ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
This movie a hell of a ripping good time
Stochansky solo set a rarity
Weir in for a good time tonight
Disc of the week
Stochansky solo set a rarity
Singer-songwriter unveils new songs
By Andrea Chiu
It's hard to have a conversation with Andy Stochansky and feel like you're interviewing a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter.
To "interview" someone suggests you will ask them questions and they'll respond accordingly.
Instead, Stochansky turns the Q&A on its ear, asking this writer for her thoughts, turning the "interview" into a friendly conversation about media-related post-secondary programs and the best in contemporary bossa nova.
When he answers the telephone call with "Hello interview!," it's the first sign Stochansky isn't the stereotypical musician with a self-righteous attitude.
Perhaps his greeting was slightly sarcastic, but it shows his awareness of the silly publicity game associated with being a musician. Still, he is friendly, soft-spoken and often takes long pauses to answer questions thoughtfully.
Although he may not be a worldwide household name, this Toronto-based musician could pick a number of things to brag about from his artistic resumé.
Stochansky is most noted for his seven year stint as Ani DiFranco's drummer, but it's obvious that was a job he'd like to put behind him. He is quick to divert attention from his work with the righteous babe to his current musical ventures.
His 1999 album, Radio Fusebox, has not only been hailed as one of that year's best hidden gems, but its innovative album art also earned a Juno Award for best album packaging in 2000.
While Radio Fusebox is an interesting fusion of folk and rock with humble hints of electronic influences, Stochansky's next album will be a little different. He's within days of completing it and is finalizing song lyrics as the conversation commences.
He describes the new material as an acoustically more mellow sound.
"I've written everything on guitar, so it's all guitar songs. It's the first time I've ever done that. I just wanted to start writing in that style and switch instruments because I wanted to teach myself how to play guitar," Stochansky explains.
Stochansky's desire to learn more about music and constantly challenge himself is evident when listening to him talk about his musical passion. Aside from playing the drums and guitar, Stochansky also plays the piano, which was the first instrument he picked up.
This musical desire has been fuelled by his talent, but mainly by the support of his family.
"My uncle was a music teacher and both grandfathers were involved in music, so it's in the blood. But, I think the most important thing was that my parents were always supportive of it. They always let me buy my own records and play music in the house."
Inquiring minds are curious to discover what Stochansky's first albums were.
"[My first record was] a compilation called Canadian Mint. Yeah, it was a K-Tel compilation. I remember a guy named Terry Jacks and Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who," he laughs.
Classic rock may be what first inspired Stochansky, but since then, his collection has become truly diverse. "I've always listened to all kinds of music. When I was in my late teens, I got turned on to classical music at the same time I got turned on to punk music and rock, so it's always been a real mish-mash of everything."
The eclectic influences have led Stochansky to create some interesting and original music. The various sounds and genres of music he draws from have allowed him to re-create his music in a variety of ways when performing live.
Although he is usually accompanied by a band, Thursday's show at The Spoke will see Stochansky in a rare solo performance.
"I rarely play solo, but I'm gonna do it at Western, just because I want to challenge myself. I opened up for Ron Sexsmith solo, for a week, but these are all the new songs, so it's gonna be a much more quieter show than I'm used to."
Andy Stochansky plays tomorrow night at The Spoke. Admission is free.