ARTIST PROFILE|PAUL REID
BY SEAN O’GRADY
Nowhere Towns is the second release from local singer songwriter Paul Reid, vivid in it’s storytelling and displaying an assured approach musically, the record delves into the concept of a restless spirit.
It’s a beautifully meandering record, tracking the uncertain paths of live and the transitory nature of communities where people come and go at a rapid rate. Reid applies a rich sonic texture to each of the songs, Rivers in The West fades out with a wandering guitar solo slowly cascading down an unpredictable road. Station 59 has a melancholy pedal steel lament that gently slides along softly drifting out of sight.
The Northsider chatted to Paul about that unsettled nature of the human spirit that so brilliantly pervades Nowhere Towns, “I met a group of people that I was studying with a few years ago, it’s an ode to one of those people that I met. This person was constantly on the move, they never had a fixed address, going from place to place. Nowhere Towns is an ode to that journey of always being on the move and never sitting still and always looking for opportunity. A lot of the songs mention trains I like the idea of trains as a metaphor, the idea of life rolling on.”
Nowhere Towns had a long gestation, Paul gave himself time to shape the songs and concentrate on developing his already panoramic and insightful writing further. Taking us through his creative process it was clear that Paul crafted each song with a careful ear adding counter melodies and intricate instrumentation where required, as he related to the Northsider.
“It’s been a long journey for the songs, I have had four years of writing and honing in on the lyrics I wanted to use. Some songs that started a certain way completely changed during the recording process, for example a song like Station 59 the chorus changed when we went into the studio. It was good to focus in on each song and work out if that was the outcome I wanted for that song, or was there someplace else it could go. Some of the songs write themselves, Settle Down Boy came quickly and I knew that there was nothing else needed for that song. Some of the instrumentation took some time, working out some of the counter melodies. Each step along the way the songs were given a new element.”
Further expanding on his maturing sound I asked Paul about the difference in his writing approach between his previous EP Vines and his new release.
“I was more sure of my songwriting and I had a better idea of the outcome although I hadn’t layered all the instruments over the top, I knew exactly where I wanted everything. If someone had said to me is this what you want I felt more confident to say no this is what I have in mind, that was the prominent difference between Nowhere Towns and The Vine.”
Another important part of the journey was Paul’s association with local independent label Boundary Records and label founder Chris Frangou who also produced the EP. With it’s nurturing approach to it’s artists I asked Paul how this benefitted the writing and recording process for Nowhere Town.
“The beauty of working with Chris is that he pushed me to go into uncharted waters, whenever I felt nervous about taking a direction he encouraged me to just go for it. He made me step out of my comfort zone with my writing and instrumentation and using different melodies. There was a lot of trust, he wants the best from me and I think we are a great team because of that trust.”
Nowhere Towns is a gem, wistful and articulate, it’s only the beginning for Paul Reid. Already contemplating a full length album in the future Paul is definitely an artist to watch out for.
Nowhere Towns is out now on Boundary Records