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The Blue Herons team with Marty Willson-Piper of The Church

Written by on June 6, 2019

Andy Jossi and Krissy Vanderwoude of The Blue Herons chat about their new single, “The Way You Look At Me.”

By Deborah Sexton

For regular listeners of DKFM and frequent visitors to the DKFM Facebook/Twitter feed, Andy Jossi is a well-known name as the genius behind a constantly growing library of amazing music, most of which falls under the genres shoegaze, dream pop, jangle pop, or the broader term indie pop.

A prolific songwriter, Jossi, who lives in Lucerne, Switzerland, found most of his music was naturally falling into two categories: shoegaze/dream pop or jangle pop. When he first began releasing music on Myspace around 1999, he did so as The Churchhill Garden. But starting in 2017, he decided to publish the jangle pop songs as The Blue Herons.

Influences that have inspired Jossi’s Blue Herons’ music include late ’80s bands such as The Smiths, The Sundays, Mighty Lemon Drops, The Church, Close Lobsters, The Chameleons and The Railway Children, to name a few. A lifetime music lover, he currently more than 5,000 albums and CDs in his ever-expanding collection.

While Jossi writes the foundation of his songs, he depends on his vocalists to add lyrics and melody. Titles are a collaborative effort between Jossi and Krissy Vanderwoude (Whimsical), and are based on the lyrics and/or meaning of the song. The result of this collaboration is songs with an upbeat tempo, catchy guitar hooks and easy-to-remember melodies, and lyrics that make you want to sing along.

To date, Jossi has released five songs on Bandcamp as The Blue Herons with one being an instrumental, one featuring Hideka Ufo, a solo artist from Arawaka, Japan; two songs with Thierry Haliniak, Lyon, France, of My Raining Stars; and two songs featuring Krissy Vanderwoude, Schererville, Ill., of Whimsical (Vanderwoude is also a full-time member of The Churchhill Garden and The Blue Herons).

The newest song, “The Way You Look At Me” is released on June 6, 2019, and features Vanderwoude contributing melody, lyrics and vocals. But this song has one more contributor — Marty Willson-Piper on guitar.

For the very few of you who are unfamiliar, Marty Willson-Piper is an English guitarist and singer/songwriter best known as a former long-time member of the Australian neopsychedelic indie rock band The Church. He also played with English alt rock band All About Eve and Swedish progressive rock titan Anekdoten. In addition, he’s released a half-dozen solo albums as well as other guest appearances and collaborations.

Left: Andy Jossi and Krissy Vanderwoude of The Blue Herons. Right: Marty Willson-Piper of The Church.

“Marty was one of my guitar heroes,” says Jossi, along with Johnny Marr of the Smiths, and Robert Smith of The Cure. “I found out he was giving guitar lessons via Skype. When I asked him if he would teach me, he agreed.”

But what Jossi discovered was improving his guitar technique was only one of many valuable skills he would learn from Willson-Piper. “What I found even more interesting than playing was talking to Marty about music. What his influences were, what records he had, and what went into writing a great song.”

“Our relationship changed from guitar lessons into song-writing assistance,” says Jossi. “I would send him a song, and he would give me feedback. He was always honest telling me when he didn’t like something and teaching me how to improve it.”

“One of the most valuable things he’s ever said to me was ‘Be accurate.’ Clean up my reverb and delays. Sometimes that meant completely deleting all my settings and starting over from scratch. Every layer needed to be in time and in synch. Whereas previously I might do 20 takes, now I was doing 40.”

“And I have to say that after following his advice, the end result was always much better. I loved the song even more.”

As the two became friends, it was natural when Willson-Piper was visiting nearby France that he asked Jossi how far away from there he lived. This resulted in the musical legend and his wife, Olivia, staying with Jossi for three days in August 2018.

During that stay, while sitting in Jossi’s studio, Willson-Piper says, “So let’s make a bit of music. Shall we jam or is there a song I can play on?”

And that is how Willson-Piper ended up adding his signature guitar to “The Way You Look At Me.” “My smile was so huge,” says Jossi. “Here was Marty sitting in my studio with my guitar and playing on my song. I never dreamed I would ever be on a recorded song with him. It was such a great honor, and it meant so much to me.”

Krissy Vanderwoude amplified the point: “I couldn’t be happier or more honored to be a part of this song with Andy and Marty,” she said. “When Andy originally sent the song idea to me, I loved that it was such a contrast to what we had previously done together with The Churchhill Garden songs. The Churchhill songs tend to have a much more melancholic feel and are usually drenched in reverb and drowned in delay. I instantly adored how crisp, bright and uplifting this song was by comparison. I was excited to work on something so different with Andy, and of course it was also extremely exciting to know that the legendary Marty Wilson-Piper had contributed additional guitars to this song. As I listened, while creating the vocals, all I kept thinking about was the word ‘happy’, because that’s how this song made me feel. I wanted to make sure that I centered the vocal melodies and lyrics around that feeling of happiness. In the end it has turned out to be such a cute pop song and we are all very pleased with it! We hope that listeners will agree.”

You can listen to “The Way You Look At Me” on Bandcamp and Spotify. See if you can distinguish the guitar of Willson-Piper. And while you’re at it, go like The Blue Herons Facebook page, the Bandcamp page and download the song. It’s free, but contributions are always appreciated and used to defray the cost of mastering the final version. Those so inclined can also follow the project on Instagram and Soundcloud. Soundcloud.

The Blue Herons Discography

All songs are available at “name your price.”

Cruising The Coastline, May 2017
Instrumental

Transparency Blue, July 2017
Featuring Hideka

New Day, September 2017
Featuring Krissy Vanderwoude

All I Keep Inside, May 2018
Featuring Thierry Haliniak as lead vocals with Krissy Vanderwoude as backing vocals

Another Chance, April 2019
Featuring Thierry Haliniak as lead vocals with Krissy Vanderwoude as backing vocals

The Way You Look At Me, June 2019
Featuring Krissy Vanderwoude with additional guitar by Marty Willson-Piper

 


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