I've written over 100 songs with compelling lyrics and melodies, have toured extensively, and taught music for over 10 years.
You want someone working on your music who is a true believer not just in your music, but in YOU. With my expertise in helping musicians learn more about their craft (I have been a music teacher for 10 years), and being a songwriter now for 20 years, I can guide you and your music to where it needs to be. I have a degree in music composition from Columbia College Chicago, compose string and horn arrangements, and have written and produced 4 albums for Chicago band Minor Characters.
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Interview with Andrew Pelletier
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I released an album with my band Minor Characters earlier this year and it's my favorite work I've ever done. I wrote all the songs and crafted the story- which has much to do with where America is as a country in 2018, and where I am as a member of its artist class. We had enough time and resources to add string arrangements that I wrote and had a lot of fun recording. It's called "We Can't Be Wrong" and it's out everywhere.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on a top line melody for a song in 7/4 (kind of Radiohead's 15 Step) for an artist/band based in Bucharest, Romania, which is so cool!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not that I know of just yet!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. I don't really work with analog much, nor do I really know how to. So I'm mostly in digital. When I make a studio album in a real studio, I tend to work with engineers that have the ability do to analog because it's fun and it does provide warmth.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to work hard and truly listen to what you've made and what you want. I won't send anything over if I don't like it myself and I'm extremely hard to please.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to help make people feel really good about what they're doing and about themselves. I love providing with something that they'll have forever and something that they unendingly enjoy. It's sometimes like they didn't even know that they could have something that was better than what they started with, and that's really important to me.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "Can you make it sound like [this]". My answer is always: "I'll do my absolute best."
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's easy or hasty to do it. You're creating something out of nothing-so it takes time and patience and the client should have the same!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Is this song part of a larger project? If so, what other ideas and sounds have you got? How can I help make this better? Are you okay with me changing a few things?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I respond really well to you being open and providing a space for me to do something. A lot of time people approach me with a very specific style or vibe or color or artist to emulate and then they're disappointed when it's not EXACTLY what they had in their head. Maybe they can find someone who fits their needs better, I'm not sure. But if you're hiring an artist, let that person be an artist. It's also better to tell me what you DON'T want it to sound like. Like "this song has kind of a Velvet Underground vibe, but we don't want the vocals to sound like Lou Reed."
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Definitely 2 guitars- my 1965 Epiphone Cortez acoutic, and my 1967 Epiphone Casino. A hollow body bass guitar. A piano. And an old RCA compressor.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been performing music since I was 4 (so about 30 years). I've been writing songs and singing songs for 23 years. I've been playing instruments academically and professionally for 20 years. I went to school for music and have a degree in music and have been teaching music and performing music all over the country since graduating.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: A very melody-focused, emotive vocal style. I would like to think I'm versatile as a singer. My songwriting style is very guitar based, folky, and rhythmic. I really focus on lyrics- both political and personal. I'm moving into electronica more in my life now.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. I made a record at his studio once, April Base, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but I didn't get work with him or meet him. I think the music writes is different and means something entirely backwards from what he did the last time and I want to learn that skill. His approach to songwriting is very progressive, almost like he's already making albums on Mars a hundred years from now. I heard he is an insane engineer, too.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I REALLY love multi-pressors lately. I would take some time and put one on your output channel and really listen to your mix and be very delicate with how much your compressing, but also notice how it colors your music.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Singer/songwriter, acoustic, electronic
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Writing melody, harmonic structure, and lyrics. I pay extremely close attention to melody and the way a line of vocal moves. Even something repetitive can be evolving. My philosophy (as of now) is that a melody should be able to be sung back to me by someone who isn't a singer. That's kind of the ultimate test of a strong melody. There is a lot of room for innovation, though. So I make sure to keep it left-of-center and intriguing. I love writing chord progressions (harmonic structure), though I tend to write melody first and find the chords and harmony secondary. I can very much craft lyrics into something meaningful, that has an arc.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Many of years of writing and editing and performing. I was thinking about how long I've been writing songs the other day, and it's around 23 years. Since I was 10. Most of those songs have been my own, which is why I'm excited to work on other people's songs because my own musical voice is seasoned and very much honed in and unique. I also have a degree in music composition, which is extremely helpful because I know what works and what doesn't work. It's kind of like my filter. I've gotten good at editing myself to make sure the song, or my role in the song, is tasteful and musically sound.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Every project is completely different and I like it that way. Some songs I write are realized upon opening the computer and singing into a mic, others take time and a whole lot of listening. When I find something I like, I'll record it and then go for a walk or make some coffee and let it sit within me for a bit of time. Then I think about something else or busy myself and come back to the song and if it still makes me feel like it did when I first wrote it, it's a keeper. If not, I delete it and start over. Nothing is too precious.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Yamaha HS monitors, Apogee Duet, Blue condenser mic, Red DI box (for bass and direct inputs),lots of guitars, 88-key midi keyboard
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Elvis Costello, Phillip Glass, Thom Yorke, David Bazan, LOW, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Neutral Milk Hotel, My Bloody Valentine, Angel Olsen, Elliott Smith
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I have mostly been writing melody and arranging lyrics for my client's songs. They may have a chordal or harmonic idea for the verse and chorus, and I provide the top line (the melody).