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INTERVIEW: Daddy Squad

Daddy Squad combines Andrew's musical career: from Rave, Big Beat, Breaks, Electro, Disco, French Touch, Italo, Synthwave and Synthpop, everything with a bit of disco dust and a mustache as the culmination. The first single is a collaboration with Violet Chachki, winner of Ru Paul's Drag Race Season 7, which was released in March 2021. You can see it here.

Now Andrew is back with a new single with longtime collaborator and burlesque superstar Dita Von Teese. Dita Von Teese, who met Andrew on Twitter, has long performed for Andrew, including songs for his Show de el and performed on a number of Monarchy tracks, including Disintegration, which was an underground hit across Europe. You can see the video for this song here.

Andrew is now completely independent and self-financed. He runs his own record label to publish his music, as well as the art director of the project, is looking for employees, coordinates sessions and remixes and produces all of the music. The result is a feast for the eyes and an impressive performance.

Andrew is probably best known as half of the Monarchy band who write the music with vocalist Ra and produce all of the tracks. Monarchy has performed all over the world, from Coachella to club gigs, touring the USA, Canada and Mexico to packed summers at festivals in Spain and Europe. Seven have five albums and were released on the French boutique label Kitsune Records, Neon Gold Records, US Ultra Records and Warners Music and Universal Records UK.

Regardless, Andrew has worked with a variety of artists over the years including Dita Von Teese, Violet Chachki (Ru Paul's Drag Race), SIA, Charli XCX, Blondie and more. Besides Monarchy, Andrew is one half of the "swamp pop" group Horixon, with releases on Kitsune and Eskimo Records in Belgium. He has also written music for the famous Parisian burlesque club Crazy Horse for creative director Ali Mahdavi and for Dita Von Teeee's new show, which debuted in Los Angeles on New Years Eve 2018 and features Dita on a giant lipstick. On the writing front, Blondie picked up a track boil Andrew wrote with Charli XCX for Blondie's comeback album, which was released in 2017. On the remix front, he's remixed everyone from Sebastien Tellier to Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Jamiroquai, OMD and Kelis. , Ellie Goulding, Kieza and the pioneers of the S'Express house. His remix of Lady Gaga was the most downloaded one on his remix album of him.

He has been a DJ at numerous clubs and events, from the famous Plastic Club at Milan for Fashion Week for several years in a row to events with brands and fashion weeks all over the world. He has DJed for Fucking Young Magazine in London, Los Angeles and Copenhagen and closed the dance tent at the MadCool Festival in 2019.

From writing, producing, mixing, DJing, performing live, writing for film and theater, everything speaks to him when it comes to music. A restless soul that continues to draw.

We had the pleasure to interview him and that was the result.

Can you tell us a little about your experience? Where are you from / how did you get into music?

I am from Perth, Australia originally. Since then I lived in Sydney, London, and now Madrid. So I guess I’ve moved around quite a bit. I got into music early, with classical piano. Then I discovered electronic music, and started buying synthesisers and composing as best I could. From there, it just continued.

How is your sound evolving? What artists and genres do you enjoy mixing right now?

I am completely self taught producer, and continue to teach myself. I will never say I know it all. Every day I try and watch a youtube video or read something to progress my production and creativity. So I am continually evolving and changing. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of synthy music. I love it so much, and I find it really inspiring. It’s how I started out, so in many ways I’m regressing to my roots. One of my first projects we were using a TB303, a 101, an 808 and a speech synthesiser saying crazy things. It was a dream setup. Now I’m back to the 303, but also with a Jupiter 6, and it really reminds me of those early days. I love mixing dance music, but combining it with funk and disco. Nothing too hard, but nothing too pop either. It’s a balancing act.

How do you feel that your music influences or impacts your listeners?

I love Djing to see directly how the music I play influences the crowd. And I feel it spreads in energy and joy. I love that. I think it’s reflected in my productions as well, which are probably slightly less clubby, but still very positive and energetic. It’s really important to me to spread that.

What projects are you working on right now? What can you tell us about your last job?

I’m constantly writing. At the moment I have about four tracks that are in various stages of completion. I’m hoping the next one will be a collaboration I’m working on with HardTon. It’s sounding so Hi NRG mixed with Italo, somehow. We are super excited about it. My last two tracks have been collaborations. The first one was with burlesque star Dita Von Teese, someone I’ve worked with a lot of times. That was more straight up Italo disco. And then I did a collaboration with a Japanese/ American singer called Saucy Lady, that is a kind of 90’s French Touch sound. So everything is taking different angles on synthy disco influences.

Where are you and what have you been doing now?

I’ve just been in London to connect with some people, though with covid it’s been a bit tricky. Now I’m heading to Madrid to work.

Has that sound changed a lot in recent years? What is your musical criteria?

My sound has changed a lot over time, depending on the project. But I think at the core, when you look at my body of work from 30,000 feet, you can see the connectors and the similarities between them. I’m not sure what they are exactly, but it’s a feeling.

Do you feel safe now to play a more experimental sound?

I don’t think anyone really is doing experimental sounds. Dance music is quite restricted. It has a certain BPM, certain tonality and instruments, everyone follows each other, it has a kick drum and a snare, probably a baseline and some chords. Even experimental acts just create a new set of rules, and then follow their blueprint for 5/10/15/20 years. So, we are stuck within formats, and so I don’t really approach music as a raw experiment. It’s more just an expression of self. If someone was really experimental they’d be pasting a pure pop moment over an atonal white noise breakdown, which then flips into a classical choir. Or something…

Could you tell us about your relationship with Dita von teese?

I met Dita because she saw the concert of my band Monarchy at Coachella festival, and started tweeting about us. It was back in the days of twitter, before instagram. She then booked me to DJ for her in London, and I spoke to her for about half an hour. Next thing she texted me asking me if I wanted to come to Paris to hang out for Christmas with her friends. Of course I said “yes” and so I went and had an amazing time with a bunch of people I didn’t know. That whole gang is amazing, and we’ve stayed friends over the years, and collaborated a lot. I think we’ve made about five songs together now, as well as music for her show, and some of her advertising.

Tell us about your collaboration with Violet Chachki. How did she come about?

Actually she approached me through a video producer Ali Mahdavi. She had the vocal and idea for a song, and weirdly, they had shot the video. So I had to retro-fit the production and music around that, but it worked out well!

We all know that the digital revolution has affected sales, but has it affected creativity?

Absolutely. Now it’s so much easier to create and release music. You don’t even need to have a record label anymore, anyone can release music. This can be hell, because there’s so much music out there. But it’s very inspiring to know I can create, and control the releases, and put out more music than ever. I love that. I don’t need to wait for permission from a big label to release my music, I can just go for it. I feel really liberated.

Can you tell us what your present and future projects are?

I’m currently working with loads of vocalists and collaborators. I keep pushing them, and we get a song together, and then I’ll release them. The next one probably will be with HardTon, and we are just finishing that up now. I’m super excited for this one!


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