This Musician Is Bridging Berlin and NYC Sounds With His New EP
When most people move from the glitz and grime of New York to the gritty world of Berlin, Germany, they spend their time partying and enjoying the sexual freedoms that have punctuated the European city. For Brooklyn native Andrew Fox, the transition overseas was a reflective moment not only for him, but for his sound. “Every artist gets to have their ‘Berlin Period,” he explained. “These songs are from mine.” The producer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist who performs under the name VISUALS took the two years he lived in Berlin and put them on record for his new four-track EP, The State of Things. The result was a haunting new album that confronts the emotions and observations he felt while living abroad.
Although the record is a bridge between New York and Berlin, it also incorporates memories of his time in Budapest and Paris. In Budapest, Fox drew on his family’s ties to the city’s history while writing the track “No Handle.” “That was a strange and dark time for me, visiting a city where much of my family had to flee or die. My grandfather came from Budapest [to New York] in 1938,” he revealed. “Most of his family was murdered in the Holocaust, but he was orphaned before that. I wore his ring on a chain around my neck pretty much every day that I was in Europe.”
After growing up in New York, the move to Europe provided the fresh perspective he needed in order to grow as an artist. “New York will fuck with you, grind you down and lean into you. If you’re young, and hungry, you do your best to push past it,” he said. “And then you do push past it and you wonder…was it worth sacrificing ideas and creative freedoms to work within the system of NYC?” The question became the basis of his journey overseas. And after two years, this new album is the answer. Released on the Berlin label thesongsays, The State of Things transcends the the foundation he created in his self-titled debut back in 2013.
Breaking away from the thrashing psych rock and new wave sounds on his self-titled debut album, Fox’s latest effort incorporates the techno, house, and dub music that he was surrounded by in Berlin’s infamous club scene. “There’s obviously a ton of influence still from psych and new wave, but its less the spine of the songs. It’s more just part of the general DNA,” he explained. “It’s the midpoint, for me, between the sound of the two cities.”
Album artwork by Kathryn Chadason. Images shot exclusively for Milk by Kieran Behan.
Check out VISUALS at the Bowery Ballroom on April 2.
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