Check out our Indie Music Feature: Andrew Montana!
- What is your inspiration to create and perform music? How did you get your start in music?
I am extremely compulsive and if I stop working I think my skin will fall off. I have been compelled to write music since I was 12 and I really love doing it. In my childhood, I spent all my summers in North Carolina with my family, most of whom play bluegrass. I was always inspired by their talent. My dad also showed me a lot of music growing up and that inspired me as well. Now I’m mostly spite-driven.
- Who is your Mount Rushmore of musicians and why?
I don’t really have idols in music. There’re some artists who have certainly influenced me (The Tallest Man on Earth, Will Oldham, The Rural Alberta Advantage) but if I were to build a monument of things that inspire me it would probably just be a long narrow stake that I would impale myself on should I fail.
- What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you in reference to your creative career?
One time I was working at Trader Joe’s and a burned-out musician co-worker asked what I wanted to do and I said music and he said, “You’ll never make it. Even if you’re good, you’ll never make it.” It was then I learned a valuable lesson: that guy sucks and he’s projecting his failures onto me. So now I have a shrine underneath my bed with a bust of his head that I sculpted and every morning I see it when I’m grabbing my shoes and it reminds me of how much he sucked.
- How would you describe the music you create?
I write American folk music. I work really obsessively on melodies and I think a lot about my lyrics. I rewrite songs over and over until they are how I want them. Sometimes I tell stories, but usually, I just try to paint a picture using seemingly unrelated but connected details.
- What is your creative process?
I usually go wild on the guitar and just fingerpick around until I find a progression I like. I then mumble all these melodies into my voice memos over the guitar. Usually, the words just come naturally when the melody is formed. I then put the song together and sometimes use bits and pieces from other songs. This all happens in a matter of hours wherein I am in sort of a fugue state. It’s a very cathartic experience that I would say is something akin to demon expulsion.
- Plans for the future? Are you working on anything new?
I just got back from the mountains of North Carolina where I was hold-up in a cabin for a month recording my debut album, Azalea, Holly. The album is 12 songs long and will be released early next spring. I will be releasing several singles first, notably, my song Daffodil which comes out on August 1st. I’m also planning on playing some local shows hopefully (around Charlottesville, VA).
- What activities outside of music influence your music and creativity?
I think a mother deer imprinted on me as a child when I licked my great-grandmother’s salt lick in the woods based on a dare from one of my cousins. I say this because I enjoy running a weird amount. Sometimes my brain literally feels broken until I’m running. And when I’m running I feel that my thoughts are able to travel freely in my mind and I am able to think very creatively. Again, I often compare it to what I imagine exercising demons feels like.
- If you could write a fortune cookie, what advice would you want people to read after 20 pounds of general Tso?
Cicadas are born in twigs and spend the vast majority of their lives in a nymph state sucking on tree sap in the ground. Then they only get a couple of weeks above ground. They choose to spend that time screaming and having sex and flying into things and dying. I think we should all try to be a little more like the cicadas.
- What is your favorite song to karaoke to?
I haven’t been to a karaoke bar since I was like 9 and my dad took me and he downed like 6 jager bombs with his friends and I think he sang Give It Away by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I’d say Cherry Wine by Hozier.
- Have any weird talents?
I’m a good artist! I majored in art!
- Wildest moment in your career as a musicians
I swear to god this is a true story. I was playing a song downtown a few days ago and this old man threw a book at my feet and scurried away. I looked at the book later and it’s a collection of poems written by someone named Wortley Clutterbuck (I believe this to be the same man that threw the book at me). It is filled with these strange poems depicting graphic sex and romance with a combination of Shakespearean vernacular and hip colloquialisms. The collection of poems is bookended by these two paintings that I thought looked really familiar and then today I went to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art and I walked past the paintings placed right next to each other- apparently, they are of a wealthy married couple. So that was pretty wild.
- Favorite pre-performance meal or ritual? And the post-performance meal or ritual?
I really enjoy drinking strong coffee and not eating all day. Around 6 pm I am generally trembling and paranoid and my brain feels as if it is on the brink of complete dissociation. I am barely conscious in these moments and lose some of my vision and most of my motor skills. I feel horrible emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I then perform my set and proceed to eat more food than Joey Chestnut at a goddamn hotdog dispensary.
- What is your all-time favorite venue to play?
I think most venues smell bad and I don’t like splitting my pay 30/70 with an angry nicotine addict. I really enjoyed playing shows in my old apartment, I’d pack my overpriced dwarf hovel full of drunk 20-year-olds and we would stand on my chair and sing songs. I didn’t like people using my restroom so I would tell people to break into the vacant neighboring apartment and use theirs. It was the best.
- What is your creative process?
I don’t want to fail.
Indie Music Feature: Andrew Montana. Be sure and check out Cavalletto Magazine and our Facebook Page for more interesting content! Also, check out Cavalletto Radio to hear Andrew and other awesome indie artists!
Editor and Chief, Cavalletto Magazine
Owner And Operator of Burton Media Group
Christopher Burton is a acclaimed Photographer and has appeared in many shows, galleries, and publications over the years.