18 June 1967 (age 55)
Seattle, King County, Washington, United States
Artist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Ken Andrews began his career in 1991, fronting the critically acclaimed alt-rock group Failure. Noted for their expansive wall of sound, the band has often been compared to Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden, but stood out due to their cinematic and experimental sonics combined with dark thematic and lyrical touches. Their sound, developed over the course of three albums, peaked with the band’s final release, Fantastic Planet (1996). A seminal, groundbreaking 90's rock album, Fantastic Planet is recognized as a “lush and highly crafted recording”, and “a musical and production masterpiece” (Vincent Jeffries, All Music Guide).
Exclaim! praises: "Andrews, the ‘alternative Phil Spector’, and brainchild behind the much heralded group Failure, who arguably are the genesis of the chromatic processed guitar sound (currently perpetuated by former member Troy Van Leeuwen, who took it to A Perfect Circle and Queens of the Stone Age), and whom also earned accolades worldwide and gained great support by the likes of other left-field dark rockers such as Tool."
Since producing and mixing Fantastic Planet, a new career opened up for Ken, as bands and artists found themselves drawn to his aural sensibilities. Easily segueing into his second calling as a producer/mixer, Ken has worked for numerous acts—including Beck, Pete Yorn, Tenacious D, A Perfect Circle, Jimmy Eat World, Mae, and Blink-182.
In 2000, Ken continued as a recording artist with his first solo project, ON (Epic Records), and later with the band Year of the Rabbit (Elektra). “I enjoy making records. Whether I’m helping other artists enhance their vision as a producer or mixer, or writing and recording my own stuff as an artist; I find both worlds to benefit each other, as I invariably pick up skills and techniques from the artists I produce and vice versa. I find wearing both hats equally satisfying creatively.”
Now, Ken returns to the scene with his first solo release as Ken Andrews. “I’m very excited about this album . I’ve had the opportunity to ask various people I’ve worked with over the years to come in and collaborate with me this time. I brought in two of my oldest musical cohorts, Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, IMA Robot) and Jordon Zadorozny (Blinker the Star, Abbey) to co-produce the new album with me. Justin’s accomplished career as a top L.A. studio bassist (Tori Amos, Air, Garbage, The Mars Volta) and his experience as Beck’s live musical director and bassist has prepared him well for the tasks of producer. His main concept for this record, and the driving force as to why this album is decidedly different from my previous solo work, was to bring in a live band to overdub as a unit, on top of my fairly finished and detailed demos. The band consisted mostly of Beck’s current live group, whom I had met when I was hired by Beck to contribute to the Nacho Libre Soundtrack (Brian Lebarton, Matt Mahaffey, Matt Sherrod, and Justin Stanley). We all got together for a two-day recording session, which was one of the most exciting of my life. These guys are so tuned in to each other. Listening to them come up with ideas, and in some cases completely transforming my songs—was a huge rush for me. While the basic structures and all the vocals stayed the same, the songs became injected with a live, undulating quality, that enhanced the basic feel I was going for, but took it far beyond what I thought was possible.”
“The creative process has been very liberating and free flowing. I finally have taken the pressure off of myself, in terms of playing most of the instruments, and really used my skills as the songwriter and overall auteur of the album to my advantage,” he explains.
“Write Your Story”, a track Ken co-wrote with Jordon Zadorozny, strays from what is heard on past Failure, ON, and Rabbit releases. Somewhere in the musical vein of Air and The Doves, the dreamy undertones of the song echo alongside luxuriant vocals.
“Jordon and I have worked together a lot in the past, except with the underlying roles reversed (I was producing him in the past). We both, play, sing, engineer, and produce, so we tend to get into the nitty-gritty of things real quick. Jordon is one of the very few people I’m completely comfortable writing with for my own album. He and I share a writing sensibility that we don’t talk about, it just happens. Plus, he completely understands my musical history and what I was trying to achieve on this album. His role was primarily co-producer, but he played quite a few instruments on various songs, and he co-wrote probably my favorite song on the album, “Write Your Story.”
“Secret Things”, one of the album’s standout tracks, combines tripped-out strings with a synth-bass groove creating a demanding, viscerally appeal. Live instruments (drums, piano, and guitar) mingle with electronic elements. Strong, hooky vocals keep the song on course. “In Your Way”, another stylistically dynamic track pulls the listener into an eerie, enticing space/dream world.
Secrets of the Lost Satellite is expected in stores on March 13, 2007 courtesy of Dinosaur Fight Records. “I think people are going to hear things that they are used to hearing from me on this album, but they are also going to hear things that I haven’t really done in the past,” explains Ken.
A three-week promotional headline tour is slated to coincide with the anticipated release. This tour will be Ken’s first return to the live scene since touring with Year of the Rabbit in 2003.
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