SUBJECTS such as balancing a heavy workload and the 1970s…
are explored in a revealing interview with Adrian Underhill. The talented songwriter tells me about the new video for CU Again and his single, Weather. The video for CU Again was created with two of his friends from film school. I ask about the concepts behind his songs and whether there is going to be more material coming – despite this being a very busy time for Underhill.
CU Again is also the name of his debut album. I ask him about working with producer Adam Bainbridge and channelling the 1970s in his music; whether there are any tour dates for him outside of North America; how he got into music in the first place – and whether Christmas is going to be a relaxed, family-orientated time for the productive songwriter.
PHOTOS: Riun Garner
Hi, Adrian. How are you? How has your week been?
It’s been good, thank you!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. My name is Adrian Underhill. I’m a singer-songwriter interested in Pop songwriting, creative production and songs that come from the heart.
The video for CU Again is out. Can you talk to me about the video and what it was like seeing it come together?
Yes! This was a really fun one to do because I worked with two of my good friends from film school, Evan Crowe and Tony Massil.
Did the simple concept – a songwriter singing his own song – suit the mood and nature of the song?
Yeah, I think so!
This song has a very simple concept - it’s about this universal feeling of missing someone, and so, I wanted to try to conjure that type of connection between the singer and the listener.
It is a busy time for you! The new single, Weather, is out. What is the tale behind the song? What inspired its creation?
Yeah. This song was written quite quickly but one thing I really love about it is the production. Adam (Bainbridge) took my original demo and just kinda warped it and morphed it, almost like a remix, adding new drums and changing the keyboard sounds I had played. Then, we added the live piano and synth-bass from Brandon Coleman and Keith Eaddy.
In the end, it’s quite playful and strange - it’s a great combination of sounds.
I know the songs will appear on the album, CU Again. It is out on 9th February. What kind of songs and themes can we expect to hear?
Yes. I’m very excited to have this album out. There’s a number of different thematic directions. I think the through-line is that the songs are about things that really matter to me.
It was produced by Adam Bainbridge. He has worked with the likes of Solange! Was it important to have him involved? What did he bring to the record?
Working with Adam was really exciting for me.
I’m a big fan of his project (Kindness) and it was amazing to have his ears on this. He did a lot of crafting of drum and keyboard sounds - and also brought in an amazing live band to play overtop of the more programmed Electronic elements.
The songs have that 1970s singer-songwriter vibe. Is that a decade you have investigated a lot? Who are your main musical influences?
I wanted to write all of these songs on keys and see where that would take me (I used to play a lot more guitar). I think one of the results of that was finding all of these chords and changes that are classic in the sense of Carole King, Emitt Rhodes or Todd Rundgren (or something like that).
Do you remember how you got into music? Was there a moment you realised that this is what you want to do?!
I’ve flirted with wanting to be more serious about making music (whatever that means!) for a long time. Sometimes, it seems like it’s taken a long time to get to this point: I’m thirty-one this year and I’m putting out my first record - but I’m trying to be ok with that!
Music (and life) is a long journey.
IN THIS PHOTO: Charlotte Day Wilson
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Well; here’s three things I’m listening to right now!
Rostam - Half Light
Sasac – Hyperion
Toro y Moi - Boo Boo
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have lined-up?
Yes. I have some shows planned around my album release. So far, it’s:
Feb 6/2018 - New York, N.Y. - Rockwood Music Hall
Feb 8 - Toronto, ON - The Drake Underground
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Hmm; well, that’s like giving advice to myself! I guess just try to do something that is true to you - try to find honesty.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
Yes! I will be home for a good stretch with my family in Vancouver.
Do you have a gameplan for 2018? What are your ambitions for the year ahead?
Release my first record on Feb 9th, play some shows; writing some more music and try to have fun doing it!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Bobby Caldwell - What You Won’t Do for Love
Follow Adrian Underhill