MANY might recognise Paul Aiden…
as one half of the Dance duo, Chimes. I ask him what it is like releasing his solo single, Ticket 2 the Moon. It was inspired by the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook school (in the U.S.) back in 2012 – I ask Aiden whether enough is being done in the U.S. to control gun ownership/use.
He discusses his favourite musicians and the albums that mean a lot to him; where we can catch him on the road; whether there will be more material with Chimes – he shares with me a very special (and sobering) musical memory.
Hi, Paul. How are you? How has your week been?
Not too bad. I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on my third single - which will see the light of day in July. It’ll have real strings and a very small performance from my daughter, Flora (aged two). She sings with me on the harmonies right at the end of the song.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hi! I’m Paul Aiden. I write and perform with an acoustic guitar. Everything is very stripped-back and organic. I am also interested in making Electronic music, but all my own stuff is back to basics, self-written and produced (smiles).
Your debut solo single, Ticket 2 the Moon, is out. What is the story behind the song?
I wrote the first version of the song in the wake of the news (of the) terrible Sandy Hook school shooting in America six years ago, which left many very young children dead. It was kind of a way of processing it. It’s written in the style of Americana/Bluegrass. It goes down great, live!
I know there is anger towards lax gun laws. Is it distrusting seeing so many massacres occurring in the U.S.?! Do you think President Trump is doing enough?
It’s got totally out of control and one of the saddest things is people don't want their guns taken away from them because then they can’t protect themselves. It’s a ridiculous loop of stupidity.
Trump has not even come close to doing anything of merit towards the problem…
What has it been like transitioning from Dance duo Chimes and stepping out alone?
To be honest, it’s a little scary and less fun going it alone - but the great thing is, I can do both. Chimes and I have lots of releases scheduled this year. I played a fantastic solo show at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen last month and it was really rewarding.
The songs that went down the best were the protest songs, Ticket 2 the Moon and a new one about Brexit called I Don’t Want My Country Back. I also did a cover of Unchained Melody - from the 1960s - which I really enjoyed.
Is there going to be more material coming this year?
Yes! My next single, It’s Over Now, is coming out next month and can’t wait for everyone to hear it. The video is also something to watch out for. Directed by Ali Ingle; it features a brilliant artist friend, who plays the cello on the track, called Michael G. Moore (M.G.M.). You should check him out too. Excited!
You have an impressive list of songwriting credits to your name. Has your eclectic experience made you stronger as a writer? Was it quite natural putting your debut single together?
Yes, definitely. But, what I’ve tried to do with this material is to be totally honest and everything I’m saying in these songs is 100% real. I’ve felt the buzz of having many tracks make the top-five, but I'm really excited about the possibility of one being just under my own name.
Which musicians did you grow up around? Who do you count as idols?
I have a lot of idols, mainly Prince, Stevie Wonder; Fiona Apple and Frank Ocean but artists that have directly influenced my writing would be The Beatles, Radiohead and, maybe, my dad, who also writes and plays the guitar.
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
There are a few gigs in the works and maybe some festivals later in the year. I would absolutely love to take this music on the road.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Run more, eat less; drink less, be happy and try not to go on my phone as much…
ALSO; I want more people to discover my music. I’m confident that, with each single, I will start to gather more attention. The music is totally natural and honest and I think, in a sea of Auto-Tune and beat matching, it will be a refreshing change.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Well. Just hearing the other day that, sadly, Avicii passed away brought back a very special memory…Avicii decided to play a song I wrote called Glowing in the Dark to 80,000 at the Tomorrowland festival. Seeing that footage was an incredible, proud moment.
If you could select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Simon and Garfunkel - Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
It’s the Folk duo at their most pure: one mixed to the left and the other to the right; glorious harmonies, recorded in two days…their first album.
Kanye West – Yeezus
A staggeringly original masterpiece. The way Kanye suddenly stops songs in their tracks to bring in old samples at a completely different tempo shouldn't work - but it totally does.
Prince - Controversy
This album has it all: Punk, Rock; Funk, Soul; an amazing ballad. It's political, bold and risky - and all in eight songs. 1981 was a great year!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Turn back now; it’s a nightmare (winks).
IN THIS PHOTO: Sarah Blasko/PHOTO CREDIT: Kylie Coutts
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I love watching Netflix and listening to vinyl: I have a pretty big collection that is growing a little too fast.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Thanks...this was fun.
Kimbra - Version of Me
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