Q&A with beautifully haunting alt R&B music producer Black Sands
Image credit: LPR Agency
Beautifully haunting R&B would best describe music producer Black Sands a.k.a Andrew Balfour’s new EP Afterglow. Amidst dealing with the grief of losing his sister a few years back, the musician is still recovering, but feels ready to share the pain he has endured as a result with Afterglow. Born in California, the musician currently resides in Amsterdam. Due to Covid restrictions Black Sands has had a chance to shine on the stage yet, but with evocative synth notes and lyrical hooks we think that Black Sands will make one enigmatic performer for all.
Tell us about your highlights for the year
This year I released my debut EP Afterglow. Up until that point I’ve released a handful of singles but this was a very personal collection of songs I’m proud of. Writing something this deep and emotional for me was an important step forward in the grieving process after losing my sister a few years ago. Having this music out in the world feels like a monumental task because it bares so much of the feelings I was struggling to articulate. I hope everyone who takes the time to listen to it can feel and hear that in the music.
If you could paint a picture of your sound, what would it look like?
When I listen to the opening track from Afterglow, titled ‘Used To It’ I envision Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Not that I’d say my songs are masterpieces like Van Goghs, but there’s an astral, starry quality to some of my songs that I’ve heard referenced as having dark, twinkly synth sounds. To be more literal, I think it’s a blend of alternative pop and R&B somewhere between The Weeknd and The 1975.
What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?
Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth, Michael Jackson – Thriller, Jay-Z – Black Album, Barkmaket – L.Ron, Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?
I can’t get enough of The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande and Donna Summer right now. Just great pop music that moves you.
How did you get to your first gig ?
Fun fact, I haven’t played live as Black Sands. I started writing and recording music during the pandemic and have continued to write and collaborate with people from all over the world. Logistically, being based in Amsterdam but having musicians and singers from LA, Bogota, Glasgow, Australia and New York all collaborating on one track makes playing live a bit of a challenge. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to tell you the story of how I figured out how to perform live with all of these amazing musicians from all over the world.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself that no-one would expect.
Even though I write, produce and record all of the music in Black Sands I have yet to sing on a track. Part of this project is about creating a space for singers and musicians of all different backgrounds to bring something new creatively to the table. That’s kept me plenty busy and has been really rewarding to hear songs come to life with different vocalists and lyrical approaches.
What do you consider your biggest achievement so far?
I spent 10 years touring rock bands but then hadn’t done anything with music for close to eight years. Black Sands rejuvenated my passion and love for music and gave me an opportunity to explore so much creatively. Just being able to bring this project to life and share it with the world is something I’m extremely proud of. I’m also extremely excited about the recent collaborations I’ve been working on that should come out by early next year. I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing artists and creatives in the industry and I cannot wait to share it with everyone.
Famous last words?
I love hearing from people who take the time to listen to my music. Reach out and drop me a DM if you listen and enjoy any of my music. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who has already listened and shared my music, it means the world to me.
EP track ‘Used To It’ features on the Spotify playlists POP_GROUND.fm