Interview: Andreya Triana

“I feel like I made the album that I absolutely love. I so love it! Lyrically it’s so honest, it’s deeper than anything I’ve written before. Musically, I think it’s the richest music I’ve ever made.”

Good things come to those who wait. That is what they say. And Andreya Triana has certainly kept us waiting – 4 years to be exact – to release a new body of work full of soul. Her EP ‘Everything You Never Had Pt. II’, came out November 17th on Counter and, though only comprising of 4 tracks, it’s just enough to fill you up nicely until her second album is released next year.

It seemed like a good time to catch up with her, therefore we did. We took some photos and had a chat to find out more about the 4 year gap (we’re nosy like that), Bonobo, the recording process…you know, the usual. Except for a little rant about celery, which, I’m not too sure how that happened.

Releasing the EP, you’ve sung about your mum and her support and how you guys grew up in London. How did your environment influence your sound and your music?

It’s just by my everyday life. I think my songs are very honest and they’re just about what I experienced on day to day. You know getting on the bus, round the bus in Brixton and all the characters that you see. Music blaring in the background and the smells you smell in Brixton market.

I use to live in Brixton as it is always wonderfully colourful and bustling! Did you have a lot of support from your family?

Yeah, pursuing music as a career, I have had a hell of a lot of support in the early days when I couldn’t pay my rent and I had to call my mum like “Mum can you lend me fifty quid” (fake crying). She was brilliant you know? And crashing on mates couches all the time. I’ve had a hell of a lot of help. I’ve been very lucky. I’m very grateful.

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You said you’ve grown up in a multicultural background, what’s your favourite cuisine?

Oh that’s a tough one as I love all food. Apart from celery, ew that’s so bad.

Yeah I don’t get celery either. It has no redeeming qualities.

I know! It takes over everything. If it’s in a salad, it’s like “I want the salad to be about me”. It takes makes the whole salad takes like celery.

Such an egotistical vegetable.

I know! It’s like ‘calm down celery.’

So no celery…

No celery. I love Vietnamese food!

Sushi. I love sushi!

Got to love some sushi. Back to music! You’ve released the EP the 17th of November, so been quite a while since your first album. Do you wanna give me a little recap of what’s gone on?

Obviously, first album came out in 2010 and now it’s 2014. I’ve just been hanging out… No, it’s been a really crazy and intense journey. 2010 my album came out and then the amazing guy who produced my album, Bonobo, also featured me on some tracks of his – that year I think his album got Best Electronic Album and mine got Best Soul on iTunes. So it was just nuts. I toured all over the world with his album, and then toured like crazy for my album. It was pretty much a good two years. And after that I was like “I need to stop” and I really want to push myself as hard as I can in terms of my songwriting, in terms of my craft, in terms of my vocals, my lyrics. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Since then I’ve written 60+ songs and narrowed them down to 12 to go on the album. So I’ve just been trying as hard as possible.

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That’s amazing. What was the working relationship like with Bonobo because that came about in a really natural way, through mutual friends, no? He’s electronic and you’re soul – so what’s it been like?

It was awesome! It was just like working with a mate, he’s crazy talented and really encouraging and really supportive. So it was like “let’s just do some tunes, see how it turns out”. So yeah, I’ve got nothing but good memories really!

You really stress the importance of live music. Especially the first album, you said everything was done live apart from literally one track. Have you still got the same approach to your music?

I have a very different approach now. The new album, I think it sounds a bit more gritty. It sounds bigger, it probably sounds a bit less polite. There’s huge harmonies, there’s foot stomps and hand claps. We created beats by banging door frames and stuff. I really just let loose and tried some shit you know.

It’s a full sound.

Yeah! I tried to make that anyway.

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What’s your writing process? It’s such a difficult question, everyone must ask you that…

I think I’m pretty much the same every time. I liked to start off with a couple of chords or three chords. I just go round those couple of chords and from there the melodies kind of comes. And as you’re singing a rough melody, random words start coming out and that’s how the song grows. I’m always amazed at the process. You start off and you’re like “yeah it should be this” and then you get a rough thing, and then it’s like “okay I have to write a second verse”, now it’s got to make sense. And when you’ve finished it, it’s like “wow, how did that happen?” It’s a really magical process. Sometimes it’s like climbing up a hill and other times it’s totally flows.

It just happens. It’s always something different to what you expected at the beginning!

Yeah. You’ve just got to let it be. It’s a great thing, I love writing songs.

What’s your recording process?

My recording process kind of differs from track to track and who I’m working with. But for this album, for example, I went over to LA to work with Matt Hales who produced the whole album. So he basically listened to my demos and stripped them down to the bare minimum. So it was probably the vocal and guitar, or the vocal and piano. And then we just threw some ideas around. I could’ve said that I was hearing these crazy sounds for this bit, or he could be saying I heard this for this. We just build it up layer by layer. As we did that there became more things and we just add them.

It’s just a very organic process. Sometimes you start out and you’re like “it should be like this” and then it turns out to be something different but it’s a million times better.

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Yeah. How do you feel about the album? How would you sum it up?

I feel like I made the album that I absolutely love. I so love it! Lyrically it’s so honest, it’s deeper than anything I’ve written before. Musically, I think it’s the richest music I’ve ever made. So I love it. I just hope people will now.

You said earlier that it was less polite, which I think was quite interesting – are you more outspoken now than before?

Well I called it less polite because I think I was quite shy on my first album, I held quite a lot of things back. This time I was just like, “this is what I want to say” you know? This is how I want to say it. It is what it is. Just trying to do my thing.