We had a few minutes to sit down with Anderson East last week in Philly amongst WXPN’s Non-Comm hustle to chat about the new upcoming record, Delilah, and some other amusing nonsense.
Incase you haven’t heard of him before, Anderson East is an impressive artist on the rise out of Alabama. His unique vocal stylings bleed out the emotion of the lyrics in a way we haven’t heard in quite some time. East is able to give listeners a flashback, in a way, to when music was more raw and real. When recordings weren’t set to auto-tune, when Country music was actually Country music, not the generic pop songs of today about trucks, girls, and beer. His music gives us something to feel and connect with, especially with his live performances.
The Anderson East live package comes equipped with many notable details. Backed by an equally impressive six piece band, and a pretty snazzy gospel church inspired introduction, Anderson was one of the few artists performing at Non-Comm who literally covered the stage, bleeding emotion. Not to mention the only artist to climb on the tables and made sure the audience was having a good time. Much of the audience was unaware of who Anderson East is, and became quick new fans to his unique soulful stylings. Be sure to catch the photo recap here to see what you missed out on.
Without further ado, here’s our interview with Anderson East…
TSI: How long have you been playing music for?
AE: Probably since I was like 11, just messing around playing guitar and recording music.
TSI: What are the influences for your soulful/rootsy blue sound found on the new record?
AE: I think there’s always the great soul singers of yesteryear. A lot of inspiration beyond R&B in it as well, specifics I’m not really sure. Everything from a well written song, to Country music, to R&B music, to Gospel, it all swirls in together. There’s some kind of common denominator between Country and Gospel music, it’s just coming at it from different angles. Hopefully it all works. It’s coming from a place of honesty. To me that’s what the inspiration is, just being honest with people.
TSI: Was there a general theme on this album?
AE: Yeah, I feel like there’s a theme. The title of it is Delilah, after the story of Samson and Delilah. The strongest man that’s ever lived, crumbles by his attraction to this woman that exploits his love for her. A woman can crush a man pretty quick. So the album’s not directly tied into that as a story, but an idea. There’s a lot of that, and a lot of love songs.
TSI: A lot of folks have been raving over your vocals. Was your vocal styling something that just came to you or did you work to find it?
AE: Somewhat. I never really said I’m going to go for this sound, it just kind of what comes out. As you do anything more and more you learn your instrument better and learn how to manipulate it in certain ways. It’s pretty natural, just a lot of self induced abuse.
TSI: What was the recording process like?
AE: We mainly just cut it all live. We would go back and overdub a keyboard part, or add the horn section that came in afterward. For the most part it was 3-4 guys in a room playing music with some microphones attached. No bullshit about it. No computer tricks, it’s just real music, played by real people, playing real instruments. We had a good time.
TSI: What’s one of the most interesting places you’ve played at?
AE: Like good interesting? There’s a difference between a great venue and great crowds, then there are those times that you say ‘wow I can’t believe we played that, that was wild’. I love playing here in Philly though. It’s such a good time, everyone is so great. The coolest place I think I’ve ever played is this cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland. The dust on the pews is older than our country, and it was a pretty special place.
TSI: What’s non-comm radio mean to you?
AE: The people that listen to non commercial radio, it’s a mile wide and an inch deep, it spans so many different types of people. I think that’s really interesting that such a wide demographic of people will listen to that type of radio. They’re a lot more susceptible to new things and things they’ve never heard, and being willing to support it. I’m a fan of it.
TSI: Do you have a favourite food on tour?
AE: You know, eating is so hard on the road. I like just weird things that I’ve never had. I like something I just can’t get readily anywhere else. Very city centric food. And I like cheesesteaks when I’m here too.
TSI: Do you have a guilty pleasure song?
AE: Ah…yes I do actually! Mariah Carey ‘Fantasy’ That’s a jam, makes you feel good. It’s just 90s summertime.
TSI: If you could be one animal for a day, what would it be?
AE: I think I would be one specific monkey. There’s this Japanese show on youtube called ‘Monkey and Bulldog’ and it’s the coolest thing. This monkey that wears a red bandana and overalls, him and this bulldog are best friends and they go out and do stuff. It’s real life stuff, not scripted. It’s amazing and makes me smile. So I would want to be that monkey…or the bulldog.
Delilah is out on July 14th via Low Country Sound/Elektra Records. Anderson is currently on tour across the US with Brandi Carlilse, and John Butler Trio later this summer.
Be sure to follow Anderson East here: