Edinburgh based artist Andy Thomson, aka Fuzzystar, writes indie pop featuring lo-fi melodies and lyrical storytelling. We caught up with him ahead of the release of his album Telegraphing on Friday, April 28th.
The themes are around growing up, moving places, being apart from friends, falling in and out of love - everything that had happened just before or since then.
First up, tell us bit about yourself - what got you into music? Was there a particular song or artist who inspired you?
I’ve loved music from when I was really young, there wasn’t one song or artist but I guess that feeling of enjoying lots of different types and getting excited about finding new artists or songs.
You’re based in Edinburgh. What’s the music scene like there and how has it changed?
It’s as active and exciting at a grassroots level as I’ve ever known it. There’s always been something bubbling away here but in the past it’s maybe been a bit harder to find, right now there’s a great mix of bands across a range of genres and sounds aswell as a community of local blogs, labels, promoters, venues and podcasts all following their thing but being quite supportive of each other.
If you music style was a personality, what would it be like?
Haha - great question… hmm… slightly awkward and self-doubting but hopefully with a well-placed heart and ultimately loveable.
Why the name Fuzzystar?
I had my first proper gig coming up and also a friend who played music around Edinburgh with exactly the same name as me so I had to pick something different to go under! I was listening to Mazzy Star and Big Star quite a bit at the time and the few things I’d done so far at open mics were already with different people helping so it felt like the line-ups might always be a bit changeable so a fuzzy star seemed apt.
Can you remember the first song you wrote that you were really proud of? What was it about?
I remember writing one of the first couple of tunes, it was called Late Night Radio and I wrote it in my flat hunched over my oven keeping warm and drinking coffee at about 2am. I think I was as much surprised I’d written anything close to a song as being proud of it. I’m a bit more of a night owl and love listening to radio so it was kind of about those moments in the wee small hours.
How do you write your music? Is there any kind of routine that helps?
It really just happens when an idea comes to mind or a phrase pops into my head. It’ll sometimes loop around for a while or just till the next time I get a chance to sit down with the guitar to see if I can make something of it. Sometimes it comes to nothing… sometimes there’ll be the start of something that’ll hang around for a long time as an idea before revisiting and making something solid out of it.
Your new album is Telegraphing. When did you write the songs and what’s the overriding theme?
Overall, the songs have been written over a long period - probably 2008 is when the very first idea was started that’s ended up as a song on the album. I guess the themes are around growing up, moving places, being apart from friends, falling in and out of love - everything that had happened just before or since then.
Do you think it’s becoming harder to connect to people on a human level?
Wow - I don’t know how to answer that. I feel like I’m personally maybe getting a bit better at being more open and less shy (or hugely nervous around gigs). I guess things like social media help us more easily connect to many more people than previously possible but how deep that connection is can vary depending on the context.
Which song was hardest to finish?
In terms of recording, probably ‘Lone Star State’, it’s a bit of a slow-builder and we were chasing the live vibe of it, when it works right it feels like there’s different currents driving it underneath.
Which song are you most proud?
I can’t really pick one, I’m just really happy with how the album turned out whilst trying to not to find weaknesses now it’s done!
Do you have any favourites?
I can’t really pick just one, I have a few favourite bits. Some tracks I love the overall vibe of, others I like the moment when the drums really take-off, or when the lead guitar line comes in or the way the bass sounds. I’m just really happy we got it recorded and to the point of putting it out. On to the next one!
What are your hopes for the album?
Really just to share it and hopefully see how people respond to it. Try and give it a fair chance at being considered in the deluge of new music, hehe.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
That’s a tough one, there’s a few I’d love to - Neil Young would be top of the pile, I think. It probably wouldn’t be much collaboration as I’d be in awe.
If you could pick any venue or festival to play, where would it be and which slot would you most enjoy?
I’ve been to Primavera in Barcelona a couple of times, that looks like it’d be amazing fun to play. Same when I went to ATPs at Butlins at Minehead, I’d probably fantasy curate one of those with all my favourite bands.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Probably encourage myself to learn to play guitar sooner, direct myself to some more realistic songs/chords to start out with and maybe buy myself 3 or 4 lessons, though alot of that advice could apply today, hehe :)
What one thing would you like to happen in 2017?
Assuming I can’t change world events and politics (and there’s quite a few there to try and change) probably something simple like play lots of gigs with the new album, which hopefully we’re also going to do.
Listen to ‘Telegraphing’ on SoundCloud below. For news and tour dates go to the Fuzzystar Facebook page.