With recent EP Descartes Highlands, Paul Thomas Saunders has revealed a gift for transmuting melancholia into a kind of subdued euphoria. Named after an area on the nearside of the moon, the EP is a collection of sonic lunarscapes to transport you to another state. FFS get the low down on this starry-eyed shoe gazer…
Hello, please introduce yourself and your music to the uninitiated.
My name is Paul, I’m a Hapa. I make pop music that’s awkward to grind to.
Tell us a bit about your latest release?
My latest release is an E.P. called Descartes Highlands. It’s a collection of four related songs that I hope are something close to the antithesis of the youth anthem.
What was your best ever gig?
We played our first headline show last month. It was at the beautiful St Pancras Old Church in London. It was a wonderful thing to play to our own audience. I think that has to be my favourite show. After playing so many support shows over the past year or so, it’s a funny feeling to play a show to a crowd who are already on your side.
What’s the worst thing about being a musician?
I get quite embarrassed when people ask me what I do, sometimes it’s easier to lie, but I suppose I just feel like as a musician, there’s little I can do to genuinely contribute towards the greater good of humanity…On a good day, I can maybe make someone feel vaguely reflective. It’s something I’ll have to learn to live with. It’s a toss-up really, between that underlying feeling of inadequacy and self-assessment forms.
What inspires you?
The silence in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up.
If you won a billion pounds what would you do with it?
Pay my live band more, buy a telescope and renew my ‘adopt a donkey’ subscription.
Which of your songs is your favourite and why?
I think ‘Santa Muerte’s Lightning and Flare’ is my favourite, I’m really happy with the lyrics, they’re very direct, although they’re hard to make out on the recording. It’s one I’m looking forward to maybe re-recording for the album. It feels like a song that still has room to grow, and it’s the first song I’ve written on the piano too, which is perhaps why it stands out for me.
What are you plans for the future?
We’re beginning to put together the album in time for an early 2013 release. Other than that, we have a few more festivals to go and some touring to prepare for towards the end of the year.
Finally, we’re always looking to expand our musical horizons. Do you have any recommendations of bands or artists we should be looking out for?
We’ve played a few shows with a Swedish guy called Loney, Dear this month, his live show is like nothing else, he forges the most intimate atmosphere I’ve ever witnessed. He also let us jump-start our car off his van and gave us free t-shirts -a gentleman.
Catch Paul Thomas Saunders:
Sat 2nd June@Bushstock, London UK
Sat 21st July@Deershed Festival, Thirsk, North Yorkshire