Ever since first going solo in early 2016, Andrew W. Boss has been on the fast track to becoming a big name in both the metal world and the rap world. That’s right, he is able to combine both rap and metal into his music. The rap-metal genre may not be the most popular or beloved genre in the world, but Andrew W. Boss looks to change the perception of the genre through his music. He does so in a way that has impressed enough people to build a growing fanbase for himself. That fanbase is guaranteed to grow to exponential numbers in the wake of his latest album, Invincible, which was released May 19th of this year and is available everywhere music is sold and streamed. The Salt Lake City native stops by Patchchord News to discuss his album, the writing/production process, and everything that’s happened in his life that has led him to where he is now.
May 20th marked the one year anniversary of your first live solo performance. How has your music career evolved in the last year?
It’s evolved quite a bit in pretty much every way possible. When I decided to do a solo career, I had quite a few people around me that I wanted to play in the band and that I wanted to help make the album. We had the album produced by Jim Fogarty, who’s produced Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, and a handful of other bands like that who are big influences on me. Got the album done. We toured all over the place now and we have a fall tour now that we’re doing that is 40 dates from LA to Seattle to New York to Florida to Texas and all over. So things are really good right now.
Speaking of Jim Fogarty, how did you two meet?
Well, I kind of met him just because I really like All That Remains and I saw them here in Salt Lake City. I got their CD from Ollie and I just really liked the way All That Remains sounded and how their new album sounded just really, really good. And so I looked up their producer, which happened to be Jim and his studio up there in Massachusetts. And I just got a hold of them and I wanted to do a song to see how it turned out and the first song that we did was ‘Decay,’ which is on my album. And it turned out really good and I just said “I wanna do the whole album with you” and he said “Hell yeah! Let’s fucking do it!” And I think it turned out really, really good. I gave him a lot of leeway on throwing his own ideas in there and I think that it turned out really good.
How did the collab process between you and Fogarty go? How did you two decide on what type of sound you should go for with this album?
The whole style and the whole album was written by me. So I would basically send him a song that was 90% done and he would throw in his little ideas like “You know, hey, we should move this here and we should add a little of this here, have it all out, add some drums back here.” So he kind of already had the work and he just put his own little attributes in there and he mixed and mastered it. So it was kind of a good process because he wasn’t there to tell me what he thought before. He was there to tell me “Hey, you have to go back and do these vocals again, you know? You can do better.” And I would and it would turn out better. So it was a good process.
Going back to that May 20th show, that was also the night you opened up for Tech N9ne and Rittz. What was that experience like?
It was good. It was really good. It was interesting because I had met these guys just like twice. And so our first show was sold out by 25,000 people. It was a little nerve wracking when you’re worried about bombing in front of 25,000 people, but it turned out really good. All of us had toured before and it was a good show. I played a handful of shows with Tech N9ne before, and Rittz, and so I kind of knew what was coming and what I wanted to do. It was just more nerve wracking than usual compared to our first show together.
By any chance, did you ever get any advice from Tech N9ne or Rittz?
We talked to Rittz quite a bit that night because my drummer looked like a big taller, chubby version of Rittz and Rittz thought it was hilarious. It was crazy because we were walking around and people would think he was Rittz. Rittz was really cool about it and we kind of talked it up with him a little bit. When I first started playing shows with Tech, he would hang out and walk around and bullshit with us and stuff, but now he…well now, he wears a mask so he doesn’t have to paint his face, but at that show he had his face painted so before the show, we didn’t really see him because he was on the bus for about an hour and a half getting his face painted. Then, after the show, he doesn’t want to hang out. He hangs out for a couple minutes and then he gets on the bus. [But] I completely appreciate what he’s done.
On May 19th this year, just a day shy of that May 20th performance anniversary, you released your Invincible album. On this album, you incorporate rap and metal into your work. What can new listeners expect from such a unique combination of genres?
You know, I’ve thought about it a lot and I have a lot of people who ask me about it, like how would I describe my music and what would I say, and I really haven’t come up with a good way to explain what the album is about because, for me, it’s more like a movie soundtrack and that’s kind of what I was going for because it kind of takes you on a rollercoaster ride. The whole album, from song to the next song, it’s different. It takes you on a different corner. And it really doesn’t sound like Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit or any kind of a rap metal that people are used to. That’s really not what this album is. There’s a lot of rap and there’s a lot of metal, but it’s more like a movie soundtrack. Any kind of expectation that you have when somebody says “Hey, this new kid from Salt Lake City has a new rap metal album out,” you should keep an open mind because it’s not gonna be that.
Let’s wind the clocks back to your childhood for a second. You first wanted to make music because you saw your brother, Adam, perform when you were 10 years old. What was it about that performance gave you that little music bug to say, ‘Hey, I can do this for a living’?”
Well, for one I was 10 so, you know, everything’s super cool when you’re 10. My brother was a bass player in a band. I showed up to their show when there was like 500 people there. And it was just like everybody was happy to be there. And the crowd and everybody was just having a good time. There wasn’t anything negative about it at all and that’s what I liked about it. Everybody was really friendly and just the whole atmosphere of it. Then they got up and played and everybody loved it. And it was just a really good metal show and that was when I really started to get into the, you know, “Hey, my brother’s a rock star” kind of thing. And it was pretty enticing, but at 10 years old, you really don’t have any kind of clue about what that means or what the hell’s going on. You’re just really excited to be there. So as it went on and I got older, I went and saw a handful of concerts and a personal one was Deftones. And that one really solidified it. Watching Chino up there be a crazy person really kind of [made me think], “this is what I wanna do.”
And from there you started writing and recording music. Then, eventually, you wound up in a band of your own called The Beginning At Last. Until March 2016 when you announced you were going solo. Why did you go solo?
Well, it’s for a lot of reasons. You know, I don’t wanna say and harp on anybody. There was a lot of stuff that was going on that we weren’t doing things that I wanted out of the band and where I wanted to take music. And so, for that reason, I made the decision that I can’t continue on this road and work with you guys anymore. That I have a vision and places that I wanna go and stuff that I wanna do and I have to find people to do it with me. And so it was just time to get out of that situation and move on to something a little more positive.
Whether you were in a band or solo, you always mixed rap with metal into your music. Have you ever worried that mixing two drastically different genres alienates your audience?
No, because whatever genre you make of music, you’re gonna alienate somebody. You know what I mean? I mean, look at how many albums country music sells and look at how many people fucking hate country. It’s always gonna be there and so I just kind of take the approach. Like, this fall, we’re going on a juggalo tour with Twiztid. And there’s Moonshine Bandits that’s on the tour and Whitney Peyton and us, and we’re not juggalos. And so I always felt like I have to do the album that I want and the music that I want and I just have to go out and present it to people the best way that I can. And if they like it, they like it and the people who are supposed to like it will like it and they’ll love it and they’ll end up being real fans. Statistically speaking, there’s like 850 million people in the country. 1% of that is three-and-a-half million people. If just 1% of people in the United States like your music, that’s pretty expanding. So it doesn’t really bother me that what I’m doing isn’t really the normal thing out there right now. I enjoy it. I think that that album is really good and our lives are really off the hook and it’s just a lot of fun. And I get to go on tour with my brother and so the whole situation is just really good for me.
With a lot of the tracks on this album, you tend to get really personal. On one track in particular, “Kleen,” you talking about your battles with sobriety. Do you mind talking about that for a second? Go a little more in depth? What are you going sober from?
Well, I got arrested, I had some issues, and realized I was an alcoholic. I’ve been pretty good throughout my life that when I came at a crossroads that I had to realize that that’s not who I wanted to be. So when I realized that I was an alcoholic, I was just like “this isn’t who I’m going to be. I’m not gonna be that kind of a guy.” And it was hard to realize that some people can have a drink and be fine, but I can’t. And I think that that’s the realization that a lot of people need to come to, but they have a hard time admitting that they have a fucking problem. And my problem was that I’m an angry drunk. So when I get drunk, I get into fights and I, you know, get into fits all around. So now I just think that everything that I’m about is like “Should I drink?” So getting sober was a big part of becoming a better person. It was hard, man. The first thing I thought was “fuck, dude, everybody I know drinks. I’m not going to have any friends. I’m not going to have anybody to hang out with if I quit drinking.” So it was a rough process. Music and writing songs is kind of like therapy for me. It helps me be sober and with my issues so that I can move on and you know, just be happy with where I’m going.
Well, first off, I want to congratulate you on your sobriety.
This next question is something I like to ask all musicians whenever I get the chance. What’s more important: to make music that’s better than your competition, or that’s better than what you last recorded?
I think there’s a goal to do both. With my responsibilities, I just feel like I need to be able to put a CD into the hands of a kid who has a Metallica album and a Dr. Dre album that sound amazing sonically. Both of those albums are as good as it gets in the industry as far as production wise goes and my goal is to be able to give them a CD that doesn’t sound out of place next to those two guys. And that’s kind of what you shoot for. Production wise, that’s kind of my goal, but as far as the content and musically how I create my music doesn’t nearly have anything to do with anything I’ve done in the past or anything anyone else is doing now. It’s kind of just what I’m doing in the moment and what I think is cool and the album that I want to listen to and kind of like the direction of where my head is at. So I’m really immersed into what I’m doing at the time and the song that I’m thinking at the time and make it as good as I possibly can.
And with that said, is there anything else that you’d like to promote before we close out this interview?
Yeah, just the fall tour. You can go on my Facebook, my Instagram, and my website and it shows all the tour dates and hopefully, people will come out. The album is everywhere and you can stream it on Spotify, Apple Music, and all of the streaming services. And I just want people to listen to the album and give it a chance.