Daddy Squad is a new solo project by Andrew Armstrong. Andrew is one half of electro pop outfit Monarchy, as well as producing, writing and collaborating with a host of artists over the years including Dita Von Teese a number of times, Blondie, Charli XCX, Kelis, Kylie, OMD, Lady Gaga, Jamiroquai, SIA and many more.
With Monarchy he has performed around the world, from Coachella, Lovebox, Low Festival, MadCool, BBK, Sonorama, to endless festivals and shows across Europe, Russia, South Korea, New Zealand, the US and Mexico. He’s also written extensively for TV and film. Now he comes with his new project, bringing together his long history in music, spanning from early rave, breakbeat, drum and bass, through house, disco, electro pop, French touch, soundtracks, DJ sets and concerts around the world, all in the mix for this new project, where nothing is sacred, everything is borrowed, and nothing is safe.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
I have gone through quite a few genres over time, from drum and bass, breaks, through to French touch and synth pop. I even did a lofi beats album during lockdown, with my cat being the front person of the project. These days I’m narrowing down to 1988 to 1994 as my key years. So, it’s Italo disco, and early house from those years. My studio is analogue and I’m about to buy some more early 90’s gear. I need that authentic sound.
What is your creative process like?
I usually have a little idea in my head, a lyric or a direction, and then I sit down and try and make it happen. Sometimes it’ll be a sample I liked, or maybe a groove from another one of my songs that I didn’t end up using. Sometimes I write backings with particular people in mind, just to try and get them to work with me.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I have a huuuuge list. Planning To Rock. Kylie Minogue. Pharrell. Roisin Murphy. Jessie Ware. Normal gay boy producer dream collab stuff.
Have you got a ritual of sorts when writing and thinking about your music?
Yes. Every day I wake up at 8:30, I have coffee and talk to my mum for 10 minutes (she lives alone). I then meditate and start work in the studio with a green tea at 9:30, and work through until 2pm. Only after 2pm can I check any emails or Instagram, go to the gym. Sometimes I’ll then have a break and head back in for the afternoon until evening. Every second day or so I micro dose on mushrooms, just to get the vibes. Sundays I never work. I need a day off…
What sets your music apart? What is unique, or at least uncommon?
This project of Daddy Squad is resolutely LGBT+ and also positive, inclusive and diverse. I really want to work with and support LGBT+ people and for all the collaborations to be a positive experience for everyone. If there’s bad vibes, even if it’s on a video shoot, or something, I’m getting out pretty quickly. I want the songs and the lyrics to be all about positivity, and not about bringing other people down or saying rubbish about people. It’s much better to talk in positives to take us all up, than putting other people down to get ahead.
Have you always been interested in music? Was there a particular song/performance that made you say “Woah! I want to do that!”?
I was always interested in music, and had a classical education, but I didn’t like what my friends were listening to. Classic rock, pop, it wasn’t great in Perth back then, before the internet, before we could find music so easily. But then I remember I was sitting in the car one day, and S’Express – Theme From S’Express came on the radio, and I freaked. It was the music I had been wanting to hear for my entire childhood. I knew then I wanted to make dance music. I’m really excited to be able to collaborate with S’Express soon. Childhood dream come true!
What is the most useless talent you have?
I have an electronic engineering degree, so I can do a Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle equation pretty easily, which I’ve had zero use for. It basically works out the relationship of where an electron is, compared to the speed of the electron, and the ratio of accuracy of both of those things. The more we know the position of an electron or photon, the less we know the speed of it, and vice versa. Not so useful in music.
If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?
I actually thought of doing this and calling it “The life and times of a mid to low level DJ”, and document all the crazy experiences. From meetings with agents who were completely freaking we didn’t have an agent, and they were going to start work the next day with us, an incredible opportunity etc etc. And we literally never heard from them again (I think coke might have been involved). Through to promoters turning off drum and bass on the radio because they hate it, for us to tell them we are drum and bass (my first project). One accountant who spent our appointment googling soft porn. Car accidents. Mad gigs in Russia. Missed flights. Misspelled names on huge banner advertisements. Playing in war zones. There’s been a lot of laughs.
You are a new addition to a crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
Gold glitter. Everything is better with gold glitter. I remember when I was a kid, only the bigger boxes of crayons had the gold and silver ones. They were the special ones.
What movie ending really frustrated you? And how would you change it?
OMG. Hans Solo movie. What a turd. He spent the whole time, years, trying to find his childhood friend. Then she double crosses him, and he’s like “oh well”. They could easily have made it the reason he’s such a unpredictable untrustworthy person later on, scared of being hurt by loyalty again. But no. He just shrugs his shoulders and the movie ends. I’m a fan of the Star Wars universe but that was a dud.
If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself?
Actually, you’re not that ugly. For some reason I spent all my youth thinking I’m ugly and feeling really uncomfortable in my skin. It’s only later I figured out to be who I am.
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