Short talk with Paul Kehoe

I hit things repeatedly, rhythmicaly, quite hard and quite fast. It’s my Job. I enjoy it. I do it well. VERY well……

Yes, his self describing Twitter profile is more that true and passion for music more than visible. Let me proudly share my interview with well-known drummer and charismatic british musician Paul Kehoe (Peter Hook and the Light band member).

Photo by Andrew Farrington

How do you feel during this crucial world times (I mean politics turbulence, Brexit, fast changing technologies…)?

Hmmm, where to begin?, I’m a Cold War kid, so I’ve witnesed a fair amount of change during my lifetime. I remember when the Berlin Wall came down, and feeling such optimism for peace and an end to conflict, but unfortunatly, some people have other ideas. The constant feeding frenzy of the media to fill peoples minds with distrust and fear is relentless, and opertunists like Trump, Putin, Boris Johnson etc is a sad reflection on what has happened to humanity….

 

Creating music or be part of music– what does it mean for you? Is it a long-term process with inspiration coming gradually or it can be spontaneously done – due to modern technology – in a few days?

I was told that ‘you can’t be a musician, that’s not a real job’, well, that didn’t go to plan did it eh?. Yeah sure, it’s not a normal job, but I love what I do, and I’m very lucky doing what I love. I love grabbing instruments and finding inspiration from the receces of my troubled brain. Sometimes it can be instant, and very quickly become a piece of music, but sometimes, certain ideas stick with you and develop over time, I don’t have any strict rules for music creation, in fact, the less rules the better. I was once working with a couple of freinds on a peice of music, and we’d tracked guitar, and some myths and backing vocals, and I suddenly decided that the atmosphere of the song needed something else, so there was a tow chain in the corner, so I tracked some chain rattles through the song, slapped a load of reverb on it, and it just worked.

Looking at it from a distance, how do you perceive the changing nature of recording technology?

I remember when I first got my hands on an Atari ST, and started learning midi composition in Cubase, it was amazing that you could make all these seperate machines do exactly what you wanted, these days you don’t even need the machines, its all in my laptop, everything, its a whole studio in my hand. But I think people these days will lose some elements of having a restricted pallet, things like garage band have loads of loops all set to go, sometimes just jamming around in a room with your mates can produce real magic.

 

What would you keep/restore from music hardware history, if you could – what type of recording? Favourite drum kit/brand?

I love the sound of recording to tape, tape compression on drums is great, it just seems to stick everything together, recording to hard drive can get very clinical, theres no harmonic distortion, and although plug ins are getting much better at simulating tape, the real thing just seems to sound better to me.

As for drums, I use all sorts of kits when we are out on tour, I mostly spec Pearl masters kits, as its pretty easy to get hold of them anywhere in the world, and Pearl have been pretty damned consistent in maintaining a high quality in their production, so I’m pretty sure I can get a good sound out of them. Now and again I get to use some different kits, and I still want to get my hands on a Ludwig 402, I’ve got a 400, which is great, but Ive used some cracking 402s, they’re just immense. I’ve also got a Pearl soprano snare, 12×7, which can’t tear flesh off, it SO FUCKIN LOUD, its a beast

 

It seems that an album could be actually recorded on just one notebook with a smart software. Still I feel that it somehow sounds pretty much the same (take s works with all types of I-gadgets).

A friend of mine was telling me about AI music creation, it won’t be long before a computer will be a number 1 selling artist, the tech is THAT advanced, its frightening to think how quickly its evolved, 20 years ago we were touring with a huge rack full of synths and samplers, these days we take a couple of laptops, what will it be like 20 years from now?, the mind boggles

 

Do you see any connection between recording in the 70s and today, technology left aside?

The music industry is a completely different beast these days, long gone are the days of spending $1,000,000 recording in L.A. for 6 months, not unless you’re insanely rich to begin with. And what would the point be? Its only gonna be played by some kid on $2 headphones in a low bitrate mp3 format for about 10 seconds, before they get bored of it and move onto the next song.
Music has become disposable for a lot of people these days, luckily there are still some people that want to see live music, and some people do seek out great bands, so its not all doom and gloom……. Yet

 

How do you approach marketing/promotion of your music?

Its a bit different for us, as we mainly just tour all the time, social media is great platform for us, and we’ve been pretty successful in building and maintaining a fanbase all over the world. But fans like to interact with bands, so social media helps us do that, and fans get to share images and videos and stories. Its really nice to see.
Photo by Maria Candela Gallo

It´s possible promote and sell albums without major labels? Any frustration for Digital download?

We’ve been pretty succesful with regard to our live albums, we released 4 on Record Store Day last year, and they pretty much all sold out, which is nice, we haven’t got the resources of a big label, or even a small label for that matter, but we do ok

 

Vinyl, CD or MP3?:)

Vinyl 1st, CD 2nd,  MP3 last restort

 

Do you still believe in a concept of album? My young friends or kids listen 60 sec from song and skip to next…or select only individual songs from full album.

Yes, as long as you know your audience, I wouldn’t want to knock out the same old shit all the time, but its not ALL young kids with ADHD buying records, but yeah, people have the choice now, unless you only sell a physical format, which is an idea.

 

Can full album alive?

yup

 

What about Paul Kehoe in a next 10 years?:).

My solo album of random chain noises will be available soon
Paul, big thanks for your time!
Mojo Lieskovský/DOUBLE LOUD
Nov 30, 2019 Bratislava

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