much better recording engineer, as I record and master everything myself.
When you aren’t recording what are you listening to?
My playlist changes quite a lot, but lately I’ve been listening to Valhall, Mr.Kitty, Timecop1983, Birds Of Passage, Carly Rae Jepsen, Dance With The Dead, Magic Sword, and Empathy Test. I am always seeking out new bands and interesting sounds.
Any parting words before we go?
I guess I’ll just say thank you to everyone out there showing so much support for Atomic Eyes and I hope to see you while I’m on tour later this year!