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This is Andy Zipf, and he wants to be your friend.

Your “pfriend,” as he likes to say.

He’s got a tour, it starts tonight in Fairfax, Virginia and over the next few weeks Zipf will be bringing a musically mind-blowing sensory explosion to mid-America—it’s called Pfriends on Pfilm.

Andy ZipfHumor him and don’t write him off as clichéd, just because he thought it was clever to play off the ending of his name and uses the (pf) in place of (f) whenever possible. If a love for semi-clever wordplay is Andy’s biggest flaw in life, it’s hardly worth giving him a hard time, because the gorgeous pop ballads he writes the rest of the time can seduce the ear of even the most jaded listener.

Andy Zipf has been one of those musicians that I’ve found myself believing in over the last months. I’ve been helping him get the word out about his new tour, Pfriends on Pfilm, but I’ve also been getting to know this eccentric long-time D.C. musician and honestly, I like what I’ve seen.

I’ve seen a man who believes that music is art and should be treated as such. A love for his listener and a love for his art provided the impetus for his latest and most ambitious vision, the Pfriends on Pfilm. With the help of Pete Lim and Brad Wolf, Zipf’s created a 45-minute live concert experience that’s anything but your typical shoegazing troubadour performance posturing. Still images and old film fuse with live video shot during the concert and are thematically projected onto a screen, while Zipf and his band provides a live soundtrack. Basically, think Sigur Ros meets Damien Rice and the Velvet Underground.

These gushing paragraphs illustrate why I’m a horrible rock writer, and why I still have to pay to go to shows: I believe in music, it’s not an academic exercise for me, and my favorite band is U2. (What kind of self-respecting snob would ever admit to that?)

So, get to know Andy Zipf through these ten quick questions and then go see him at one of these locations.

Jan 18 | 9:00P SOTA Fairfax, Virginia
Jan 19 | 8:30P The Watershed, Lexington, South Carolina
Jan 20 | 8:00P Village Tavern Charleston, South Carolina
Jan 21 | 8:00P CJ’s Gallery, Franklin, Tennessee
Jan 22 | 8:00P Pour Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Jan 23 | 8:00P Soundpony, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Jan 24 | 8:00P Front Porch, Springfield, Missouri
Jan 25 | 8:00P Blinks Ames, Iowa
Jan 26 | 8:00P Uncle Freddy’s Gallery, Highland, Indiana
Jan 27 | 6:00P 3rd Floor, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Feb 02 | 7:00P Apple Store, Tysons Corner/McLean, Virginia

Nathan Martin: Why Pfriends on Pfilm? Why go to all this work, why not just tour?

Andy Zipf: Why not? I’ve always wanted to do a show like this, and I am not one for waiting for things to happen for me. I like to move ahead, even if I have to figure things out along the way. I am happy with the way this performance is taking shape. I think my pfriends will enjoy it as well.

NM: What’s the story behind Pfriends on Pfilm, the presentation itself. Is there a unifying theme?

AZ: About four or five months ago, I began to talk with Pete Lim (drums/keys/vocals) and Brad Wolf (V.J./new media artist) about the concept. They were into it right away. We got together and brain stormed about the show a few times, figured out a time frame for the tour and I starting booking it. Rehearsals began in early December. We didn’t have a name for the show, until I thought “Hey, friends…film…Pfriends on Pfilm.” It’s a play on “Zipf” and just seemed to work. There is a common thread throughout the set, in the songs and the images, but I would like people to interpret the show for themselves. It’s not something that I can really put in to words, and that is the whole point. They’ll have to see it and hear it to know what it’s about.

NM: When people walk out of Pfriends on Pfilm what do you want them to feel?

AZ: I want them to feel elated. The best shows I’ve ever been to left me buzzing. I escaped a little. I hope people leave feeling that way.

NM: What do you love about music, what is music to you?

AZ: Letting go. Getting free.

NM: D.C. is hot with politics. Has Andy Zipf ever gotten involved, through a protest song, etc.?

AZ: I don’t have any songs that are specifically political, but I would say my general distrust of politicians trickles in and out of my writing. I have covered some songs that you might call protests. I’ll be playing one on this tour, actually. “You and Me and the Games People Play,” by Joe South.

NM: Do you have any formal music training, what got you into the profession?

AZ: I don’t have any formal training, but my mom is a music teacher. She taught piano and voice in our house, so I’ve overheard many a theory lesson in our living room. My mom tried teaching me, but I was too impatient. I wanted to write songs right away. From piano, I moved to guitar. I would say from about 8th-12th grade I went home every day and played alone for hours in the basement. I actually started recording then, too. I decided then I would play music, however I could. Things look differently now then they did in my head then, but I am alright with that. I’m doing what I love. It’s funny, I don’t think about what I do as a profession. It’s just who I am.

NM: What advice would you give to a band just starting out?

AZ: Don’t wait. Don’t give up. Don’t hold back. Don’t listen to them. Quit your day job, get in a van and go find your audience. Don’t be afraid of not knowing what will happen.

NM: If you had five minutes to choose five albums that have changed your life, what would they be?

AZ: OK Computer (Radiohead); Urban Hymns (The Verve); Agaetis Byrjun (Sigur Ros); Grace (Jeff Buckley); Achtung Baby (U2). If I had six minutes and six albums: Pet Sounds (Beach Boys).

NM: Five favorite books?

AZ: The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand); Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien); A&R (Bill Flanagan); The Future of Music (Dave Kusek and Gerd Leonhard); Traveling Mercies (Anne Lamott).

NM: What was the last live show that blew you away?

AZ: Secret Machines at the 9:30 club a few months ago. Stellar. A proper rock show. I left elated.

Nathan Martin is an assistant editor at Patrol.

Previously in On Record: Nathan Martin had a heart-to-heart with New London Fire frontman Dave Debiak. Timothy Zila discussed lots of stuff and lots more stuff with Derek Webb.

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Nathan Martin

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