For those who know Andy Immerman, they know that he is both a mainstay over at Souls in Action Entertainment, and also a close friend of ours here at Colorado Culture...among many other things. For those who don't know Andy, we'll have you know that the aforementioned "many other things" include being a multi-talented artist, with his passions lying in music production, photography, and graphic design. This past week, he released an EP of original music entitled Syntax, an intriguing melding of Andy's brand of electronic music. We caught up with him to talk more about the record, and also to allow those of you who don't yet know him, to get to do so a little better.
Colorado Culture: Give us some background on yourself. I.E., what got you into music, what are your past experiences with it, etc.
Andy Immerman: I’ve basically been making music my whole life. I started taking piano lessons when I was really young and ended up switching to saxophone and other woodwind instruments in middle school and high school. My Dad gave me my first copy of Sonic Foundry which I used to start making loop music on a PC when I was in 9th grade. I was trying to teach myself how to do all of it alone. Over the course of the 4 years I was in high school I learned a lot, and I also started taking audio production and songwriting/recording lessons from Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) who was a family friend of ours. My parents and his parents were friends when we were growing up. Justin was my camp counselor as well, so I spent a lot of time with him in middle school and high school. Justin gave me my first copy of Ableton...I think it was version 5 or 6...and with that I started writing more songs and recording more. Eventually I was writing music every day, and spending all my time on that when I had free time. I moved to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to go to school for my freshman year of college to study studio art and graphic design/photography, and I ended up being there for 2 years. I didn't really like the program I was in at UMD though, and didn't want to continue with it. So I moved back home for my junior year and ended up reaching out to Justin who had just released For Emma, Forever Ago and asked him if I could help out with any recording or anything he could do to facilitate me making/recording music on a more professional level. He invited me to come work on the new Bon Iver album as well as help him finish his recording studio. So I spent the next year and a half recording that album with them.
CC: When did you relocate to Colorado?
AI: After I finished with Bon Iver, I decided to move out to Denver to finish school at University of Colorado-Denver and get my Bachelors of Science in music. The year I moved out here, the album that I worked on with them ended up winning two Grammys: for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album. I finished the program at UC Denver and have been living here since, working with Souls In Action as an artist/producer/photographer.
CC: So, your music. What do you like to listen to as well as create?
AI: I love all types of music, although most of the time I prefer more melodic music, which I tend to write as well.
CC: Got anybody in particular that you draw influence from?
AI: A lot of different artists influence me. To name a few: Boards of Canada, Tycho, Aphex Twin, Steve Reich, The Album Leaf, Bonobo, Jagwar Ma, Röyksopp, Slow Magic, Jon Hopkins, Lusine, and Little People.
CC: So with Syntax, what was the goal that you wanted to accomplish with it?
AI: With the EP, the goal was to let a lot of musical ideas go that have been stirring in my head for a few years. When I write music, I don't sit down and go "Oh I'm going to make deep house today, or I'm going to make ambient, or I'm going to make a hip hop track". I sit down and think about what instruments I want to use, I think about what they sound like and how I can make them sound interesting together. In the same vein as piecing together a puzzle. I usually start with some type of tempo or beat, but I try not to stick to genre-defining patterns or sounds because I want people to think when they listen to my music, not zone out because it sounds like every other house song they've heard before. I love syncopated rhythms and melodies that ebb and flow with each other to create a pulsing or repetitive pattern.
CC: Sounds like a hard puzzle. Were you trying to reach anyone specific with the album?
AI: I love the idea of playing music on a dance floor because people tend to “let go” a little more, and have more of an open mind toward the music in general. I want my music to be more emotional than the driving beats that are generally associated with a dance floor, but when you listen to it, still have that open mind that you might have if you're listening to dance music.
CC: Did you have any help with the record?
AI: Yes! My buddy Dave Power (drummer for Aero Flynn) did a lot of drum recording on the EP.
CC: So what’s up for the future of Andy Immerman Music?
AI: Future plans...working on new music, writing in new styles and trying to possibly do some straight up disco or house music soon as well. I want to play more shows, keep evolving my live set, and possibly work in some live elements like a keyboard or a sequencer at some point. I'm currently using Ableton to perform, so adding new elements to the set wouldn't be out of the question. I've been working with some vocalists in and around Denver lately and will be writing more songs with vocals this year.
CC: What does culture mean to you?
AI: Culture is an interesting thing, because without it we wouldn't have a platform to be creative or work together to do bigger things. If there wasn't any culture, and people didn't collectively do things like make music, or art, or put events together, we would all be on our own. Not only would we be stuck with our own ideas, we’d also be limited to that. The idea of doing things collectively as a group is what makes the ideas grow and manifest into larger things. Two heads are better than one, and ten are better than two, but if nobody shares their ideas, then they're restricted to only seeing their ideas from their own perspective.