Clapper Sounds with Andrew Handrick

For our 25th Clapper Sounds Interview, we’re highlighting Andrew Handrick.

Andrew Handrick (or @AndrewHandrick on Clapper) is a singer-songwriter originally from Ireland. Now based in Italy, Andrew describes his sound as intelligent lyrics with a laid back style, coupled with passion and honesty. To put that into genre terms, indie/folk with some rock thrown in! In this interview we talked about Andrew’s almost psychic songwriting process, what keeps him making music, his thoughts on content creation as an artist, and more.

Clapper Sounds is meant to be an intimate musical experience, and we want that mission to translate into our written interviews too. Listen to his music as you read to get to know Andrew and his unique sound.

Let’s start from the beginning. What is your first memory of being involved with music? How did you start your artist journey?

My dad was always singing around the house, all the old musical tunes. And we had a couple of albums, one was Elvis and the other was Dean Martin…my parents didn’t have a vast variety of music! Which was kind of cool, actually, because they have great songs and great vocals. So not a bad way to start my journey. Then when I was about 4 or 5 years old my father and I were in the music store; I picked up a drumstick and I put it down on a snare drum. When I heard that sound, that was it, I wanted to be a drummer. But it took me about 14 years to actually get a drum kit. I taught myself, played drums for many years, then I just started writing songs for bands I was in.

What is your songwriting process like?

Songs just come to me all at once. I’ve written songs on planes, trains, buses – everywhere. And I suppose I hear a word or a phrase and a melody will come, and that’s it. I usually write my songs in 10 or 15 minutes. If I can’t write in that time, I kind of don’t think it’s worth writing? It’s very…I don’t think about the process a lot because unconsciously I understand it, but I don’t want to kind of tear it apart in case I can’t put it back together again.

And I don’t need to know. Once I read a couple of books by a famous songwriter and realized I’d been doing all these things that were in the book. I just figured that because I listened to music when I was younger, I just absorbed music. So, yeah, everything comes pretty quick and lyrically. I don’t always know what the song’s about. Sometimes writers (not just songwriters but people who write in general) kind of predict the future in some way. We pick up on things; the songs are kind of floating around and we’re antennas. You pick up on an idea and you’re lucky to get them. It’s an amazing process and I don’t take it for granted.

What are your thoughts on content creation as an artist? How do you feel about artists having to balance their social media presence and still be committed to their art?

To be honest, Clapper’s the first time I really focused and put the effort into a social media. Obviously artists want to be wherever their art is. In a studio, sitting down, writing songs, playing music. That’s obviously what artists want to do full-time, and not bother about anything else. But at the end of the day, and it’s a business and you need to understand what you need to do as an independent artist. I think it’s good for artists to kind of, how would you say, build the muscle of being able to create and show up every day. And you have to connect with your audience and that’s something that was really missing in the past. Artists still do that a lot of time.  “Here’s my next release,” and it’s like the world is going, “there’s a million of you out there, who cares?” You have to focus in, find your people, and it’s about quality not quantity. I’m not interested in having a million people like me; if they’re not actually engaging with me, that’s just pointless. It’s good for artists, it gets them out of their heads in some ways. It makes you loosen up, try new things, and get outside of your comfort zone. It all feeds back into the creativity at the end of the day.

If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be?

Technically, I had a dream with Bob Dylan and we did actually write songs which was kind of weird. We were sitting in a pub in Ireland writing together. I was writing 1, and he’d already written 10! I think it was kind of a message to push myself a little more. But I don’t know about collaborating with another artist…I have no idea alive or dead. Who do I really respect as a songwriter? Maybe Bob Dylan! He’s a pretty amazing songwriter, and pretty abstract.

What are you most proud of to date? And, what keeps you making music?

Just that I’ve kept going, because it’s very easy to stop. I’ve had some dark times in my life where I did have to stop playing music, and the only thing that actually kept me going was getting back on stage. Music is just what I do. It’s the best thing I do and I can’t envision my life without music. It’s been a constant in my life since as far back as I can remember. I have no idea what I would do or how I would face life.

What was the first song that ever impacted or inspired you?

The very first song that affected me was that David Bowie song, To Ashes. I was very young and I was just transfixed and almost crying the emotion. That was the first song that really affected me. A lot of memories of music and just sitting on my own in my parents’ back room, listening to my brother’s record collection. He used to buy all these records because they were cool and he wouldn’t listen to them. That’s where I’d be on summer evenings, just sitting there with headphones on, absorbing all this amazing music,…
My brother was a mod, so it was fashion and nothing else really. I was listening to The Who and Quadrophenia and music that I suppose I didn’t even understand. And also bands like Simple Minds and The Jam. My whole thing about music is I don’t care who writes it: if it’s a good song it’s a good song. My daughter sent me a playlist with K-pop and I was like “oh my god.” But then I actually listened, I was like, “hang on, this isn’t bad.” The melodies and stuff are better than a lot of music I hear around. I’m completely open to everything. If it’s pop, if it’s jazz, if it’s rock I don’t care. If it’s a good song, it’s a good song.

Make sure to check our recorded live session on our account Clapper Sounds and in our reels on Instagram. Enjoy the Clapper Sounds Live Session with Andrew Handrick!