Wednesday, August 24, 2005

10 Q's with PAUL LIDDELL

What are you currently up to?

At the moment I'm writing songs for inclusion on a future album (about 15 so far), and doing my usual amount of gigs all around the North East, occasionally coming further down South for isolated dates. I'm also busy rehearsing up new songs with my band, we start gigging the new stuff soon with a view to familiarising it before we start recording. It's a bit of a mixed bag, some fast, some slow, some heavy (ish), some acoustic. Should be interesting when it's done.

Your album 'A Lighthouse Keeper's Diary' came out earlier this year. What reaction did it get from the reviewers and fans?

The album has done well, better than I expected. It was an independent release, put out on my own label and distributed by Absolute. The reviews have been universally positive and It's had a bit of play one some radio stations. Peoples favourite tracks seem to be 'a quiet kind of madness' 'hi-rise' 'travelling song' and 'runaway', although I think that 'runaway' feels much better live than it does on the record. It's one of those tunes that you just can't catch in the studio.
I see you put the apostrophe in "'keeper's". No one has said anything, but it's missing from the album cover! I didn't like the way it looked with the apostrophe so I just left it out, fully expecting a barrage of abuse from the grammar police. Luckily it hasn't happened. People must be too polite, or not bothered alternatively.

Could you take us through the album and some personal highlights/stories behind the songs?

Yep! My favourites and a bit of background. "A quiet kind of madness" is broadly about paranoia. It is inspired by a specific incident, but I'd get in trouble if I told you. Sorry!

"Runaway" is one of my favourite tracks. The guitar part came about in the studio. I was practising for a solo gig, and the guitar was feeding back through the PA like a drone. I detuned it and started drumming on the guitar. The lyrics came straight after, I didn't have any paper to write them down, and consequently forgot the chorus line, only to remember it again days later whilst in a drunken stupor! Nice eh?

"Suburbia" is the song that usually makes girls cry and go and ring their Grandmas! I wrote the lyrics about the way older people are treated like second class citizens, as if they're no longer of any use. A once weekly visit from the family if you're lucky. Inspired by an incident in a post office where an old woman collapsed infront of me and nobody even moved to help her. I think growing old is a real bitch, I hope they bring out that immortality drug before I get there, I bet I'd be a really cantankerous old fella.

"Jail song" is a tale about a kid the same age as me who I've always known about, but never known personally. He was an air gun toting psycho. He went to jail. The end.

"A lighthouse keeper's diary". All I want to say about this one is that I'm not the Lighthouse keeper, and it's not as self pitying as it sounds!

How has the Internet helped spread the word about the band? Do you think downloading is helping or killing music?

My website has been enormously useful to me in terms of letting people know when and where I'm gigging, and collecting peoples email addresses so I can keep in touch with the people that like my music and keep them updated with what I'm doing. The downloads section of my site enables people that have heard of me to check out my stuff before they buy a CD or come to a gig. I also sell CDs through the site.

The wider issue of downloading music is more difficult. Part of me says that it is wrong for people to download entire albums and for the artist to get nothing. For a new artist, that isn't an issue because the word about you is being spread. I don't mind people being able to get a few of my songs for nothing, because if they like it, they could come to a gig or introduce more people to the music.

From the perspective of the record company, I think they deserve what is happening to them at the moment. The way it works now is that a band don't get time to develop. You get one single and if it doesn't go then you're gone. As a result, I think that a lot of music that comes out now is poor quality. A lot of people recognise this, and download tunes to try before they buy. If its crap, then you wont buy it. I find that now when an album comes out there are 2 or 3 songs that are good, and the rest is filler. Downloading lets people take the best bits, without having to pay for the 10 tracks of filler that seem to come with most albums. Should the labels be payed for the download of those 2 or 3 songs? Probably. But if they put more time and energy (and money) into letting a band find their feet rather than perpetuating the band conveyor belt that we have now, the quality of bands music would be higher and people would want to get whole albums, and maybe would still be going to the shops to buy them in the quantities that they used to. Wow that was a rant, sorry.

What bands/artists do you admire and/or are an influence?

Pearl Jam are my favourites along with Rage Against The Machine. Weird influences for acoustic music I know. I used to play heavy rock before I donned the woolly jumper of acoustic folky music. I also love Jeff Buckley, Smashing Pumpkins, The Wonder Stuff, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Counting Crows......

What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

The highlight would probably be either the ALKD album launch (attended by about 500 people, massive on a local level) or the gig at the end of my tour earlier this year at a packed out local venue called the Smugglers.

Lowlights include playing to an audience of 3, being groped by a butch lesbian whilst singing, audiences of chavs throwing things, the list goes on...........

What's the most rock 'n' roll moment you have had so far?

As well as the usual hotel room shenanigans, rolling headfirst down a hill and landing 50 feet down on my head whilst tired and emotional after a gig was quite good. I've still got the scar, same place as Harry Potter's and everything!

What CD's do you currently have available and where can they be purchased from?

Two albums, "Sketchy Little People" (which is available by emailing from my website) and "a lighthouse keeper's diary" available from Amazon and a store near you.



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