ANDY BLACK and The Ghost of Ohio
In this exclusive interview, we caught up with Andy Biersack a.k.a. Andy Black about his new sophomore album called THE GHOST OF OHIO, his music career, his diverse pool of influences and his upcoming show PARADISE CITY.
A lot of people don’t know that the Black Veil Brides frontman is actually lowkey humorous and beneath his calm tough exterior is a positive guy who loves sports. Read the full interview and get to know more about the talented singer, songwriter and actor.
What’s your story? Who is Andy Biersack?
I am a person who is a person from Cincinnati, Ohio. I moved to Los Angeles when I just turned 18 and wanted to become a Rock musician and lived in my car and did all this stuff to try to make it and have been fortunate enough to be able to play rock music for my entire adult life both in my band Black Veil Brides and as a solo artist. But apart from that I’m married, I’m anxiety ridden, I try to be funny. I try to be a good person. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke cigarettes and I don’t like going out.
How and when did music start for you? Have you always been musically inclined?
It was synonymous with everything else for me when I was a kid. I started finding a through line from comic books and stuff to music so the first bands I got into were probably for aesthetic reasons honestly because I was 3-4 years old. I loved KISS, and Alice Cooper and that kind of stuff. But I also loved musicals like family opera and Sweeney Todd for similar reasons. And then as I got older, I started to fall in love more with singer/songwriters and the craft of writing songs and it kind of just all coalesced and was my entire life at the time. I was very young so I supposed I was always musically inclined but I was also heavily interested in kind of the whole package so to speak.
How would you describe your style?
I guess all of it is hard to describe. It’s like asking what does rain sounds like. I think for everybody it’s a little different but I would say for mine, I wear my influences on my sleeve and it’s a combination of all the things that I loved growing up aesthetically. I’ve always liked darker imagery and more “gothic” things so it’s a little bit of that. I love sports too so there’s a little bit of athletic thing in there and a little bit of all of that.
Who are your music idols?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen, and like I said before I love KISS. My favorite band growing up was Alkaline Trio. I loved The Misfits, New York Dolls, kind of all over the place I guess. Generally speaking in the Rock world but you know I also like Hip Hop when I was kid like Outkast and stuff like that.
Can you walk us through your process as an artist? How do you usually come up with songs?
Every song is different. Sometimes it starts with an idea and then it’ll be a lyric and sometimes it’s the melody and I write something around that. I’m not someone who has a constant creative process, it’s kind of always depending on the song or where it’s coming from. Some of the time, I’ll come up with a concept and then write lyrics around it and try to figure out a melody and other times it starts with a melody or a piece of music.
If you could collaborate with an artist dead or alive who would it be and why?
I mentioned Springsteen before. I would love to be able to work with him just because he’s such an influence on my writing style.
What’s the story behind your new album, The Ghost of Ohio?
I grew up in southern Ohio and I was deathly afraid of everything growing up. I couldn’t sleep in my room by myself. Sometimes I’d sleep in the hallway outside my parent’s bedroom when I was a little kid on the floor. I would set booby traps for ghosts in my room. I was obsessed with the idea that something was out to get me and as I got older I didn’t really have that as much anymore but I still had an interest in what was so frightening and so I started doing research into my hometown and found all these crazy ass ghost stories and stuff and so I just decided that I kind of wanted to write my own folklore. It was influenced both by my childhood and a podcast called, “Lore” with a guy named Aaron Mahnke, who is a wonderful storyteller, and that was hugely influential in kind of the writing for the bible so to speak for this story and just kind of taking actual parts of folklore and applying it to this new story.
What inspired you to create the tracks in it?
Every track has a different inspiration. This album in particular is really speaking about my upbringing and growing up kind of being a loner and feeling like I didn’t have a lot of place to belong so finding my own fun and ways to navigate life.
Is there a specific track that’s closest to your heart?
There’s a song called, “Heaven” that I wrote about my relationship with my wife and how much she means to me. For me it’s very difficult because, day to day, I have 3 or 4 emotional freak outs and I’ve always had her there to talk me off the ledge and be my rock and I try to be there for her as well on the same capacity so we’ve gone through a lot in our life and it was just kind of a song about how much I appreciate her.
Top 3 music in your playlist right now.
I’ll pull up my spotify and see what I listen to.
David Bowie - Let’s Dance
The entire Alkaline Trio Crimson record
Our Lady Peace - Burned
Foxy Shazam Self Titled Record
Tell us about your upcoming show, Paradise City and your character, Johnny Faust.
There’s a film, American Satan, that came out in 2017 and I play a character who wants to be a rockstar but unfortunately things go awry and he makes a deal with this devil like character that makes him ultra famous but also becomes a drug addict. His whole life blows up. The series takes place after the film and it’s not about the supernatural element but more about what it would be like to follow this guy who risked everything to become ultra famous but now that he’s so incredibly famous, has to pick up the pieces of all the lives he’s’ affected in a negative way.
What’s something that people don’t usually know about you?
Sometimes people don’t necessarily know that I played a lot of sports growing up and I was a hockey player from my adolescence. It was a big part of my life.
If you’re not creating music, performing or acting, what usually keeps you busy?
I follow sports particularly Cincinnati sports, so that’s kind of a hobby of mine. I collect sneakers. When I’m on tour, we just play sports video games all day and then just sitting alone (laughs)
If you’re a book, what kind of book would you be and why?
IKEA instruction manual. Impossible book.
Any advice that you can give to any aspiring artists/musicians/singers/songwriters out there?
Don’t be afraid to suck and don’t be afraid to have people tell you that you suck. When people start, the hardest thing to do with is deal with criticism and I feel like if you’re able to build a kind of teflon suit around yourself and let criticism bounce off you, you’ll have a much larger likelihood of being able to succeed because you won’t be inhibited by the negativity.