“What an honor today to have our first ever guest curator be someone i’ve known along the way in the music scene for about 6 years now, being that we’ve both had a chunk of our youth spent growing up in Long Island playing in bands. Who i’m talking about is none other than Andrew Accardi, founder of Robbers, vocalist for Shone, graphic artist, and now the founder of Cosmic Harvey. His name had been floating around the Long Island scene in the truest sense of that sort of schism; he was just a kid making music, that’s what he wanted to do. But having a brother as one of the founding members of Brand New (Long Island’s indie darlings) can have some energy around what you do, as I can imagine. My earliest impression of Robbers was one of bewilderment; I had never seen or heard a band (especially where we grew up) that managed to be so vulnerable. Andrew was hauntingly frail and evocative through every movement of his body—every part of what made Robbers great was channeled through his demeanor—songs like “Stay Together” and “Fire” were songs that seared into your imagination—songs you couldn’t imagine another band writing. And unlike many of the acts to circulate at the time, (even the good ones) Andrew and company always managed to wage a monstrous creative drive that remained alluring and mystifying for years to come. After creating volumes of hand drawn art and providing another channel for himself as an artist, it was announced that Brian Lane of Brand New was getting behind a “mystery project.” That project, (released on Brand New’s label,) featured Andrew Accardi on vocals as its half-painted frontman, taking on a new identity and platform for his expression. The project Shone and subsequent release had set a media climate into a frenzy; in part thanks to their postings online and creating “installations” of the project everywhere for fans to play along with via a sort of scavenger hunt.” – Nadeem Salaam
(Andrew with Shone at Mercury Lounge)
“Andrew is just days away from releasing his brand new project under the pseudonym Cosmic Harvey; their first single called “Lavender” is a 4:46min track that I was shown privately before it is released to the public. If you’ve been looking for something refreshing, authentic, and beautiful, I promise this is it, so without further due, let’s see how Andrew is!” – N.S.
1) Welcome Andrew! So what is a Celestial Mind to you?
Andrew Accardi – I think Celestial Mind is a state of “being”, and by that I mean “acceptance.” It reminds me to look at the bigger picture and don’t lose sight of who I am no matter what might come my way. It’s also an idea of a shared mind. That we all have something inside us (conscious or not) that unites us to a level.
2) I love to know the basics first, Robbers is a band you’ve written in for years now, how has that relationship informed your artistry?
AA – Robbers has been my whole life since I was 17. I got to play with and meet so many great people because of it and learned so much about myself through those relationships. Artistically, Robbers showed me how to be a “performer”; get the attention of the crowd, be loud, be wild, and throw your energy around like a monster! That was always therapeutic. I believe that same mentality went towards the song-writing as well.
3) When you embarked on writing Celestial Mind, what were two things you were doing that were not musical that consumed your time?
AA – I was diving into my visual art much deeper. Drawing, inking. You can find my available work here:
4) Did you write the new material for this project in one location or was it more static?
AA – The new material was written in 5 different homes, 3 different states. Phew!
5) Shone was a project that seemed to have had reaction across a few fanbases, how was this experience for you coming from Robbers and did this play at all into Cosmic Harvey in any way?
AA – I went into Shone establishing that I wanted to focus primarily on the vocals. It was refreshing to put my voice over a song I didn’t have a part in writing, less pressure to put on myself. Harv was born during the process of making Heat Thing; the songs needed this over-the-top character to lead the story. Was it Harv? Maybe, because it didn’t feel like me! Sometimes I still think “who the hell was that singing?” Although Harv was not the “face” of Shone (Levi was) those sessions were certainly responsible for awakening it inside of me. Later on, I started getting busier with my visual art and writing my own material again that I realized what Harv truly was, is.
6) Do you have a vision for this new material? Does a theme dictate the song or vice versa?
AA – I think Harv is my vision and what IT represents. Harv is neither man or woman. Harv is “it”, and it represents the magic in me, the stars in my eyes. It’s the being that comes out of me when I look around and think “this reality can’t be the ONLY reality exists, can it?” I wonder if we truly are infinite; well, for me, Harv truly proves that we are.
7) How has creating art bettered your life?
AA – For this, it’s all the same. I’ve never wanted to be straightforward with myself and my music more than this. Celestial Mind represents the state of mind I am truly in right now. I’m not trying to be ironic or cryptic or moody like I was with Robbers or channeling another life like Shone; I’m asking the questions I ask myself every moment. I know I can’t walk out of the door and fly through the clouds like I wish I could; In my head Harv can because of Celestial Mind, which is a universal force inside of all of us that asks the question: “what is the difference between our reality and dreams, truly?” Our reality can be just as beautiful and scary as our dreams, so why do we isolate one from the other? Is the concept of “understanding” the only thing that merit’s one to be more “real” than the other? Celestial Mind is a search for self.
8) Do universal themes exist? If so which ones fascinate you?
AA – Look up, that is the number one universal theme for me: the constellations. AGE old stories of king’s and queen’s and beasts and heroes that many spiritualists and philosophers revolved their whole worlds around (pun intended?). These characters stories will forever live on and no matter when we decide to look up they’ll be there waiting to share theirs just as long as we’re willing to listen. Some don’t believe there’s any significance to the constellations and their stories and that is ok. I do. I am beginning to believe that it is our stories that makes us infinite just like the constellations, and stories bring lessons; We all have a story to give and a lesson to learn. If the constellations stories are not significant, than neither are ours; I refuse to believe either of those things are true.
9) If you weren’t a musician what would you be doing?
AA- It’s wonderful enough to know that you think I am actually a musician, Nadeem.
10) Is Celestial Mind a new band or a new idea? Either way can we expect live shows to follow?
AA – Celestial Mind is both. It’s one of many worlds. Celestial Mind will continue on our (John Favicchia and Mike Gagliardi) path of performing reinterpreted Robbers tunes mixed in with the new material. I didn’t “break up” Robbers and now have a new band. It’s all under one umbrella, just a new aesthetic; Like an author wouldn’t give all of their books the same title. Cosmic Harvey is the overlord of this multi-verse; Robbers will come again some day. Celestial Mind is the new refreshing chapter, the new study, the new STORY. We are organizing shows for fall/winter, cannot wait!
11) Your new single is called Lavender and it’s out September 10th, 2015, is their an ep or album to follow and a release date in mind?
AA – I will be relocating to Long Island in a couple weeks for a good portion of the fall to finish the album! After that we’ll have a better idea of an album release date.
AA – Thank you for this Nadeem. I was getting a little emotional writing some of these answers! Ha!
NS – THANK YOU my friend! It’s been a journey as artists and i’m proud of your growth and continued joy/success in your projects!
“Be sure to check out my choice for ism to live by and the cosmic harvey album trailer as the trax of the day!”