I met Andrew Buchanan when his band, Ghost Key, opened up for Shai Hulud in Green Bay in July 2015. Andrew had a magnetic personality and we immediately dove into a deep conversation about positivity, straight edge, motivational books, and education. Since the show, we’ve kept in touch and continued to share ideas. Up to this point, I haven’t done any non-xdadx interviews, but after meeting Andrew, I decided it was time to make an exception. This guy radiates PMA. I plan on lining up a second set of questions for Andrew at some point in the near future.
- Name: Andrew Buchanan
- Age: 24
- Location: Peoria, IL
- Profession: Drummer, Drum Teacher
1.. You mentioned that you aren’t straight edge, but that it’s something you really respect. What feeds into your philosophy and lifestyle regarding drugs and alcohol?
Well, drugs and alcohol are a massive vice for quite a few people in my life. I look at straight edge as a way for a new type of community. Where you don’t have to rely on drugs and alcohol to be a good human being. I used to get criticized for not partying, and I look back at those situations and I’m beyond grateful for not being apart of various groups that spent most of their time doing those activities.
2. I’ve seen you post about being black in the punk/hardcore scene. The lack of diversity in the scene has always been disheartening to me. How did you find your way to punk? How does your experience as a black male shape your view of the scene?
I watch videos of bands like Bad Brains today and wonder what really happened there. I’ve always been attracted to metal and hardcore music, and I was able to find something in hardcore that brought me community, friendship, and brotherhood. Things that the rest of the world wouldn’t give me a chance to experience. I’ve always wanted to start another band like Bad Brains and explain the negatives that the world portrays my demographic to be. Being a black male in the hardcore scene today is growing at a very quick rate. But again, hardcore is something relatable to struggles and day to day issues that I and other guys like me deal with. I hope to be a light for future young black men to do positive and good things in their lives, and not resort to same lifestyle that media made for them.
3. Staying with race relations and American culture, Black Lives Matter is gaining more traction every day, with high profile demonstrations in the streets and, more recently, during Bernie Sanders’ speaking events. Is it having an impact in your neck of the woods?
I’m not really a political person, and I choose not contribute much. But for the decades that have passed for black people as a whole, not much has changed. There are still people of color stuck in broken homes in Detroit, there are still people being judged by the color of their skin, there’s still a sense of disdain towards multiple groups of people here in America. When is that going to be accounted for?
Generational hatred still exists. I’m still judged for being in a hardcore band, which I personally believe to be ridiculous. I think everyone should be able to like what they like and that would be the end of the story. The movement of Black Lives Matter is great, and it’s cool to see how much it’s mending some parts of the black community. But for this movement to really pick up more than it has so far, everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings. And if you’re going to support something like that, it needs to be in person and not just on social media where everyone believes they have something to say.
4. As you know, this site is mainly about family and fatherhood. How has your relationship with your father influenced who you are today? As a son, is there anything you’d like your parents to know?
Me and my father had a falling out when I was younger, but now that I am older, we have a better relationship. My parents were both immigrants from Jamaica, and I feel that I need to do my part as a good man in society today. The only thing that I want to say to my parents is thank you. Thank you for being there and showing me what life is like with all the positives and negatives. And Dad, thank you for showing me how to be a man.
Well, me and two of the other guys in the band are Christians, and the other two are both undecided. We as a band believe that depression and mental illness needs to be talked about more often. So many people around us are committing suicide and dealing with self harm. The world acts as if is just something you can brush off, but it isn’t that simple. Even the people that tell you to brush it off are most likely having the same issue in their lives. The only real medication I believe that keeps people from being depressed and full of anxiety is having a positive outlet. Musically, artistically, anything that keeps you engaged in a good way.
6. What books, music, film, and other art speak to you at this point in your life?
The book that I am reading right now is called Mindset by Carol Dweck. It’s about how life itself is about the way you think about every decision and situation you’re a part of. You never realize how much your mind dictates what you do on a day to day basis.
The music is a combination of 90s hip hop, and this New Retro Wave scene. It’s all new 2000’s groups making 80’s music. It’s very interesting to listen to around people that were into that kind of music during the 80’s.
I’ve recently taken up yoga and meditation. Surprisingly it seems to be more beneficial in my life than I would have ever thought. I would suggest it to anyone.
7. You’re a young guy in your early 20’s. What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 or 10 years?
My major goal is to start teaching and becoming a life coach for people and companies. I want to see all of the states in America. I’ve seen forty-four so far. I want to be a mentor for young black men that think the streets are their only outlet, and push young kids to great feats and believing in themselves even when no one else around them does. I strive to be a strong figure that people can look up to, especially the ones that know me personally and have watched my journey in life unfold. There is a long way to go, and I’m excited to see what I am capable of.
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