By Jeb Wright
Hamish Anderson may have only been on this earth for something like a quarter of a century but his musical vocabulary is already huge!
Classic Rock Revisited caught up with this gutiar playing upstart from down under to disuss his hands-on take on the music industry, as well as his latest album titled Restless.
Read on to discover a fresh new talent playing real music, which in this day and age for someone his age, is both refreshing and rare!
Jeb: How does such a young guy get influenced and play such great music? You young pups are supposed to like horrible music!
Hamish: When I was 12 years old I remember hearing The Beatles The White Album and the song “Back in the U.S.S.R.” From that moment on I just became obsessed with guitars and music and begged my parents for months to buy me a guitar. After that, I basically grew up on my dad’s vinyl collection, which was all rock records from the ‘60s and ‘70s, as well as a lot of old blues and folk records, so I guess I have him to thank!
Jeb: What is the music scene like in Aussie land? Are you a big AC/DC fan? Bon Scott and all? Okay, aside from Bon Scott, who shaped your musical vision growing up?
Hamish: Australia, Melbourne in particular, has a great music scene and so many talented musicians and bands. The blues rock scene… there isn’t a huge one, but that just makes me more excited to play there. It does seem to me that people still want to see live music - so no matter what, that always works in the musician’s favor.
I really appreciate the career that AC/DC has had and really like the Bon Scott era in particular for sure. As far as other influences, blues music is definitely the genre that means the most to me and I feel a very strong connection to that music. I feel with everything that I write and play it is coming from the blues. I am heavily influenced by bands like The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Jeff Buckley, BB King, The Band, J.J. Cale, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
Jeb: I hear you were quite busy at SXSW. I have heard that place rocks…tell me what it was like… in detail! SEVEN showcases?
Hamish: Ya! Seven shows was a bit of an undertaking, but they wound up being some of my favorites shows to date. It was pretty epic. Great to see live music everywhere I went around there — cafes, bars, street corners, you name it and they were putting on showcases in it.
I have played Austin before… indoor at Stubb’s of October last year… but this time was totally different. I worked with local Austin-based talent including Johnny Radelat, who is Gary Clark Jr.’s drummer, John Branch, the bassist for Spanish Gold and Nate Basinger, organ for The Filthy Six, and it really worked well. My last showcase was opening for Wynonna Judd and we even picked up a DayTrotter session which got scheduled for the last day, so we had an added bonus to have a recording from that time. I loved it all- it just worked.
Jeb: You released an EP titled Restless. Are you shopping it or are you going to go it alone?
Hamish: My management has been building this out and I know there have been meetings, but we are maintaining independent status until the right partnership comes along.
Jeb: I talk to old dudes all the time that came up in a thriving record scene. How does a young man approach things? You don’t have the Golden Goose these days… it has been killed.
Hamish: Am thinking this is a reference to the industry overall? If so, you are correct, it’s not the same as it has been, but that means there are new opportunities that didn’t exist then, but do now. I try to just do my thing and don’t think too much about the industry part of it all. I am fortunate to have a great team to help me with it all.
Jeb: “Little Lies” is a bad-ass song. Before we talk about the song, tell me about the video… it’s like a fake talk show. Where did the idea come from?
Hamish: I always love watching old videos from Cream and the James Gang from the late 1960s, so when we were talking about a video, it was the direction that I wanted to explore.
We went through several iterations of the story line, and finally got director Nic Wendl involved, who suggested the storyline around what goes on in the audience when they hear the lyrics. It was definitely the most fun I had on a video shoot since Richie Brancatisano agreed to be the host of the show. He’s a legend.
Jeb: You kinda got a Mark Bolan/Rory Gallagher vibe going on… is that fair?
Hamish: I’ll take it!
Jeb: You covered a classic song by the band Them Two! Holy shit man… you have done your homework! Great band. Tell me about “Am I a Good Man.”
Hamish: Thanks so much. It was sampled in a Ghostface Killah song called “Purified Thoughts.” When I heard it, I went to find the original and added it to the live set right before I started opening up for B.B. King last year. It quickly became one of my favorite songs to play live. It was one of the best moments from the DayTrotter session, too.
Jeb: You have an American tour coming up. Tell me what you see going on in our country from a Down Under perspective!
Hamish: I have been coming here since late 2013 — first as a visitor and then in early 2014, I started touring in the U.S. I will be on the road through this summer - It’s hard to believe it will be over a year of shows. It’s great to have been able to spend time in America--especially in cities like Chicago, Nashville and Austin which have such great musical history. It really has been a great journey meeting so many amazing and talented musicians. Wherever I go, there I am. I am definitely loving that.
Jeb: Krish Sharma has worked with some big names. Were you intimidated at all to go into the studio with a guy who’s worked with The Stones?
Hamish: Actually Krish is one of the most chill guys I know. He came out to one of the first shows I did in L.A. and we started talking about working together. He is the engineer for The Rolling Stones so he really knew how to translate what I was trying to get across. We ended up recording at Jim Henson Studios, which we got at the last minute, but was a dream to record at. Joni Mitchell recorded Blue there, Carole King Tapestry and The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge. All tracks were recorded at Henson Studios with the band I’ve been touring with except for Track three, “Little Lies,” which was recorded at an earlier session in Sydney at Alberts Studios with the producer of my first EP Eric J Dubowsky and my mates in Angus & Julia Stone’s band, Matt Johnson, Rob Calder and Jon Solo.
Jeb: What will have to happen for you to say to yourself “I’ve made it!”?
Hamish: Longevity is the name of the game, so I’d say it will be a very, very long time before I say that!
Jeb: You seem to be an emotional songwriter. Is it an emotional struggle to get through songs? Is it a cathartic experience or are you more of an observer?
Hamish: It’s hard to explain the motivation I feel in songwriting, but I feel my writing is most honest when I write about human behavior. The main themes that run through it are friendships, relationships, and occasionally losses of them. To me it’s more of a snapshot of where I am at the time of writing. I feel that I am always trying to grow musically so each EP is sort of a representation of what is inspiring me at the time, whether it be music, friendship, relationships, traveling etc.
Jeb: What’s next? Tell me the next steps in your career?
Hamish: Well, the latest video for my next single "Little Lies” just released globally so we are promoting that now. Then there will be a West Coast tour starting in July and before that I head to Canada for the Ottawa Bluesfest and the Festival d'Ete de Quebec City where The Rolling Stones are headlining. After that, I’ll start recording some songs for my upcoming album and continue to write new music.
Jeb: Last one: I can’t help it… I started with an Australian joke and I am ending with one… Crocodile Dundee. Do you really carry knives like that?
Hamish: Ha-ha! You call that a knife?
Jeb: Sorry man, I am a jerk. Seriously, let’s end with this: Do you feel you have a unique outlook to bring to your music due to your background?
Hamish: I would hope so! I think one of the things that is helpful being from Australia is that I can interpret the blues in my music, while being able to shed light on the greats from the past without any specific expectations. It’s all about respect for the past while honoring my own sound.
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