When you think of singer/songwriters, it’s logical to expect them to be of the soft acoustic persuasion, but Scotland’s Andrew Norquay, who goes by just his surname professionally, is bucking that particular trend.
The man from Montrose took a three-year hiatus from music to work as a commercial diver, but now he’s back with a bang with his new-found alternative rock sound, which has culminated in debut EP Vices.
Norquay explained to us: “I took a break from music all together for a while. Then I treated myself too a new Fender Stratocaster and realised how much i missed playing rock, blues and the general energy of it. The thing is I don’t have a band so I just created one in my recordings, it kind of just happened without even thinking about it. To be honest the EP just kind of happened out of nowhere.
“Sometimes a second pair of musicians’ ears and talent would be nice ! But at the same time, it’s great having all this control and freedom. I do have some industry players who help guide with stuff which helps and I have had some interesting phone and Skype calls in the last couple of weeks, which has been cool.”
Norquay has already had an interesting musical career, moving from an acoustic focus to reaching the semi-finals of Roland’s World Looping Championship before moving on to his new-found rockier vibe.
His new sound has been influenced by the likes of rock giants Oasis, Metallica, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin and many more. The result is Vices, which is a fun collection of rocky tracks with a certain bluesy undertone, exemplified by lead single Animal, with its fun, singalong lyrics and jaunty guitar riffs, and the rawer, grungier sound of Warfare. The blues influence creeps in with Slaves and is compounded in the delicious closing track Devils Touch, which starts slowly but builds into an awesome screeching guitar solo.
Norquay said: “It was a good experiment with a vibe which seems to be working for me, I’d say it’s raw, hard, bluesy, and carries a lot of attitude. Lyrically a lot of it comes from partying hard for years, or the aftermath of it anyway! My lifestyle was a bit crazy for a few years, well maybe more than a few!
“There are some views on society and politics, our economy itself, the way our world is going and how these systems operate – which at the minute looks like they are doing a great job at failing and only going to get worse ! I’m no philosopher though, I write what I want, say what I want, do what I want and don’t care what people think.”
Given Norquay’s aforementioned diving career he’s lucky enough to have a seasonal job yhat pays well and gives him time off to focus on his music. This gives him an interesting perspective on the music industry.
He said: “It’s a changing industry. In ways it’s actually easier for bands now, but at the same time harder to make a living. Sales don’t do it any more, it’s a digital world out there and royalties are small. Labels don’t have the funds like they used too and can’t offer as much as they used too. The majority of labels now want you to be a full established touring, well-selling act with a big fan base, but if you’re at that stage anyway why would you need a label ?
“Independence seems to be the way for most as far as I know. Times are constantly changing, not to mention all that complete gash tasteless music out there – auto tuned, over produced, false, repetitive shit, which doesn’t make things easier. But thats what sells, bizarre ain’t it? Good luck to any bands, songwriters or anyone geniune out there – soldier on, I say, and keep it real.”
Norquay is set to build on the success of Vices with his exciting sounding debut album later this year. He said: “It’ll be late 2017, summer if lucky, but for sure this year. I have already got all the tracks recorded and in demo process, but its going to be bigger, punchier, harder, bluesier, catchier, cooler, and packed with groove and riffs. A good bit of contrast in there and lots of colour – it’s about time more rock music was on the British horizon again anyways.”