GTPulse: Welcome Home, Andrew Dost

Andrew Dost was a stir-crazy kid growing up in Frankfort, Michigan when he started playing music.

“I got really fortunate to have a wonderful band director at Frankfort [High School] and he kind of took me under his wing and taught me a lot of music theory. We started a jazz band together with a few other students who were musically hungry. ”

It was there that he began his lifelong relationship with music, and it’s through music that he’s been able to travel the world, meet new people, and win a best new artist Grammy with his old band Fun. Spending time living in New York City and Los Angeles hasn’t made him forget about his quiet Midwest roots. He’s returned to Northern Michigan older, wiser, and excited for a new creative future in the first place he called home.

For some who may not know, Fun. (the period is apart of the name) was huge a few years ago. When chart-topping hit ‘We Are Young’ came out, I couldn’t go anywhere without hearing it. Bar patrons across the world felt infinite anytime one of the pop trio’s hits came on, nevertheless, the band split in 2015.

“It’s hard to explain. It was a difficult time for all three of us, and there’s still this fragmentation that resonates with all of us in our lives.”

Music, however, has remained a constant for Andrew and will continue to. He plays multiple instruments including the piano, bass, drums and trumpet, and Fun. wasn’t his first band. Like many musicians before him, he started out in a high school band with all the teen angst and awkwardness that inspires it.

“We had a lot of different names but none of them were very good. My favorite was Pippin, we named ourselves after the musical. When I think back on those days, we were at our peak when we were named Pippin,” he laughed. “But that was my first time making music with my friends and it was a powerful experience.” 

Despite his love and commitment to music, he didn’t choose to pursue it in college. Instead, he studied journalism and advertising at Central Michigan University. He was eager to be a college student, not for the educational aspect, but for the opportunity to find and collaborate with other students who were musically inclined. He and several others formed Anathallo and toured regularly throughout his time in school.

“It was an orchestral, Indie, strange kind of band. I loved that band, it was an immersive collaboration and so fun. It was a nice glow up.”

He pursued music with a different band post-college that eventually led to the formation of Fun. in2008 and a new life in New York City. Fun. enjoyed quite a bit of fame and several hits, along with winning best new artist, and song of the year at the 2013 Grammy’s. He had a picturesque NYC experience living in Brooklyn and making music with his pals, and whenever he saw something that reminded him of Michigan he’d revel in the nostalgia and happiness that it brought him. When the party was over, it was here that he wanted to be.

“Every time I met someone from Michigan or saw someone out wearing an M hat I just felt this instant connection to them. Anytime I had a week off, I would come to Michigan. I think I got to the point where I was tired of just running into people wearing a hat. I wanted to be there, I wanted to be back home.”

He made ‘back home’ his new home this past July when he moved here from Los Angeles to work on house renovations for new digs in Traverse City. A smaller town means a slower life, and this stir-crazy Frankfort kid wouldn’t have it any other way.

Since coming home he’s used this quiet time to get better at Bossa Nova guitar, spend time outdoors, and he’s indulging interests in new art forms and hands on work.

“I saw one with a hand and in the wind, it looked like it was waving at me. I thought I could make them for fun. I like to sew, I’ve got a machine and some leftover fabric here. With music, when you make music, very often it’s intangible. You play something and it’s gone. Short of a CD, there’s nothing to hold. So I’ve been really into making physical objects. If I spend all day making something, it exists, it’s real, I can hold it. With a song, you might work on something all day and you didn’t get anything, it all sucks. Making flags was silly and fun and cool. Once quarantine hit, I just made whatever anyone wanted in whatever size they wanted and donated the money to the animal shelter. I ended up making 50 flags and sort of burnt myself out on it.”

Andrew is finishing up a collaborative album now and said that music will always be apart of his life. A part of his day-to-day work will still include making commercial music, and he’s worked on scoring television and movies, but in this new chapter, he’s interested in exploring more hands on making or artistry too, as well as adapting to winter life in Northern Michigan.

“I love making music and will never stop, but I’m also interested in woodworking, branding, and I love writing. Music has been this all-consuming force for so long, I’m just now finally coming back to Earth and realizing that I can indulge some of these other things I’m curious about.”

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Categories: GTPulse