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Michael Andrews biography (bio):
Michael Andrews is a Los Angeles musician and film score composer. He is best known for a cover version of the Tears for Fears song "Mad World", which he recorded with Gary Jules for the Donnie Darko soundtrack, and which became a number one single in the UK in Christmas 2003.

Early musical career:
Michael Andrews and childhood friend Gary Jules grew up in San Diego, California where they shared a love of 1980s bands such as Tears for Fears, The Smiths and Echo & the Bunnymen. The duo formed an early version of The Origin, but Jules had left the group by the time it signed a record deal with Virgin Records. At that point Michael Andrews was the chief songwriter and musical leader of the group.
Neither of the two records released by the Origin enjoyed much success, which eventually led to group breaking up. The band had moved to San Francisco by this stage but Andrews moved back to San Diego in 1995 to play with the Greyboy Allstars. He also fronted the indie-pop band, Elgin Park, releasing a self-titled CD in 2000.
After moving to Glendale, CA (suburb of Los Angeles) Andrews produced Gary Jules' first solo record Greetings from the Side with equipment rented from Counting Crows and with engineer J. Bradley Crook who had just finished work on their record Recovering The Satellites. Andrews also produced Gary Jules' next album Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets.
Andrews also produced the Metarie EP for Brendan Benson in 2003, Metric's Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (2003), Inara George's All Rise (2005) and played as a session musician on the Jason Mraz album Waiting for My Rocket to Come in 2002. He played bass on Brendan Benson's debut album One Mississippi and has worked extensively on DJ Greyboy's hip hop albums

Soundtrack production:
Michael Andrews fell into film score composition by chance when the band he was playing withcult soul/jazz collective The Greyboy Allstarswas asked to score Jake Kasdan's first feature Zero Effect and worked on the music for the highly regarded, though short-lived TV show, Freaks and Geeks. Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly commissioned him to do the soundtrack for the film.
Kelly relates on the Everloving Records web site that he was confident that Michael Andrews could do the job: "I met with Michael and I just knew right away that he was really, really talented and that he could come up with a really original score. He would allow me to be in there and be really kind of editorial with how I wanted the score to be."
Andrews considers himself primarily a guitar player, but Kelly told him he didnt want any guitar in the movie. So, Andrews taught himself to play piano. Its part of the reason that the score is, as Andrews describes, so simple. "The film was pretty low budget so my portion of the money was pretty thin. I couldn't hire anyone, it was just me. I played everything; piano, mellotron, mini marimba, xylophone, ukulele, organ. I also brought in two female vocalists Sam Shelton and Tory Haberman." "In a way," he says, "your faults become your trademark." Darko's original score album went on to sell over 100,000 copies (in part because of Andrews' remake of Tears for Fears Mad World, featuring Gary Jules), and Andrews became a composer to watch.
Like many of his role models for soundtrack composing such as John Barry and Ennio Morricone, Andrews wanted to put a song on his otherwise instrumental score. He chose the song "Mad World" by Tears for Fears (originally released in 1982) and got his old friend Gary Jules in to sing it while he played piano.
The music was not available on a soundtrack album until Andy Factor, a friend of Andrews, released it on his Everloving Records independent label in 2002. As Donnie Darko was not a hit at first, there was little interest in the soundtrack in the US. However, the film enjoyed more popularity in Europe especially in the UK where its total box office was greater than for the whole of the US.
This sparked interest in the soundtrack and the song "Mad World", taken from the original soundtrack, was a 2003 Christmas Number One in the UK singles charts. It has also made the charts in a number of other countries including Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia in 2003 and 2004.
In 2005, Andrews' scored Me and You and Everyone We Know a film by Miranda July praised at both Sundance and Cannes film festivals. The score to the film was released on Everloving Records on July 12th.
Initially taking cues from the characters dialog, Andrews began writing the score. For example, when Richard, played in the film by John Hawkes, says hes "prepared for amazing things to happen" and that he wants his kids "to have magical powers," Andrews came to understand the film's world as a kind of alternate reality where people believe in fate and chanceand this was the world he needed to paint with his music. He also saw the feelings July was trying to get across in her film as very primary. "She tries to break things down to very basic, simple shapesthe simplest shapes possible, and that totally influenced me in my music".
Working out of his custom-built backyard studio in Glendale, CA, Andrews spent three months creating the score using an orchestra of obscure vintage synthesizers (a miniature hotwired Casio keyboard was unearthed at a garage sale for $10) and drum machines. His concept was to play what he termed amateurish, emotional, nave, magical and simple music on highly unemotional, inorganic instrumentsfor example, a calculator with built-in twelve-note keyboard that lends a haunting portamento melody to one of the films motifs.
Other instruments used in the score include Andrews modified piano (rather than hitting the strings directly, the hammers first make contact with a piece of soft felt, creating a warmer, slightly muffled tone), as well as his Moog and Vocoder synthesizers. Despite all the electronic gear, no MIDI was used in the recording, so that all the humanness, all the subtle variations of rhythm, are intact. Inara George adds vocals in several climactic moments throughout the film. In some cases, cues were composed of only two or three tracks in order to attain the magical simplicity for which the film called out.
He has gone on to produce scores for the movies Orange County, Cypher and Out Cold.
"Mad World" also appeared in the television commercial for the bestselling Xbox 360 video game "Gears of War."
He also posed for Rolling Stone Magazine in 1999 as a new up and coming artist.
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