It’s been just a couple of months since SUPER 8 released T-T-T-Technicolour Melodies! and on June 15th the new album Turn Around Or… will be available.
Paul Ryan is a special talent. His super melodic songs and his arrangements are just different. Fragile & Edgy. And that’s why I want to hear these songs over and over again.
Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?
Ha! Ha! There were actually three of what I’d refer to as ‘stand out musical magic moments’ for me growing up. One of my earliest memories is a Simon & Garfunkel ‘Greatest Hits’ album (on 8 track cartridge!) that was on constant rotation in my Dad’s Ford Cortina MkI. I guess I was musically brainwashed from an early age! I couldn’t speak that well at the time but, come the age of two, I knew all the melodies … plus the harmonies!
The next ‘magic moment’ was probably seeing Johnny Marr ripping up the stage with his black Rickenbacker on a mid-80s ‘Top Of The Pops’ performance by The Smiths. That had quite a profound effect on me (so much so that, come the following day, I went out and put down a hire purchase payment on a (cheap!) electric guitar. Sadly I couldn’t afford a Rickenbacker … and, again sadly, I STILL can’t to this day! Maybe one day perhaps. Who knows? If this new album goes platinum (LOL!) I might treat myself to one – it’s been a LONG time coming!)
My final ‘magic moment’ where I knew I just had to at least try to make a go of it and do ‘something’ musical with my life was witnessing a small gig to a packed back room of a club (namely: ‘Legends’) in Warrington, North West England where I grew up. The band was a yet-to-break local band called ‘The Stone Roses’ and I knew right away that I was witnessing something rather special! Maybe I’m wearing rose-tinted spectacles here but, of all the gigs I’ve been to (and I’ve been to quite a few down through the years!), this concert is still the favourite in my mind (closely followed by The La’s at the same club!) A belated ‘shout out’ to local promoters Sean Mellor, Kev McCue & DJ Russ Pearson for bringing SO many bands on the cusp of greatness to a small Northern town (and hugely influencing my taste in music in the process!) I’m not a religious man but that first Roses gig was the closest I’ve come to ‘a religious experience’ musically I guess …. or maybe there was just something in the beer that night?! Regardless, the experience gave me the kickstart I needed to start believing in myself & taking my music-making seriously. It also made me realize what a powerful, life-changing force music can be!
At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you know you were on to something special?
To be honest this new album just snuck up on me! It wasn’t planned. I guess I was riding on a natural high (and still am!) off the back of the kind words, great press & good vibes I got for the last album “T-T-T-Technicolour Melodies!” (that was released on ‘Futureman Records’ at the end of January there).
Anyway, I started thinking about where I was going to go next musically and dug out my ideas notepad and the completely disorganized ‘bin bag of ideas’ that I keep in the corner of my home studio to throw my work-in-progress demos into!
After much sifting & listening, I was surprised to discover that there was actually the makings of another full album lurking in the depths of my bag! I knew it would involve a lot of work to knock everything into shape (I currently do pretty much everything myself on the recording/producing front) plus I knew I’d also be away for the entire month of May.
I started to formulate a hare-brained idea that it might be a cool musical challenge to try and ‘turn around’ (see what I did there?) another album in a very short space of time then, without thinking any further, I set to work.
I think the record company ‘Futureman Records’ (check ‘em out folks – loads of great stuff going down!) were a bit surprised when I presented them with another fully realized album in such a short space of time since the last one …. I know I was Ha! Ha! So yeah, this album’s a bit of ‘a happy accident’ really – I just ‘bashed it out’! That said, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out. Twelve songs, ALL killers/NO fillers? I’ll let you decide!
What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
I was getting toward the end of the album but still needed another song that would segue well & fit the ‘vibe’ of the other tracks. After some head scratching, I came up with the song ‘Your Love Is My Blanket’.
The night before I did the vocal sessions for said song, I’d been watching an interview with Peter Frampton and he was talking about how he discovered the TalkBox and incorporated it into his music. I knew of the device from his hits, not forgetting Stevie Wonder’s great work with one, but I’d somehow put it to the back of my mind. When I heard it again I was reminded of Frampton’s use of it and thought: “WOW! That’s such a cool sound!” I then realized that a TalkBox riff would be a perfect sound for the solo of my new ‘Blanket’ song BUT … I didn’t have one! To cut an already long story short – I attempted to just make one! I cobbled it together using the innards of a small practice amp, an old sink plunger and a long tube (its original purpose was for siphoning petrol) ie: just the basic stuff your average musician/mechanic/plumber has lying around the house! I was cracking myself up trying to operate my home-made TalkBox but, after much trial & error, what you hear on the finished song was actually my first take!
Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?
‘There She Goes’ by The La’s. It’s just an out-and-out CLASSIC POP song – I never tire of hearing it! (In the same vein, I also love ‘Serious Drugs’ by The BMX Bandits which I’ve been fortunate enough to record a version of & include on this new album – I just hope I’ve done it justice!)
If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?
Exactly the same as the last two albums I’ve just recorded ie: one mic going into an old, somewhat clapped-out Portastudio then polished up (just a tad mind!) using a laptop running some free music software. I don’t actually need much to make my records. Where it currently falls down though is on the promotion front. If a wad of money were to just fall from the sky and it HAD to be spent ‘musically’ then yeah, I guess I’d use it to try and promote these records I make. (Maybe take out an advert on the side of the No. 147 bus? That’s AFTER I’ve bought my Rickenbacker mind!)
AFTERTHOUGHT: Scrub that! I’d use the said wad of cash to fly to LA, bring ‘The Wrecking Crew’ out of retirement and record SUPER 8’s next album ‘Pet Sounds’ stylee! That would be something (it really would be something!)