Andy Sim Rolls Out Liquidambar
Andy Sim is soon to drop his long-awaited Liquidambar album, and you can get it via his own Think Deep Recordings. Fans of sun-soaked, breezy liquid funk and soul will relish the release, so it was time to find out more, straight outta Sydney.
Hi nice to meet you. First off, what was the spark that got you into D&B, and when?
Hi thanks for having me. Back in the 90s I was actually a bit of a grunge kid and played the drums in rock bands around Bristol. Then in 1997 Reprazent won the Mercury Music Prize and despite thinking at that time that digital music wasn’t ‘real’ music I thought I’d give it a whirl, I mean seeing as it was such a prestigious award and they were from the same town as me.
I didn’t know what to expect but I’ll always remember dancing around my room like a loon when the bassline to ‘Brown Paper Bag’ dropped in! It was so different from anything I’d heard before and I never looked back. Didn’t take long until I had a load of old Ram records or Ganja Crew sets playing on loop in my car.
So what are some more influences on you?
Working with people like Paul SG, Zyon Base and Calculon definitely had a direct impact on my sound in the early days, as I honed my production skills in the studio with those guys.
But nowadays I actually spend most of my time listening to jazz, blues and folk music so I think there’s a huge influence from live instruments and melodic leads in my productions.
On to Liquidambar, I hear it’s been a while coming: what was the unifying drive or thread behind the album? I suppose am asking the difference between and album and a collection of tunes as such. It seems to have been drawn from your home environment in terms of inspiration and vibe, is that right?
Yeah, I think that’s probably true in many ways. I mean I also think the sound I love and hence the tunes I end up creating have a melodic complexity that makes them feel like they should be combined into an album somehow.
Often with D&B there’s a ‘massive’ tune that comes along and gets cained but then everyone’s bored of it after a couple of months.
Hopefully Liquidambar will stick in people’s minds and have a bit more longevity.
Can you talk us through a few tunes? Just any random discussion…
Always loved Louis Armstrong – both his musical vibe and singing voice, which lends itself so well to a deep jazzy liquid tune.
This one for me is that classic ‘album track’ that I was talking about earlier. Naomi is a good old friend from college and an excellent musician. One day i asked her to jam some jazzy chords on the piano at 87bpm and the tune was born – her vocals followed soon after.
The first tune I wrote when I arrived in Sydney from Bristol, via Tonsai Bay in Thailand. Such a beautiful spot and the tune always reminds me of those beach sunsets and warm starry nights.
This tune, plus ‘Hope’ were both sitting with Danny Bukem for GLO releases for many years, but when that fell through earlier this year they were the final pieces I needed to put the full album together…
The first version of ‘Inflicted’ was written in the very early days when I was still learning about music production, and it was picked up by Doug Kubiks for a collaboration and released on Phunkfiction under my old DJ name ‘Morph’.
Doug did an amazing job on it and I learned so much from him in the process. This VIP is more how I had originally envisaged the track to be.
If you were to impart some advice about production, please share.
I’d say the most important thing is to spend a bit of money on a decent pair of monitor speakers. I get sent a lot of tunes with loads of potential but the mixdown just isn’t there.
Then don’t skip the basics: think about your EQ on every single channel. When you’ve finished don’t send it to anyone until you’ve slept on it and heard it with fresh ears the next day. Do an A/B comparison.
Finally, think about which labels might be interested in the vibe and don’t just spam labels with soundcloud links – send the full tune in high quality MP3!
What’s the scene like in Sydney? Is there a liquid funk scene there?
I’ve been here since 2009. Some lovely guys involved with keeping D&B alive here and they have a tough job with the huge fees involved to book touring artists through international agents. Some of the most fun events are the small-scale free parties featuring local DJs.
On the collab front, people like LaMeduza pop up as does Paul SG. Can you tell us about your work with Paul, as one example?
LaMeduza and Naomi make some great contributions. And Paul and I wrote around 20 tunes together from 2006 to 2009 before I moved out to Australia, but it’s dropped off in recent years purely because of distance.
We were never really ones to send the samples over the internet – I’d either take a trip over to Vienna for some studio time or Paul would often come to Bristol to play at my club night ‘Breakout’ and we’d get some studio time in then.
We definitely complimented each other in our productions. Paul’s a huge talent and I was lucky to get the opportunity to work with him. I’m sure there will be more to come in the future, especially now this album is finally ready!
When does Liquidambar drop?
June 22 for the full digi release, but the CD can be pre-ordered from thinkdeeprecordings from now.
My Bristol buddy Bevan who really pushed me with the club nights, starting Think Deep, and believing in my production ability. Doug Kubiks for teaching me the basics and Paul SG for taking me to the next level. Other music collaborators; Calculon, Kalum, Blue Motion, Jaybee, Aries & Gold Dubs, Donnie Dubson, Zyon Base, Blade and Undersound.
Also Krizia LaMeduza and Naomi HB for their amazing contributions to the album.