In the spotlight – Andre Pettipas

In the spotlight – Andre Pettipas

Nova Scotia (Canada) based rock band Andre Pettipas and The Giants – the band name is a reference to former French wrestler André The Giant, released their sophomore album ‘No Fools No Fun’ in 2021. Lead singer Andre Pettipas will release a solo album later this year, which will also be keeping in the theme of wrestling.

“I guess we can call it a Mick Foley album.”

In this interview with Andre you can find out why he likes wrestling so much, but before we get to the wrestling bit, let’s start at the beginning.

What’s your musical background and what inspired you to start making music?

“I’m a self-taught musician. I began playing guitar at age 12 shortly after I formed a band with my pals in junior high. A few years again I began learning piano and have really been in love with the production aspect of music. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed singing and entertaining. Seeing people forget about their daily problems and enjoy a good show is one of the reasons I began creating music.”

If you were an instrument, what would you be and why?

“Tough question but I’m going to have to say a piano; reason being is that when creating a song I like to imagine it being able to be stripped down to its bare bones and still be just as effective as a fully produced track. A good song requires being able to be played in many different circumstances (solo acoustic, piano, full band etc.) and when I’m creating I aim to write with that in mind.”

About creating music, can you describe your creative process?

“My creative process is very sporadic. I don’t tend to set a certain time for writing or recording. I let it come naturally and when the creativity sparks I let it catch fire and consume my brain for the evening. I love to hear a song with it’s full picture shortly after it’s skeleton is finished being written. I usually begin writing the song on an acoustic guitar or piano while getting the vocal melody down and then writing lyrics to it following that. I have so many one liners and great conversation pieces in my notes on my phone that make the subject matter of a song easy to begin writing.”

Are there any musicians who inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them?

“My band inspires me every day. We’re constantly looking to improve and grow our brand; plus, the Giants are up for just about anything. We have been investing financially in our product heavily over the last couple years – sophomore album, upcoming double live album, radio singles and much more – which can be stressful at times but our marketing plan is on par for many goals we set already this year and that is something to be grateful for.”

Who are your non-musical influences?

“Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and a majority of the Attitude Era of WWE (formerly WWF). They were masters behind the mic in a different manor. As a kid and into my teens I was highly into wrestling because of its entertainment value. The way these guys worked night in and night out to put on a show inspired my love for entertaining even further. I’m a big fan of theatrics and things that can be “over the top”. There’s a thin line between a showboat and a shipwreck and I’m always teetering on the edge.”

Photo: Rob MacPherson

We all know you as the lead singer from Andre Pettipas and the Giants. You’ve recently released your first single from an upcoming solo album. What made you decide to release music as a solo artist?

“I’ve had songs I’ve written over the years that didn’t fit the sound of Andre Pettipas and the Giants and the pandemic has taught me that things can be halted very quickly so second doubting has quickly become a thing of the past for me. Like I mentioned previously, I love the production side of music. For me, being able to record on the go and at home with no boundaries or restraints on time/money/scheduling is great for the creative in me.”

Would you say your solo work is distinctively different from Andre Pettipas and the Giants? In what way is it different?

“My solo work definitely differs from the Giants as I tend to be slightly experimental with instrumentation and collaborations. I like to step outside of a box and try different elements that you normally wouldn’t use with a rock band.”

Are you happy with the response to your first single ‘Apocalypse’?

“I’m definitely happy with the people who continue to support everything I do; from the features to likes and shares, it means the world to me.”

How’s the album coming along? When are you planning to release it?

“So far I’ve got about 15-20 songs that I’m going to be aiming to pick 10-11 out of the bunch. I’ve been looking back on demo tracks from over the years that I’m re-working or borrowing parts from to make different tracks. I plan on releasing songs single by single with the hopes of releasing the project before the end of 2022.”

What should we expect from your next single?

“Right now I’m currently trying to decide which song I want to select next. I’ve got a couple vowing for the next release, but I’m going to continue doing some more production and mixing to them and see what’s going on in the world during that time to try and coincide subject matter.”

And the album, what should we expect?

“Keeping with the wrestling theme, I guess we can call it a Mick Foley album. You’ll get some Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love; no set boundaries and many different elements coming together from song to song. You can expect this album to have a number of collaborations, various stylings and twists and turns throughout.”

What can you tell me about the themes on the album?

“The life of an adventurer. Ups and downs, growing pains, realizations and although it is a solo album there are many collabs with some great musicians and people I’ve met throughout my life.”

Photo by Ray Jaee

What are your dreams and goals?

“I want to be able to sustain a musical career without having to rely on a day job to help with other bills. I’ve been playing music for eighteen years, seven with the Giants, and right now am super happy with the direction the band is headed. We have been working hard to become a household name on the East Coast and with the world opening up we are excited to begin touring more frequently.”

“The world is so unpredictable; like sand and time I don’t like opportunities slipping through my fingers. My favourite song ‘Change’ by Blind Melon states, “I want to write my words on the face of today and then they’ll paint it” which, to me means that I want to do something to be remembered by. That is my music and love for entertaining. We are meant to do more than work a boring day job and settle for less in life. I love to take risks and work towards my goals daily so that when I’m older I don’t regret things and think, “What could have been?”

What’s your favourite style of music to listen to?

“My favourite style of music would be southern rock. I’m also a huge fan of pop hooks so the combination of both really intrigues me. I’m always searching for a catchy chorus with tasty grooves, licks and swells throughout the song to keep my active brain attentive. Brit Rock always seems to have a place in my weekly playlists. There’s something about the warmth and raw feeling of those styles of music that intrigue me.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20?

“Totally digging ‘Mr. Rain’ by Connor Berry. It’s got a cool Beatles meet The Kooks vibe with super cool production throughout.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“I’ve had ‘Vials’ by Miss Vincent on heavy rotation as of late. It’s got a very throwback feel to it, great chorus and solid harmonies. It’s one of those songs that got me on the first listen.”

(Cover photo by Photo by Travis Pettipas)