Maxïmo Park-Frontmann auf Solopfaden

kurzweil-ICH: Sänger Paul Smith im Interview

kurzweil-ICH: Sänger Paul Smith im Interview Paul-Smith-solo-tour-live-2019_01

Wie ihr vielleicht wisst, habe ich die Ehre, die kommende Deutschland-Tour von Paul Smith zu präsentieren. Der Frontmann der UK-Indie-Rocker Maxïmo Park wird für fünf Termine auf deutschen Bühnen zu sehen und vor allem hören sein. Mit Band! Dass es sich hierbei vielleicht um die letzte Chance handelt, diese Kombination live erleben zu können, über die Herausforderung einer Tournee-Planung und seine Hut-Sammlung spricht der britische Sänger im Interview mit mir.

Interview mit Paul Smith

Maik: We – I think I speak write for my whole country – are very happy to welcome you on our stages in November as you are coming back on a solo tour. What can we expect, especially on comparison to your previous solo gigs?

Paul Smith: Hopefully, I’m better than ever at playing my solo songs! My latest record is a rock record so I wanted to have a band when I played it live even though it has been hard to organise! People can expect the same level of emotional engagement that they have seen before, and I have three records to choose from now, so it should be a diverse set. I might throw in a couple of Maxïmo Park songs, too.

Can you tell us about the process of a foreign tour planning like this? Who comes up with the amount of shows, decides the cities and venues to play in and why did it have to take a year after the release of your album “Diagrams” for this?

I wanted to tour in Germany when the record came out but it was not financially viable. Since Maxïmo Park are playing some Rolling Stone gigs on consecutive weekends in Germany, I thought why not stay out and plan my own tour. It was my choice to to play five shows in six days, which is pretty full-on! I then corresponded with my booking agent to see what cities would route well in that time and what venues were available. It can be a very long-winded process… I am also aware that you cannot please everyone by playing in every town that you would like to play.

Will there be hot chocolate and brownies backstage for you and your chocolate lust to crave on?

I need to stay in shape for the tour so there will be a chocolate ban!

kurzweil-ICH: Sänger Paul Smith im Interview paul-smith-live

You will be going on stage solo with only your name but a new formed “synth-rock trio” as a band you humorously referred to as “New New New Intimations” on Facebook, or “Paul Smith & The Diagrams”. How tricky is it to find the perfect musicians for a solo tour when you’re used to play in a band? At least with Tom English you have a fellow band member of yours with you.

It is very difficult especially when travelling quite far. Tom has played all of the band shows on this album but my bassist and guitarist (both from Field Music) cannot make this German tour so I decided to reduce the number of band members and try to have synth-bass and extra female harmonies from Jemma Freese, the new Maxïmo Park keyboard player. I will attempt to play some of the lead guitar lines while singing and playing rhythm guitar, which is a new challenge! Brexit will make it much more difficult for me to play with a band, financially, so this might be the last time people see me play with a solo band. If I can be less nervous, in future I will just play alone.

In September you had a very special gig in Middlesbrough, singing duets and cover versions with Rachel Unthank, Kathryn Williams and Mara Carlyle. How did it come to this original collaboration idea and can you describe the event from your point of view?

Middlesbrough is the nearest big town to where I grew up, and they asked me if I wanted to do something special at this beautiful venue. I asked some of my favourite singers to duet with me and they said yes! I love singing with other people and that was the main premise behind the show. The material was a blend of quieter, country-ish music, like Gram Parsons and the Silver Jews, alongside some big pop hits like „Easy Lover“ and „Under Pressure“. It was lots of fun and very special for me, having been to see bands like Teenage Fanclub in the same venue when I was a teenager.

Another very special recent thing was your theatrical involvement in the Edinburgh show “Hold On, Let Go”, for which you came up with some original tunes and even pre-recorded a DJ role. In an interview you said how different the work had been to your normal one. Can you imagine yourself doing more of such soundtrack work for other cultural genres (as it may be theatre or film) – or even play a part yourself as an actor?

There will be no acting from me! However, I would love to be involved in film or theatre on the musical side. As a big movie fan, I love the way that music can have an effect on a film’s mood and atmosphere. I certainly enjoyed my first foray into the world of theatre. I love making music and I see no boundaries in terms of genres.

Two and a half years ago in an interview I made with Maxïmo Park, you said “let’s see how long I can keep up!”, regarding your immense creative output. Gladly you kept your pace. A year after the band record “Risk To Exist” your recent solo album “Diagrams” got released, this year you played a lot of festivals, are coming on tour now and seem to have a fling with creative projects. What Paul Smith content are we to expect in 2020? The collaboration project with Rachel Unthank and/or a new Maxïmo Park record?

I hope we will see a new Maxïmo Park record because we have worked on it for long enough! My collaboration with Rachel Unthank is virtually finished but may have to wait for a release date while our respective bands take some time in the spotlight.

The track “Around And Around” from your album “Diagrams” nearly would have become a Maxïmo Park track as far as I know. There were also songs like “Silver Rabbit” that are a lot closer to the band-sound than especially your debut solo record “Margins”. Does the border between band- and solo-sound get blurry? How do you decide which song is for what project?

Yes, this current record has a number of songs that I had initially imagined Maxïmo Park developing but I wasn’t happy with the way that they were going and preferred my original direction. That tells me they were meant to be on my record and with me playing the guitar and shaping the sound. Some songs are too personal for the band but not too personal to release into the world! And some of the songs have musical ideas that the rest of the band just aren’t interested in, but which I feel strongly about. I think in the future it will be much clearer which songs are meant for my solo albums and which ones are meant for Maxïmo Park because I don’t want to make another rock record by myself for a while. Perhaps what I release next will be more unusual and leftfield in its sensibility. The record I am making with Rachel Unthank, for example, is influenced by folk music more than anything else.

Drastical theme change incoming: How many hats do you have?

Less than you might think but more than most people!

A lightly popular namesake of yours is making designer hats – have you ever worn one of those or has there even been the idea of a collaboration? I mean “Paul Smith wearing Paul Smith” – brand ambassador by birth right, right?!

I haven’t but I will mention this the next time I see him…

It doesn’t look that good for Middlesbrough F.C. right now in the Championship – what is up with that? And what does football mean for you and your life as a musician playing a lot of live shows on evenings?

I love football and watching Middlesbrough this season has been quite painful! The manager is young and inexperienced so there was always going to be a transition period. However, if things get worse before January, then our loyal chairman might have to to make a very difficult decision. When I am on tour, I always keep abreast of the game if I am on stage at the same time as a Middlesbrough match. I have considered having a television next to the stage but my duty to the songs has always overpowered this urge!

Always my last question: what do you do when you feel bored??

I am rarely bored since there are so many interesting things to do. If I have time, I read, listen to music, or watch movies. If someone has a smartphone, then they are never bored because there is always something to waste your time with – I might read Twitter myself! Perhaps we need a little time to be bored in order to think about our lives and plan what we are going to do.

Thanks for the interview.

Mehr zu Paul Smith und seiner Musik gibt es auf seiner offiziellen Website sowie auf seinen Social Media-Kanälen bei Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube und Soundcloud zu sehen und hören.

Paul Smith live 2019

09.11.2019 – Köln (MTC)
10.11.2019 – Frankfurt (Nachtleben)
11.11.2019 – Hannover (Bei Chez Heinz)
13.11.2019 – Hamburg (Molotow)
14.11.2019 – Berlin (Maze)

Tickets gibt es ab jetzt bei Konzertveranstalter FKP Scorpio, bei Eventim sowie allen anderen gängigen Vorverkaufsstellen zu kaufen. Kostenpunkt: 21,60 Euro je Ticket und Stadt (zzgl. möglicher VVK- und Versandgebühren).

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