Interview with front woman Andr?a Hector
By: Jett Black
Smoldering within the ashes of several growing fires, Andr?a Hector evolves slowly a new musical tool reflecting her own personal fortitude and strife. Hector, originating from North Vancouver, British Columbia, a Canadian province where today the high temperature is in the low teens, struggles against a plague of ice breaking developments symptomatic of musical groups coming to terms with directional focus, cohesion between member musicians, and budding awareness and familiarity with ever advancing tiers of technologically dependent marketing and developmental factors associated with "making music" in the shadow of the new millennium.
Hector surges forward in the climb to the top via direct contact with CD BABY, which provides abundant resources and decades of collective know-how via an independent musicians network of thousands, all selling their music via CD BABY online, pocketing the earnings themselves, and bringing their strategies and skills to the table to trade like Pokemon playing cards.
Femme vocals, underlying electronic influx, samples and manipulations, and evidence of driving lyrical talent and vocal control leads Hector into USA tour plans. Most particularly, "G G" convinces this writer of Hector's electronic direction and comptent vocal skill in which a clearly progressive movement lifts my attention and pulls it along a sordid bass line. Audio inside http://www.HectorMusic.com sets the tables, and between now and touring, merely refinement of details remains in the wings.
Amid a hectic and demanding schedule of musical instruction to scores of impatient children each day, Andr?a Hector pulls back on the strings long enough to address the following for In Music We Trust:
IMWT: Who are the other musicians appearing on Hector recordings? Tell us about the instrumentation and musical backgrounds.
Andr?a: My last drummer was Darryl Shackelly and Michael was on guitars. Michael wasn't around very long, so I don't even remember his last name. I kinda had a revolving door of guitar players. It felt like Spinal Tap, except the guitar players never blew up physically, just emotionally. I never had luck with guitar. Hence, there are none now. The guitar you hear on the HECTOR ep are only snippits of samples of what Michael did. I just looped a few and put a few effects on them. The song "On To You" had Brad McGivern (DSK and Tidon) on it. The only instrumentation I did on that one was the vocals, bass and a bit of guitar that he put his magical programming over. He made it sound amazing. But then that's what he gets the big bux for. For everything else, I did all the programming and, unfortunately, you don't hear Bina drumming on this one. She's coming up though on the next cd.
IMWT: Who do you admire most in LIVE musical performance?
Andr?a: Due to being a starving musician, I don't get to see much music. I go see local music and those are the bands I admire. The last show I saw was Hissy Fit. Not to be confused with the US band The Hissyfits. This Canadian Hissy Fit rocked. They've been around for a while and the latest show I saw rocked...love em!
IMWT: How does song writing evolve from your contributions?
Andr?a: The songs start with a bass riff. If it's hypnotic enough, then a vocal line just comes to me. It's kinda like a harmonic with fly through the bass line. Then I'll add a beat (that I always expect Bina to emulate. I'm mean and I'm sure I ask too much) and add from there. Occasionally, it'll start with a poem, or start with a beat. But mostly, it comes from my bass.
IMWT: When & Where will Hector tour next?
Andr?a: We don't have any tours lined up yet. I'm doing a bit of networking in order to find the right band in the US that we would compliment as an opening act. I have been a rocker for the majority of my musical career and only know rockers and folk players. I'm now having to branch out and meet more electronic players. It's kinda fun getting to know new people and new music.
IMWT: What do you enjoy most so far about performing LIVE with Hector?
Andr?a: Being able to hear myself now that the guitars are gone. I spent most of my time listening to me inner ear and hoping it comes out right. The guitars were always overpowering and I couldn't hear myself. The only saving grace was, the audience couldn't hear me either. So, if I couldn't hear myself and was singing off, then it wasn't a huge deal. Now I hear myself and people have come up and said it's a pleasure actually being able to hear my voice. What I also like is the simplicity of having only two players on stage. It makes it more intimate and comfortable, as if in my living room and the audience just happens to be there.
IMWT: Please describe the setting where do you meet to rehearse.
Andr?a: Bina has a jam space that she uses for her other band Hevy Bevan. She gets her yaya's out in the guitar world there and then. When it comes time for us to do a show, we just sneak in there in between their practices.
IMWT: Where do you do most of your recording?
Andr?a: For the most part, we go to Profile Studios here in Vancouver.. I've been there for most of my music recordings. But I have ventured out to Hush Studios, and I'm going to try a new one I just found out about called Big Midget!
IMWT: In what ways will your live performances differ from recordings?
Andr?a: Well, they tend to be a little more tame in the recordings. But then most bands tend to be like that. Because I do all the programming previous, the instrumentation stays the same. Unfortunately, having pre-recorded loops and samples means you don't have the freedom to extend a song, or go outside of the recording. The nice part is the tempo never wavers. I've played before and had a tempo just about double due to the excitement of myself and my drummer. Makes the set really short. Lol.
IMWT: What other side projects are you currently considering and developing?
Andr?a: Well, this is a funny one. One of my day jobs is teaching music to pre-schoolers. I write them songs occasionally and some of them are real hits with them. I have about 3/4 of a children's music cd that I will eventually get together. I just figure that when I'm too old and wrinkly to suit society's idea of beauty, then I'll write children's music. They don't discriminate against age, so I have a life time to do that one. I'll work on that one later... later, much later.
IMWT: Describe the feedback you have received in response to your music.
Andr?a: I've had great responses from people. Mostly because they heard me previously when I was a rock wench. People like this style that I've come into, because they figure it's more true to myself. So funny. I really have gone through a lot of changes, and I don't have to express my anger the way I use to. I guess it's true, "you can attract more bees with honey."
IMWT: How do you determine what aspects of poetry, and lyrics will work with your musical intent.
Andr?a: I don't think about it much. I sometimes feel when a lyric comes out, it's what's supposed to be there. When I get into the hypnotic state of playing a bass riff over and over, then the lyrics just come to me. I figure it's like a state of deity and appreciate what comes out. Like meditating and having whatever state of higher being speak to you.. I always accept what comes out as a gift. If I'm in that state and I feel the need to express my ex's bullshit that was impressed on me, then so be it. If I have to speak about what I went over in my last therapy session, I let it happen. The main idea will come and I'll just spend the time after the hypnotic state expanding on it.
IMWT: What will you entitle your next release, and when will it be available?
Andr?a: Good question. I don't have a clue. I must get on it. I have a cd to release, damn soon! In the next month or so.
IMWT: Who will be distributing your next releases?
Andr?a: I'll stick with CD Baby. I've had great results with them and Derek definitely helps you and wants you to do the best you can.. They are all great people. LOVE THEM!
IMWT: From what have you drawn upon most to develop your music?
Andr?a: I think it's a matter of my past experiences and my luck at being born into the world with a music-crazed father. I believe that when you're in the womb, you are affected by your surroundings. My father listened to music day and night (which I'm sure drove my prego-mum nuts) and I came out. At the age of 3, I was playing. So, I draw upon the obsession that I've had all my life and couple it up with my kooky life experiences and out comes tunes. Mostly, I write about shit that's gone on so I can get it out of my system. It's all therapy.
IMWT: When did you start developing a commitment recording and performing music?
Andr?a: I guess I was about 20. My first band was a cover band. That lasted about a year. I wanted to do my own stuff and joined a band that I could do that in. Then, it became my new obsession. Forget practicing everyone else's stuff. It's all about me, me, me!
IMWT: Please tell our readers about the origins of Hector.
Andr?a: Like I was telling you, I went through guitar player hell. The revolving door needed to be put to rest. I was running out of WD-40. I was at a turning point in my life and changes were happening every which way I turned. I wound up completely alone in my personal life and music. I turned inwards for a while and decided I would fight back against the chain of events and go it alone. I began writing on my 4 track and half-heartedly asked Bina if she'd be into playing with me live in an electronic situation with just the two of us. To my surprise, she was interested. She's become more involved as the music has evolved and now it's become a solid duo. I'd asked my previous drummer if he'd be into it, but he just wasn't into dropping the wall of guitar testosterone. I decided to name the band Hector after I realized that, yes, indeed, I am the band, and Hector got the votes while listening to music at a local club. My friend's eyes lit up..."Yes!!! That's it!!!"
IMWT: Who has had the most influence upon your progression as a musician?
Andr?a: Well, I guess all those years of metal. I loved Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and would've died to be Sting during Police. What I never realized then was that I would abandon the piano and become a bass player. All that time, it was the bass that I was into. Man, have you really listened to the bass on those killer Geezer Butler tracks? Or take a listen to Wrath Child. Steve Harris is a madman on the bass. I still love it. I'll just have to buy a turntable to listen to it. Or, maybe a cd if I can find it.
IMWT: Where else might readers find your music available for purchase?
Andr?a: At cdbaby.com !
IMWT: What are you looking for now in terms of new musical influences?
Andr?a: Well, I'm now listening to any electronic tracks from all the electronic genres. I love Crystal Method for the drums. For that matter Chemical Brothers drums too. NIN has such a heavy sound that I'd love to be able to emulate... Orgy, Vast.
IMWT: Which live performances have you seen during the past year that impressed you the most?
Andr?a: I just saw a guy at Folk Alliance, and I'll be damned if I can remember his name (ADD) but it was just him and his guitar and when he played his guitar, He made it sound like he was playing a harp, or violin at times. It's people like this that make me want to become a better musician!
IMWT: How do you know when you connect with your audience?
Andr?a: When they yell things at me. I hate an audience who doesn't look at you. I don't even care if they're yelling bad things. I've noticed that even if they want to say something rude, that at least they're paying attention. I just want a response!
IMWT: What innovative concepts would you like to focus upon in your future performances and recordings?
Andr?a: I want to add guitar on the tracks, but disguise them as keyboards. I just haven't figured out how to do that yet. I know I've heard other people do it. I'm almost there. I still like the crunch you get from a guitar, but I don't want the over-bearing sounds.
IMWT: What is the greatest drain upon your motivation to unleash the music you produce?
IMWT: Andr?a: I now teach 51 classes a week. Pre-school music, piano and boxing. I'm totally in debt, so I took on a ton of work to get me out. But now, I've left myself with little time to write. Obviously, I am tired by the end of a day. I'm only having to do this for a couple of years and then I'll cut back. But for now, it's a terrible drain upon my creativity. I actually get insomnia because I lie there and think, "Damn... No time to write!" So, then if I'm awake about it for a few hours and don't have much time to get a perfect sleep anyway, then I'll get up and write. Then suffer teaching rug rats' music the next day. Man, those kids kick you when you're down!!
IMWT: What motivates you to continue performing and recording new music?
Andr?a: Obsession. Pure and simple.
IMWT: Describe some of the creative techniques and instrumentation used to develope you musical recordings.
Andr?a: I have used a Boss SYB-3 synthesizer pedal on a $10 casio keyboard to create new sounds. When I couldn't afford other instruments. Now, I use it on my pretty keyboard as well. I like to put enhancements on drums. Add a percussion that a drummer couldn't do at the same time. Just to give it more of a drive.
IMWT: What new opportunities are you exploring and developing to advance your music to the general public?
Andr?a: As I am the manager, producer, writer, performer, record label, publisher, etc., I'm looking for more opportunities to have others promote me. For now? I plaster the world with vinyl stickers and network. I need help. Really.
IMWT: Tell us a bit about the most memorable performance you have had with Hector to date. What about the performance made it more memorable?
Andr?a: The most memorable performance would be the first one. We played this little club and had beautiful things yelled at us from the audience. Then, a guy came up and tipped us a $100 bill. Then a second guy came up and tipped us a $50 bill. I've never in my life heard of that happening. It was just amazing. It was a good thing too, because our *manager* at the time stole all our earnings for the show.
IMWT: How is Hector evolving?
Andr?a: I'm adding a back up singer who plays bass. I'm hoping to create a monster out of her. It's going to add a bit of balls to the music and another aspect of performing. I'm also looking to find someone interested in playing my programming live. It would be nice to have some room for ad lib during a live performance!
IMWT: How do internet resources impact how you are able to expose and market your music?
Andr?a: I just got my first computer in September. I'm still finding all kinds of outlets for exposure. There are so many I find myself almost stressing out trying to keep up. I have sticky notes all over my computer. But one thing's for sure, the way I was going about it before wasn't a sixteenth as helpful. There's no way someone in Connecticut would have bought my cd before, because they never would've heard of me the grass roots way as an independent musician!
IMWT: Looking back, what mile-stones have been most notable for you in the development and advancement of your music?
Andr?a: Playing with other bands has really shown me what I can do alone. I used to feel that I needed other people to get things done. But the more I learned from other bands, the more I realized that I could do anything as long as I'm not burned out from teaching too much. When I was first introduced to electronic music by playing with another band, that was when my creativity really expanded. I'm so grateful for those opportunities.
IMWT: When is your songwriting most productive? What brings you to a stage of productive lyrical development?
Andr?a: My productiveness really depends on my frame of mind. When I'm feeling the need to express, or get things off my chest, it's not too great. I have to come down from the experience so that I can reflect. Then, I'm more clear as to what I'm feeling. I usually write about 3 or 4 poems about a matter, then when I get out of the icky state of mind, I'll be in the mood to write music. Then, all the poems I've written are stored in my mind, but I don't use them, I just use the theme and out comes a menagerie of information that I've already brain-stormed, and it comes out as a collage.
IMWT: What lies ahead for Hector musical developments?
Andr?a: Well, I'm mostly trying to learn as much as possible about pro-tools so I can do more without spending my time in a studio. There is so much to learn and I'm only scratching the surface. So, I guess, I'm Looking ahead to more learning curves so I can do more pre-production and have a polished sound. I love being self-sufficient. I'm not quite there yet in the world of technology.
IMWT: What mile-stones have you reached in your personal musical interests and development?
Andr?a: I guess, combining everything I've learned and been exposed to. I used to be extremely pop. Then, I was more rock driven, leaning towards my heavier influences. I used to be a keyboard player. So, now I feel that I'm at a place where I can mix everything together.
IMWT: Which songs required more significant development in production?
Andr?a: They've all varied. I think that because I came from guitar land just as I was putting out this last cd, it seems a little foggy as to where I'm going with everything. I think that it seemed a little over produced which sounds too confusing. I tried to mix all the tracks without guitar, but the sound was lacking. Now, I know it's because I wrote it with guitar in mind in some areas. Having stepped away from it all, I can see where I was at. Now, I can hear music without the guitars.
IMWT: What challenges have you experienced thus far in expressing your views through music?
Andr?a: Hmm...I guess It's hard not being completely honest in all my lyrics. Everything that I've written pertains to my real life. Some things I want to write about, but I half heartedly let you in. Most songs are only skimming the surface as to what really goes on in my life, and who I really am. I'm still a bit fearful about not being accepted, I guess. Anger plays a big part in my writing. To get it out of me, and on to paper, then into music. So, when I try to find a good angry sound, sometimes the music comes out happier than I intended it to be. That always screws me up. I'm feeling happier in my music all the time. Then, I sing about really messy times I've had.
IMWT: What songs have been in development since the 4 track Hector ep?
Andr?a: One of the next songs that are coming out is "G.G." A song about a partner I had for 2 years who I left after giving the ultimatum that it was either the drugs or me. Guess who lost? The song is really a bit moody, but then so was the experience. Christ.... my heart just started pounding thinking about it. Ick! Then, there's "I Think There's A Problem With You". I wrote this one about a feeling of not fitting in. I'm over that issue now, but it was hard being in such a small community of people who ostracized me. I thought it was about how I looked. Not butch enough to fit in to their world. But really it was about other problems. I wrote this one for all the people who wouldn't accept me as I am. "This Time Around" is kinda about both these things put together. I really learned a lot in the past 2 years about myself. This is about my journey of healing. "It's All Mine" well, speaks for itself.
IMWT: Where can our readers find on-line audio of music by Hector?
Andr?a: You can go to http://www.hectormusic.com to listen, or to http://www.mp3.com/hectormusic to download. Our new stuff will be on just as soon as I can get it there when it's back from the plant and ready for sale.
IMWT: Where can readers write to with any further questions and feedback?
Andr?a: firstname.lastname@example.org is my publishing company e-mail.
IMWT: What have you and Bina cooked up for Hector in the next few weeks and months?
Andr?a: After our cd is ready for sale, we'll be promoting it with shows. I'm in the process of networking for some U.S. folks to do shows with. Any electronic bands who are looking for a supporting band, we'd love to hear from you. I like the supporting slot. It's nice to be able to listen to music after you've played. Just something about warming up an audience that feels good.
IMWT: What does Hector plan to accomplish by year's end?
Andr?a: World domination...and to finally have groupies!
IMWT: What does Hector have planned in terms of upcoming releases?
Andr?a: The next cd will be a full length. I'm planning on doing one a year. I'm a little behind on this one (learning this program has set me back a good 6 months). So, the next one should be out in the fall.
IMWT: What hats do you wear in the production process?
Andr?a: Basically, I make the sounds and Bina says, "yup" or, "nope... way too 80's," and then gives her two bits on something. It's really kinda funny. Her and I tend to come up with the same idea at the same time. I think that's why I can work with her. I've never been able to work with anyone else. I think being on the same planet has something to do with it.
IMWT: What other musical projects can you tell us about?
Andr?a: If you'd like to see my last one, I'm putting "Liquid Amber" up for sale at CD Baby as well. I'm still getting some plays from it and people still want to buy it. It was a great time.
IMWT: What more would you like to share with our readers?
Andr?a: I guess I'd like to share about support and strength. Nobody can go it alone in this business. I've found so much support in the past year that it's amazing me. I have to say though, that the support I've received is because I've been willing to let it in. Finding my strength has been an incredible road to walk. I love to hear from people how they feel about my music. Before, I walked around with a scowl on my face and an attitude that would just scare people away from me. I just would like to be able to thank every person personally who enjoys what I do. When I get an e-mail telling me how much someone likes my music, it makes me pick up my bass and go to town. Nobody would tell me before, because I was so unhappy and unapproachable. Now, I want to hear from everyone. I'm so thrilled and fortunate to share my life through music with people. I want to thank you too, for giving me this opportunity to reach more people. YOU ROCK!