After establishing themselves with a flurry of rich and diverse outings this past year, West London-based outfit New York Pavements are now looking to cement their legacy to date with the release of their adventurous debut album 'Outside The Glasshouse'.
Channelling more of that broad and inventive approach they are known for, which dabbles in Britpop, soul, glam-rock and so much more, 'Outside The Glasshouse' makes for an extremely fun and glittering listen. With its rich and immersive sound gelled together with some beautifully soaring vocals throughout, they are continuing to prove themselves as one of the more distinctive names on the rise right now.
So with the new LP available now, we sat down with the group's Paul Brooking to find out more about his origins and what has been inspiring him most lately.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
Well, the guitar was the first I learned to play and is my main instrument, but I do remember getting a real kick out of playing my grandmother’s piano when I guess I was about eight. I didn’t know what I was doing and I think my family thought I was just ‘playing around’ as kids do, but for me I was in love with the sound that came out.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
I grew up with all the great British pop bands so all the classics of Bowie, Beatles, The Who, T Rex but I also knew what to avoid – Bay City Rollers, Abba, The Osmonds I guess to anyone these days it’s all just ‘old music’ but at the time they were defintely two sides to the playground.
What was the first album you remember owning?
Honky Chateau, Elton John. I bought if for the singles Rocket Man and Honky Cat and quickly got immersed. I was also absorbed by the sleeve art wondering who is that shadowy figure if he’s not in the band? - It was Bernie Taupin, to me it was all fascinating stuff. I got into every track and Nigel Olson competed with Ringo as my new favourite drummer.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
Where do you start? I guess The Beatles’ For No One is pretty phenomenal for its poignant elegance. But then I also marvel at Alex Turner’s dry wit and original metaphors on tracks like Do I Wanna Know? So, there’s one from the distant past and one from the recent past but there’s a few hundred others in between!
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
Actually, I try to avoid anything like that as I don’t want to formalise something that is really only special when it’s natural. John Lennon once said ‘I can churn it out but it’s best when you’re like, possessed and you think, did I write that?’ I’ve had a couple of times where I can relate to what he said, when I’ve been writing a lot and then a song just writes itself – it’s bewildering and really quite special (although I’ve yet to write Imagine!).
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
The Snuts are doing cool stuff with recent releases, Benjamin Clementine’s latest album (And I Have Been) is so out-there and there’s an artist called Teenage Waitress I’ve been following – refreshing guitar/pop.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
I suppose Supergrass, because with their sound and their audience it feels like we’d all be of the same mind.
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
Writing and recording. When writing goes well it’s magical and those times in the studio when you get a sudden leap and a song goes from something good to something amazing is so exciting. But then you have to stop yourself just playing it back over and over at that point!
And what is the most frustrating part?
The tedious nature of promotion, writing little biogs, uploading clips and the warzone that is the back end of Facebook ads!
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
“It’s great – believe it.’’
New York Pavements' debut album 'Outside The Glasshouse' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.