On his second solo outing, Andy Black is getting ready to come back into the world more confident in himself. ‘Ghost of Ohio’ is a fully-fledged triumphant return, not only in his passion for music but also in his roots. It’s a creative exploration the likes of which he’s never done before, but the most important element comes from his reckoning with his past self – or selves.
“I’ve been going through self-discovery, or whatever you want to call it, for the last three years especially,” he admits, reclining comfortably in a chair in a hotel lounge in West London. Andy Biersack, or Andy Black, or however you may know him (“People call me all kinds of shit!”) has been battling with himself since his career began in his tender teen years.
Stemming from his formative band, Black Veil Brides, where he entirely played up to the part of disenfranchised frontman fighting against the world – even down to the accidental moniker of Andy Sixx (“It was my fucking MySpace name!”). All he was trying to do was support those who couldn’t do so themselves. Headlines followed him around the world targeting him as ‘the band you love to hate’, for Andy it was a push and pull of trying to find out just exactly who he is, which is how his solo endeavour came to be.
“I feel like it’s my duty, as a person who’s been given this opportunity, to continue to find ways to give the audience that has allowed me to do this, something new or different. One of the things previously in my career I hadn’t done is really examine myself personally,” he says.
“For people who have continued to buy records and show up and support me, it would feel like a betrayal of their time if I didn’t say, ‘Well, now I’m going to try my hardest to delve into different areas’. It feels good to know that whether people agree with it or not, or like it or not, for me, personally I look at this record a certain way. This is very indicative of how I am as a person.”
The personality that shines through on ‘Ghost Of Ohio’ is one that’s building Andy into the person he wants to be. He’s been sober for a few years now, which brought with it its own set of struggles. “Everything I was afraid [of] all came at me at once in this menagerie of anxieties, and I had to think about all this stuff that I had spent years trying to run from,” he admits with an air of disbelief.
“It wasn’t until I got into the meat of writing the record that I wanted to make it about me. I didn’t know how much I was going to talk about stuff or what I was willing to say, so I think it pretty quickly became that it was about me. In a direct way. Every song is ‘about’ me.”