|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (March 2012)|
|Birth name||Andrew Bull|
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Genres||Alternative pop, piano rock (early)|
|Instruments||Piano, Synthesizer, vocals, guitar, drums|
|Labels||Island (AUS) Republic (USA)|
Andy Bull is an Australian alt-pop singer-songwriter and producer, based in Sydney. He is best known for his singles "Dog", "Keep On Running" and "Baby I Am Nobody Now"; as well as his prolific Australian touring.
Early years and We're Too Young
Bull began performing in and around Sydney in the early 2000s. He signed to Island Records, a part of Universal Music Australia, in 2007. He supported Joss Stone on her Australian tour later that year. Bull's debut single, "Small Town Girl," was released in August 2008. It was also released as a part of a four-track self-titled EP; which featured three original songs and a cover of "A Man Needs a Maid" by Neil Young.
Bull's debut album, We're Too Young, was released in August 2009. A music video was made for "Young Man," the second single from the album. Bull toured extensively in support of the album throughout the rest of 2008 and 2009, notably joining Tim Finn's national tour as an opening act, performing solo. He also opened for a MySpace secret show in Sydney featuring Duffy that same year.
In May 2009, Bull toured in support of Lisa Mitchell's Australian tour, prior to the July release of her debut album Wonder. During the tour, he performed his support set solo. For her own set, Mitchell was to play guitar, accompanied by bass player Jan Bangma and drummer Robert Vasey. Before the second show of the tour, however, Mitchell's hand was cut in an accident. Due to Mitchell's injury, she was unable to play guitar and so Bull stepped in, learning the set on piano in lieu of the guitar parts. He played in the band for the remainder of that tour, fomenting Bull and Mitchell's friendship, which would lead to their collaboration on Bull's song "Dog" the following year.
2010–11: Phantom Pains
In 2010, Bull began writing new material after relocating to Surry Hills. He was inspired to record a duet with Lisa Mitchell after performing a cover of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" with her and Lanie Lane at Sydney's Enmore Theatre during Mitchell's headlining performance at the venue. The resulting song was "Dog". Its popularity resulted in being featured in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2010, charting at number 68.
"Dog," along with five other new songs, featured on Bull's Phantom Pains EP. He played piano, guitar and drums on the EP, as well as nearly all of the vocals. He was also joined by former Red Riders guitarist Adrian Deutsh and Deep Sea Arcade/Tim Finn drummer Carlos Adura, as well as Deep Sea Arcade bassist Nick Weaver. Along with Mitchell, the EP also featured special guests Little Red and Hungry Kids of Hungary as Bull's backing band on the songs "Nothing to Lose" and "Last Waltz," respectively. A music video was made for the EP's title track, in which a man cuts off his thumb in order to get workplace compensation. The EP artwork was painted by Bull, and features a depiction of his left hand with a severed thumb.
In October 2010, Bull joined Clare Bowditch's national tour for a series of stops as her opening act, joining Augie March frontman Glenn Richards. For these dates, he was joined by Slow Down Honey guitarist Alex Bennison. Bull and Bennison did a small headlining tour in the following weeks, and later joined Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Mangan on the New South Wales leg of his national tour in January 2011. He also headed out on a headlining tour of the east coast with Melbourne singer Owl Eyes, titled the Bulls Eye Tour, in February.
Shortly after this, the second and final single from Phantom Pains was announced as "Last Waltz." Bull, Bennison and new drummer Dave Jenkins, Jr. (also of Slow Down Honey, Young Romantics, Reece Mastin and Kirin J Callinan) visited the Triple J studios on 24 March 2011, to perform the song acoustically as a part of the station's "Like a Version" segment. The trio also performed a cover of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." The segment and rendition were popularly received, and were later voted by a Triple J listener poll into the top five 'Like a Version' segments for 2011.
On 28 February, Bull was a special guest on Channel 10 comedy panel show Good News Week. As one of the clues in deciphering a news story from the week, he performed a piano-based version of the Sex Pistols song "God Save the Queen." In early March 2011, Bull was also a part of a campaign for Australian tourism called "Making Tracks," in which he was paired with Taiwanese classical musician Irene Chan, from the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. The pair travelled to South Australia and the Northern Territory, in particular Kangaroo Island and Kings Canyon. The campaign involved a musical experiment, in which the two collaborated on a piece of music that reflected their journey. The video documentation of this has had over 100 thousand hits on YouTube.
Following this tour, Bull was asked to join his friends Hungry Kids of Hungary on their final Australian tour in support of their debut album, Escapades. Each night of the tour would see Bull performing with his band, as well as performing "Last Waltz" with Hungry Kids of Hungary during their headlining sets.
In June 2011, Bull played solo in support of Joshua Radin's Australian tour. In August/September 2011, Bull and his band headlined the official Phantom Pains tour of Australia, twelve months after The Phantom Pains EP was released.. The tour included sold out shows at Good God in Sydney; the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne and The Spiegltent in Brisbane (as part of the 2011 Brisbane Festival).
In December 2011, Bull, Bennison and Jenkins performed at Your Festival in Newcastle, New South Wales, as well as three shows at the Woodford Folk Festival in Woodford, Queensland. At these shows, the trio performed a mix of new material and songs taken from Phantom Pains.
2013–present: New singles and Sea of Approval
Bull's first new recorded material since the Phantom Pains EP came in early 2013. "Keep On Running" was premiered on Richard Kingsmill's new music show on Sunday, February 24. Bull is credited with production, and all instruments but drums. A video was also released for the single, directed by Nelson Alves.
In June 2013, Bull signed to US Record Label Republic Records.
Another single. "Baby I Am Nobody Now," was released in July 2013. Bull is credited with production and all instruments. A video was also released for the single, again directed by Nelson Alves. It features cameos from A Rational Fear creator Dan Ilic and Bluejuice frontman Jake Stone. The singles were toured throughout Australia. Bull's backing bands for these tours featured Bennison, Adura, Jenkins, Dappled Cities keyboardist Ned Cooke and former Hungry Kids of Hungary drummer Ryan Strathie.
Both "Keep On Running" and "Baby I am Nobody Now" featured in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2013 at number 57 and number 81, respectively. "Keep On Running" was also featured in the 2CD compilation CD from the countdown.
In May 2014, Bull confirmed details of his second studio album. The album, entitled Sea of Approval, was released on July 11, 2014. The album features both "Keep On Running" – which features the lyrics that make up the album title – and "Baby I am Nobody Now." A third single, "Talk Too Much," was also confirmed. The track was posted to Soundcloud later that day. A music video for the song was released on July 3, 2014. It featured TV presenter John Mangos and Australian singer-songwriter Megan Washington.
- We're Too Young (2009)
- Sea of Approval (2014)
- Andy Bull (2008)
- Phantom Pains (2010)
- "Small Town Girl" (2008)
- "Young Man" (2009)
- "Dog" (with Lisa Mitchell) (2010)
- "Last Waltz" (with Hungry Kids of Hungary) (2010)
- "Keep On Running" (2013)
- "Baby I Am Nobody Now" (2013)
- "Talk Too Much" (2014)
Backing band members
- Alex Bennison — Guitar, vocals (2010–present)
- Dave Jenkins Jr. — Drums, percussion (2011–2013), bass (2013, 2014–present)
- Ned Cooke — Keyboards, synthesizers, sequencer, vocals (2013–present)
- Ryan Strathie — Drums (2013)
- Carlos Adura — Drums (2009–2010, 2013–present)
- Nick Weaver — Bass (2010)
- "iTunes – Music – We're Too Young by Andy Bull". iTunes. 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- "Hottest 100 – Countdown 2010 70-61 | triple j". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
- "Andy Bull – Phantom Pains". YouTube. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
- "Andy Bull | Like a Version | triple j". Abc.net.au. 2011-03-24. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
- "Watch: Top 5 Like A Versions of 2011 | music news | triple j". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
- "GNW – Andy Bull performs 'God Save the Queen'". YouTube. 2011-02-28. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
- "Making Tracks: Australian Journeys Through Music – Tourism Australia". Australia.com. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- "Making Tracks Episode 2: Andy Bull & Irene Chen's musical journey inspired by Australia". YouTube.com. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- "Richard Kingsmill 2013 Playlist". triple j. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
- "The Countdown Hottest 100 – 2013". triple j. 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- "triple j's Hottest 100 Volume 21 – Limited Edition – Music CD – ABC Shop". ABC Australia. 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- "Andy Bull drops 'Talk Too Much,' new album deets – music news – triple j". triple j. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- "Andy Bull – Talk Too Much by Andy Bull Music". Soundcloud. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- "Andy Bull – Talk Too Much". Vevo. 2014-07-03. Retrieved 2014-07-03.