At a time when connection takes an unconventional route, our very own Daniel Bailey meets ANDRO by way of the suddenly ubiquitous ZOOM app. conducting #TPOTD’s very first ‘social-distancing compliant’ interview to discuss Lost Cause – ANDRO’s newly released E.P.
The video is ostensibly a playground where [The Artist Formerly Known As] Prince style visuals and funk, meet Maxwell reminiscent vocals and an avant-garde, contemporary dance twist. Homage is paid via cultural references, whilst subtle symbolism displays ANDRO’s complex identity posited in today’s tumultuous socio-political climate.
No handshaking necessary as Dan sits in front of his camera with the strikingly handsome, yet unassuming and engaged ANDRO on his screen. He is wearing a black-beret and an enigmatic air. His eyes are alert and intelligent, but also kind. The interview dispenses with the pleasantries to delve straight in.
In the video a white policeman is depicted as a faceless criminal, whilst we see many iterations of the black male; was there any anxiety about how white audiences would receive this and what is the meaning behind this depiction?
No, there was no anxiety about depicting the white character in this way. He remained faceless because we are oversaturated with images of white patriarchal narratives in the media and that character isn’t important in the video.
The black characters’ narratives are far more significant.
The visual play explores the structure of racism and police brutality; what has been your experience of this?
I’ve been fortunate enough to not have had any bad experiences with the police. But that experience is a reality within my peer groups and community. I have experienced racism though, in the UK and whilst traveling in Europe, the U.S and Australia.
What specifically inspired you to comment on police brutality and why now?
I wrote this song when police brutality was very prevalent in the media. Even though we had a rise in the Black Lives Matter movement, the multitude of victims left me helpless. I believe that it’s still relevant because the relationship between black people and the authorities is still corrupt. But now because of the awareness of the issue the abuse has become more insidious.
How do we as people of colour relieve ourselves of this oppression?
Even though I wrote the song from a place of helplessness, it still has hope. We need to keep the conversation open and keep unveiling the truth about the structure of society.
The women almost serve as a greek chorus in the visual, what was the intention behind this and how do black women contribute to the conversation around police brutality?
Even though this brutality also directly effects women, I wanted to show the narrative of the mothers, the sisters and wives and their pain. There is a fear black women have of their sons being murdered for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Your music has a funk element to it, what artists inspire you?
Michael Jackson and Prince influence the funk sound, but I love Björk, Solange and Hiatus Kaiyote.
Many have said that this virus and quarantine is marking a change for the world structurally, what changes would you like to see once this is over?
I think that the position we hold our key workers in needs to be changed. Especially in regards to this pandemic. They are the pillars of our society and are holding us up. Yet, the fact that a footballer’s wage is staggeringly higher than theirs is makes no sense. The NHS is so important. If we had a healthcare system like the U.S. in this situation, the struggle would be unimaginable. The government’s priorities are not for the people and that needs to change.
What is next for ANDRO?
Who knows?! I’m just taking the time to write. I will be releasing another single and video, but I am working towards an album.
Whilst celebrity culture itself seems to be displaying some unusual symptoms with Madonna reminding us we are all equal from a bath strewn with Damascan rose petals and with facial skin pulled so taught that it’s not unremeniscent of a river dolphin, and Ellen DeGeneres telling us from her smallest mansion that self-isolating is just like prison. The celebrity pedestal seems to be lowering day by day. It’s time to start boosting some homegrown, relevant artists who are truthfully commenting on our existence. Give LOST CAUSE a listen and a watch. Maybe it really takes something to be lost for it to be found.
Interview By @JustBailey
Review & Words By @Kieran_Mcginn