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Paul Orwell

Well, here is an interview with one of the most talented artists in Britain at the moment, Paul Orwell. With two singles already sold out (2nd one ‘You're Nothing Special’ dissapeared before its release in pre-order!) and his debut album ‘Blowing Your Mind Away’ being one of the most anticipated albums of 2015 (expected in summer), it becomes clear that the Londoner has (absolutely rightfully) created a huge fanbase, with his charming vocals and addictive melodies and guitar riffs. Have also in mind, that the guy writes, plays, sings, records and produces everything by himself... He even manages himself, as you can read below. For me, it all started with his amazing first single ‘Tell Me, Tell Me’ in the Fall of 2014, totally blew my poor 60’s mind. Yes, Orwell is a dedicated 60's lover and admirer and it's like he timetravelled from that time to nowadays. I had the chance and the honour to chat with Paul a couple of days earlier and I’m really happy to share our cool conversation with you. 

 

 

The Basement: Hi Paul! Welcome to The Basement.
PO: Hello!

The Basement: Let’s start from the...beginning: What song or record got you into to grab a guitar and start scratching your first chords?
PO: Probably my dads 50's records, Buddy Holly sticks out.

The Basement: Like the Stones... That’s how Keith and Mick first met each other, their love for the blues and oldies r’n’b got them together.
PO: I was always very back dated... blues came a bit later for me, Rock N Roll had me turned on.

The Basement: I always see boys get so obsessed with music, but girls were always the influence, the fuel...
PO: Always mate. Without girls songs would be just instrumentals.

The Basement: How do you create that vintage sound of yours, do you record your songs in analog tape?
PO: I use lots of secret methods, I'd have to kill you if I told ya!

The Basement: Share a little hint with us, don't say it all... Some people are very interested for the sounds in the records they buy.
PO: Effects and stuff are all used with vintage equipment, that’s all I’m saying. 

The Basement: I found out about the name ‘Paul Orwell’ by the song ‘Tell me, Tell me’. I have two questions for that song:  First, what's the story behind it?  And secondly, that 12 string guitar you have in the song... Is it an Animals influence? I mean, come on, Eric Burdon would love the track.
PO: Cool man, it's a cool little diddy. I'll be honest I wasn't being mega deep when writing it. Just words that fitted a melody I had. At the time, I never had a 12 string at hand... So i had to double an old guitar up for the solo. I was listening to a lot of Animals around that time.

The Basement: Is the song about a girl? Or is it a statement?
PO: Probably, without even knowing it. It could be about anything you want.

The Basement: Let's go to some composing questions...
PO: Smooth.

The Basement: What do you think it's more important in a song he soul or the melodies?
PO: Melodies are King, substance is a 2nd thing... If it aint catchy, i get bored.

The Basement: So what do you think when you write a song?
PO: Chords always come 1st, or an idea or word that I like. Then start building, or interesting moments to keep me amused.

The Basement: If i told you to keep only one of your guitars what guitar would that be and why?
PO: All my guitars have emotional/stories behind them...we have a history together/bond. My main guitar for live is a Danelectro, a work horse of sounds, so maybe that.

The Basement: I’ve seen that you released two singles, both instantly sold out and now someone can only find them highly priced in Discogs and ebay, both of them a collector's treasure. Did you expect that and what is your opinion on the matter?
PO:  It's very flattering good people think that highly of what i do... I never thought for a second that would happen! Especially, as i have no manager, promotional tools etc... very underground in a word of mouth style, without the fans I would not be heard at all! I have a lot to thank them for, (All of them) from people who showed me the time of day at the start, and the new people who join the ride... they really mean the world to me.

The Basement: That's because you deserve it!
PO: Cheers man, means a lot.

The Basement: I truly believe that the 60's were the greatest period in music, mainly because that everything happened so pure... What do you believe as an artist for that period?
PO: Too true dude, all the above! The 60's was a fusion of sounds and ideas that are better than anything before and after! Take The Beatles... they sound better than anything that’s recorded tomorrow.

The Basement: They had George Martin. Some people say that without him, The Beatles wouldn't be so influential. They would be good, but not that good. What do you think of that?
PO: They was always gonna be the best no matter what. George Martin just showed the world how good they were... By putting what was in the mind of The Beatles down on record. George Martin is the 5th Beatle.

The Basement: That is right! The Beatles were one of a kind, they gave us everything.
PO: Exactly, too good, that’s why so many obscure cool bands are in the 60's! The Beatles raised the bar to high

The Basement: Tell me something ,why don't you have a manager and a producer? How it is to run things on your own and get all this feedback from people? Let's see some matters in depth here... Regarding managers and producers and all, are they somehow killing one man's dream when it comes for him to record his work?
PO: Well, every manager or producer I've met can't handle me... I’m not saying that as anything other than pure fact! t's very frustrating. I get more work done without them.

The Basement: Why's that? Is it a matter of your creativity control?
PO: Mostly on every level, I think because when I write I have no fixed genre. The tiny minds they have expand too much, so I'm left doing it myself. One day hopefully I’ll click with someone.

The Basement: I hope you find the right one mate! 
PO: It's a crazy game.

The Basement: Tell me about it... I would like you to name the 5 most obscure you own. And what is the one record that everyone should hear?
PO: Ok.
Savoy Truffle (unreleased acetate) 

The Rats - Spoonful on Oak 
R.L. Edwards & The Strings Of Prophecy 
The Peppermint Circus - All The Kings Horses 
Ronnie Jones - I'm so Clean

I also have some more unreleased Acetates from the 60s.

The best song in the world is Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles... so that if you're mental enough never to have heard it.


The Basement: Ha ha! What about acetates? Where did you find them?
PO: Markets and Bootsales etc.

The Basement: Do they worth a lot?
PO: They do turn up. Some can be, Savoy Truffle is priceless, worth as much as someone is willing to pay for unreleased fuzz psych.

The Basement: I’m thrilled. I collect records myself, can’t find those here in Greece and if I did, they would cost me a fortune. 
PO: Yeah man, be mega hard to find them.

The Basement: I also love B-Sides.
PO: It's nice to shock people with an obscure B.

The Basement: Always. Would love to hear your new single, and the B-side, too. I know you wait for the video.
PΟ: Shouldn't be long now... The A isn't heavy, but it's a nice melody with evil words... the B is heavy.

The Basement: I was looking forward to buying the single, but it was sold out just the next day after its pre-order release. Unbelievable!
PΟ: It did fly, the site crashed also... was a bit of a panic! 

The Basement: You told me once that you haven't heard new bands and stuff, actually not a thing after 1972. How is that?
PΟ: It wasn't on purpose, just stuck in the music and sound I like. I still have so many gems in them years I haven't heard!  Lost classics with a sound that makes you happy, authentic, with lots of character and charm that you just couldn't get anywhere else.

The Basement: That sounds fair, but you’re an artist that lives and creates in 2015, you don't wanna know what other artists and bands are around  and  play the sound you love? Like Allah Las for example: They brought back all this jingle jangle sound making an album that could easily come from the 60's but breaths and lives fresh from the coasts of California.
PΟ: Nah man, I’m set in my ways. That way I can discover sounds my own way, making my own rules etc.

The Basement: I totally respect that. 
PΟ: By the way, I’m not saying everything past 72 is shit, it's just I need to get to where I’m going musically without being influenced by sounds etc. Put myself in an era that as you know music was killer.

The Basement: Your debut is soon coming out. what should we expect from the record, any surpises? Any surprises or oddities?
PΟ: The LP is a record full of everything, catchy, fuzzy, lofi, dancey, deep moments. I made sure it has no fillers. I tried to make each track a single.

The Basement: What's your favourite song from the record?
PΟ: Fangz is probably the biggest track... i have no favs as it's like saying you like one of your kids more than the other (though I have no kids).

The Basement: Paul, I really wanna thank you for this interview. The whole Basement team is honoured.
PΟ: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me mate.

The Basement: One last thing: Is there anything you want to say to people who will read this interview? To  the people from Greece? 
PΟ: Just that it would be beyond magical to come to Greece to play for you all one day!

 

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