MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Our next story also has to do with performance. In this case, performance of a musical sort. Andy Zipf has spent more than 10 years in the local music scene, earning name recognition the hard way, with lots and lots of gigs both in the Washington area and across the country. But with his latest album, "Reunion," he's tossing that name recognition out the window by recording under a new name, The Cowards Choir. Emily Berman met up with Zipf in his band's rehearsal space in the back of an Arlington church. She asked him about his new songs and how living in the D.C. region has influenced his view on the typical rock star dreams of fortune and fame.
MS. EMILY BERMAN
Music wise, you're starting a new chapter. Can you talk about the sound of "Reunion" in comparison to previous albums?
MR. ANDY ZIPF
This new release, "Reunion," the EP, the core of it, is live performance. And, the new sound is about just capturing the performance. And maybe showing some flaws a little bit, and they're not flaws really, just the humanity in it. And I think that's probably a common complaint that the humanity in music is kind of being lost because that's all right, I can auto tune it, and -- my friends, you know, that I'm playing with now, these guys can really play. They can really sing, and two tracks, "A Better Lie," and "Reunion" are largely all live.
So, I have to say "A Better Lie" is one of my favorite songs from your album, and I want to listen to a bit of it right now.
So that was "A Better Lie," by The Cowards Choir. So, I noticed you offer your music for free. I mean, you can listen on Spotify, you can download it for free through links on your website, you can pay through iTunes. What is your personal philosophy when it comes to sharing your music like that?
You're not gonna really make much money by selling, you know, downloads of music unless you're maybe Rihanna. I want people to hear the music, and I want folks that hear that song to come out and see us play in a room. I mean, that's the point. There is something different that happens when you're in a room in front of an audience and that connection is the whole point.
So, you tour nationally, but you're based here in northern Virginia.
How do you like being a part of this scene, in particular?
When folks think of D.C., they don't think of music and the arts, so I think some of it gets overshadowed, but I love this area and I'm not trying to, you know, be like, I'm gonna put D.C. on the map. I'm based here, but I actually make a living by travelling. Hopefully I can be an, you know, kind of an ambassador, in a way, for this area.
The D.C. music scene has been known for like punk and post punk. You are...
Not that. Exactly. So, how do you fit in and where do you fit in the landscape?
You know, when I first started playing, the D.C. music scene, D.C. proper, you know, Discord Records, Fugazi, it's intimidating to a guy that can't, I think what I draw from more of an Americana sound. The D.C. scene is growing. It's not just hardcore post punk anymore.
So, when it comes to, like, fame and fortune as a musician, what are your goals, and do you think you can achieve them based here in the D.C. area?
You know, fame and fortune, that's just smoke and mirrors. That's not my goal. You should do what you love. Sometimes it's tighter from month to month. So, I think of it more in a blue collar way. I get up and I build songs.
Andy Zipf, thank you so much for joining us today.
Thank you so much having me on.
That was Emily Berman speaking with Andy Zipf, aka The Cowards Choir. You can catch two upcoming shows in northern Virginia. We have details on our website, metroconnection.org.
Transcripts of WAMU programs are available for personal use. Transcripts are provided "As Is" without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. WAMU does not warrant that the transcript is error-free. For all WAMU programs, the broadcast audio should be considered the authoritative version. Transcripts are owned by WAMU 88.5 American University Radio and are protected by laws in both the United States and International law. You may not sell or modify transcripts or reproduce, display, distribute, or otherwise use the transcript, in whole or in part, in any way for any public or commercial purpose without the express written permission of WAMU. All requests for uses beyond personal and noncommercial use should be referred to (202) 885-1200.