INTERVIEW: The Shooting Of | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The Shooting Of has been part of the North East’s musical landscape for the best part of two decades. The Northumberland-based musical maestro has taken on several guises – he’s the artist formerly known as Jeans Goes Pop!, or perhaps you’ve heard of him under his official title, Mr Paul Jeans – but it’s The Shooting Of that has stuck, as he prepares to release his second record under that moniker, Dragged Through The Streets.

It’s been five years since the release of 2016’s Analogue Heart – a brooding experiment in noir pop – and after constantly putting off a follow-up, the lockdowns of the last year acted as a catalyst, allowing Jeans to stretch his legs again as an artist. Rather than delving back into old demos, Jeans took the opportunity to try something he’d never done before: to start from nothing. “I decided to write from the ground up, like when a band books a studio and doesn’t have any material. There are a lot of classic albums that started with nothing.”

The result of this approach is a record that is much more cohesive than The Shooting Of’s previous offering. Whereas Analogue Heart flirted with various genres, building tracks from the rhythm up has allowed for much more groove and freedom, and Dragged Through The Streets is a gloriously fun, 80s-inspired pop record. “I knew a lot of people were recording lockdown albums, and I thought we’d probably hear loads of miserable songs, so I wanted to do something different. Although the lyrics are still dark in places, I just set them to a disco beat!

Although the lyrics are still dark in places, I just set them to a disco beat!

This contrast between the upbeat sound and darker lyrics is nowhere more evident than lead single Forced To Pretend; its Rolling Stones-esque swagger and earworm hooks (not to mention a killer sax solo) at odds with the lyrics which tackle the feeling of imposter syndrome. Then there’s the uplifting piano pop of Dare 2 Be which deals with online bullying. “A lot of what I write about is frustration. It’s not necessarily angry but I like to address things I wouldn’t normally say. A lot of the lyrics have multiple meanings: Forced To Pretend is somewhat personal, with the idea of never being sure of yourself and wanting to please others, but it’s also about screaming into the void when it comes to politics.”

Jeans admits that he’s taken himself too seriously in the past, trying to do the “earnest singer-songwriter thing, with deep songs and album covers with me looking moody – I’ve had enough of that. This album cover is very 70s, it looks like a Donny Osmond album! I don’t really care about looking cool, I wanted it to be eye-catching.”

While there’s certainly a tongue in cheek element to the aesthetic side of The Shooting Of (check out the video for Forced To Pretend with its flamboyant costume changes), Jeans takes the technical side of his art very seriously, having meticulously written, performed, recorded, mixed and produced the whole album himself. “I started working on it in September last year and took the time I had to learn more about recording. But once I’d learn new things, I’d feel I’d done stuff wrong to begin with and spend hours trying to fix things! I have a habit of spending all my time tinkering and can’t let things go, but this time I had to give myself a deadline, or I’d still be changing things now!”

The Shooting Of releases Dragged Through The Streets on 7th May


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