Troubadour: a travelling poet who specialises in deeply raw, moving pieces of art or music.
Whether by his own doing or by fate, Andy Golledge has been landed with an almost impossible task: to keep Sydney’s folk heart burning. A bush-poet, an alt-country superstar, a troubadour, he is the balladeer bringing us back to our roots and inking out some beautifully raw songs in the process.
Whether you know him from his countless sold-out shows, his passionate lyrics, or you’ve seen him lurking around the inner-west a few times, everyone is left with the same impression. We caught up with the songwriter to find out more.
Interview begins during a conversation about Andy’s arvo plans.
HAPPY: Where do you usually fish?
ANDY: Oh, just wherever I have the time to go to, really.
HAPPY: Beautiful day for it too.
ANDY: Oh yeah, I’m going to go as soon as this is done. I’ve got to work at three, so I might as well get some swimming and fishing in.
HAPPY: Good idea. Well, my favourite line that I’ve ever heard written about you is that, “if there was ever to be a Sydney troubadour, it’d be Andy Golledge.”
ANDY: Oh, yeah? [smirks]
HAPPY: Does that identity of the troubadour resonate with you in any way?
ANDY: Maybe, once upon a time. But, the idea of a troubadour is somebody that travels around is not stuck in one place. It was always a bit strange, but I guess it’s the nature of the music that I play. I guess it lends to that kind of idea.
HAPPY: You’re known for your honesty and rawness in your songs, what is it that drives your music?
ANDY: I’d say what drives it is live performance, you know, just chasing that live feeling. It’s all driven by emotion too; anxiety, depression, and stuff like that. I definitely tend to express myself better through song than through conversation. I guess that’s what really drives my music, that kind of release, that cathartic side of it.
HAPPY: Do you write whenever you feel like you just have to get something off your chest, or is it more of a methodical process?
ANDY: It’s more upon reflection. It comes to me maybe every three or four months? And then I’ll just write about the experiences that I may have had or something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and then start to write it. I find if you try to write about stuff that’s happening while it’s happening, it never really comes out the way you want it. You need to sit with your emotions for a while.
HAPPY: Yeah, definitely. So, this new music that you’re putting out, is it focusing on a certain point in your life?
ANDY: Well, especially with this new song that I just released, I was talking to someone the other day and I don’t actually remember writing that song.
HAPPY: [Laughs] It just turned up one day?
ANDY: Also, the song was written about ten years ago, the content and everything. The song was about me leaving Tamworth, but only well and truly after I’d been in Sydney for 10 or 11 years. It’s interesting like that; when they come out and what they’re about, it all just comes out whenever it wants to.
HAPPY: Yeah, and looking back on it after so long.
ANDY: Yeah, totally.
HAPPY: Well, speaking of the new single, congratulations on it! Could you talk a little bit about the track?
ANDY: Thank you. Well, the track… I wrote it for my brother and my family, I guess, about leaving home and not really pursuing anything at all, let alone music. It’s about falling into the same patterns and habits of love and loss and alcohol. You know, moving to Sydney and then just getting lost in the lights, you know.
HAPPY: Mm, I heard you say that it’s a track for people who are running from themselves.
ANDY: Yeah, I think just running from finding out who they really are. A lot of people never really give themselves enough time to find out who they are. I think, for me, I was in a relationship for a very long time when I first moved to Sydney and split, then went straight into another relationship. And really, the whole reason why my relationships weren’t working is because I didn’t know who I was. You can’t love somebody else if you can’t love yourself.
HAPPY: Exactly [both laugh]. It was a much more rock-leaning track than your previous work. Was that a conscious decision to try out a different sound?
ANDY: Yeah, 100 percent. Not so much for anybody else but myself. I was listening to a lot of Tom Petty and Traveling Wilbury’s and I just always wanted to write a song like a Traveling Wilbury’s kind of vibe. I don’t know whether I’ve achieved it…
HAPPY: I reckon you have.
ANDY: [Laughs] That’s the only reason I wrote that song, you know. I just wanted to have a song like that.
HAPPY: Yeah, totally. I feel like the whole spectrum of country and folk is shifting into all these different places right now. Do you feel your songwriting changing with that wave at all?
ANDY: Oh, sometimes. A lot of the songs, even off my first EP, a lot of the songs that I’m releasing now are really old because I wasn’t really pursuing music until a few years ago. I mean, I was playing every day and playing a lot of shows and doing that kind of stuff, but I wasn’t really, actively pursuing it. So, all these songs are quite old. I guess I only really change the way I write if I find somebody that inspires that change and it’s been a while since I’ve found somebody to inspire that change. But sometimes it happens instantly. Sometimes I’ll listen to an artist and I’ll be like 30 seconds in and I’ll stop the artist, go write a song, and I’ll never listen to that artist again. Cause I’m like, that’s dangerous. I don’t want to end up sounding exactly like that [laughs].
HAPPY: The music video for the track is so well directed.
ANDY: Aw, thank you!
HAPPY: Could you walk us through the process of making that video?
ANDY: We didn’t have a very big budget, so it was a long process. Well, not a long process, just a lot of waiting around… Until our director, Tyson, was ready to give us a few days, you know, here and there. The first day of filming, we tried a few locations and it was like, that didn’t work out. After a whole day of filming, and we were like these all suck. Let’s go somewhere else and do it. Then you wait three weeks and you’ve finally got a day. You get all your bandmates together as well… I mean, that process was long, but the actual performance and stuff was quite easy. I find the whole process of making videos fun. I don’t know whether you’re old enough to remember Video Hits…
HAPPY: [Laughs] I don’t think so.
ANDY: I was a Video Hits kid. I wasn’t a Rage kid; I was the pop Top 40 kid when I was really young. I just watched the film clips and just went, man, that’d be so sick to do. And it was good, it was the first really lengthy film clip where I could perform to the camera, which I really enjoyed.
HAPPY: And you had Caitlin jump on for that one?
ANDY: Yeah, Caitlin and the rest of the band. Because the song was written upon reflection, it’s kind of that same vibe; the ideas, the whole personal life thing, you know. I’m hanging out by myself and then all of a sudden, I’m back in the room with people and it’s like switching between memories. So that whole process was kind of cool. I mean, I gave Tyson complete creative control and that’s what he took from the song. It’s great to know that that song can translate to somebody else and you can have similar ideas.
HAPPY: Yeah, totally. How far do you and Caitlin go back? I know you guys collab on a lot of stuff.
ANDY: We’ve been friends for about six years now. When we met, I think she’d just come out of a bad relationship, because I only really knew her through the weirdness of social media about three weeks prior to before I met her. I had just travelled to Cuba and I came back with cheap cigars and I posted a post and was like, “Hey, who wants to come over and drink rum and smoke cigars?” And she’s like, “I will.” And yeah, we’ve been best friends ever since. Then a while back she was like, “can I be in your band? Let me be in your band.” And I was like, “okay, what can you play?” She’s like, “I can play mandolin, I can play banjo.” Yeah, it’s been great. It’s been a really great relationship. I’m very lucky.
HAPPY: That’s beautiful. Well, you’ve got the new single out, is there anything else on the horizon?
ANDY: Yeah, so an album early next year. Well, hopefully early next year, but I mean, at the rate we’re travelling due to COVID, everyone’s just all of a sudden gotten really busy. So, it may be the case that it’s out mid-next year but they’ll definitely be songs on the way. And then just as many shows as we can play, kind of keen to get onto the festival side of things because they’ll be opening up towards the end of next year. If things go the right direction, then we’ll just be able to play music and have fun.
HAPPY: Yeah, thanks very much for the chat.
ANDY: No worries.
Grab your copy of Ghost of Love here
Photos by Charlie Hardy