By Nicholas Jason Lopez
When it came time for his solo project, Teesside, United Kingdom based artist Andy Davidson didn’t want to release records under his own name.
He was inspired by a quote he read: “There are two wolves always fighting inside me. One is filled with anger, hate, jealousy, shame and lies. The other wolf is filled with love, joy, truth and peace. The battle rages inside of you and everyone. Which wolf will win? The one you feed.”
Just like that, in Spring 2019, Feed Your Wolves was born. When it came time to work on his debut album ‘Save Yourself,’ Davidson had a complete hands-on approach to its creation, as he handled everything from writing, performing and recording the music to even the artwork, merchandise and website designs. The album was released in December 2019.
In addition to Feed Your Wolves, Davidson also sings in a cover band named Last Anthem and is also a school teacher and graphic designer. While he loves those duties, it’s Davidson’s passion of turning simple ideas into a complex, musical reality that has kept him motivated.
The Music Bugle had the chance to chat with Davidson about ‘Save Yourself’ and more.
Music Bugle – Did you have any other potential names for your solo project or were you set on “Feed Your Wolves” from the start?
Andy Davidson – I toyed around with similar names such as ‘Feed The Wolves,’ or ‘Feed The Wolf,’ but mainly, I was set on this name because of the story that resonated with me about the two wolves.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Teesside, UK to someone who has never been there before?
Andy Davidson – I would describe Teesside as underrated. I am surrounded by many talented people and artists in the music industry that tend to go unrecognised. Teesside is an industrial area famous for the very first railway line in the world – the Stockton-Darlington Railway – and the invention of the friction match. Close to the countryside and the coast and in the middle ground between major cities Newcastle and York, I do find myself lucky despite often taking it for granted.
Music Bugle – What was the creative process like for your debut album ‘Save Yourself’?
Andy Davidson – Influenced by real life, I found myself going from a full family lifestyle, to living alone in a flat. The dramatic change was something I was ill-prepared for and definitely came as a shock to the system. I used all my time working on writing, recording and producing this album and it certainly offered me an escape from my new reality. Music is therapy and I can only imagine how different things would be if I didn’t have it.
Music Bugle – Who are some of your musical influences?
Andy Davidson – I really do love all different genres to enrich different moods. I love jazz, classical, film scores, alternative rock, pop… the list goes on. Artists that connect with me influencing my writing are Bon Iver, Death Cab For Cutie, Coldplay, Taking Back Sunday and 30 Seconds To Mars. My natural writing style is energetic and upbeat mixed with down tempo stripped acoustic tracks.
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to play music?
Andy Davidson – Music has to be something I was born with. I think we all are from having your mobile play you to sleep, to singing along to children’s programs. With me, it just stuck. From as early as four years old, I remember my favorite toys being something I could play music on and from six years old, I discovered the keyboard. I never had one as a child, but my great uncle Ray did and on every visit, I learned something new and wrote songs from what I had learned so far. I also found time to practice on visits to my Grandad, who also played an influential role to me along with my Uncle Ron. At seven, I discovered my Uncle Ray’s guitar and although he was left-handed, I played it anyway and learned my first chords and songs on a left-handed guitar. I play right-handed, but you have to use what is available to you at the time. I didn’t have YouTube or Google, I just had myself, a chord book and a left-handed guitar. When secondary school came, that’s when I started with the drum kit and all instruments were a lot more accessible. I spent almost every single break and dinner time at the piano, on the guitar or drum kit for the full five years I was there. Practice wasn’t a chore, it was a luxury. I didn’t even feel it, I just had tunnel vision with the end goal in sight.
Music Bugle – What is your favorite set of lyrics?
Andy Davidson – Lyrics from others, I would have to say “Marching Bands Of Manhattan” by Death Cab For Cutie. I love how they describe and build the scene in your imagination. “If I could open my eyes, to see in all directions at the same time, oh what a beautiful view, of you were never aware of what was around you.” Lyrics of my own, I would have to say the outro to “I Wanna Be More.” I sing this an octave higher and I remember as I recorded it, how much emotion I had at the time. “Is there something that I’m missing? Am I lost in wishful thinking that we’ll never let this come between our lives, you and I. We know some things needed changing, but is it worth it when we’re breaking our hearts that beat inside of us, hold tight. Just hold tight.”
Music Bugle – How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected you as a musician?
Andy Davidson – As a full-time musician, I do a variety of different things for work, including teaching within schools and being part of a local wedding band called Last Anthem. COVID-19 has literally taken everything from me. I have had no income since March 16 and although I’m confident things will be great again, that’s not going to be likely for a good while yet. That said, I would much rather be patient than be a patient and I encourage the rest of the world to act the same. We all have our own challenges when it comes to the outbreak, but I know that our time will come. In the meantime, I am making videos and recording covers of songs to help lift everyone’s spirits and hopefully give some people comfort. I am very aware that this pandemic is affecting people’s mental state as much as people’s health.
Music Bugle – Do you feel that being in control of so many aspects of your solo project, like writing, recording, production, artwork, etc., helps you see your vision through all the way to the end?
Andy Davidson – I definitely like to be in control in any situation. I have always been the same and I’m not afraid to fail. I think it definitely helps finalize my vision and my direction of the record, but I would welcome a team with a strong skill set in different areas. I look at the artists at the top of the industry and I only wish I could have that opportunity, from the recording equipment, the genius engineers, to the marketing experts. For now, I have to work with what I have and who is willing to give their time around me. I am very fortunate and appreciative of three people in particular which are James Henderson, a local musician and producer who has played a key role in this project for me. James has recorded most of the guitars on the record and has been a pair of second ears when it came to the mixing process. Then, there’s Kerry Todd from Songbird Films, who has filmed music videos and advert campaigns putting a lot of time and effort into it. Also, Daz Mack, a photographer who has mixed his profession with his passion and spent time setting up shots for my album cover and marketing advertisements.
Music Bugle – What do you feel you have yet to accomplish?
Andy Davidson – I think we all have dreams and goals and I really feel I have achieved the first step towards mine. I can only carry on from here in the hopes my music will reach more people. To carry on making music I hope people will be able to relate to and enjoy. Small goals are set out to appear on radio stations, magazines, podcasts, etc, and media forms to reach a wider audience. People don’t realize how much it means when you gain an extra thumbs up on Facebook or someone shares your page or leaves a review. People don’t realize the amount of satisfaction I feel when they click ‘Buy’ on the album. To see someone streaming a song on Spotify or leaving a positive comment honestly means the world. I have put so much of my soul into this project that even the smallest acknowledgement makes it all worth while.
Music Bugle – What should people know about you as a person?
Andy Davidson – As a person, I’m just a guy who loves his music. I want to make people smile, I want to entertain, I want to give people something they can enjoy. For the few people that get to know me on a personal level, offstage, they are surprised to find I’m a quiet person. A Dad. I don’t go for nights out. I don’t drink or smoke. I’m a reserved person and tend to keep myself to myself often referred to as “mysterious.” (Laughs) When I was 19, I moved away to Boston and then on to Manhattan in the hopes to realize my dream of “making it” in the music industry. Things didn’t work out as planned and I returned back to the UK at 22, but my experience there will stay with me forever. It helped me learn a lot about myself and will forever be a huge part of who I am.People often see a frontman in a band filled with arrogance, self-adoration and charisma, judging and categorizing me into their assumptions of who I am, but the truth is, they have no idea.