14 September 2012

Post #336 (Paddy Casey)

It's been a while since I interviewed anyone.  Recently, I had the opportunity to send off a batch of questions to Paddy Casey, a singer / songwriter that I've been listening to since his debut album, Amen (So Be It) came out back in  1999.  As anti-social as I am, I wasn't about to pass up a chance like that.

DeadBilly - Tell me a bit about the early days.  How long had you been writing / performing before you got signed?
Paddy Casey - I started playing about the age 12… first time outside my brothers flat in Dorset St,North Dublin … not a great place to go busking, I learnt my lesson quickly and move into Grafton St… I busked for a about a year till I met a guy about my age called Colin Scallen.. The 2 of us decided that we would hitch to Galway together and busk there instead… So this is where I played my first gigs in pubs etc.. The 2 of us did a few supports for local bands and we also had a regular gig in an all night bar called The Harbour Bar which was a kind of anything goes mental asylum for the local space travellers.. we got paid in cash and drink.. after a couple of years in Galway we both moved back to Dublin.. kept busking for a few years and and playing at Dave Murphy’s Songwriter night .Through meeting people here I started playing supports and running our own gigs, Songwriter nights, mini festivals, did I mention restaurants. I had also started doing my own headline gigs in Whelans.. this was my life till Sony came along …

DB - I’ve heard that many of the recordings released on your debut album, Amen (So Be It), where originally intended to be demos.  What happened that they ended up as the finished product?

PC – When I recorded the tracks… I was really just having fun… The label gave me some money to go in and demo, to see if I had many songs. We spent 2 or 3 days in Sun Studios, Dublin.. They liked the demos so much that they immediately made an offer and asked me could they release the demo’s as an album… I was a bit bemused by this but said yes to the release. I suppose at the time I took it as a bit of a compliment

DB - A two-parter – What did you listen to growing up?  What are you listening to these days?

PC – When I was growing up,there was a only a few albums in the house… The main ones I remember are the Dubliners and Supertramp.. I love both but I remember crying when I heard one of the Supertramp songs, I thought it was amazing… later on when my brother hit his teens and started working and that he spent all his money on records and hair gel… So I heard loads of great albums.. Pink Floyd, New Order … The first band I reckon I took a big interest in was The Thompson Twins… later on when I started collecting myself about 10-11 years old.. I was listening to The Cure, The Smiths, Madness, loads of punk compilations, Adam And The Ants.. and a bunch of Jazz and Blues tapes that I got in bargain bins… I also started listening to Prince (mainly because I saw a Cameo video “Word Up” and loved it, I came across a Prince cover with him in a thong and thought they were the same person) It wasn’t until I saw the Cameo video a few years later that the penny dropped.. By then it was too late though I loved Prince..

Nowadays.. I’m not as big a Prince fan as I was… Bob Marley has been a big one for me and I still listen on a regular basis..When I'm being Nostalgic, I crack open the Nina Simone,Waterboys,Kate Bush,Public Enem,Richie Havens and all the greats really mostly I just listen to new stuff if I can.. new songs I’ve never heard.. I think music is good at the minute..lyrically and also the sound, its a lot freer in ways (not pop obviously) but songs that would never have had a chance a few years ago are flying.. maybe it’s the internet. If U ignore the big throwback to the 80’s which is hard, I think music is in a good place … I think Rap is the most important form of music though…

DB - Several years back you recorded an amazing cover of Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” coupled with BlackStreet’s “No Diggity”, and if putting those two together wasn’t enough, you were backed by the Dublin Gospel Choir.  How did that project come about?

PC – Honestly.. There was no putting it together really.. I heard them doing one of my songs (Saints and Sinners) on a radio show so I asked them would they come on stage with me in The Olympia,Dublin and do it.. After the gig we had a great night hanging out so it was obvious that we would end up doing something again.. I think Today FM new that I sometimes did A version Of No Diggity in my set and asked me would I come in and do it live  .. So I guess the obvious thing was to bring in The Dublin Gospel Choir… I’m not even sure it was so long ago..

DB - While we’re on the subject of collaborations – I recently stumbled across Blujacker’s “Roll”, which you sing on.  How’d you get together with them?

PC – Ha how did you hear that .. He used to do sound for Laura Isibor And we got chatting one day..It turns out we used to go to school together.. So we just started hanging out.. He gave me some music tracks he had recorded and I just started messing with them coming up with lyrics and melodies etc.. One of the tracks have ended up on the new Album.. others will see the daylight someday soon..

DB - You’re last album was titled Addicted To Company (Part 1).  Will there ever be a part 2?

PC - There already is but it can only be heard over a cup of tea in the house… It’s a very limited edition

DB - It’s been 5 years since Addicted to Company was released.  What have you been up to in the interim?

PC – I’ve been teaching myself a few things… things I never got around to when I was mad busy.. I’ve also recorded shit loads of songs.. not all of them good.. but all where fun making.. I’ve also just mixed and mastered my new record and am working on the cover as we speak..

DB - Has your writing and/or recording process changed over the years since Amen?

PC – Not really, except I write a lot more now… I think its better so I suppose its changed in that way.. I used to let “writers block” or whatever that is?? get in the way but then one day I decided to ignore it… we still send each other texts every once in a while

DB - Tell me a bit about the recording of the new album.  Where was it recorded?  How did you choose which songs would make the album?

PC – Ok didn’t know this question was coming.. I think I answered most of it already.. I recorded the album in my house.. In the kitchen in fact.. I think because I decided that if the songs weren’t good enough the expensive studios (which I couldn’t afford anyway) weren’t going to make them better songs.. also I liked the idea of just going with the demo’s or first takes of songs.. As they came to me.. And being a night person they mostly happen when the world is fast asleep, So home just kind of became the place to do it.. Choosing the songs for the album I suppose was a choice of the strongest songs (usually the ones people told me were good,because I can never tell) and ones that didn’t repeat what another song had already said too much.. Its more of a mish mash of styles,sounds than the other albums.. which probably won’t help it sell… but there’s enough people out there who will try to put you in a box so there's no point helping them out :)

DB - So, with the new disc coming out, any plans for a tour?  More specifically, any plans on visiting the US?  Mesa, Arizona?

PC – I’m gonna do as many gigs as I can get my hands on… don’t think I’ve played Arizona yet.. It’s about time really :)

An enormous thanks to Paddy for taking the time to do this.  His new album, The Secret Life of. . ., is due in November.  Here's one of the new songs (also thanks to Paddy):
Paddy Casey - Wait

And since it came up in the questions, here's Blujacker's "Roll"
Blujacker feat. Paddy Casey - ROLL by BLUJACKER

1 comment:

iano1 said...

Nice interview! However was never a big fan