Sunday, December 22, 2013

Andy Norton, Singer of Praise

Andy Norton of Praise at TIHC
Photo from InEffectHardcore
React! Records is one of the most epic labels in hardcore.  Everybody knows THAT! Coming soon on React! is the first full LP by Praise.  Andy Norton (the singer) let me interview him.  (Anybody that gets the chance to see Praise should DO IT! They have awesome music and they are all really really nice guys.)

PMAKid: I am so excited for the new Praise album coming out on React! This is your first full length album, right? Can you tell me about this album?

Andy Norton: The record is called “Lights Went Out” and should be out this winter. Its nine new songs and a rerecorded version of “Afraid To Ask”. It’s the first Praise full length and actually the first full length that I’ve been a part of in terms of writing and recording. We recorded the record with Will Yip at Studio 4 in Conshohocken, PA this past August. I think the it picks up right where “Two Songs” left off.

PMAKid: You have been a part of the React! family for a long time. Can you give me your thoughts on the most AWESOME label in hardcore?

Andy Norton: It’s a blessing and an honor. I couldn’t think of another group of individuals I would want to create with. As a band Praise has the freedom to do whatever we want and when we want with the full support of React. Aram and Ev are two of the most driven and inspiring people I have ever met and to have the two of them at the wheel really takes things to another level.

PMAKid: You are probably the biggest 7 Seconds fan on the whole planet! You own so many shirts! Every time I have seen you, and every picture I have seen you in, you are wearing one of their shirts!  I think Kevin even did the artwork for Growing.Changing.Healing, right?  What does 7 Seconds mean to you?

Andy Norton: To sum up 7Seconds in a few sentences as to what they mean to me wouldn’t do them justice. Besides Minor Threat, they are THE band for me and continue to have the same effect on me all these years later. I love their aesthetic, which is why I collect their shirts. Before Praise even practiced I had spoken with Kevin about doing the art and he said that he would be down. Once the songs were done we sent him ideas, and gave him some references, and before we knew it we had the cover of the record. I am very thankful for him to have contributed to something so special.

New album coming on React! Records
PMAKid: One of the things that I love about you guys is that your music and lyrics are so powerful.  "I Believe" is one of my absolute favorite songs.  You really want the world to be a better place, right? Deep inside?  Can you talk about this a little? What inspires you?

Andy Norton: The world can be an ugly place, and can really knock you down some times. I struggle, like everyone, so it’s hard to turn on the news and see all the messed up things we are doing to each other, the earth, and the animals. With that being said, I do believe that all people are capable of good and can contribute to making the world a better place. I don’t think it happens overnight, or even in a lifetime, but I do think if all of us are were a little more compassionate we may see things change. Spread it.

PMAKid:  PMA.  Your thoughts?

Andy Norton: I think it’s a good mindset and I try to always keep it in mind. I do think that it can be a little unsafe at times. I think it can lead to people not facing problems in their life. You can run and run and say you’re staying positive but in reality you’re just covering up the stuff you’re afraid to deal with. There is no positive without a negative. Things aren’t always perfect, and it’s ok to get sad sometimes.

PMAKid: You seem like a really thoughtful and smart guy.  Can you tell me your favorite books and what influences you?

Andy Norton: I'd be lying if I said I was an avid reader. I do read but it takes me a very long time to get through books. Siddhartha and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy are two of my favorites. I just got around to reading Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer and so far I am really enjoying it. I don’t know about influence but I can tell you that my friends and family inspire me to keep doing what I am doing.

PMAKid: A lot of people know that my grandfather died because of drugs.  Can you tell me your personal thoughts on straight edge, and how you feel about people who are not edge?

Andy Norton: I am sorry to hear about your grandfather, that’s tough. Personally, I don’t care who is and is not straight edge. It doesn’t affect me. I love being straight edge and I love the straight edge. When I was younger I skateboarded a lot and did a lot of damage to the outside of my body and didn’t want to mess up the inside.  As I got older I saw members of my family battle addiction and lose. I just don’t need to put that garbage in my body. I like to think as straight as I possibly can.

PMAKid: Sunny told me that he thinks that Dan Fang is one of the nicest guys in hardcore.  There are a lot of nice people in hardcore.  Who do you think some of the nicest and coolest are?

Andy Norton: Sunny is correct. I don’t need to name names but I am fortunate to have a lot of amazing people in my life.

PMAKid: When I first started this site, I did it by interviewing Toby Morse of H2O. Since then, I have done 50 or 60 interviews with all different kinds of bands and politicians and actors and sports players and other people.  The thing I like about it is I get to learn things about people I never would have met without my website.  I think it is important to actually talk to people so you can get along better.  Can you give me your thoughts on this?

Andy Norton: I couldn’t agree more. Communication helps us understand one another better. A lot of hate comes from ignorance and not understanding. When we talk, we learn. Even if you start talking to someone who has opposing viewpoints and think you know what they are going to say, you may be wrong and will probably learn something from it.

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