Andrew Howie has been quietly making music as Calamateur since 2000, from his John Peel endorsed early releases, through to his critically acclaimed later albums ‘Each Dirty Letter’ and ‘The Quiet in the Land’ (the former featuring the sublime duets with Jo Mango ‘Retreat’, and ‘Change This World’, as heard on BBC3’s drama ‘Lip Service’).
As Calamateur, Andrew also contributed vocals to songs on the first two albums by Scottish collective The Grand Gestures.
After taking a break for a couple of years to concentrate on gaining an MA in songwriting, as well as working in Scottish prisons running songwriting workshops, he’s now ditched the Calamateur moniker and is writing, playing and releasing music under his own name.
Why ditch the pseudonym? ‘It just doesn’t feel right anymore’ says Andrew, ‘When I started making music the stage-name was something for me to hide behind. It’s time for me to step out from behind the mask and learn to be comfortable in my own skin’.
His debut (if we’re allowed to call it that!) album is the soon-to-be-released ‘The Great Divide’, preceded by the single ‘The Fury and the Sound’, co-written with acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Yvonne Lyon. The single is backed with an unexpectedly upbeat, but haunting, cover of Nirvana’s ‘I Hate Myself And Want To Die’.
Other than Yvonne Lyon’s gorgeous contributions of piano and backing vocals on four of the album’s ten tracks, multi-instrumentalist Andrew performed, recorded and produced the album himself in his home studio. After carefully selecting and fine-tuning the bare bones of the songs (while discarding more than a few along the way), he crafted the sonic landscapes and arrangements over the course of a year to produce an album that is at once immediate and slow-burning. It is, without a doubt, his most assured offering yet – a long-player of meticulously crafted songs that unashamedly deal with the deeply personal (but universal) themes of uncertainty, conflict, parenthood and doubt, as well as the chasms (hinted at in the album title) that often exist within our everyday lives: between the people we want to be and the everyday reality of who we are, between the beliefs we publicly profess and the doubts we privately struggle with.