INTERVIEW: Para Alta | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Anyone who caught Para Alta’s end of year bash at Middlesbrough’s Westgarth Social Club will already be well versed in the way Hartlepool’s indie heroes are delivering on the almost relentless ‘ones to watch’ tags they’ve been handed since forming in 2016. Provoking crowd surfing and umpteen sing-alongs, the four-piece’s show was loud, tuneful and brimming with confidence. It also provided evidence of just how far the band have come in their short time together.

“That show was insane,” confirms vocalist and principle songwriter Jonny Bee, “almost from the word go there were people singing our songs back to us and going wild. What I enjoyed the most though was playing a collection of songs that were all as good as the best things we’ve written. It’s no longer just four or five songs we’re proud of, it’s all of them.” 

Timely words indeed from a band about to release their first compilation entitled Greatest Hits 2016-2019. “At first we thought of the ‘Greatest Hits’ title as a bit of an in-joke,” continues Jonny, “and then it just sort of stuck. We don’t want to be seen to take ourselves too seriously as a band, but we certainly want our music to be taken seriously. Calling our compilation ‘Greatest Hits’ is our way of trying to make the songwriting the most important part of what we do. Everything else, and especially all of the admin that can come with being in a band, is well behind in terms of importance.”

Calling our compilation ‘Greatest Hits’ is our way of trying to make the songwriting the most important part of what we do

The 12” is chock full of indie anthems including belters Dusk, I Get Mine and recent release Turn The Lights Out. Greatest Hits is a collection of tracks moulded in the classic Para Alta sound; confident, anthemic and full of rushing guitars. More importantly, it’s a document of the band’s progression in confidence: “Six months after we started people were already telling us that we’d never write songs as good as our first releases,” says Jonny, “now, when we write and perform something like Turn The Lights Out people are saying it’s the best thing we’ve done and are asking when the next track will be ready.” 

Indeed with Turn The Lights Out sounding bouncier and more rhythmic than earlier releases, there could be a campaign to call this ‘version 2’ of Para Alta; a more groove friendly, swaggering, collection. Pressed on this, Jonny is less interested in descriptive genres or changing approaches to song writing. “Personally I try to take little notice of what people say. What I’m interested in is how I feel about the song. If I like it, and the rest of the band like it, then I’m happy.” 

With growing confidence comes, naturally, a focus towards the future and to new music. “The aim is to release an album of new material towards the end of the year. We’re on a roll and we feel like we could really get somewhere this year.” Ones to watch? Most certainly.

Para Alta release Greatest Hits 2016-2019 on 12” on 29th March. The band play the Ku Bar stage at Stockton Calling on Saturday 20th April.

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