On the floor: Classical take on pop

Andrew Keoghan
Andrew Keoghan
Andrew Keoghan, who grew up in Mosgiel, is a songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist living in Auckland.

He combines his classical training in singing and violin with elements of pop and folk, a fusion which has been described as "chamber-pop".

He's returning, almost, to his old stomping ground while touring to support his latest release and debut album Arctic Tales Divide, which features 11 songs predominantly recorded at the Lab, Auckland, over the course of four months.

The first thing I wanted to know was if, having taken the boy out of Mosgiel, you could take Mosgiel out of the boy.

"I lived in Mosgiel until the age of 12 and I have kept fond memories. I'd run from playing cricket with friends to singing lessons with Mrs Baylis and violin with Mrs Kenevan. We had to uproot quite suddenly when my dad got a job in Christchurch. My then-girlfriend at Mosgiel Intermediate left a 50c lolly mixture in our letterbox the day before we left but I was too shy to call her and say thanks."

The album was produced by Wayne Bell, whose production credits include Jan Hellriegel, Bic Runga and Gin Wigmore.

Keoghan plays guitar, piano and violin on the album and is joined by Jol Mulholland (bass and guitar), Wayne Bell (drums, percussion), Victoria Girling-Butcher (vocals) and Ben King (vocals and guitar), with additional input from members of Goodshirt, the Mots, Goldenhorse, Dictaphone Blues and Tim Finn's band.

He says it is great to be playing with some of the Auckland music industry's more notable names.

" I was fortunate to have some gifted musicians play on the album and I guess that came about by sharing show billings or through chance encounters, as opposed to any prearranged introductions. Wayne Bell saw a show and said he'd like to produce the album.

" There's a little group of us that enjoy collaborating on each other's projects - I play in Ben King's new band and he reciprocates and the same goes for Victoria Girling-Butcher, of Lucid 3, who is releasing a solo album under the moniker Lupin."

At 21, Keoghan sang in Puccini's opera Turandot in Christchurch before moving to Wellington, where he sang in jazz ensembles for three years. He moved to Auckland and began making a name for himself in the music scene by writing songs and playing memorable shows, initially as a solo artist and more recently with a live band.

Where his influences range from Puccini to Talking Heads, it's interesting to hear what he considers his greatest influence.

"Michael Jackson's Off the Wall was the first 'modern' album I discovered age 8 from the abyss that was my parents' classical vinyl collection.

"Off the Wall's disco beats, stunning harmonies, dramatic violin arrangements and MJ's incessant panting were hugely inspiring. I've always liked Talking Heads, the Beatles and Puccini's opera Turandot, but probably my biggest influence is my mother Beth, who has been a piano teacher for 47 years."

He says people can expect a full show at Chick's.

"If you come to the show you can expect to see a full band playing classical-music-influenced pop songs, with violin and vocal harmonies sometimes layered through a loop pedal, as well as opening act Grand Rapids, the new offering from Goldenhorse's Ben King."

See him
Andrew Keoghan plays at Chick's Hotel in Port Chalmers next Saturday, March 19.


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