Andrea Soler is back home in Australia following the summer-fall Daydreamer Tour. This Australian singer songwriter, a true friend of HorizonVU Music, continues to deliver her compelling vocals and insightful lyrics. Musically inspired by the passionate joie de vivre of her French ancestry she exudes a distinctly European influenced sound, yet maintaining her own take on indie folk. Likening herself and her music to the old ways of gypsies and travelers; expect a swathe of moods and emotion from Andrea’s soulful live performances. We recently caught up with Andrea and took the opportunity to join her in reflecting on the tour and finding out what might be coming our way in 2013!
Hi Andrea! I think it goes without saying that it’s great this opportunity to do this interview. Give us a little bit of background. When did you start thinking about a tour across Europe and how did it come together?
AS: The preparations for the tour were at least a year in the making. From nonchalantly talking about it one night while driving home after a gig, to actually buying the plane tickets and booking the shows, I worked full time for six months in preparations for this tour. I have always felt a calling to do a tour in Europe, I was just waiting for the right team and the right time.
You didn’t go alone…tell us about “team Daydreamer”?
AS: There were three of us on tour – Goba, James and myself. Leading up to jetting off, we met up once a week to finalise plans, make clips on youtube, fundraise through Pozible.com, and organise ourselves!
My husband, Goba, has been with me on my musical journey from the beginning, and has always supported and believed in what I do. He was a crucial part of the Daydreamer Team because he was not only the man with the camera in his hand capturing all the moments on tour, he was also interviewing people, helping to drive from country to country, and most importantly he was the rock!
James is my guitarist, and is a very talented guy! He is a real people person and loves making connections and new friends. James helped us to raisefunds for our trip as well, which enabled us to purchase camera and sound equipment for our doco. He also helped to get sponsorship from AER Acoustic Amps.
For most of us going on the road takes a special measure of courage – it’s tough for a lot of us to leave our own backyard and play elsewhere. Did you have any real hesitations about coming to Europe?
AS: I did have my hesitations, and of course fears came up for me – What if they don’t like my music, what if the car breaks down, what if we don’t find a place to stay, etc. Those fears are totally normal. In a way I was lucky to have lived in Paris and the UK and performed over there so I wasn’t going over with no idea of what to expect.
What were your initial objectives in setting out on the road…did you accomplish everything? Where do you give the tour high marks? What would you do to try to improve next time?
AS: The initial objective of the Daydreamer tour was to expand my musical horizons. As you can imagine the music industry in Australia is very small and isolated compared to say Europe or the US. I wanted to test the waters to see if in a three month time frame I could gather up a grass roots fan base to be able to return and tour independently and sustainably the following years.
We also set out to make a documentary about our trip, to inspire fellow independent musicians on self-management and booking tours overseas themselves. We interviewed festival directors, radio announcers, musicians, and music lovers in the UK and Europe to gain insight. This doco will hopefully be completed in 2013.
It was hard combining those two projects together as it increased our work load to almost unmanageable. Not only were we heading to countries we’ve never been to, finding our way around, performing in front of crowds that didn’t know us, we also had to have the camera with us to capture it all, and also edit clips for youtube and blog along the way. I think we achieved more than what we set out to do and we proved to ourselves that we are a good team.
Okay, so you were in a number of countries and cities over the summer to fall, how exactly did you get from place to place? Did you find moving around difficult at all?
Yes, and no, to that question! First we went and bought a car in the UK so we would have our own transport, which was a great way to get around. It was a bit scary when driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road in Europe, and also sitting in traffic jams for hours and the lack of parking was definitely a challenge.
We had so much gear in the back of the car and every time we had a gig, or stayed somewhere we pretty much had to unpack and repack it, which was tiring! We ended up doing about 12 000km’s in the car and I think that was too much driving.
We know that you have some great videos of the tour…do you have a video we can show readers…you know, give them a taste of the Daydreamer Tour 2012?
AS: We are actually in the process of finalising the edits of our European part of the tour right now. At the moment there are clips of our time in England and Scotland and one music clip we recorded in the south of France. All clips can be accessed via www.andreasoler.com.
We’d like to share a clip with our readers…Andrea Soler and “No Ordinary Love Song”!
Reflecting back, tell us, was there a real highlight of the tour? We’re there any moments you care not to relive – honestly now….?
AS: When I have people ask me that question I find it hard to answer because there were so many highlights! I felt very honoured to be able share my music, and be on the road touring in Europe!
My first day in Germany is quite memorable. We landed at the Mobile Blues Club in the back streets of Hamburg, where we were playing that night. From the outside it looked like a semi trailer from a circus, and on the inside it was a cabaret bar. By the end of the night we had so many people crammed inside watching, listening, and clapping along. It was an incredible atmosphere I’ll never forget.
We also had a show in Lubeck, Germany. We arrived at the venue to be told that a lot of the uni students were on holidays and they didn’t know how many people might come along. We started setting up and a handful of people walked in. We thought that was it, we would play to about seven people that night. Within the next hour, the whole bar was packed. You just never know!
I did have an instance where one guy drove 800km’s from Switzerland to Berlin to see our show, and we also had a couple from Austria drive to our show in Chur, Switzerland, and they knew all the words to my songs! That was amazing! I really enjoyed performing at The Larmer Tree Festival in the UK with the incredible musicians who recorded on my first album –Earth On An Axis.
In regards to moments I’d care not to relive – I think when we arrived to a festival in the UK and I’d forgotten my wellies and umbrella. (The biggest mistake.) It was windy and raining and we had to walk across a muddy field in shoes. We got wet, cold, soggy and muddy and then had to play a show. Not fun at all!
Usually, touring along with the ups and downs provides some maybe unconfortable at the tile, but at the end of the day, funny moments. Did you get some good laughs along the way? Tell us.
AS: We had so many funny moments! In times of stress (there were a few!), we would end up laughing about it in the end.
We did a lot of busking in the streets without permits and I remember a few times being stopped by police. Once in Berlin, the police approached us and we had a crowd of about 50 people who started booing at the cops. There was this tension in the air. He told us we had to stop. So I smiled at him and cheekily said do you think we could do one more song? He let us!When we drove from Berlin to Prague on a heat wave 40 deg day, and got over the border into the Czech Republic our GPS wouldn’t work. The screen went blank. So, not only did we have to find our way to Prague, we had to find the place where we were staying! If you’ve been to Prague then you know how condensed and tiny some of those back streets are. We ended up paying a taxi driver to drive in front and take us there while we followed behind in the car!
When we got to the big cities, we would go and hire bicycles and ride around. It’s a great way to see the city, and we had a lots of fun, and once Goba had the Go Pro in his hand a James accidentally ran into him and they had a crash in the middle of the street. It’s funny because you can see it all on film.
When you gave that last performance, that last night and it was over, how did you feel? Happy to be headed back home, sad to be going off tour? What was that like for Andrea?
Our last show in Paris was, I think, around the 50th show. I was happy and content and ready to come home by then. I didn’t feel sad because well, three months on the road was long enough, but also there was so much to look forward to in coming home. I’ve started working on my new album, and also building a solar powered house in the Northern Rivers with Goba.
Do you have any particular plans in mind for keeping up momentum in Europe?
AS: Definitely. The plan is to return to Europe next year. We will focus on less countries and less driving next time and do more shows! I have already started contacting people and venues to keep the ball rolling.
What’s next for Andrea, James and the team?
AS: I think editing our little grass roots documentary is a priority as it’s still current and relevant. I am really looking forward to getting it out there.
Anything we haven’t touched on that you’d like to mention…errors or omissions on our part ?
Thanks for all your help and support with my music!
You’re entirely welcome. Thanks to you for taking time to talk to us – much appreciated. We look forward to hearing more from you in the weeks and months ahead and we look forward to seeing you back in Europe!