The Dubliner, known for fronting the Grand Pocket Orchestra, has recently set out on a solo career. His debut record Leafy Stiletto was released to critical acclaim back in 2014. Now part of the Trout Records family, his last single “Underprotected” is a melodic, lilting, plaintive, yet still delightful song. In this interview, Hanna discusses his opera singing father, the personal physical work he put into “Underprotected”, and some of his favourite contemporaries on the Dublin scene.
Lola Who: Did your upbringing have anything to do with music? When did you figure out you that you wanted to pursue music?
Paddy: I was very shy as a child. I rarely left my bedroom growing up, so I was very reliant on my imagination to while away the hours. This, coupled with having an eccentric opera singing father, laid my creative foundations. I always wanted to create music, but was regularly shot down by music teachers for not knowing the technical stuff, so I thought myself instead.
Lola Who: Can you tell us how the city of Dublin influences your music?
Paddy: There’s a lyricism to the Dublin Brogue, combined with booze, it will rub off on anyone.
Lola Who: In-studio, how long does it take you to reach the final version of each song?
Paddy: We record live, I favour that over layering. We usually have the songs well rehearsed so that we can make changes as we record. We also like to leave space to muck about with keyboards and the like, just to see if we can put a bit of parsley on the steak.
Lola Who: What went in the process of releasing your first 7” vinyl “Underprotected” ?
Paddy: I only picked up the records yesterday. I had to walk to an industrial estate in the rain with a large rainbow coloured wheely bag to get them. I loaded up the beast, which I think is far more imposing than “large rainbow coloured wheely bag,” and dragged it through the rain for half an hour till I got to my bus. So if you purchase one of the Underprotected 7″ chances are there’s a fleck of my sweat on it.
Lola Who: You were shortlisted as “Best Irish Act” in The Ticket Awards. How does that make you feel and will do you think it change something in your musical career?
Paddy: I no longer think in terms of “this is the moment,” I just get on with it. The ticket though is a magazine I grew up reading and their blessing is something I am hugely flattered by.
Lola Who: As an emerging musician, how do you identify and develop your sound?
Paddy: I ignore the zeitgeist. I focus on what approximates a decent sound in my head. It usually falls on Producer Mark Chester to take these approximations and make sense of them in the studio.
Lola Who: You use “alternative” and “indie” to describe your music. How do you define the terms and how are they different?
Paddy: You have to call it something I suppose, these titles are the ones I click on while tagging them on Soundcloud or Bandcamp, I also enjoy the term “driving music.”
Lola Who: You wear the same grey suit in the music videos for “Austria” and “Camaraderie.” Does that suit hold a special meaning for you?
Paddy: I wanted a suit that was as unflattering as possible, but not comically so. I found this particular suit in a charity shop on Capel St. in Dublin. You could almost feel the indentation of the bar stools on the ass of it. I hadn’t planned on using it twice, but when asked by ( Conor Cusack (Trout Records head) to make the Camaraderie video on short notice I used it for the convenience. Now looking at the two videos together it gives them an unusual quality.
Lola Who: You’ve worked with Mark Chester in the past, while recording records with Grand Pocket Orchestra. How much influence do you give him?
Paddy: If I thought him anything, it’s how to be patient while dealing with an idiot.
Lola Who: How’s the music scene in Dublin? Any local acts we should check out?
Paddy: Check out the Trout Records roster, lot of bangers there. Try also the Popical Island label if you’re into screwed up pop. Girl Band are a real treat. Also try Joey Gavin, Naoise Roo and Thumper.