Enigmatic, innovative, experimental… Andrew Bayer has long held a reputation as one of Anjunabeats’ most multi-faceted talents. From elegant deep house tracks on Anjunadeep (“You”), to the critically acclaimed electronica of his second album ‘If It Were You, We’d Never Leave,’ through to his recent stream of forward-thinking big room anthems, he remains unique in his ability to fuse the electronic with the emotive – regardless of form or genre.
Yet while his productions have been both prolific and widely respected, Andrew has chosen to restrict himself to rare, one-off DJ performances. As the select few who have enjoyed these can attest, his dedication to detail in his productions clearly comes through in his sets. Each one has offered a unique window into the maverick producer’s musical mind, and each one has raised even more excitement for further DJ gigs.
Now, those calls have been answered… At least in part. For the first time, the innovative producer is breaking out of the shadows with a very select run of North America tour dates – including shows at Philadelphia’s Rumor, Vancouver’s Venue, Los Angeles’ Exchange and Foundation in Seattle. The centerpiece of the tour will undoubtedly be his highly anticipated appearance at Madison Square Garden, alongside Above & Beyond at ABGT100 (on Saturday October 18).
I had the opportunity to ask Andrew a few questions in anticipation of his ABGT100 and North American Tour performances. Little did I realize he studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in my hometown of Boston, nor did I realize what he has in store for the lucky fans who will get to see him on tour this fall. Check out what Andrew Bayer had to say, which I’m sure is just the tip of the ice berg!
MMIBTY: You have a vast portfolio of music – devastating club bangers, uplifting Trance/Progressive tunes, Deep tracks, ambient, and even some collaborative work with Norin & Rad for your side project Artificial. Let’s talk about your musical background – musically, how did you climb to where you are today – did you study music at an early age and who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Andrew Bayer (AB): Thank you so much. I had piano lessons at a very early age, which I wasn’t too fond of at the time. Thank god my parents forced me to do them because it really helped develop my ears. I transitioned into writing by learning how to do arrangements on……. MTV Music Generator for the Playstation. That transitioned to Fruity Loops, then to Logic, then to Cubase, Protools, all sorts. I’ve finally landed back on Logic. I studied at Berklee College of Music after I was already releasing music on various labels, including Anjunabeats. It was amazing. A lot of people asked me why I would bother going to study music if I was already releasing music professionally. You never, ever stop learning. The time you think you’ve stopped learning is when you should give up because you’re probably making shit music. I learned more than I could have ever even dreamt about while at Berklee.
MMIBTY: One of my favorite tracks by you is “England” and it uses one of your signature sounds which, to me, sounds like a hammer hitting an anvil. You use this sound in a lot of your tracks – was it something you made your own through tinkering around in production software? What’s the reason behind naming this track “England”?
AB: It’s a sample that I found and manipulated. I freaking love that sound. Thanks for reminding me! I will use it in my next track 🙂 I called that track England, because I had just returned from being in America for a while, and finally, my love affair with London began. It took me a while to get used to living in London! I actually really didn’t like it at first, now I absolutely love it.
MMIBTY: Talk to us about your live show. What makes your performances unlike any other DJ’s out there, besides the fact that fans will be able to hear plenty of original Andrew Bayer work?
AB: Much like the feeling where I never stop learning, I never really finish a track. I’m constantly revisiting stuff and doing new tweaks, and mashing up old work with new work, etc. I try to make my shows more about fans being able to hear what my collective body of work sounds like, I write my music to go together, beyond simply standing on its own. Which is also why I love writing albums so much, I also usually play music I like! There’s obviously an aspect of reading the dance floor, and playing music that’s appropriate for certain places or venues, but I play music that I would want to hear. And I do edits and tricks that I’d enjoy hearing.
MMIBTY: Who are a few of your favorite DJs to see live, either past or present?
AB: I had a massive DJ/Production crush on Eric Prydz….probably circa 2008? I still absolutely adore his work, but that was the time in which I was constantly out on the weekends, checking out DJs, etc. His sets were always so unbelievably good. Same with deadmau5 around that time too. It just totally made sense when you saw them live, and they’d play a ton of their productions next to each other, and all of a sudden you were like “oh riiiiiight. THIS is a real artist.” I still love their work today, I just don’t really go out a ton to go see DJs, but do get a chance to see them when we’re playing the same festivals. I got a chance to see Gessaffelstein at Fire in London last year. That was incredible too.
MMIBTY: Your tracks are complex in structure and high in quality. How long does it take you to produce a song from initial idea to final product? Do you have any routines you go through throughout the process?
AB: It’s so, so different from track to track. Sometimes I can bang out the meat of the track in a day, and then will tweak it for months. “Once Lydian” for example, was on version 46 I think before I finished it. It had soooo many different iterations of itself. It was once in the Lydian mode, hence the title. I really really freaking wanted to write a new track in Lydian, and of course, 46 version later, it’s not called Lydian anymore. We were all so used to calling it Lydian at the Anjuna HQ, that I had to leave it in the title. Hence, “Once Lydian.” As for the routines I go through…there’s a ton. One common one is “Joooonnnoooooooo!!!! [of Above & Beyond] Can you please help me sort out my mix????” (in the most annoying whiney voice possible) Another one is “OH MY GOD THIS IS AWESOME!” …. next day “Well that sounds shit. Did I drink too much wine last night?” One common routine is listening to old music. There’s so many people out there that are only listening to “what’s hot right now” and building their careers off of that. It yields boring results in my opinion. You have to listen to a broad range of stuff. I’ll usually have a deep listening session for a while before starting on a new project.
***THANK YOU to Andrew Bayer for answering these questions and to Adam Sellers for connecting us! Here are the dates you can see Andrew on tour***