Interview date: 03/13/2008
Run date: 03/31/2008
He may be a household name in his native Ireland, but if you live in the U.S., chances are pretty good that you've never heard of singer/songwriter Paddy Casey. Casey's latest album, "Addicted To Company Vol. 1," is such a gem of an album though, that you'll hear it and start counting the days to the release of "Vol. 2." Meanwhile, Vol. 1 was released on March 4 and Casey is currently touring in the U.S. But before that, we had a chance to talk to him by phone from his studio in Dublin.
Paddy Casey: Hello?
Bullz-Eye: Hello, Paddy?
PC: Hello, Mike. How are you?
BE: Good. How are you?
PC: I'm all right.
BE: Good, man. So I reviewed your new album. I don't think you've seen it yet because it's not up yet.
PC: No, I live out in the sticks, so I have no Internet.
BE: Oh, okay. Well I'll confess, I hadn't heard of you until my editor said I'm going to send you this album and it's going to be your new favorite artist, and he was right.
PC: Now was that by choice or did you have to have this as your favorite artist?
BE: No, he just said you're going to love it, and I did.
PC: All right. Where are you from?
BE: I'm from Nashville.
PC: Oh you're from there?
PC: I'm not getting the twang.
BE: Oh, I'm actually from New York originally.
PC: Oh, okay.
BE: But I love the album. For some reason I thought this was just your second album, but he told me you've been at it for much longer.
PC: Well the first album I did was some demos that we did. It was just something they released and then people started calling it an album. I guess it was an album.
BE: Right, so how many do you have all together?
BE: And when was the first one released?
PC: The first one was released eight or nine years ago and the second one about four or five years ago. I'm really slow. I'm not slow at recording, I just ended up touring constantly for like three years. So by the time it came to actually doing the second one I had no songs because I had just been gigging. I had a few songs here and there but I didn't have a proper album.
BE: And according to your Web site and everything I've seen, you've got a huge following in Ireland?
PC: Apparently so.
BE: Well that's good. How about the rest of Europe or anywhere else?
PC: The last album didn't travel very well. I think my record company fell on its ass. Everyone that worked with me got fired. Nearly everyone that was signed with me, everyone that was on my label, were dropped. I don't know why they kept me. I think it was because I was so cheap, you know, I was touring with an acoustic guitar and that was it. So practically everyone got dropped.
BE: What label were you on before this?
PC: I was on Columbia in the States and then they didn't take the second album. I think there was no one there that remembered who I was from the first album. The label that I was on in England completely closed down.
PC: Do you remember Desiree? She was on the label. Did she do all right in the States?
BE: She did okay. I think she had one hit.
PC: Terrance Trent D'Arby was one of the first artists on the label.
BE: Okay. So who are some artists that inspire you as a singer and songwriter?
PC: I like a lot of the legends. I like Sly and the Family Stone. If I ever had a band, my dream band would be kind of a Sly and the Family Stone thing. I like Parliament and stuff. I like kind of funkier music. Prince would have been the first person I was really, really into. And as I grew older, I suppose I went back in time and listened to Marvin Gaye and Sam Cook and some Gospel stuff. I'm not too fussy. I really like good songs and good singers. I don't care who they are.
BE: I definitely hear that kind of 70's pop-soul kind of influence in your music. That's really cool.
PC: I suppose in this record, some of it we did on purpose. Like on tracks like "Addicted to Company" we went, "God, that really sounds like an old Al Green sort of track." The demo version we did sounded like Al Green so we said "Fuck it, we'll just make it sound like an Al Green record," you know? We kind of did it on purpose. It was kind of tongue and cheek, you know?
BE: Well that's cool. My favorite track is "Become Apart."
BE: There is this really cool Billy Joel type organ in the beginning that I thought was really neat.
PC: Yeah, we were just messing around with sounds I think. We just let it kind of happen. We didn't get too fussy with it, actually.
BE: The melody is just genius.
PC: You like it, eh? Cool. I don't know what…it reminds me of something, but I don't know what it is. Actually, most songs do.
BE: What is your favorite track on the album, or do you have one?
PC: I don't know. I really like "See" because it was so easy to make. I like the guitar sounds that Mark Bolan used to get. Actually before I ended up using the producer I ended up with, I was trying to get…who is Mark Bolan's producer? He did Bowie's album and spilt the scene. I can't remember. It was the guy that did Bolan and the T. Rex stuff…I was trying to get him. Yeah, I like "See." It was recorded in the time it took to play it basically.
BE: What is the songwriting process like for you, and how many songs do you typically write for each album?
PC: This one, I wanted to make a double album, but I thought it was a bit cheeky since no one knew who I was. That's kind of a privilege reserved for legends, you know? I called this one "Part One" and basically the rest of the songs that I kind of didn't want to drop for this album, I was going to do them this year and make it "Part Two." For this album I was spoiled, because I have a lot of these really good songs that didn't get finished -- songs that I thought were better than the ones that ended up on the album.
BE: Well I can't wait to hear that.
PC: I can't either.
BE: When do you think that will be released?
PC: I think what will happen later in the year, because of a lot of American stuff coming up is going to take up the first four or five months anyway, at least of this year. Hopefully I'll get a chance to put a head down in a few months. It won't take long. We recorded about 30 songs for the record; we just didn't finish off a lot of the songs. I'd say there are five or six of those recordings that I'll use, so it won't take as long to do as if it were a new record.
PC: But they're different styles so that's why I really wanted to put them out because they're a different buzz than the tracks we did on the record. I mean a lot of this record ended up sounding a bit retro, you know?
BE: Right. So the other songs are not as retro?
PC: Not as retro, right. They're kind of buzzes that I don't think too many people are doing.
PC: You have to try and stick out somewhere.
BE: What type of following do you have in the States? I saw you did a promotional tour recently.
PC: I'd say I could do a couple of hundred people every gig. People wouldn't know me, I think people would still kind of be going on…well from the Internet I suppose from the last couple of years things have been building up. People have been passing the music around and stuff. So I could probably do half decent 200 or 300 person rooms, in the bigger kind of Irish cities. I'm not sure to be honest because I haven't done a tour in a few years.
BE: Are you planning to come over here then?
PC: I'm coming over next week. I'm doing a month and a half.
BE: Are you doing South By Southwest?
PC: We're doing that as well. We're stopping off there for a few days. That's where you are, isn't it?
BE: No, I'm in Nashville.
PC: How far is that? Texas is huge isn't it?
BE: Texas is really big, yeah.
PC: It's like a five-day drive, isn't it?
BE: We're probably 10 or 11 hours from Texas.
BE: What's the biggest difference between touring in Ireland and touring here, besides the bigger crowds?
PC: I don't know, I think Irish people maybe drink more. So they're a little bit looser when they get there. I don't know. I've had nice gigs there, so it's kind of hard to tell. I think Irish people are a little bit looser and they dance a bit easier. I think Americans listen a lot more, which is kind of cool in itself because it's sometimes nice to not have to fight the crowd a bit. I think Irish people are just are determined to have their own buzz of it. They're going to enjoy it no matter what.
BE: Is there a type of food in America that you look forward to when you come here?
PC: I've been trying out different things. I try to go into different restaurants every time. I went to an Ethiopian restaurant last time I was there. We don't have any of those in Ireland. That was different. You can get pretty much anything in Ireland, except Mexican food. I don't think we get real Mexican food over here.
BE: What is the opinion over there of American beer?
PC: I think every country has a couple of beers that are nice. We don't get Sam Adams and stuff I think. I don't know. I used to drink Red Stripe, and Red Stripe you couldn't get here. I think I drank it because it was Jamaican.
BE: So, who are some artists you'd like to tour with?
PC: Right now, I've always wanted to do a thing with Public Enemy, but I don't think that's going to happen. But the producer I worked with on this record did the first Public Enemy album. I think that was kind of the swing for me.
BE: Well, that would be a fun tour.
PC: I'd probably get killed.
BE: (laughs) What types of hobbies do you have that aren't music-related?
PC: I don't know. I do a few things. I'm big into films. I really like watching films. Does that count as a hobby?
PC: All right. Well films than. I love watching films.
BE: What are some favorites of yours?
PC: Have you see "The Mission?"
PC: "The Mission." Robert De Niro is in it. Some great actors, really. It's about a Jesuit mission that works in Peru, I think, and it's during the time of the Conquistadors and they're trying to get rid of all these Incas or wherever they are. They're from this particular part of the rainforest…it's a really, really good film. You have to watch it. You'll know the music. You will have heard the music before. You should watch it. I think everyone should see that film. It's a classic.
BE: I'll definitely check it out. So where would you like to see your career in five years?
PC: I don't know. I'm not that fussy when it comes to things like that. I'd like to keep my house, if that's all right. (laughs). When it comes down to it, that is probably the most important thing about it, having the roof. I've always been able to make records. I'd like to be able to make some records with some people I love. But they have to throw that your way. I'd love to do something with Sly Stone (laughs). Eminem is great as well. I think he's one of the best things that's happened to music in a long time.
BE: So he's somebody you'd want to work with?
PC: Yeah. I think so. There's a few heads in there. Nina Simone would have been one, but she died before I got a chance. One of the other things I'd like to do is work on a film. I think everyone wants to do that. I think everyone fancies themself to be able to do that. Like music for a film, not acting, because I can't act worth a shit.
BE: (laughs) Well I think your music has that quality.
PC: I always think…maybe from watching so many films; I always think film when I'm picking sounds and stuff.
BE: Yeah, I can totally see that. All right, do you have anything you would like to add?
PC: No, I'm good. (laughs)
BE: I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
PC: I haven't read the review, but I was told about it a few days ago. Thanks. Nice…it's nice to be liked.
BE: You'll like it when you see it.
PC: Cheers. Thank you.