Andy Bishop talks new White Ash Falls album
The new album that was released late last year was recorded in the legendary Hive Studios, a recording outfit that all artists big and small know of and covet in the B.C. area.
As a man of undeniable talent and craftsmanship when it comes to the language of love, music, he’s known best for his solo work, which as conversely also made him one of Vancouver’s most sought after sidemen.
“It’s always an interesting thing to be constantly switching it up,” said Bishop, who was in Toronto playing bass on tour with his friend Jay Younger’s band, they were opening for the Mounties on this night.
“Even though it’s solo work I’m doing now, it’s become very reciprocal within this group of friends. Even the guys from Yukon Blonde (Bishop’s former band) are on the record with me. It leads to many more opportunities and touring.”
Even singer Louise Burns and Matt Kelly from City and Colour/Yukon Blonde were on the records as well. It goes to show how a musical community can come together and produce unique music, bringing to the table a little bit of each one of their individual styles from their solo works.
Bishop has played with a myriad of bands over the years, and just as much by his lonesome. When it comes to the dichotomy of both styles of writing and performing, Bishop says he sees positives in both aspects.The sophomore album from White Ash Falls that was released via Light Organ Records comes in strong at ten tracks of pure passion from the heart and soul and Bishop couldn’t be happier with the results.
When reflecting on the times since the release of White Ash Falls’ first record By the River Bend, Bishop pays homage to the experience and touring as sourced inspiration for the new album.
“There was a little bit of touring between the two albums, and that always changes things for me a bit,” said Bishop. “For the first record, we did everything live off the floor, I think it only cost $700 to make.”
On this album, he had much more time on his hands to create the masterpiece he was looking for, and also took the time to incorporate better production value and studio quality mastering.
“We put a lot more into this one – Working with producer and sound engineer Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, The New Pornographers) at the Hive made things sound a little dreamier. When Colin and I get together, this is just what we do. We’ve worked together on many other bands.”
The tracks on the new album range and vary so much and are laced with poetic vocal harmonies and angelic organs that create a vivid and lucid auditory experience.
The first track on the album “Want It Bad” wasn’t intended on being a personal reflection of self, but even though Bishop himself isn’t too sure of where he drew inspiration for the lyrical content, he wrote it from the heart and likes to leave his music open to interpretation.
“I still haven’t quite figured that one out, it’s gotta mean something though. A lot of my writing doesn’t come until me after. When I take the time to analyze my music, I eventually see where the subconscious idea came from.”Although it may seem like he’s lackadaisical in his production or writing, it actually goes a lot deeper than that. Talking with the man himself, I instantly came to realize that Bishop is just a truly peaceful being, Zen in his ways, and balanced in his pathology. It’s a rare quality to find in anyone in these hectic times, let alone a musician.
Sometimes his messages have an underlying layer of truth, or anecdotal properties to them. The track “Lock the Door” gives one the impression of having to leave something behind, or shut something out. Maybe a traumatic experience of sorts or a dark secret of the past that needs to be brought to the dark to be able to remain in the light.
“Definitely. That tune was written after a band I was playing in kind of fell apart. We were still living together, and I just needed to get away from that situation. So I think that’s what that song is really about, needing to turn my back on Red Cedar and move forward.”
Like any great folk album, it doesn’t come without its charming love songs, whether they be tales of aspiring romance or the downward spiral and plights of mismatched hearts.
“Well you know, you’ve got to be a bit of a softie sometimes… I just really like mellow gentle music, it’s really fun to write. Those songs just came out in a really natural way, it’s great. I’m a pretty sensitive guy, you know.”