Church For Sinner's Now City Bear's Andy Wylie Discusses Departure and Future

Horror punk rock has been around since the dawn of time! Well no not really but it has been around and since forming Church For Sinners years back things were running its course but that would all end once the crowds would cave in and not be into "them" anymore, hence the end of CFS. Frontman Andy Wylie and crew went their separate ways doing and focusing upon their own lifestyles. Andy continued to pursue his life and love for music with an all new solo project called City Bear. This route took what he enjoyed before and brought it into the present, bringing on a whole new reality of how he saw and viewed his ways with making music. Expect to hear all new material once the new album comes around as well as any other thing Andy has hidden up his sleeves.

1. So can you tell me as to why Church For Sinners called it quits?

Andy: It wasn't really something we intended to happen. The shows were getting smaller, there were problems and delays with the release of the album, and we all had personal lives that were taking us in different directions. Basically, things weren't happening and it stopped being fun. When you're not having fun with it, it's time to try something else.

2. Do you ever see Church For Sinners to get back together later on down the line or are they done for good?

Andy: There are no plans to get back together at this time. If an opportunity came up that all of us were interested in, I'm sure we would pursue it, but to tell the truth, part of why we stopped was because people just weren't that interested in seeing CFS. Why reunite if nobody is really asking for it? It's like doing an encore when nobody was paying attention to the performance in the first place. Purely self involved. I'm not into that.

3. What can you tell me about this new side project you have been working on?

Andy: It's not so much a side project as a solo project. I was playing acoustic shows long before I formed CFS. After the band broke up, I went back to playing solo material and decided to try to make it work. I currently have a bass player, Vito, and a drummer, Arsen, who help me flesh the songs out live.

4. How does it differ from your work with Church For Sinners?

Andy: The City Bear material is basically what happens when I write without any outside influence or input. Church was very much a group effort. We all had our own ideas that we brought to the table. This record was just me and a producer, essentially. It's also much more raw and personal material. No monsters or sociopolitical rants, just my experiences with different people and situations laid out for anyone to pick up and hear.

5. Why did you think that this was the time to go solo?

Andy: I didn't really have anything else going on. There wasn't really any decision to make. I can't go too long without playing or writing music or I get very awkward and depressed. I don't know if that's normal for musicians or whatever, but I have to perform. I talked with a few people about starting projects but nothing really stuck, so I just went out on my own, played a bunch of shows, made a record and found friends that could play the songs live. That's about where I am now.

6. Since you are a solo artist do you plan to trek the DIY route or do you want to be a part of a label and release your music that way?

Andy: I would love to have label backing. That's not even a question. If you can get someone to carry the load and foot the bill while you go out and play every night, you're lucky. Unfortunately, that's not something that's handed to you. I will definitely be putting the work in on my own to get to that point in the future.

7. How do you plan to release your music anyway for free or can people get it digital via iTunes, Amazon, etc. What are the plans?

Andy: My goal is to get the album pressed on vinyl, but failing that, there will be a CD and digital release in the near future.

8. Where are you in the recording process of this new release?

Andy: The album is completely recorded, mixed, and mastered. Once the artwork is done, it will be good to go.

9. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?

Andy: Brent Wilkinson (Gruesome Boys/Dead Man's Tale) produced the album at Bad Habit studios. I've known him for a few years now. He actually produced the Church For Sinners full length as well. He is a genius. He is incredibly supportive and creative, and a pleasure to work with.

10. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album?

Andy: It's a little hard to describe. There are a lot of different elements to it. There are pop hooks, roots country grooves, spacey jazz bits, uptempo rock songs, lullabies. It's kinda all over the place, but still cohesive and easy to listen to.

11. Did you have any definitive goals that you were shooting for before the recording process began for this release?

Andy: Not really. I've always wanted to be able to show people what the songs I write sound like in my head. Since I was on my own, all I could do was play the songs for people with just an acoustic guitar and a melody. The record was a way to flesh the songs out and show how they were intended to sound.

12. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Andy: Definitely. I played upright bass on several tracks, piano on a couple, bells etc. Brent also threw down some accordion and cello parts on a few tracks. It's a completely different sound from what people would most likely expect if they had heard the Sinners CD's.

13. When did you start writing for this album?

Andy: Some of the songs are almost 9 years old, some were written a month before the recording process. It's basically a small collection of songs that span my entire time as a songwriter up til now.

14. Did you feel any pressure flying solo or were you pretty sure with yourself?

Andy: Not at all. The nice thing about being relatively unknown outside of a small scene is that there really is no pressure to produce. I can write anything I want without anyone wrangling or influencing me, and I can take as much or as little time with it as I choose. I spent almost a year making this record and I'm very happy with it. If other people enjoy it, that's a wonderful bonus.

15. Can you go into one or two tracks on the new album? If so, can you give us the track title and brief description of how the track sounds and how it came about?

Andy: There are 11 tracks on the album and they are all fairly unique. I love them all for different reasons, but a few standout to me. "Nell" is a soft folk duet that I did with my niece, which is dedicated to the memory of my aunt who passed away shortly before I started recording. It's basically about two homeless teens in love, who find themselves near death under a freeway and spend their last moments in appreciation of one another. "Get Worse Soon" has been a live favorite lately. It is a sort of roots country song, which my friend, James Hunnicutt, played guitar and sang harmonies on. It's a witty hate song about that guy in every circle that just gets on everyone's nerves and how nice it would be if they disappeared.

16. What was the vibe like in the studio?

Andy: It was very comfortable. Brent is a good friend of mine, so it was basically just like like and hanging out and making music with my friends for a year.

17. What inspired the album title? Is it a concept album?

Andy: The album title, Mournography, came from Russell Brand's autobiography. It was such a perfect word with so many possible meanings that could be applied to the music that I was writing, that I had to use it. It's not really a concept album at all, although there are themes that run throughout. I do have a concept album in mind for the next record though.

18. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Andy: My songs are about a lot of things, but it generally comes back to the classic themes. Love, loss, hate, beauty, pain, and occasionally vampires.

19. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Andy: Yes, I write all of my own songs. Always have. There isn't much of a process for me. When inspiration hits, I just go with it. I'll generally start with a line or a melody and build from there til I have the framework laid out. If a song doesn't come out within an hour or so, I usually scrap it and move on.

20. Who are your musical influences?

Andy: There are too many. Elliott Smith, Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Waits, Irish Rovers, Alkaline Trio, Sean Lennon, Devil Makes Three, Jeff Buckley, James Hunnicutt, Morrissey, Decemberists, Smoking Popes, Bayside, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Elton John, AFI, the Beatles, the Stones, Fratellis, The View....the list goes on forever.

21. When can we expect the new album to be released?

Andy: Very soon. I'm shooting for late winter/early spring 2013.

22. What are your expectations for the CD?

Andy: I've learned not to expect anything. Just put in the work and hope people connect with it.

23. How do you describe your music to people?

Andy: I try not to. I don't like being labeled or categorized. People focus too much on scenes these days. Just listen to the record and judge for yourself.

24. What image do you think your music conveys?

Andy: I think that depends on the listener. It also changes from song to song. A bouncy song like "Save Me" will conjure up totally different images than a more jazzy song like "Mediocre Love Song". I think the album will surprise people.

25. Do you want to say or add anything else?

Andy: Thanks for the interview. Check out to hear tracks, find live dates, and scope out videos. Also, check out the other project I'm involved with, If you wanna say hello, drop by Cheers.

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