Andrew Wasylyk

Scottish producer Andrew Wasylyk takes on this month’s round of quick-fire questions

Hello, Andrew. Where are you right now and what can you see?

“I’m at home in Dundee. There’s a sycamore across the street that’s struggling with the gale outside.”

A second album on Clay Pipe, then? Frances Castle must be looking after you nicely.

“I feel very fortunate collaborating with Clay Pipe. Frances has been nothing but supportive and encouraging.”

The new album started out as a “commissioned response” to ‘The World’s Edge’ exhibition by US landscape photographer Thomas Joshua Cooper…

“The National Galleries Of Scotland invited me to create music to accompany that exhibition. The idea being a soundtrack might work as a response, or evocation, of Thomas’ Atlantic Basin images. Unbeknown at the time, that process was also me gathering the tools I’d need for what would grow into ‘Hearing The Water Before Seeing The Falls’.”

The leap from ‘Balgay Hill’ to ‘Hearing The Water…’ is like the difference between ‘The Bends’ and ’OK Computer’. What changed for you between albums?

“Having the resources to incorporate a six-piece string section for the first time was an important part of the record. The brilliant Pete Harvey has arranged strings for me before, so collaborating with him again was crucial. I’m not sure if the insular circumstances of the pandemic, in which ‘Balgay Hill’ was conceived, meant that ‘Hearing The Water…’ was always going to reach for a more expansive sound, but I agree it presents itself differently.”

The opening track has all the emotion of Talk Talk in their prime…

“Ha, that’s very generous. I don’t know if anyone’s a match for Talk Talk at the peak of their powers, but I think Alabaster DePlume’s tenor saxophone performance on that track is really something.”

There’s a moment in the title track when the brass kicks in that makes me want to cheer. How was it for you?

“A release, mostly. I was exploring something that rolled with a Joanna Brouk feel, on the serene side of bombastic. A fanfare for the underdog, maybe.”

How much of all this features live musicians?

“The trumpet on ‘Hearing The Water…’ is Rachel Simpson. A brilliant musician and pal. Other live instrumentation includes cor anglais, double bass, violins, violas, cellos and clàrsach. Then there’s me, ham-fistedly playing the rest.”

You play in Idlewild too. Not to start a fight, but synths or guitar?

“Well, guitar was my first love. It’s a fine instrument. But this week I’ll go with the joy of a Juno-60 arpeggiator.”

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