Andy Stochansky steps into the limelight

By James Keller

Toronto resident Andy Stochansky has had quite a career so far. Playing for renowned acts like The Indigo Girls, The Barenaked Ladies and, most importantly, indie-folk goddess Ani DiFranco, Andy has proven a talented and extremely capable percussionist. But that era of his life is now over, as he steps into uncharted water as the front man of his own solo career.

Regarding his association with DiFranco, Stochansky, who plays the Blue Banana Lounge Oct. 20, would rather be seen as an autonomous individual.

"The music doesn’t have anything to do with her music, so I don’t understand the association," explains Stochansky. "It’s gone, you know, it’s the past."

These comments are not without warrant, as the music on the CD is like nothing on his previous collaborations.

On his second solo effort, Radio Fusebox, Stochansky gives us a hybrid of pop, folk, electronica and exotic drum work that creates a sound best described, as Stochansky puts it, "techno-folk." Although still largely played with traditional instruments, there are also a lot of unique ones like the chamberlain (an old ’60s-style keyboard). Because of this, none of the songs on the record can really be described as radio friendly.

"You know, it’s funny when I could take the same song and play it on chamberlain and everyone would think it was very weird, then play it for you on guitar and everybody would think it was radio-friendly," Stochansky says. "It’s just what our ears are used to."

One of the reasons there is such a unique sound on Andy’s newest album is the amount of control he had. Recorded in his home studio, the record was released on his own label, Population 60, rather than with a major record company. Stochansky’s reasoning shares similar sentiments with other artists–like Ani DiFranco–who are doing the same thing.

"You have this dream to one day run your own thing and run it exactly the way you want to run it," he says, "So that’s basically what an indie company is all about."

His current tour with Danny Michel has him travelling all across Canada and the U.S. The focus however, is on his Canadian dates because he hasn’t toured the country since last fall. Although in concert, Andy’s sound is going to be very different from his record.

"Half the show is new songs because I’ve been writing in the summer… and it’s going to be a guitar album, so a lot of the stuff is guitar right now."

Andy Stochansky isn’t too concerned with the future. Instead, he’s quite happy making the music he loves.

"To me, I’m just trying to write as many songs as I can right now," he explains. "[It’s important] that I get enough material for the next album and it’s really, really good and I’m proud of each song. That’s all I want right now." He will begin recording the next album in January and it will be released next fall.

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