[Fest Q&A] Andrew Cream Talks Growing Up, Fest, and Inspirations

By: Cameron Rivera

I’m always looking for new music to discover. At a young age, I fell in love with rock and its various subgenres. Rock songs invaded my playlists for years to come. Eventually, I branched out to different genres and fell away from rock, but it always had a special place in my heart. That’s why when I came across Andrew Cream, an acoustic punk guitarist from the United Kingdom, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to talk to him.

Andrew’s music is reminiscent of some of my favorites growing up. I’m talking the likes of Green Day and Rise Against. When you combine his influences with nearly two decades of writing and playing music, it’s clear that Andrew is a child of punk, and a true aficionado of the craft.

You can check out the interview below:

When did you first pick up a guitar? 

I started learning guitar when I was 11 after my parents gently steered me away from getting a drum kit. I think they made a smart move.

Where did you grow up and what was it like? How did that influence the music you were exposed to growing up?

I grew up near a city called Peterborough, about an hour north of London. When I was in my teens, it had a fairly small but vibrant scene, so a lot of smaller touring bands made their way through. Back in the early noughties the ska punk scene was quite big in the UK, so me and my friends formed a band at 13 so we could support some of our favourites. It was a really fun time and I owe a lot to that time of my life – learning how to be a DIY musician and making friends with people who are my best friends now.

What artists did your parents listen to?

They had a pretty eclectic music taste that centered around rock music when I was growing up. One of my first musical (or otherwise) memories is hearing Nevermind in the living room, and when I was 11 my Dad helped get me into Green Day and The Offspring which helped kickstart my foray into punk music. One of my favourite memories is watching the music channels as a family in my pre/early teen years. 

Your band Settle For Anything veers more toward punk rock music than your solo work. Why did you decide to take the acoustic route in your solo music? Do you find yourself more comfortable playing acoustic or electric?

I’ve been in various bands for 18 years now, whereas the solo stuff started about eight years ago. I think my reasoning for trying to play some solo gigs is because I’d moved to uni and my band at the time were a few hours away, so I was missing writing music and gigging on a regular basis. I’d say I’m as comfortable playing either guitar, although unfortunately my electric doesn’t get many outings these days. SFA are on an indefinite hiatus due to the other members’ parental duties!

Are Brendan and Jalf involved at all in the creation of your solo music? If so, what are their roles?

Nah, SFA has always been pretty casual even when we were a gigging band. We found it hard enough to meet up and play our own songs, so I wouldn’t have wanted to burden them with my stuff. The “full band” songs on my records were written with my friends Nige and Kie who play in a great pop punk band called Don Blake everyone should check out.

Your music deals with a lot of personal issues. Have you always used music as your outlet, or are there other outlets for you?

I’ve never really had any other outlets, so I’d say music has been my only outlet over the years. It’s very cathartic whether I’m writing something myself or listening and singing along to lyrics much better than mine.

Who were some of your inspirations? How do you pay homage to them in your music?

My biggest lifelong inspirations are probably Green Day and Alkaline Trio and I certainly think that’s reflected in my songwriting. I think I sit somewhere between Matt and Dan’s solo stuff with a dose of GD-esque pop punk thrown in.

What are any pre-show rituals that you perform to get any nerves out? 

Hah, I’m not particularly superstitious so I don’t do anything in particular. Although when I’m not driving I do try and get a couple of drinks down me – just about enough to calm my nerves…

What are you looking forward to most when you come to Fest 17?

Spending another weekend in the sunshine with some of my favourite people and rushing around trying to squeeze in as many good bands as possible.

Who are some other performers that you’re excited to see?

I’m most excited about seeing Sincere Engineer and Spanish Love Songs. Both their records have been on constant rotation this last year so I can’t wait to sing along.

Will you be hanging around for the whole weekend? Are you going to visit anywhere else in the States while you’re here?

I’ll actually be doing a bit of a road trip with some friends before the weekend starting in New York and heading down the coast. We’ll be there for the start of Fest though!

Are you working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future? 

I’m trying to be less busy at the moment, so I can focus more on writing new songs. So hopefully there will be a new record in the not too distant future. I have a bunch of ideas, just need to finish them off…

Andrew will be performing at FEST 17 on Sunday, October 28 at the Civic Media Center at 4:10 p.m.

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