LOCAL INTERVIEW: Paul Liddell | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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For any artist, taking on the financing of an album can be a daunting process. With the advent of crowdfunding sites the delivery method has changed somewhat, and for musicians who are able to embrace the changes, the rewards can be plentiful; just ask Sunderland’s Paul Liddell, whose Kickstarter for his new album reached its target in a mere two hours and, at the time of writing, pledges had nearly quadrupled his targeted goal. But the fiercely independent songwriter hadn’t meant to go down the crowdfunding route: “I was kind of forced into trying something else because I was just so completely skint.” Having totalled his car after falling asleep at the wheel while touring in Germany, and having a poorly cat whose tail needed amputating, Paul’s album fund was spent up. “I think that’s the reason the Kickstarter did so well – sympathy for my cat! It was a bit frightening to try something completely new, especially because you are relying on other people to make it work, but I think people like to feel they are personally involved in the project.”

The album, entitled Andelain and released on 28th April, contains many of the tropes that Paul’s fans will be familiar with – his gently accented vocal, percussive guitar gymnastics and the use of loops and dextrous piano lines – but it’s clear that Paul’s stepping out of his comfort zone and embracing more experimental ideas. Utilising found sounds including snippets of conversation in Goodbye Mr. Green, a twinkling rendition of Ravel’s Bolero on Toybox Ravel and the twisted waltzing interlude of Drunken Pirate Interview, they intersect beautifully with tracks like the deliciously dark The Ides of May and what can only be described as the rap-folk-prog madness of Heavy Weather, offering a subtle but engaging contrast to the relatively more straight-forward tracks, like the lushly harmony-filled The Ends Of The Earth and the beautiful simplicity of Pillow. “I have experimented more and more every time I go in the studio to record, and although parts of this album sound quite accessible and easy, there is definitely an element of deliberate experimentation. It is something I’m keen to do more of.”

“It was a bit frightening to try something completely new, especially because you are relying on other people to make it work”

For an artist who has been writing and recording as long as Paul (he has seven EPs and albums under his belt already), evolution – and in some case, reinvention – is inevitable. “Lyrically, I now draw on loads of different sources and I often try new methods of writing to try and keep things interesting. Musically, I’ve been delving a little bit, and maybe you can hear it in parts of this album. Hopefully the next one will be even weirder.”

What’s certain is that Paul’s ever-growing fanbase can’t wait to get their hands on the album, and while the music may be leading him down increasingly abstract paths, he’ll be sticking to more traditional release methods in future. “I think it’s a kind of one-off deal; if you’ve done it once, then maybe people won’t be as inclined to help next time. I don’t want to seem like I’m scrounging from the people that like my stuff.”

Paul Liddell plays Sunderland Minster on Friday 24th April. Andelain is released on 28th April.

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