One of the hottest releases out at the moment on Untidy Trax is Andy Naylor’s EP. The TidyPro graduate spoke to Johnny Dangerous about his massive musical journey…
You originally started off playing drum & bass. How have you progresses to where you are today?
Ha ha yep… I had a bunch of D&B records and absolutely ZERO idea of what mixing was. I spent the next six months just starting a record and it getting the end before I had mixed ha ha!
I loved the vibe of D&B but only ever really went to one night with that style of music. I quite quickly started going to Passion in Coalville and it was all house. So naturally that became a vibe and I went off in that direction.
Month or two later and we went Passion and Tony (TDV) was playing the last set. W O W,! That immediately changed my direction to the more upbeat harder sound.
If I listen back through my demos from 1998 to 2004 when I took a little break, I stuck pretty much to a similar sound, the funky to the fierce really. Everything from Sharp boys to Tinrib. I definitely went down the lighter techno route in my hard house sets around 2003. All the RAW bits, Guy Macaffer etc.
And now, I would say I still play some harder stuff but I think the harder edge house sound has my ear. It’s what I seem to produce naturally and it’s what I would listen to over the 155 filth.
Tell us the story behind your current release on Untidy Tax, Funky Pills. How did that come about?
I had just finished the course. The first two tracks ‘Your energy’ and ‘Sweat’ were 145 and 147 respectively and signed to Vicious Circle. I’m quite experimental so the next thing I did was down at 132 ish I think and that was ‘\Coming Up Hot’ (forthcoming on Tidy White). I really enjoyed that and immediately had a massive creative flow of ideas and concepts. ‘Funky Pills’, ‘Beat Won’t Stop’ and ‘Live Together’ all came in the next 3 weeks.
Funky pills itself, well, I was now starting to get a rhythm going in my workflow. Then the sound choice above all else and then having the track all written in the 8 bar loop. At that point I can mute parts and literally play the track to myself as I envisage it.
The arrangement took 1-2 hours from there, it kind of write itself I guess. There is also this melodic section just before the break that I just found so intriguing, it kind of slowed the whole track down, giving it a vibe I’d not really heard in many other tracks. Of course, the vocal, I’m sure that was actually the final part added believe it or not. The first pass had something else in and Sam gave feedback it was not quite right. Off I went and found the Funky pills part, stuck it in and Sam’s next feedback was that I had ”nailed the Untidy sound” … I was of course pretty happy to hear that.
You recently did a TidyPro course. What made you want to sign up and did you have much production knowledge prior?
This was a game changer. No doubt about that! I left the scene in 2004. I was asked to play a gig in the February of 2020 for the Pulse reunion. It went really well and I thought ‘Ey up’ I might fancy a little run at this again.
Next thing is lockdown and on came the live streams, at first they were great but to be honest eventually I stopped enjoying them so much and around that time the Tidy Pro course came up. I simply saw it at that point as a great way to continue enjoying music without playing to a wall at home. I also knew in my 1998 –2004 run I made zero waves on the production side and it for sure hurt my progress so doing this course I felt gave me a way to potentially rectify that.
My level of prior knowledge was having Cubase in 2002-2004 and making utter rubbish with absolutely ZERO clue to what I was doing. I was at the stage where I thought the next plug in was the answer. I never finished anything I could say I never actually really started anything.
How valuable did you find doing the course?
Hard to put in words really. I came at it fully open minded, bought Logic the week before and felt quite nervous I’d be able to keep up or my knowledge base would leave me miles behind and maybe falling off the course.
In reality the course and the pace it was at was perfect. Ben, as we all know is one of the scenes leaders in terms of his production, pretty much God status when you really think about his back catalogue. But in fact, one of his main strengths I feel is his ability to teach, coach and pass all those years of knowledge on. He made it pretty easy really. The methodology to crafting a great track, from the concept to the mixdown and everything in between.
I’ve taken all that learning, carried on In Tidy Connect and immersed myself in it. Now, if an idea comes to mind getting that down in Logic is pretty easy. It’s now about taking things up to the next levels. What was also invaluable was the network it brings you into. Not only the fellow students but also the wider Tidy team. Guys with decades of industry knowledge and expertise that you can’t help but soak up along the way.
What advice would you give to anyone considering doing a TidyPro course?
If you have a love for music and you think production might be a route for you, or you already produce but desire to take your work to many levels up, there is no better route for you.
Yes, YouTube away and find all the little tutorials you like, they can be helpful. However, this course is on another planet to that YouTube cannot give in depth critique and then detailed guidance on your work can it! You’ll learn how to finish your work, get out of the 8 bar trap, that sound choice is everything, arrangement tricks and a countless amounts more.
If you’ve thought about doing it, DO IT!
What kind of studio set up are you using?
A basic MacBook pro running Logic, Sennheiser 600S headphones, (I have no monitors it’s all in headphones), and my Akia MPK mini midi controller. Does it get any more basic? Ha ha!
Do you think you have found your sound?
No, this is still very much a musical voyage of discovery for me. I’m working on bits now that sound completely different to what you may have heard before and it’s a proper vibe right now so that’s the direction I’m going in. Let’s just say, TOUGH, CHUGGING GROOVES…
Music isn’t the only thing you are heavily involved in. Yua re also a body coach. What does that involve?
Yes, my day to day work is as an online health and fitness coach. I’ve been coaching for the past 15+ years and own my own online business ‘Naylor Body Design’, where we have helped thousands of fitness enthusiasts around the world achieve their deal physiques, improve their health and literally change their live. It’s an incredibly rewarding career. The business itself grew incredibly well through the lockdowns and continues to do so, as I now have two awesome coaches working inside to help with the client numbers and delivering a world class service.
Do you see yourself getting involved with Pure Energy regarding that side of your life?
Yes, as someone from within the fitness industry for the past 15+ years I see just how much music helps, not only in the class-based environment but also to the individual training on their own. The right music can actually make or break a training session. Defiantly does for me. So yes, it’s something I’d love to get involved in.
Your current release on Untidy Trax is a cracking little EP. What can we expect from you in the future?
Well thank you firstly. It seems to have been received well and as a long time Untidy fan I was a bit anxious it would do the business. Super glad it has. Going forward I will deffo be working on a follow up EP of some kind. I really like the EP style release btw, means we can showcase some different vibes but the listener can see and feel how they might come from the same musical place. So that’s on the cards at some point.
I also have this new sound which may or may not be Untidy, that’s for Sam and the gang to decide. I’ll simply make what tickles my trumpet and hope someone else likes it.
And when the clubs re-open can we expect to see you out spinning?
O yes! I already have the Tidy Birthday party in Leeds to play and a great night for Chad Lewis in November…. Oh and a back to back with Mr Farley early next year. There is plenty more other things in the pipeline of course.
It’s going to be mental isn’t it. Back in dark sweaty clubs with our fellow music fans listening to our chosen vibes. It’s gonna be emotional to say the least.
Download & Stream this release here: https://untidy.fanlink.to/FunkyPills