Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Expat New Zealand singer-songwriter Andrew Keoghan -- formerly based in NYC, now in LA -- won massive plaudits for his previous album, the Elsewhere favourite Arctic Tales Divide of 2011.
That album had him in the running for a Taite Award and his new one Every Orchid Offering -- more subtle in places, sonically more eclectic -- might just see him in the same company.
The 10 songs were largely conceived when he was back home and on a writing retreat at Piha and -- with asistance from the likes of Tiny Ruins, Princess Chelsea, Lawrence Arabia and fellow travellers from the Phoenix Foundation and Ruby Suns -- it has a broad and sometimes exotic sonic palette which roams freely from Eighties-like synth-pop and modern electronica to influences from contemporary classical music and soulful r'n'b.
And throughout Keoghan questions the nature of relationships, gender roles, a prematurely jaded New Romantic worldview, his own (global citizen) perspectives and much more.
It is complex pop but rewarding on many levels, so it is a pleasure to invite him to respond to our Famous Elsewhere Songwriter Questionnaire . . .
The first song which really affected you was . . .
Michael Jackson's 'Don't Stop Till You Get Enough'. I was about eight and had found my sister's vinyl copy of Off The Wall. I listened to it over and over and danced on our springy brown couch.
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .
Violinist Nigel Kennedy and the clarinetist Acker Bilk, whose signature anthem 'Stranger on the Shore' was inescapable if Dad had control of the tape deck.
The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?
As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Johnny Cash or Kris Kristofferson?
Lennon-McCartney almost always. Jagger-Richards when I'm a little tipsy.
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .
D'Angelo – The Charade
Golden Lady – Stevie Wonder
Cupid De Locke – Smashing Pumpkins
Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?
Usually melody, followed by a few mumbly words with some sentiment.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
'Analog Days', by Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, about the invention of the synthesizer and its' impact on pop music.
If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . .
James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Cate LeBon - Crab Day.
Recent downloads include 'Yesterday' by Swim Mountain, Bob Moses 'Like it or not', and Ladyhawke's new album Wild Thing.
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .
'Everybody Wants To Rule The World', Tears For Fears
One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is .
'Strung out in heaven's high, hitting an all-time low'
(David Bowie, 'Ashes to Ashes')
Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?
60/40. If it takes too long, or I'm trying too hard I usually cast it aside. Maybe that's why I'm not all that prolific. I find I have to complete a song in the same sitting, or it's very difficult to rekindle the sentiment. The sweating seems to happen while trying to ensure the story is still interesting by the end.
Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?
That would be nice. 'Stuck in Melodies', which I co-wrote with Wayne Bell happened quite quickly. He sent me a melodic and chord idea and it resonated.
And finally, finish this couplet in any way you like: “Standing at the airport with an empty suitcase at my feet . . .” (You are NOT allowed to rhyme that with “meet” however)
I swear I'd packed some clothing and a soft toy parakeet