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INTERVIEW: PAUL K

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Miami Encode Interview Paul K, the artist behind one of the more interesting LPs to cross our desk this year. No small feat! Read on…

How would you present/describe your work to someone who doesn’t know you?

My sound is like sonic painting with lots of different layers of texture usually underpinned by an evolving ARP or piano refrain. It can be soft and ambient or loud and rocky dependent upon the piece I am working on. It’s not tied down to one genre but it always has an electronic edge to it. Most of my work is instrumental but the new album is a more vocal based work.

And your last record? How was it born? And where do you want it to lead?

“The Space Between” is about the human condition and the need for answers. It is the natural follow up album to “The Fermi Paradox”album I released a couple of years ago. It’s a story about an astronaut who has volunteered for a one way journey through space to pass through the Heliopause and is set maybe 30/50 years in the future. He is accompanied only by an AI robot that becomes sentient during the journey. When the astronaut eventually dies the AI takes over and continues into space alone. Each track plots the journey from liftoff looking back at the Earth to the debilitating effect of years alone in space and is also related to the love and loss the astronaut has felt in his life so, as with most of my work, the lyrics exist on multiple layers and meanings. He records his life story to the ship’s memory and the AI takes on the persona of the astronaut and continues into the abyss of space alone.

I’ve always had a fascination with space travel and technology and I think it’s a good time to explore this theme with the recent advances in both space travel and what effect AI will have on the human race in the future. I think we need to start thinking about how we will survive as a race and maybe AI offers us a way to live on beyond our physical lifetime!

What message would you like to convey to the public?

The main message from my last couple of albums is that we need to find a better way for us all to coexist together as a human race and with nature and we need to sort out the many critical issues on Earth as well as looking to the stars for the future!

How do you make music? What is most important for you?

I usually start with a piano refrain, an arp or a loop I’ve made on a keyboard and build from there. I try and find textures that compliment and contrast each other and then evolve the piece into an arrangement. The most important thing to me is that I like it and would listen to it as primarily I’m making the music for me and if others like it that’s an added bonus.

Is there a unifying concept behind your art?

There is a concept around each album but each album can be very different. The one unifying element would be the use of electronic sound as the key component of each work.

What makes you unique?

It’s hard to stand out in the world of music today with so many sources of media that people have access to but I think my work is fairly unique in the way it conveys a story and feeling and how that links to the visual side with video and live installations at my shows. I think the mix of instrumentation is also a factor that gives the sound a unique tone.

As for your studio, what is it currently composed of?

My studio is based around Logic X as the DAW with lots of plug-ins and software but the core of the studio is around my collection of synths and the modular system. I have lots of old analogue gear but also some of the most modern synths and effects pedals and desktop modules like the Polyend Medusa, Strega, O-Coast, O-Ctrl, Lyra 8, Microcosm etc. I try to choose a range of kit for each project so the sound constantly evolves. There is also a Theremin and Kalimba which are heavily processed and sampled through modules such as Morphagene.

I also have various drum machines, guitars, basses etc and an old reel to reel from 1974 which I use to create tape loops.

What is the one instrument you would never get rid of, no matter what?

There are probably 3 bits which are my original Roland Juno’s 6, 60 and 106 which were the first polysynths I ever bought.

Do you have hope for the future of music? How would you like the future of the music industry to be?

Definitely! I think the amount of good self released music you can now find online away from mainstream acts is really inspiring. I think there are issues with being paid a decent return from streaming services for what could be two years or more of work to create and album and that needs to be addressed. I think there needs to be a fairer model for independent artists and record companies should funnel more money into developing artists and bands like they used to before we moved into a more throwaway culture. Some of the most famous artists around today would not be able to make records today if companies had not stuck by them while their sound evolved!

Can you reveal some future projects to us?

I’m currently planning out my next album and adapting my studio to bring in some different synths etc to vary the sound palette. I’m also planning some new live events which incorporates a lot of projected imagery with the music and these will announced in the coming months

What makes you happy?

Being with my family, making music, a walk by the sea or travelling to some new destination!

What bothers you?

The current geo-political problems in the world!

Written by: Alejandro Serrano

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