Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Long.
Hi Andrew, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
In mid-2009, I started a band with a friend playing drums. I had just started teaching myself but felt confident enough to form a band with three close friends. I was in the band for a little over two years before I was offered an opportunity to work with my best friend’s band as their tour assistant at the time, so I departed my band to start my new job. Unfortunately, the touring gig didn’t last very long as the band I was working for disbanded. I took a few years off from music to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life. Then, in 2013, I started messing around on this iPhone app for creating little loops of electronic music. I was so fascinated with creating beats and arpeggios that I wanted to learn more about music production, specifically electronic music. I went out and purchased my first MPC-like instrument, the Maschine MK2 by Native Instruments.
I became so obsessed that I just started producing music, even though it was garbage at first, and began uploading to SoundCloud and sharing with my friends. After a few years of trying to teach myself everything to know about music production, I decided to enroll at the prestigious music production school ICON Collective in Burbank in 2018. I applied and got accepted into the online music production program and graduated last year. It was by far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Today, I’m a Producer and Mix/Mastering Engineer. I’ve released an EP, as well as a few singles and a remix, of my own original material and I’m currently working with some very talented songwriters/producers on their original material as well.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It most certainly has not been a smooth road. The biggest challenges came to fruition in 2019 and in 2020, of course. 2019 was rough due to my Grandfather and a close friend passing away. They passed away while I was enrolled at ICON, and it was very difficult to be creative and grieve at the same time. However, I found a way to harness grief into art and created some of my best songs while coping with the deaths of loved ones. While at ICON, I also had to learn how to let go of my ego, let my guard down, become more vulnerable and accept how to take criticism for my art. It’s an obstacle we all have to overcome eventually but once you do, all you worry about is how much art you want to produce, to then load it into a cannon and shoot it out into the world regardless of what anyone thinks or feels. Oh, and I haven’t forgotten about 2020. The pandemic hit while I was in my 2nd to last quarter at ICON. It felt as if someone had put me down in a chair and spun me around for 5 minutes because of how much chaos and confusion was spreading through society from the pandemic. It was challenging to stay focused, centered and creative. But luckily, I had my wife by my side the entire time to anchor me and motivate me to finish my musical endeavors.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I write and produce electronic music, specifically Synthwave and its underlying sub-genres (darksynth, outrun), as well as experimental down-tempo music. I also co-produce other songs for artists, as well as mix and master songs for clients on the side. I recently bought my first analog semi-modular synthesizer, the Moog Grandmother, and I can say it unlocked a whole new level of creativity in me. Sometimes I just sit there for hours in my bedroom with minimal lighting and create complex arpeggios, getting lost in the analog sea of synthesis. Sometimes, I’m taken aback just thinking about all of this because I don’t think I would be where I am if I didn’t take that leap of faith to truly chase my passion for music. I’m proud of taking the risk and being a self-sufficient musician who still has a long way ahead to go.
What does success mean to you?
To me, I define success when I feel happy with what I’ve created or accomplished. A friend of mine once asked me, “How do you know when a song is finished?” and I said to him, “…when I’m happy with it”. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be loud enough or full enough. I just need to live with it as long as it makes me feel happy. Human-beings are imperfect and flawed by nature, and once you can come to terms with that, you can define success by being happy with yourself and what you give back to the world.
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