Intro; my first experience with the band “The Mothership” (later called Ten Miles Wide) was during the Layne Staley tribute, August 2014. Will Andrews and Johndus Beckman (lead singer/guitar of The Mothership) were first introduced to me by Xana La Fuente of Xanaland. Xana had sold me on this band before I ever heard them play. As many others have said; hearing them play music off of “Bright Side of Dim” was like hearing a masterpiece that had been newly discovered. Classic, yet edgy….leaving you desperate for more. Over the next few years, I found myself loving everything about this band. In July 2016, Ten Miles Wide released a new CD called “The Gross” – now 3.5 years later, it’s still one of the best albums I own; and still heavily played. This is an interview that has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Without further delay here’s my interview with Will Andrews.
In early 2018, Ten Miles Wide drummer Will Andrews got the offer of a lifetime; to be the new drummer of Seattle based band Walking Papers. A well-recognized band fronted by Jefferson Angell (Missionary Position). Now I had many questions. Therefore, over a 9 month period, I started interviewing Will. I figured that there are a lot of Walking Paper fans (plus Ten Miles Wide fans) out there (and around the world); and if I had questions, I knew they would too. This interview will answer some of the questions you have, and some you didn’t know you’d actually want to know.
NS) I’ve been a fan of Ten Miles Wide for a long time. I think the first time I heard you play was at the 2014 Layne Staley tribute (El Corazon) when you were called “The Mothership”. Since then, the music has evolved, making the band a Seattle fan favorite. With that, are you happy with the direction Ten Miles Wide is going?
WA) Both The Mothership and Ten Miles Wide are satisfying for me creatively. Both bands are similar in musical direction, but it’s amazing how much a difference a few extra years of perspective can make. Despite going through both a re-brand and band member changes over the last few years, we’ve proven to ourselves that our musical chemistry is still very capable and worth exploring. It’s now the 9th year I’ve been making music with John Beckman and for good reason. My brain seems to automatically connect with his writing, and he’s very willing to let me have my way with some of his songs. My creative voice is both respected and appreciated, which keeps my engagement and passion alive. Our current lineup with Jake Carden on guitar and Shane Smith on bass is a fresh start for us, and something we’ve been needing for a long time. We know better than ever who we need to be playing music with, and how to run our band. We’ve had years to solidify ourselves in Seattle and build up a steady following, which means we didn’t really have to climb up the ranks like we did in The Mothership. It’s nice to have a fan base to release albums too. The current direction is one of excitement and creativity.
NS) What’s next for Ten Miles Wide; any chance a new record is coming? If so, when?
WA) The good news is that I’ve already recorded eleven drum tracks for the new record. We’re not exactly sure how many songs will be included, but the goal is to fully record at least 15 tracks, pick the ones that fit together the best and save the rest. The best-case scenario for release would be the end of 2019, but it might take until 2020.
NS) You’re the drummer for Walking Papers now, how does that make you feel? Probably a corny question, but seriously, it’s a huge deal! I’m very proud of your accomplishments.
WA) Considering that I’ve been a fan of the band since it’s inception, it feels great! It’s a big honor, actually. I’ve looked up to and respected both Jeff and Ben for many years, and it’s nice to be in their good graces. They’re total pros, and aside from just enjoying the music, I’ve learned a ton from them.
NS) How did you even get the chance to play for them (something I don’t know)? I’ve been wanting to ask you this for some time. Also, please tell us about when you heard you would be the permanent drummer for Walking Papers?
WA) It started back in the days of their previous band The Missionary Position, where The Mothership was lucky enough to open for them on a few occasions. That led to The Mothership getting an opening spot for the first version Walking Papers lineup with Duff and Barrett, and Ten Miles Wide opening for Staticland. I guess they liked what I did enough for them to ask me!
NS) Tell us about WP2 – are you pleased with how it turned out? (I’ve been listening to it again, as I write you the questions); although with Jefferson’s vocals it’s a must love!!
WA) Believe it or not, WP2 was finished years ago, well before I was in the band. I think it’s a great record, along with WP1. I like everything Jeff and Ben (Anderson) have put out, which should come as no surprise.
NS) What’s been your favorite past time when you’re touring overseas?
WA) Sleeping! Just kidding, sorta. It’s tough to find adequate sleep on any tour, so you’ll find me napping whenever I can. My favorite pastime has to be taking super long walks in places I’ve never been before. There’s nothing like soaking up the vibe of a new city and using all of your senses to try and understand it as quickly as possible. Sometimes you’re in a new place for a few hours at a time, so you gotta soak it all up at lightning speed.
NS) Have you picked your favorite country yet?
WA) It’s so difficult to narrow it down to just one with the limited experience I’ve had in each country. If looks were the main criteria, I’d have to say Switzerland, Hungary or Czechia. Based on the vibe, I really like the energy of the UK. Certain cities really stood out to me as well like Berlin, London, Sheffield… there’s just so much to see.
NS) I know you’ve got to be incredibly busy since you’re managing Ten Miles Wide, as well as your commitment to Walking Papers; how are you able to juggle it all?
WA) In the past, I’ve had a bad habit of overloading myself with too many bands and too many commitments. At one point I think I was in 7 or 8 bands, a relationship, a full-time job and a bunch of other personal endeavors all at once. Now that I’m only in two bands, I’ve learned how to schedule more appropriately for a healthier work/life balance. It’s all about prioritizing and making time, rather than feeling unable to have fun outside of the job and music. I’m freer now than I have been in the last 5 years. It’s still a delicate balance getting everything to line up and to allow time for relationships and personal time, which I’m still figuring out.
NS) Tell us about Jefferson Angel; what’s it like to be on stage with him? I think I’d be star struck seeing him – although, I’m star-struck with all of you guys from TMW too!
WA) Jeff’s a great person and an excellent bandleader. Aside from being a charismatic frontman, guitarist, lyricist, songwriter, and singer, he’s adept at managing people and steering the ship in a productive manner. The current version of Walking Papers involves 6 musicians from different age groups and backgrounds. He’s somehow found a way to make it all work both on and off the stage. Speaking of the stage, my job as a drummer is to make his job as a frontman as easy as possible. He uses a lot of nonverbal communication mid-show, so I have to be on my toes all while making sure the grooves feel good and the tempo is on point. It’s also a gig where I need to use restraint, which is very challenging for me. I have a tendency to play lots and lots of notes, especially live. Not stepping on the vocals is a huge priority, as they’re the focal point of the band.
NS) I’m a big fan of the drum-cam you have when you’re playing. I think it’s been a big success for you as I’ve not seen a lot of other drummers do it. Do you ever worry about screwing up or missing a beat with that recording?
WA) The drum cam thing is somewhat of a double-edged sword for me. The ego is so fickle in the day of social media and shameless self-promotion. Sometimes the idea of walking the tight rope without a safety net sounds like an awesome risk. Other times, it feels like I’m serving my ego by sharing something that’s completely focused on what I’m doing. Once in a while, I relish the opportunity to share my craft, but usually, I just feel like I’m embarrassing myself. Not because of the mistakes but because of the whole “look at me!” vibe that it gives off. Ego, in general, has a bad habit of ruining bands and damaging interpersonal relationships between members. I’m learning more and more that egocentric behavior only pays in small short term gains, if at all. Playing the long game has proven to be a smart smarter and healthier way to go. Plus, the drum cam thing kind of gives away the show a little, you know? Maybe I’ll revisit it someday. I guess it just depends on how I’m feeling, and if I can find a killer spot to place my iPhone, wink wink.
At the end of the summer, I checked back in with Will to see how his summer went with Walking Papers.
NS) Tell me how you’re summer went with your tour dates this past summer.
A) This past summer we went on a European run with Stone Temple Pilots. The big highlight for me was being able to hang with the STP dudes and get to know them a little bit. Every rockstar/famous person should aspire to be as cool as the DeLeo brothers. They are extremely personable and as sweet as they come.
NS) What does this fall/winter hold for TMW & Walking Papers?
WA) Recording, recording, recording! Drums for 13 songs are done for the TMW record with the potential for more. Guitar and bass tracking has commenced and will be a slow, methodical process. The guys are rehearsing and making dummy recordings with the real drum tracks before they go in to do the legit recording with Derek Moree at his studio in Queen Anne. We also have a Seattle show on October 18th. Walking Papers is deep into the recording process at Mothership Studios in Tacoma, WA.
NS) Are there any upcoming Seattle dates planned for Walking Papers?
WA) Not at this time, but you never know what will crop up.
NS) What’s your favorite TMW song to perform? My favorite is “The Mothership”! Your drumming is phenomenal! It’s the song that gets me going in the morning.
WA) The Mothership is always my favorite as it’s the one time in the set I feel free to explore and improvise. I’ve never played that song the same way twice and I look forward to the challenge.
NS) Why did the band change names from The Mothership to Ten Miles Wide. I’ve always been curious about that. Was it because of the lineup change?
WA) We changed our name because Mothership (Texas) trademarked the named before us, and Paul Fraser left The Mothership in 2015. We decided to make it easy and start something new, rather than getting a cease and desist down the road.
NS) One final question Will; what kind of future do you want for Walking Papers; Ten Miles Wide? What about yourself?
WA) Considering that Walking Papers is its own entity and I’m kind of along for the ride, I hope that first off that the upcoming third record is well received. I hope people love it and embrace the new vibe we’ve got going on. If we continue to keep pushing like we’ve been, we’ll keep breaking new ground and expanding our circles.
I have similar wants for Ten Miles Wide as well. I hope people are receptive to our second record and it reaches all kinds of new places. If the music carved out a niche, and the niche becomes appreciated for what it is, I think we’ll be in a spot to make some bigger things happen.
Obviously, I want the world for all of my musical compadres and myself. I want everyone to be financially stable, healthy, and extremely successful at what we do. Is it realistic to expect all of that to come from music? It’s increasingly more difficult to believe so, but it’s something many people have achieved. So, I guess I have two final answers to this question. The first answer is the dream: full-on stadium headline tours for both bands for the next four decades, and a billion records sold all while maintaining a work-life balance and everyone is healthy and happy.
The more realistic answer is to have some semblance of financial stability, a loyal fan base that grows over time, stable physical and mental health all while still having the fire to create and to inspire people.
*When I was starting to wrap up this interview to publish, I thought about asking a couple of fans what they think about Ten Miles Wide. Will is a big part of the band, making it very relevant to ask and include.
Only two people that I can think of at the top of my head, are what we call “avid” Ten Miles Wide fans; one lives in Los Angeles and the other makes himself well known as one by the comments he makes on any TMW post. Michelle Castrellon lives in the Los Angeles area; not only is she a Ten Miles Wide fan, but she doubles as a Walking Papers fan too. More chances of seeing Will perform. Jared Geddes from good ole’ Seattle has never missed a TMW performance (to my knowledge). I asked both of them to give me their best feedback on the band;
It all started with the band called “The Mothership”. Sometimes a person is given a gift by another with a suggestion to discover something that can alter your senses, your mood, your outlook, and your life. In this case, a friend will solicit and command that it is your duty as a lover of great music to “listen to this amazing band” and you won’t ever regret it. Like I said it wasn’t a request, it was a demand. I complied. I was intrigued. I now understood what it was like to realize what you had been missing. And you hate yourself for not being there from the beginning. This was such a feeling when I heard the “Bright side of Dim” (The Mothership). So before Ten Miles Wide, there was “The Mothership”. That record in my eyes (will now), be masterful. A superb production of brilliant songs that make for a strong album. I finally found a new bliss. This was a band of four guys who were all wickedly talented individuals; all of a sudden I had a new favorite band. When they had to transition to a band with a new name, I didn’t blink, I waited and watched for more greatness to unfold. I first saw them on a trip to Seattle with my best friend and they slayed the set. I can see the camaraderie of brothers so in tune with each other. Even when there were goofy “fuck-ups”, you could never tell. They played ferociously, songs with powerful riffs, monstrous drumming and howling-SOULFUL, sweet, dynamic vocals. It was easy to fall under the TMW spell. The Seattle music-scene will not ever be the Seattle Sound without Ten Miles Wide in it. Blaze on guys…..
I’m not even sure where, to begin with, how good Ten Miles Wide is. In a city filled with amazing local music, they really stand out with such a unique sound. When I’m asked what they sound like, the best description I can give is if you combined Alice In Chains with Tool you maybe somewhere in the neighborhood. With Will Andrews’ incredible skills on the kit driving the band and Johndus Beckman’s dark and haunting lyrics as well as his awesome powerful scream, it sets the tone for them. The album “The Gross”, is by far one of my absolute favorites. The musicianship these guys have is really put on display; they can all play extremely well. What’s also as important, they know when not to play and let the song breathe, allowing the emotion to build. I will be a life long fan of these guys. “The Gross” album is never far from my rotation. I can’t wait to hear what they put out next – it’s sure to be killer. They are so good it’s almost a crime that they aren’t signed to a label with gobs of money being thrown at them. This would allow them to solely dedicate their time to make more of the music we love. If you have any interest in live music, you need to see these guys play; you will feel the music.
It’s my hope that if you haven’t heard this band play (or Walking Papers), you will want to listen after reading this interview. I’m quite certain that you will find something that’s pleasing to you; in fact, I can ALMOST guarantee it. 2020 is sure to bring one or both bands to the fans; however, one can only pray for a new album from Ten Miles Wide. Clearly one of our (NeHi Stripes) top 10 favorite Seattle bands for 5 years (easily).
Will Andrews is masterful at drumming. Owning the sticks as they beat the skins beat by beat – the sound is nothing short of perfection. As I mentioned earlier, Will has my favorite drummer in Seattle 5 years running. I would invite any drummer to come watch him play. He’s precise and at times unpredictable. I also think that’s made him such a great friend and band-mate to Johndus Beckman. They’ve been making music together since 2010.
Come see Ten Miles Wide’s first show of 2020 – check the event out by clicking on the link here; Ten Miles Wide – Jan 24. 2020. I can guarantee you will be hooked after your first show.
Special thanks to “Iron” Mike Savoia for allowing us to use some of his photos for this piece.