Andrew Hoover Tells All

Interview By: Quinn Allan

QA: Before you were a musician you had a different career in mind, that of a chef. Did your dabbling in the culinary arts provide you with any unique experiences that have come in handy in your life as a professional musician?

AH: There is a lot of hustle and bustle in the professional kitchen. You might have 5 saute pans on the range, a few pans finishing in the oven, the cabernet demi glace is warming on the side for the filet and more tickets are printing out–Mean while you’re trying to plate table 8’s Rosemary rack of lamb with it’s fig chutney and white bean- truffle puree.

This scenario reminds me of the hustle and bustle on the road as well. Getting up early for an interview only to drive 7 hours to the next venue, winding in and out of traffic because you’re cutting it close to doors opening at the venue, soundchecking, performing, packing up, sleeping and doing it all over again the next morning.

QA: Your blog, featured at www.andrewhoover.com, is ripe with your affections for a certain
fermented fruit. What sparked your interest in wine? Is it by mere coincidence that your choice of drink is equal in sophistication to the style of music you play?

AH: My professional kitchen days allowed me to sample fine culinary dishes and at one point I remember being 14 years old chatting with the other chefs before service started and the restaurant’s Sommelier gave me a sample of a $250 Barbolo as an educational experience to sophisticate and expand my palate. I love art and the art of wine is just another delicious dimension of the vast world of art.

QA: When a young man tells his parents he¹s quitting college in search of music fame, the response is very rarely “You have my blessings.” You either have some pretty neat parents or your persuasive powers are uncanny! Was it really that easy?

AH: At first they had a little difficulty swallowing the “drop-out” talk. They then allowed me to take one year off of school as a trial period to see the kind of progress I was making. It happened that in that one year off of school I was picked up by Rock Ridge Music and started recording Chances, Stances & Romances. It was this progress that opened their eyes that I might be able to make a living for myself with this job. Of course they would still like to see their son graduate from a university and that certainly is not a closed door.

QA: You credit learning your technique from YouTube videos and concert DVDs, were these your instructors or were you professionally trained as well?

AH: Youtube videos, concert DVDs, as well as some of my very talented friends who have given me tips and advice along the way.

QA: Making the transition from struggling artist to touring musician can yield some unexpected turns. Are you adjusting well to your new life, or is it a bumpy road?

AH: I am very much a home body. I am a big family man so being away from home a lot can be tough. I have had days where a 10 hour drive turns into a 13-hour-drive due to traffic and I get to the venue 35 minutes before I have to hit stage. All the while I went to bed at 4 AM the night before and had to get up at 6:30 to make that trek. Somedays are bumpier than others, but I
take no prisoners.

QA: All musicians have a MySpace, few expect it to directly lead them to the success they crave. Were you surprised when you first found out you were being checked out by a label?

AH: yes! I got in the habit of sending “Friend requests” to the myspace fans of my musical heroes. It just so happened that one of the fans I friend requested worked at a record label. It was completely unexpected and frankly very lucky.

QA: Ray LaMontagne comes up a lot on your lists of heroes and influences. Do you think you’ll open for him one day? Or will he be opening for you soon?

AH: Ray LaMontagne is one of a kind. His live performances are so raw, so emotional, passionate and dynamic. It’s incredible how he can go from a sultry whisper to filling the room with his gruff, seething, lion-like roar. I very much hope one day I can open for that man.

QA: Now at the start of your career, what is the high mark you want to reach by the end of it?

AH: I would love to be able to headline and fill up rooms like the Beacon Theatre (NYC), Amos Southend (Charlotte), Paradise Rock Club (Boston), tour in my own tour bus and have the opportunity to collaborate with some of my musical heroes.

QA: Tell me about the album. How was recording in the studio? Did your songs evolve over the recording process?

AH: I have never recorded or played with a band before. The songs I have written were written very much for just my guitar and my voice. With the help of my band mates Johnny Pisano (bass) and Rich Smalley (drums) as well as my producer Jason Spiewak we were able to transform and formulate these acoustic tunes into a fun, full band, dance vibe CD.

QA: Despite technology making it easier for listeners to absorb new music from home, artists seem to agree that touring is still the best way to connect with fans. How has hitting the road helped you connect with your audience?

AH: There is an energy and passion in my live performance that simply cannot be captured on tape. It is a huge element to my music that needs to be absorbed in order to experience my music as a whole. Playing live allows the audience to see, feel, smell and taste this passion.

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