10 Questions with Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra

Andy HullIt’s always a pleasure to get to chat with Andy Hull, frontman of the band Manchester Orchestra. In the midst of being at home from touring and enjoying the peace and quiet of hanging out with his wife Amy, he was kind enough to chat with me for a bit about Matt Sharp of Weezer, his new diet, the Basso family, the reception of Simple Math, and more. In a rather candid interview, Hull shoots straight and as always, I gain even more respect for him. Great fella, great art.

LUKE GODDARD: Hey Andy. Remember the days when I would passive-aggressively approach you via email about doing an interview with TheBlueIndian.com? I think I annoyed you so much that you finally just gave in. I remember sitting in a library thinking I’d never land an interview with you when suddenly my phone starts vibrating constantly with cell phone pics of hand-written responses flying over from your phone to mine. Ever since then, I’ve been a huge fan. Did I freak you out?

ANDY HULL: Yeah, you freaked me out and annoyed me to no end. Then when I met you I think I punched you. Then I met your wife and realized I liked you. Now I’m obsessed with your new born baby on Facebook. So basically we are BFF’s now. Very romantic.

TBI: So are you still on the maniac work-out plan? Seriously, I blinked and next time I saw you on stage, you looked like a different person. What did you do to shred the pounds?

ANDY HULL: Being in a band with 3 dudes who can eat 10 cheeseburgers a day and remain paper thin eventually caught up to me. I looked down and realized I wasn’t healthy and I really wanted to be. So I worked out every day and completely restructured my diet to get my metabolism in order. I have lost about 60 pounds in 13 months. It really has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life and also one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I remember working out every day for 3 months and I had gained 6 pounds… dreadful. But it was a long process and I had to have faith that it would turn around. Sure enough it did and the weight started to fall off.

TBI: You’ve recently gotten some feedback from one of the guys in Weezer regarding your band’s most recent record. Was that pretty cool? You a fan of those guys?

ANDY HULL: I got to meet Matt Sharp (from Blue Album and Pinkerton) while we were mixing Mean Everything to Nothing. He told me that “I’ve Got Friends” was an “epic mind-f*ck.” SO COOL. I’ve kept up with Matt and he recently sent me a first edition signed vinyl of Pinkerton (only 3000 ever pressed) and I sent him Simple Math on vinyl. it was really nice to know he thought Simple Math was as cool as METN. He seemed to be one of the few that understood the two records (SM and METN) are counter parts to one another.

TBI: When sales surge after you put out a new record or release a song, are you the type that’s gonna save the money or go out and buy a bunch of stuff?

ANDY HULL: Well album sales unfortunately haven’t made us a dime yet but I am definitely the type to save. Materials are just materials, ya know? I’d rather drive my Toyota from high school into the ground than look cool.

TBI: Outside of your label-mates, what are you listening to these days?

ANDY HULL: I’ve honestly been listening to the new Right Away, Great Captain! because we start mixing it next week. Sounds lame but that’s sort of what I do when I finish a record before mixing. I listen to it non-stop taking mental notes on things that need to change in the final mix. It also doesn’t help that my iTunes has been broken for like a month so it’s all up to the CD player in the car. Other than RAGC, I’ve been digging Mastadon and watch the throne. I also like the ASAP ROCKY Mixtape.

TBI: So we’re definitely Facebook pals. And on your profile, you have this quote: “if you never want to be criticized, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” What do you think about Pitchfork and their apparent distaste for your band? Do you just laugh off their criticism?

ANDY HULL: The funny thing about Pitchfork is that we’ve never sent them an album to review but they keep reviewing our records. They know we exist and they never give us that bad of a review. I just had to let go of the idea that everybody isn’t going to like what you do. When we released METN, some people said its good but its not as good as the Virgin, then we release Simple Math and people say it’s good but it’s not as good as METN. It’s all opinion and I can’t let that sh*t get to me. I think Pitchfork compared us to Three Doors Down on the latest review… Yeah… they really get it.

TBI: Can you think of a “moment” in your career that you’re most proud/fond of and tell us about it?

ANDY HULL: I’m most proud of meeting Anna Basso and the Basso family. This girl and her family changed my life forever this past year. We were able to meet a few days before she passed away in Dallas and I sang a song to her onstage and spent an evening hanging out. Since then we were blessed to attend her memorial service and have developed a very strong bond like no other with her family. The Basso family is basically the reason that I create music. It’s about so much more than vanity and ticket sales. It’s about being a part of something that is bigger than you can even comprehend. Helping people without ever knowing you were helping them. When that happens, those people actually help you.

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TBI: You have your stage persona, which is pretty Rock ‘n’ Roll. Then, you have a side that I’m sure only few people know about. Tell me something your fans and future fans would be surprised to know about you.

ANDY HULL: I’m a pretty soft-hearted guy. I consider humor more powerful than music. I hate grudges. I have a great relationship with my parents and I always have. I had a great childhood with lots of laughs and lots of love.

TBI: We all have jobs. Some of us have the typical 9 to 5, others have jobs that involve a lot of traveling, and very few of us get to “live the dream” by seeing the world and playing rock music to sold out crowds. You’re one of the few. Do you consider yourself blessed and how much longer do you envision yourself going at this pace?

ANDY HULL: Well, when you “live the dream,” it really requires an unbelievable amount of work. I didn’t really know that when I started all of this back in the day and I kind of looked up and realized we were running a fully functional and growing business. I consider myself more blessed than I can explain. Yes, it’s difficult work but it’s also a job I get to do with my very best friends and we get to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do without this band. The road is a tricky devil and I think it’s always going to be a constant adjustment to how we react to it. That’s why I find that time away in peace and quiet is equally as important to being on tour. It’s like a realignment of the soul. I can see myself doing this in some sort of fashion until my ears fall off.

TBI: To wrap it up, leave us with something exclusive to get us excited about Manchester Orchestra, Bad Books, Right Away, Great Captain! or your label, Favorite Gentlemen.

ANDY HULL: I have no idea what the next Manchester Orchestra record is going to sound like. That’s usually a really good thing. We know it will be HEAVY and we know it will feature a lot of very, very loud guitar.

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