Rock music is in a strange transition period. The greats are getting older and embracing the comfort of getting softer with age, and the younger acts are adapting to the digital movement of laptop recording and streaming releases. This puts Hard Rock in an uncomfortable position like a child choosing which parent to live with after a divorce. Andrew Godfrey, the mastermind behind Transylvania Stud, feels the answer is to get dark and weird.
Fresh off the release of the debut EP Red Queen, Godrey took the time to chat with me about influences, the love of Failure, and the double edge sword of local scenes.
Thanks for taking the time for this interview! For those who don’t know, explain who and what Transylvania Stud is exactly.
Andrew Godfrey: Thanks for taking time to interview me! Transylvania Stud is more or less my “solo project”. I write all of the music, play all of the instruments, and do all of the singing. It’s like my very own Probot, without all of the prolific guest musicians.
What does Transylvania Stud sound like?
G: If Kyuss, Soundgarden, Failure, Fu Manchu, Barkmarket, and Hum, all got in a giant pile and fucked, Transylvania stud would be the bastard child born from such a musical orgy.
You’re also in NAVAEAH right? How do these projects differ from each other?
G: Well, Navaeh isn’t a solo thing. Ernest and I share the writing and recording responsibilities together. There’s a pop element to Navaeh that won’t be in Transylvania Stud.
T-Stud, I’m hoping, is going to be darker, heavier, in terms of music and subject matter. It’s not going to be straight forward rock. “The Red Queen” EP is more or less a “feeler” out in the world, to see how weird I can make it and if people will want that experimental part of what I do.
I hear a lot influence from Failure as well as some Motorhead, what are some of your biggest influences and how important are they when it comes to this project?
G: I completely slept on Failure until about 4 years ago. My producer J. Hall introduced me to them when we were working on the 2nd Navaeh EP. Fantastic Planet is one of the most underrated rock albums of the last 50 years. Hands fucking down. I was so sad that I found them when I did because they had already broken up over a decade ago at that point. When they came back, I was so happy. I’ve seen them twice. One of the best rock shows you’ll ever see.
I grew up in a Pentecostal home. So I wasn’t “allowed” to really listen to “secular” music until I was 12, unless it was classic rock for some reason. I snuck it in here and there from older siblings, and friends, but for the most part, I didn’t get any early musical influence from anything I’m influenced by now.
Dave Grohl is a HUGE influence in terms of work ethic, playing in tons of bands, a million projects going. I love that. He’s also a really down to earth, humble dude. I met him at the Basement the night before they played the Ryman on Halloween. It was fucking surreal.
The list of “influences” would be way too long and way too boring for me to list, but it’s pretty obvious whom I’m influenced by if you listen to my music. I wear it like a badge of honor.
You’re based out of Nashville correct? That places seems to have blown up over the past few years, as this ‘go-to’ spot for the most interesting music. Most of that music ISN’T country! How would you describe the Nashville scene?
G: Yes I am. I moved here in 2010 from Richmond VA. I played a show in Nashville at the Muse in 2008 and fell in love with the place. It’s become a much bigger place, literally, and figuratively. A lot of that, for better or worse, had to do with that TV show on ABC. But people have always come here for music. Country music became popular again, so I guess that’s why it’s an “it” city now.
But it’s kind of a no brainer. Recording here is stupid cheap when you’re an independent band/artist. It is (was) much cheaper to live here than LA or NYC. A lot of people also romanticize the idea of being “stripped down” to just an acoustic guitar and “baring your soul”.
The “scene” needs a lot of work. As most bands are less about supporting each other and more about seeming like a bigger deal than they really are. And because there’s SO much to do here, and you can make money being a professional cover musician (thanks Broadway), people don’t want to join bands just to join a band. You usually have to pay people.
What a do love is that the stereotype of Nashville being predominantly country music, isn’t really true anymore. There’s a ton of different genre’s doing well here.
In my opinion, there are only a handful of bands in Nashville that fall under “You’re doing it right”. They constantly put out music; they play a ton of shows outside of Nashville. They work. A lot.
How artists utilize the internet and social media, are local scenes even relevant anymore?
G: I think if more bands worked closer with each other, supported each other’s shows and basically did what Punk did in the 80’s or grunge did in the 90’s, the internet would act as intended with the communication and visibility being much easier across the states and the world.
Generally speaking, 2016 musicians think that if they send a Facebook invite or post it on instagram / snapchat, people will magically show up to a show. They don’t stick around; always want to a touring band to close a show in a town they’ve never played. Oddly enough, they even want a record deal. Do those even exist anymore?
Just my two cents, what the hell do I know? It’s not like I’m selling millions of records.
What have you been listening to as of late? Any recommendations?
G: Other than my usual go to bands? I got a sneak peak of the new Hidden Hospitals. Really excited to hear the finished product. We have the same producer, and that has its perks. I love those guys. Navaeh actually played with HH at the Burlington in March of this year. It was awesome. First time I’ve ever been to Chicago.
Yeah! Chicago strong!
G: The By Gods last record was killer and they are working on a new one right now in California. They are based in Nashville and good buds of mine. My mastering guy, Dan turned me onto AGITPROPER after he mastered Red Queen. They fucking rule!
Speaking of Chicago, do you plan on taking Transylvania Stud out on the road?
G: If I can find some dudes who want to play, for sure! I’m hoping to have something in the works for early 2017.
Listening to Red Queen it’s obvious this isn’t a one-off garage band project. What does the recording process consist of for you?
G: Paying a professional producer. Haha J. Hall says it all the time, which is why I love working with him, “We’re not saving lives here man. We’re just making music”. It takes the pressure off. I don’t get caught in these rabbit holes, or over think it. Usually the best ideas are the simplest ones. The best idea should always win.
What’s next up for you?
G: Tons! I like to stay busy. Gonna see if I can play some shows with T-Stud and write and record a new album with two friends that are incredible singers. Don’t have a name for that project yet. I’m also working on some singles to release under my name, on itunes and spotify. Hell, maybe even a new Navaeh record late 2017 as well!
Okay so use this interview as your platform. Why should people get out there and pick up Red Queen?
G: Lemmy is dead. Prince is dead. Don’t let the music die with them by buying another Taylor Swift or Kanye West album.
For more information on Transylvania Stud visit the Facebook page
To listen to and purchase Red Queen, visit the official Bandcamp page