Who are your musical influences?
Andrew X: For my new record, I was really influenced by the late ‘80s work of Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby, Tracy Chapman, Don Henley, Peter Gabriel, and a lot of late ‘80s and early ‘90s pop and adult contemporary music.
What or who inspires you?
AX: When it comes to my songwriting, my biggest inspirations are usually situations around personal relationships, romantic relationships, and stories of people following their passions, working hard, and overcoming challenges.
What was your songwriting process like for “Whatever It Takes”
AX: “Whatever It Takes” was actually one of the last song ideas I had for the record! I had more than enough material for the album, but about a week before recording, I just felt I needing to keeping working until I hit the studio, so I decided to keep writing.
I originally started with this little intro guitar riff that I thought was cool. That part didn’t make the final cut, but instead was replaced by a different keyboard riff we felt was stronger. From there, I worked on the first verse and went straight into the chorus. This song was really easy, it just felt like it wanted to be written! It was one of those songs that just came out!
In the studio, we tracked it, but the song was so new, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. By the end of recording, it was my clear favorite track!
How do you want listeners to feel when hearing “Whatever It Takes”?
AX: I want listeners to feel hopeful! Encouraged! Unstoppable! I am a huge believer in dedication, persistence, and doing whatever it takes to meet your goals! For several years I owned and operated a competitive boxing gym, and I regularly saw people overcome all sorts of obstacles and achieve success through these principles.
I believe when you pair passion with hard work, you can accomplish anything! You can overcome any challenge or any obstacles in your way!
What was behind the scenes like for “Whatever It Takes”?
AX: It was a lot of fun! Luke Pilgrim, from Sozo Bear Films, is dear friend of mine! He used to play in a band called “Last November” that my old band Hot Vegas played many shows with back in the day. He is a super-talented guy, and a lot of fun!
We actually did my performance portion of the video at his house! It was so much fun! Luke, Brad, Ellis, and everyone with Sozo Bear are great people that have a great sense of humor! While shooting my performance parts took a few hours, it only felt like 15 minutes! It definitely didn’t feel like work, that’s for sure.
There was a lot of fog for the lighting and lasers, I’ll never forget that! We had a fog machine right in front of a box fan, and they seemed to get a real kick out of smoking me out with that thing!
Which comes first, the lyrics or the music?
AX: It depends! Sometimes I have lyrics I feel really strong about that I work music around to create the mood I want. Other times, I will have a chord progression and a vocal melody I feel strong about first, so I have to find a way to weave a lyrical story around that.
Have you ever had a creative block when writing a song?
AX: Yes! What happens more often with me is that I go through creative periods where I will have all kinds of ideas for songs, while other times I just don’t feel inspired to write anything! I will sit down with the guitar, and can write a song, but it just doesn’t feel genuine or “moving”.
If you could play at any venue, what would it be?
AX: Hmm… that’s a tough one! I think maybe the Greek Theatre in LA?
Thanks so much for taking the time to cover me and my work!