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ANDY HACKBARTH TALKS PERSPECTIVE, CHANNELS BOHEMAIN RHAPSODY ON SEX ROBOTS EP
St. Lucia, West Indies – It’s an idyllic afternoon atop the iconic Caribbean peak, Petit Peton, where a sky bursts with indigo in all directions and a slight breeze comes in from the ocean, 2530 feet below. It’s here that American singer/songwriter and genre-chameleon Andy Hackbarth decides to take one last listen to the final version of his new single, U Don’t Have 2 Wait, due out March 1st. There’s nothing like a change of scenery to shed a little perspective on things.
And perspective is what the recent past has been all about for the Denver/Nashville-based Hackbarth. After extensive touring on his critically-acclaimed, breakup-inspired 2015 offering, Panorama Motel, he was left feeling stuck in the past, forced to rehash a set of circumstances and emotions he was already moving beyond. Inspired to embrace the unknown, both in his life and in his writing, Hackbarth visited two dozen countries and wrote the four experimental songs that make up his new release, Sex Robots EP.
Sex Robots, out May 24th, is perhaps Hackbarth’s most diverse effort yet, from the tranquil ache of an electro-pop-inspired opening track (U Don’t Have 2 Wait) to the EP’s epic finale (Sex Robots-- a Bohemian Rhapsody-esque song complete with an extended orchestral section, robot noises, and a bass clarinet solo). The EP is rounded out by a heated indie rock earworm, Where U R, and Blame Me, which features jazz whiz-kid Peter Sommer and Megan Burtt, Denver’s darling of the singer/songwriter scene.
“I was tired of writing songs on guitar, to be honest. Panorama Motel was such an acoustic-centered album. I was just ready to mix things up—write something a bit more raw, edgy, and open. The piano/synth really enabled me to break away from the sound of my last record, and the new sounds gave me so much room to work from a lyrical perspective. I had all of the music finished before I even started the lyrics for U Don’t Have 2 Wait. That’s really rare for me. And on Sex Robots, I felt a bit like Brian Wilson in the studio making Pet Sounds: Let’s add a triangle here! How about bass clarinet? Can we get an operatic soprano in for the ending? It was a lot of fun, to have that freedom to experiment. I don’t know how my fans will respond, but this was an important step for me as an artist.”
A unique and beautiful release co-produced by Hackbarth and John McVey, Sex Robots is Andy at his most innovative. Perhaps the EP is best summed up in the title track’s lyrics “Are we just chemicals and reactions? The heart just a vessel for oxygen? Or is it enigmatic magic?” For Hackbarth, it’s never really been about answers, but perspective.