The Long Lost Brothers’ debut album Long Lost Album will be launched into the world on vinyl on Saturday, October 24 at Mojo’s Bar. It’s been a long time coming for singer and guitarist Andrew Ryan, who after honing his craft through the years in bands such as Adam Said Galore and Fall Electric, has been empowered to take a big step forward with the group by band mates Ben Protasiewicz (Pat Chow) on drums and Chris Callan (The Panda Band) on bass. BRAYDEN EDWARDS spoke to Andrew Ryan to find out how the album was a result of coming to terms with a universe out of one’s control through fictitious stories, self-refinement and loud guitars.
What is the story behind The Long Lost Brothers and how long has this album been in thee works for?
Well myself and Matt Rudas of the Tucker Bs got together every Wednesday for about 18 months recording or writing my songs. With the contribution of belief and fantastic guitar parts and wonderful vocal harmonies from Matt, those harmonies ended up being recorded on the album which was recorded by Dave Parkin in 2013 or 2014. And at the time we had Simon Struthers from Umpire and Mitch MacDonald from Love Junkies, who is now a prominent recording engineer, as part of the band. The band members changed and Steve Summerlin from Mink Mussel Creek played bass with me and Mitch and we were a pretty powerhouse, scuzzy trio.
But that ultimately wasn’t to remain and as of last year I’ve been playing music with Chris Callen who played with I Spy and The Panda Band on bass and we have Ben Protasiewicz who is the guitarist and songwriter for Pat Chow playing drums. And because there’s a solid band I was able to put out this album! And because of the belief of those dudes I’m writing more songs.
So does it feel like a continuation of bands you’ve been in previously or a whole new project? And how does it sound different from music you have made before?
The first Adam Said Galore album that came out in ’96 or ’97, was a collection of songs which have since been called “Krautrocky” or “indie rock,” which I wrote mostly, had a pop sensibility. I then went deeper into post rock territory with Adam Said Galore and then I went back to being more song focused in Fall Electric, but that was a textured folk band really with cello and electric beats and all that stuff.
This is a return to more of that pop sensibility. It’s everything I learned through Fall Electric, but it’s improved because I have improved, including my singing. I think it’s more approachable music.
Going back a bit further, what initially inspired you to want to be involved in music, both creatively and as a career?
My dad listened to heaps of records when I was young. I saw Dire Straits when I was six and I had to learn the guitar solo from Guns N’ Roses’ Patience when I was 12 (he hums the tune). I still remember the whole thing.
And then we had to make a band, me and my friends in high school. We just had to. And I sung a karaoke thing in high school in Year 10 and it turns out I could sing a song by The Cure quite well and from that point on I thought as well as us making music which was instrumental up until that point, maybe I should also sing. So it’s been coming for a long time really, from 1993, 1992…
How about lyrically? Was there a theme or feeling at the time of writing this that worked its way into the songs and the music?
I have an over energized brain. Last night I even made a new bassline in a dream for song that doesn’t exist and then I jammed it with different people. I’ve always had that energy and pouring it out into the lyrics is a great joy for me. I love to construct unorthodox sentences that more accurately describe exactly what I feel is happening in any given moment.
So that might be from fictitious stories such as Black Navajo on the album which is a story I made up about this imagined man from centuries ago in South America of African descent. He was sadly being held captive as a slave, as history shows was the case for many African men in America at the time. And this song is about Black Navajo. He’s a black man and he breaks out of his captor’s possession and joins the Navajo tribe and he becomes celebrated and embraced by the Navajo and is now part of an American Indian tribe. The geographics might be all out, the Navajo might be from the north of America, but it’s a symbolic tale which I just had to invent.
On the poster for the show on October 24 there’s little character and I’ve got it on back of my neck. My brother passed away when I was 16 and he was 14. He had a brain tumour and then bowel cancer and then a brain tumour and he died the day after his fourteenth birthday. Now that enlightened me to the heartlessness of that which is the universe, which is out of one’s control.
The idea that if there was an interventionist god like creature who was in control…well I saw that as a person or thing that is either extremely cruel or definitely not there. And I’ve been seeking to explain that through all my art. My brother’s name was Daniel. There’s a song on the second Adam Said Galore album tedious, spelt “TDS,” that’s the Daniel sign. The loss of my brother is a strong driver for me in both awakening desires and in expressing that awakening. Everyone experiences loss and I’m not saying my loss is bigger than others, but it’s my version and it prompts me.
A lot of artists describe releasing an album as quite cathartic as it’s like letting something go that you have worked towards for some time. How will it feel for you performing at the launch show?
The cathartic nature of releasing music is unparalleled. The feeling of recognition and having belief from musicians such as Ben and Chris is preposterously motivating and something I only realised this today is that the more life throws at one the more they become what they are already were.
For me I feel more refined now, excellently more gritty. The more I’m going through, the more I’m becoming me. So on the night I’m digging in ever more with my unique approach to playing the electric and that’s what I’m excited about. I like to dig in and play my 1974 Guild Bluesbird. And I like to play it extremely hard and people can expect me to play extremely hard.
As someone as involved and invested in the music industry as much as anyone in WA, what are your thoughts on the upcoming year or two in live music? Are you optimistic we can ride out the challenges we are facing?
When you look at the specifics around launching music and releasing music and being an artist within Western Australia, I have my own theories and those are based on explicit observations. Bands in Perth, because of the limited capacity, but at a capacity to still run shows, are accruing a demand the likes of which we’ve never seen.
You’ve got big venues with great production, huge marketing pushing shows for events with a reduced capacity so everything is selling out. So WA bands will come out of 2020, 2021, and maybe beyond with this accepted component of their brand being mass demand. Because all the shows sold out because they were playing in a room at half its capacity. So specifically for artists in Western Australia now is a great time to be getting out there and playing.
You mentioned before that there’s probably more new music on the way from The Long Lost Brothers, where do you see things going after this album is out?
Totally dude. You’re going to see more of me. This isn’t some long lost album that gets worked on without having something else on the boil. This is the fucking Hobbit, and there’s a bunch of Lord of the Rings coming.