Paul Steel

Where did the idea for April & I come from?
PS: I always wanted to do a continuous interwoven piece of music like Rhapsody In Blue but in the pop music format. I like the idea of theme and variations. I was still coming to terms with growing up and being away from home so I wanted to do a tribute to my childhood.

Did you draw all the album cover/liner pictures yourself? 
PS: Yes. They were inspired by my girlfriend’s childhood drawings. Just happened to have lots of crayons lying around.

You recorded "April & I" in your bedroom. How did you get such rich audio
throughout each song? Is it all Pro-Tools?

PS: I don’t know. I just put a mic to things and recorded them. I really had no idea what I was doing as far as engineering goes. I think April secretly adjusted my microphones and compression settings when my back was turned. I like to think I could probably record it better now. But I probably couldn’t.

My least favorite song on the album "School Bully" – I am very curious
about. Why does it slowly turn into a rave-style dance track and avoids the musical themes of the other tracks??

PS : I wanted the rave part to be like a fight with the school bully. 4 on the floor kick drums always sound like thumping a person to me.

I heard you are a big fan of Super Furry Animals and Radiohead — yet
your album is mostly a Beach Boys-styled musical. Do you plan to keep your "sound" a unique blend of influences or will it change to something with more angst?

PS: I just write and produce in whatever style I feel like at the time. I’ll do my best not to repeat anything I’ve done on April & I.. there’s no point. I’ve been tempted to play around with more angsty music but it always ends up sounding like Linkin Park or something… I’ll work on it.

Did you ever get a chance to meet any of the Beach Boys?
PS: No. I’ve written a song called ‘Ocean’ with Stephen Kalinich who collaborated with all the Wilson brothers in the 60s and 70s and I know some of Brian Wilson’s live band but that’s as close as I’ve come so far! I got to hold the original God Only Knows session tapes when I was in LA a while ago. It was like drinking from the Holy Grail.

What other contemporary musicians have influenced you? I recall another
interview where you mentioned The High Llamas and Jellyfish.

PS: Recently I’ve been getting into a band called The Ruby Suns from New Zealand. Also Apples In Stereo and Olivia Tremor Control. I like the whole idea of the Elephant 6 collective and people playing in each others bands. I’m also mentally in love with a Japanese artist called Cornelius. He’s truly unique in that he has this whole dance music element but not at the expense of melodic content which I think is very rare. Mostly I’ve been looking back at 60s sunshine pop bands like The Free Design and The Association.

Can you reveal anything about why your follow up album, "Moon Rock" has been delayed? 
PS: We’re looking for nice friendly labels around the world to release it. I was part of the paranoid UK music industry meltdown unfortunately.

Any good stories from touring on the road you’d like to share? 
PS: It was pretty shit but the gig where I broke my foot was pretty memorable. We were on the second date of a tour. The first date was excellent and me and the band were totally up for the rest of the tour. We got through our second show in London pretty smoothly despite some technical problems and the crowd seemed really into it. Then in the acid rave section of our last song I was pulling some extreme shapes and ended up on the floor with my arse in the air with 2 fractures in my metatarsal. Got rushed to hospital and put in a cast with crutches and had to cancel the tour. Other tours have consisted of terrifying drug addict van drivers, cringe-worthy karaoke, lightsaber battles, Amy Winehouse cancellations, getting thrown out of a tartan factory for pretending to be a mannequin, backline technicians knocking over Joss Stone and many other things. Pretty much what you’d expect.

Thanks for interview, Paul. I can’t wait for "Moon Rock" to find a label. And if you see Amy Winehouse, tell her to "just say no no no" to the crack.

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