On his latest solo effort “Spilling A Rainbow”
composer/singer/multi-instrumentalist Michael Andrews explores the extreme but beautiful expansion in consciousness experienced by parents-to-be — but anyone who seeks to look at the world with fresh wonder will be powerfully affected by this album. For Mike, finding out that he was going to become a father was a moment when he realized that the world he was familiar with was all about to change. He went to work at his home studio outside of Los Angeles writing and recordings songs that documented his life’s journey through this transformation. Spilling A Rainbow is being August 14 on Everloving.
Andrews makes his living creating film scores. Collaborating with directors and musicians takes him through landscapes of sound both familiar and foreign. He started with Greyboy Allstars writing a film score for Zero Effect and, over the course of the dozen or so films scored, Mike has established a pallet of musical signatures that carry through his work like genes mutating and powering his artistic evolution:
the keyboard from Me and You and Everyone We know or Donnie Darko, the guitar from Cyrus or a groove from Greyboy Allstars with the ambience of Cypher….
He does all this out of a home studio. “I collect things, mostly instruments and furniture. I am an obsessive classified ads addict.
Somehow the accumulation of other people’s things, evidence of their experience, is appealing to me.” It started out as a garage but you
couldn’t classify it as that now. He’s making music there all day every
day. Some of the gear is really old and some really new. Andrews explains “I don’t care about analog or digital, I care about diversity and information.”
Andrews was seated in a dentist’s chair in Glendale, CA when he first heard about his wife’s pregnancy. “As the Novocaine made its way into my system, I suddenly realized, I am about to start a family! I rushed home and recorded ‘The Dentist’ and this started my documentation of what would become fatherhood.”
I don’t make pop records that often because I feel that I have to have a topic, a reason” Andrews reveals. Watching his wife grow and then his son grow he had more than enough inspiration! “Sometimes fatherhood feels really simple and natural, and sometimes it feels like science fiction, a super reality, more color and more sound.”
He dedicated a month to himself. “’May is for Mike.’ I told myself and me and engineer Dan Long started at it. I scored my wife’s ultrasound, ‘Music For Cell Division,’ and recorded ‘Spilling a Rainbow,’ where my son came to me in a dream while he was still in the womb.” Then, as happens, work interrupted his progress but fortunately the inspiration was still developing, namely his son in utero. Simple thoughts and moments of observing his child became songs and dialogue for the sound and the world he was making just a dozen steps away in his studio.
After several months’ break, Mike found time to get back to Spilling A Rainbow now aided by engineer Steve Kaye. Songs began to pour out.
“Waiting For You to Wake” captures him casually fingering his guitar amidst the ambient sounds of his house as he waits for the day’s “Daddy shift” to begin. The album includes a lucid and beautiful cover of Roy Harper’s “Forever,” rendered quite faithfully, which is a departure for Andrews who’s known for the radical remakes he’s done on songs like Tears For Fears’ “Mad World” for the Donnie Darko soundtrack and Joe Jackson’s “Fools In Love” made famous on Grey’s Anatomy featuring Inara George on vocals.
Yet despite the album’s title, it’s not all sweetness and rainbows:
parenthood comes with huge responsibilities and mortal fears. One’s own parents become old, sick and scared and can no longer be our pillars of strength. As you look to provide for your family in case of catastrophe, you sit with insurance salesmen who will quote you the likelihood you’ll fall into an open manhole while you watch birds crash into your living room window. But if you face your fears you discover a world of brighter colors, purer tones, the magic of each moment revealing itself as the true nature of the universe and ourselves.
Ultimately, Andrews shares his wonder, excitement and rebirth as a man, now more mindful of the precious things in life on this album. These songs are about blowing bubbles and the peacefulness he experiences watching his baby sleep… reflected through a psychedelic awareness of the shape shifting epiphanies that are taking place.