Alternative,Band,Liverpool,Singer Songwriter,Songwriter,UK

Blog interview: Paul Holden

Hello Paul, how are you?

I’m very well thank you. Very hot too but I’m not complaining!

Congratulations on the release of “Help Me Anytime You Want”. How does it feel?

Thank you, it’s been a long time coming. It feels fantastic, I started work on this project in June 2020 and I had an October 2020 release date in mind. However, several lockdowns put that idea to bed. I’m glad it ended up being a nice summer release for it now.

It’s a great track, what’s the story behind it?

As soon as the first lockdown came in back in March 2020, I was thinking “there’s only one thing for it, let’s get in the studio”. I’ve never been so grateful to have my own studio at home. This was the very first track I started work on. It was my first time experimenting with electronic sounds and textures. Even the early demo had such a good groove and vibe about it. I knew it was going to be a keeper. When we started work on the E.P., we’ve added live drums, bass, backing vocals, guitar and a beautiful string section.

The song is essentially about how selfish society and can be and I guess how a little act of kindness can go a long way to make someone feel better.

What were the challenges you faced writing it?

It was an absolute delight to write to be honest. It just all fell into place beautifully. I wish they were all like that!

You are a singer songwriter from the musical holy city of Liverpool, how did it all begin for you?

I started writing songs when I was 16, it wasn’t until three years later I wrote one which caught everybody’s attention called Butterflies (which is on my first EP). I was lucky to have become friends with some amazing Liverpool musicians like The Real People, Digsy and Ian McNabb so to have people like that around was a proper learning curve (in more ways than one!!). I started recording properly in 2002, I then formed a band called The Talkabouts in 2004. That lasted the best part of 12 years. We never released anything but we were really good live….and very loud.

What did you listen to growing up?

I was really lucky! My dad had me listening to Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Lennon’s solo, The Dubliners etc and my older sister was into Nirvana, The Stone Roses and R.E.M. and when I was in the car with my mum, it would always be The Beatles’ Red album. So I was on to a winner really. I’ve always been surrounded by great music.

You probably get asked this a lot, being from Liverpool but what’s your favourite Beatle song?

Ahh the impossible question! You can never have a definitive favourite but at this very moment, I’m in love with “Baby You’re A Rich Man”

Your EP “Say It To The Sun” is out on 19th August what was it like putting that together?

Because of Covid, it wasn’t easy I have to say. We weren’t actually able to get into a studio to do it all together, so a lot of it was done remotely and transferred over where possible. I think the string section was cancelled on three different occasions because of lockdowns so it was very stop/start but we got there in the end I’m delighted with it.

What’s your favourite track from it?

There’s a track called “Into Battle” on there. It’s about anxiety or just one of them moments where you’re having a bit of a wobble. I guess when you’re conscious mind and sub-conscious mind are in battle with each other. It was very difficult writing the lyrics to that. Trying to put yourself back in that place. I was exhausted after finishing it. It’s also one of my best vocals I’ve ever delivered.

What was the easiest and most challenging part of recording it?

I have amazing musicians playing on this E.P. so they were just a dream to work with. I never really like telling people what to play, I like them putting their own slant on things. Everything they done was just so good and on the money. That was the easy bit, working with them. Again, the only challenges we faced was with the Covid situation.

You are a piano player, who are your top 3?

Nina Simone

Ray Charles

Elton John

COVID has affected the creative industry in a big way, what kept you motivated?

Well I couldn’t have chosen a better time to start work on my E.P., it really was something I could get stuck into and shut all the bad stuff out. I’m not sure how I would have coped if I wasn’t able to make music. Having my own studio was a true blessing

2020 was a time to reflect did you learn anything new about yourself?

I don’t think I’ve learned anything new about myself, more like I’ve realised that we need to cherish and make the most of our time here. Nothing can be taken for granted so be happy and love one another!

What are you listening to at the moment?

I’m really into Bicep right now! I can’t get enough of them. Hoping to see them in September. Also a lot of Bon Iver.

What are you looking forward to next? 

Really looking forward to putting my live band together and getting out there to do some shows! Everyone who played on the E.P. is up for it so it’s game on.

I can’t wait to back in the studio too and start making some new magic!

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