Photo by: Gabe LaVine
Art by: Harper Fischer
There’s something intriguing about Andy Pothier’s presence that I can’t quite place. It’s always like a breath of fresh air when he’s around. It had been a couple of months since I’d last seen Andy, with him being away in Morocco for school. Having drinks at Billy Club with him and shooting the shit, everything picked up where it was left off in August.
To find out the roots of why Andy chose the path to become a musician, I used the Desert Island Discs formula to see what albums would join him on his island. His list included Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen, Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning by Bright Eyes, Disintegration by The Cure, and Still Talk; Second City by Small Houses.
“I started playing music because of my dad. When I was little, I would go up to Toronto to visit him and he would have different instruments lying around.” Andy explained. “I would also jump into his record collection and listen to Neil Young, The Cars, or The Cure; which was drastically different from my mother’s records. She would listen to a lot of folk and that’s how I got into songwriting.” He began playing drums at the age of twelve and started his first band, Spirit Chief, in 9th grade. The band eventually splintered off into another group, The Evil Things, and that band is what brought Andy from his home in Niagara Falls, to his new stomping grounds on Allen.
Currently, you can find Andy playing drums for Deadwolf or singing with his guitar in his band Passed Out. If you’ve ever listened to a song from Passed Out, you’ll notice the little idiosyncrasies in the lyrics, or at least I notice them. I asked Andy about his writing process; “The approach I take to most songs is placing myself in the perspective of what my friends are feeling. But there have been times I have written songs around specific words that I was hot on for a minute, like words that don’t belong in songs.”
As a writer, writer’s blocks come often and at times, they can be inconvenient. Andy doesn’t know how he gets into these ruts or how to get out of them. Andy is currently in that rut of not being able to write, even before he left for Morocco. He had hoped that his travels would help pull him out. "Most of the time, I’ll go through stretches where I won’t write anything, maybe a couple lines throughout the year. Then December hits and I write a string of seven songs in the matter of a week; that’s how Aforementioned worked out.” After he writes a string of 8 or 10 songs, he’ll set them aside. A lot of solo material gathers dust because they are hard to play since they hit some really deep, dark places. Andy’s notorious for putting songs up on Bandcamp and then immediately taking them down.
Andy’s role in Deadwolf is a little different compared to his other projects. “Tyler and Cody are the masterminds in that outfit. As a songwriter or musician, being in a band with your friends, you strive for a working relationship. I like being hands off and letting them do their thing. Tyler is a drummer as well, so we find middle ground on how I want to play and how he hears it in his head.” Andy explained that it’s nice to just be able to play and let the guys run the show.
Wanting to play music for a living clicked when he was on his second solo tour in Rock Island, Illinois in 2012. On that tour he started playing some songs that he had written for Passed Out. He called up his friend Jake to tell him that they should start this band they’ve always talked about, and that was the moment he knew he wanted to keep playing music. “As long as I can and as long as I am fortunate to play.” Which is an easy thing to do here in Buffalo because of the close-knit and supportive music collective we have here. "People here genuinely support other musicians and go to their shows". Andy smiled, “It’s the exact opposite everywhere else; plus you could go to the Pink at 3AM and find everyone hanging around.”