Flipping Tables with Kal-Elle Jagger: The Andy Last Interview

Updated: Dec 2, 2021


Welcome to my little corner in the metaverse, just west of Pop Art Ave and Lois Lane, where we flip the script, turning the table on the personalities who usually find themselves at the forefront of a Q&A.


As my first guest at the neon table, I am honored to have none other than Andy Last.

Since 2013, Andy has been synonymous with his podcast, and subsequent YouTube show Beyond Synth.


A jester rebel (with a cause) in a 007 suit. Andy Last is a man with an infectious cackle that could light up a smile on The Grinch.


His face might be familiar, and his laugh instantly recognizable, but who is Andy Last?


KJ

For those unfamiliar with your origin story, where was Andy born and raised?


ANDY

I was born and raised in a small town in Canada, just a few hours drive from Toronto.


Although, I did spend almost a total of 2 full school years travelling the world with my parents.


So, even though I grew up in a small town, I never really absorbed the “small-town attitude.“

And by that, I just mean that I never grew up interested in what my neighbors were up to or learning everyone in town's name.


In hindsight, I regret that now when people know who I am and I don't know their names.

But names are hard to remember.


KJ

What was your favorite action figure as a kid or favorite superhero?


ANDY

My favourite superhero when I was a kid was Batman. And it still is Batman when I think about it, although Spider-man is a close second.


I didn’t play much with action figures when I was young and mostly just played with Lego.

When I was a little older, I think my first action figure sets that were bought specifically for me (not hand-me-downs) were the Beetlejuice toys made by Kenner.


After that, I played a lot with the toys for Batman Returns. So, I guess I played a lot with toy versions of Michael Keaton.


KJ

You might get a kick out of this story then. In 1991 I worked on The Flash show at Warner Brother Studios in Burbank. On a lunch break, I stumbled into the iconic stage 16 that housed the Gotham City Plaza set for Batman Returns.


Absolutely tear-inducing being in Tum Burton's world with the two enormous stone guardians kneeling at 48 feet, 60-foot Christmas tree, working street lights within the stage, a gothic church, and Shreck's Department store with its smiley cat logo.


Fun fact, Stage 16 was also the same water-tank soundstage used for The Goonies' One-Eyed-Willy pirate ship. Apologies, I digress.


What was the first TV show you remember watching as a kid that forever changed your life?


ANDY

One of my earliest memories was watching Doctor Who when I was really young, and classic Doctor Who is still my favorite TV show.


I think a way that that show changed my life was that it allowed me to use my imagination and develop creative ways to make things.


Classic Doctor Who was so low budget that you could often tell how they were accomplishing the special effects like you could see the guys in the costumes, or you could see the strings holding stuff up, and that sort of gave me the idea that I could make things myself.


It's sort of why I find modern CGI boring because it takes the fun out of figuring out how filmmakers accomplish the effects.

KJ

Sega, Nintendo, or Atari?


ANDY

Although I have fun memories of playing Sega Genesis. The music on that system is awesome with games like Streets of Rage and Sonic; ultimately, I’ve spent the most time with Nintendo consoles and Nintendo franchises.


I’m a big fan of The Legend of Zelda series, the Metroid series, and the Mario games.

Like many people Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of my favourite games ever made.


And we must acknowledge Goldeneye64, one of the most fun multiplayer games of all time, which was a Nintendo exclusive.

KJ

How would your Grade 1 teacher describe little Andy back in the day?

ANDY

I was very silly when I was a kid. Although I wasn’t necessarily a “class clown,“ I was always laughing and trying to make my friends laugh and stuff.


I wasn’t highly mischievous to the point of vandalizing things or throwing chairs around like some of my other friends, but I definitely got in trouble a lot for just laughing.


KJ

If you could go back in time a la Marty McFly to deliver a message to that kid, what would it be?


ANDY

To be honest, I was a pretty carefree and relatively confident kid considering I was always smaller than all of my other friends.


It wasn’t until later into my teens that I started to have anxieties and stuff. So, I don’t think I would tell six-year-old Andy anything. I wouldn't want to burden him with my troubles.


KJ

How do you think he would react to hearing he would someday have a show called Andy's Spaceship with puppets as co-hosts?


ANDY

Considering I never really had any interest in puppets, I think he would just be confused.


KJ

Speaking of that, will we see another Andy's Spaceship soon? Any surprises you would like to share?


ANDY

I still want to make more episodes of Andy Spaceship, but they do take a lot of time as it’s just me doing everything, apart from the puppets' voices, that is.


Recently I’ve been working on too many projects simultaneously, so I’ve decided to cut things back.


So there still will be more episodes but probably not for a while.


I still have some fun plans for the show, many new characters to introduce, and possibly some more "cinematic" episodes.


KJ

Who was Andy Last before episode one of Beyond Synth?


What was the catalyst to inspire you to go down the Synthwave rabbit hole?


ANDY

Before Beyond Synth, I was just making silly videos that I posted on the Internet. The catalyst for making Beyond Synth was when I discovered the Synthwave scene. I just found the music so compelling that I needed to do something about it.


It was the year 2013, so there weren’t even a ton of podcasts out like there are today, and I was listening to comedy podcasts and interview shows. When I discovered Synthwave, I thought it would be a cool idea to make my own interview-style show within the Synthwave world.


I experimented with other podcast ideas before I discovered Synthwave, like fake radio stations where I’d be playing characters with some friends of mine, but ultimately those didn’t really work.


KJ

It's no secret we both belong to the D.B. Appreciation club. Do you have an all-time favorite Droid Bishop song?


ANDY

Well, Droid Bishop has made some fantastic music over the years, but he knows that my favourite track of his is probably still "Color And Data."


That was the song where I first discovered him, so there’s some nostalgia attached to it, but I also just think it’s pretty kick-ass.


It's been fun to watch his evolution as an artist because he really has gotten better and better, and he's a cool guy.

KJ

Is there anyone you just haven't gotten around to interviewing that you would like to?

ANDY

Well, I think it would be fun to have Mitch Murder on the show one of these days.

We are actually friendly with each other and chat from time to time. Still, he has no interest in doing the show. So, every time there is an anniversary of Beyond Synth (just like the 300th episode that just happened), I will say to him in private, “You know I have an anniversary coming up…. “


But then it never ends up happening.


But honestly, my show has never been about interviewing famous artists for clout or to raise the profile of my show. I’ve always just really been interested in meeting new people and chatting with people whose music I like and whose work I respect.


So, I don’t go on artists' profiles and see how many fans they have before I invite them on the show. It always starts when I listen to the music and think it’s cool, and then I message them to be on the show.


I put the same amount of work into every episode regardless of the guest or how many people listen.


I know that listeners like to hear episodes with top-rated artists, but for me, the interest is always in meeting new and interesting people who also happen to make music I like.

KJ

Over 300 episodes is a massive accomplishment.


What do you see yourself doing in the next five years beyond Beyond Synth?


What's on your bucket list?

ANDY

Well, I hope to keep on making Beyond Synth.


Besides that, I would like to make more videos.


I’d like to make some short films and start really collaborating with some of the awesome people I’ve met over the years doing Beyond Synth and then putting their excellent music to visuals.

KJ

Your John McClane impression in Gunship's "When You Grow Up, Your Heart Does" video was pretty spot on. Who would play you in the movie of your life?


ANDY

Jay Baruchel is a Canadian actor who was the lead in Undeclared, a Judd Apatow show that ran for one season.


I know it’s hard to tell from still photographs, but aspects of him are very similar to me, even mannerisms and stuff like that.


Even the way he behaved in that show was very similar to how I was in college.


KJ

What is your proudest accomplishment on this earth so far? You can name two or more if needed.


ANDY

Well, I know when people ask questions like this, the cheesy answer is to say my children or "meeting my wife" or something, but if we just assume those things, I would probably say Beyond Synth.


I put a lot of work into the show, and I’m happy that people are enjoying it and enjoy it to the point where they donate money to the show.


So, I guess part of my pride for the show is also the validation that there are people out there who like it.


But I’m not sure if that’s bad...


I mean, when most people are proud of things, they don’t need other people's validation, but I certainly do.