PropertyOfZack Interview : : Right Away, Great Captain!
Fans were more than excited last week when we took the wraps off the story behind the final Right Away, Great Captain! record, and PropertyOfZack is now incredibly thrilled to be posting our full interview with Andy Hull. In the full interview, Andy and I discussed the prolonged gap between the second and third record, what the project means to Hull in its closing, a special pressing of the series, the full story of the sailor, a tour, and so much more. We’re stoked to be teaming up with Andy, and we’ll have a lot more to come. Check it out below and enjoy!
You’ve been working on this last chapter of the story for a few years now. To fans, it seemed like you had finished recording it last year. But we spoke last fall and you said you were taking more time to make it as great as it could be. Can you talk about the need in your mind to go back and make sure the ending was how it is now?
There was a certain spot in the story where I could have finished it and it could have been the end, but it wasn’t exactly a final stance on anything. There wasn’t any curtain call, or something like that. I didn’t know if I wanted that necessarily, but that’s what took me so long. I recorded the last one in 2008, so it took me over three years since I recorded it. That was really mentally strange because I wanted to make sure that what I did was effective and told the story. The thing that makes Right Away, Great Captain! so cool is that fans are so interested in the story. So it really needed a really nice farewell. I went back and added two more tracks that intertwine the stories well. That’s really the reason why. I wanted to have a cool finale.
The last record came out in 2008, and it has been close to four years now. Manchester got so busy with the last two albums and you had Bad Books as well, but fans get being so interested in this last album.
That’s the surprising thing to me. People still listen to those records and they’re still buying those records from iTunes. We’re going to print up copies of this
really cool vinyl packaging of all three albums. I feel like that’s another way to sum it up since we never released anything physically before other than in a few short runs. The fans are definitely really important to me on this one. Far more than anything else.
This whole project has been really in-house with just you and Favorite Gentlemen. Does the fact that fans have been pushing for it for four years make it even better?
That’s what makes you nervous [Laughs]. There was definitely a point where I had to be certain with my ending. It’s got to come to this conclusion.
Everyone was so engulfed in the first two stories. At this point, people may just be listening to those albums because they just love the music. Can you quickly sum up the story again?
The guy, me, the character sees his wife and his brother having sex. The love that he has for this woman is a deep and ravishing love that turns into hatred and loneliness on that first record. When he leaves, he doesn’t tell her. The first record has a lot of stops, but the second record sees the character moving around in places. There are a lot of conversations between him and the captain in the first record who serves as his mentor and father figure. In the first record, the captain saves the main’s character’s life in a fire and the captain dies. There’s this story of taking his place and he never lives that down because the captain is always still with him. The first one ends with him docking at see after three years onshore and seeing his family and deciding that he’s not going to get off the boat. If he did, he’d have to kill all of them, which is crazy [Laughs].
The second record starts with the character being an opiate addict and losing his mind and making the decision to come back and murder his wife. He’s traveling a lot in that record and even shot a cannon ball in the middle of the ship and a bunch of men died. In his weird brain, he thinks it’s the wife that killed the men because he wouldn’t be like this if it weren’t for her. He develops this really violent anger about murdering his wife. The last song on The Eventually Home is called “I Was A Cage” and that’s him standing and overlooking his wife in bed with his brother about to kill her. That’s where the second record left off. The third one picks up exactly there with him. Instead in the heat of the moment he kills his brother and he makes his wife watch.
In the first song it’s told that a farmer’s wife heard the murder [of his brother], the children saw the murder, and the farmer’s wife turns the sailor in and he goes to prison. There’s a mention of a trial, but it’s more implied that he’s sentenced to death. It’s a recounting of his mistakes and his triumphs while speaking with his family and the captain’s ghost for the final time. It’s a man and his last thoughts before he meets death. It’s a stationary album because he isn’t doing anything but sitting in a cell. It definitely goes back to the first album in terms of the storytelling process with thoughts rather than actions. He murdered his brother and has to pay for his sins, but he has to reconcile his own thoughts about his life before he dies. It’s a really dark adventure in this guys mind that takes place during his last week alive.
I assume you had always had this ending in mind, but you did want to make it as final as you could. Are you happy with the ned?
I don’t think I’ll ever be perfectly happy with it. I knew what the end was going to be, but I wanted to make it so there was some sort of resolution. This record is really full of a lot of analogies and things describing other things that aren’t exactly face value. I’m definitely happy with the story and I knew that it was going to end somehow like this. Really for me, it was adding this song called “When I Was Young” that spans his thirst for love and approval. The last line of the record is, “Now I am shown the treacherous pains to become something whole // Redemption that’s freeing the burden from me // Redemption so freeing, discovering me.” Then there’s sort of angel chorus. I kind of wanted it to end not as this total bummer. It’s sad, but this guy isn’t angry. He’s dealing with it now.
The first two albums feature guest parts from multiple people to fulfill multiple parts. Who’s on this one?
Daniel, who sung on “I Am A Vampire,” sings on the track “Blame.” Jesse serves as the voice of the captain doing a harmony with me on the song “We Were Made Out Of Lightning.” The thing that was interesting is that I demo a lot and put songs up for people to hear. There are three or four songs on this record that people have heard incarnations of before, which I think is cool because they developed from where they were originally supposed to be. There are eleven total songs on the whole thing and it comes in at about forty minutes.
Obviously you have a specific sound with this project. Does this one fit in with the sound that we know?
I’d say it’s almost more stripped back. The second record, I depended on the production side for parts of it to add pretty things to add to the mood of the song. This record is about my voice, the guitar, and the take. A lot of the songs were one-takes. It’s definitely stripped; it sounds like I’m alone in a jail.
You’re mixing and mastering this now. Is it going to just pop up one day?
I’m hoping for no later than a May release. At least for the digital side. The only thing stopping anything would be getting all the vinyl sent and pressed. I was to get some CDs too. I don’t want it to be any later than May. It’ll be with Favorite, but just in the name along. Jeremiah is definitely helping me put together details, but it’s definitely a DIY sort of thing. I’m running all points on it.
Fans have been so excited for this and these releases really mean something for Manchester fans. This is a big deal for you too though because it’s over now. What’s that feeling like?
It’s weird. It’s kind of liberating. I was telling my wife yesterday that I’m finally able to write a song for no reason. For the last year, I’ve only been thinking about Right Away songs and the story. I think I probably would’ve taken more time on it. I don’t know if I would’ve burdened myself if it wasn’t for people being interested in t. That helped me work for it. The other records came easier in ways. The hardest records are generally the best records. I had to really work for this record. It didn’t fall easily into my lap when trying to finish it. I’m nervous for people to hear it, but you can only judge it so much. It’s the end of the story. It couldn’t have gone any other way.
POZ: The vinyl will be a great way to end it.
Andy: It’ll be all colored too. It’s badass.
I think you have one show with Colour Revolt, but will you do more for this?
I think I’m doing a full tour this summer, which should be pretty cool. Maybe I’ll do a few different legs over a few weeks. I want to try to hit up the US, which is scary, but hopefully will be fun.
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