Music Eyz Interview with Glasvegas’ Paul Donoghue
Glasvegas are highly regarded within the critics scene. Their honest, credible music has also won them many fans and their approach that refuses to be moulded in to the current pop conveyor belt is to be commended. The Glasgow band are on the brink of a tour and the release of their third album.
We were lucky enough to catch up with the band’s bass guitarist, Paul Donoghue, who kindly answered some of our questions. We cover tricky issues such as record company splits and pressures of a manic life and career. We also find out what fans can expect from their third album and the tour. On a lighter note, we also ask Paul what he would do if he ran Scotland (Celtic fans, you may not want to read that one) and the difficulties he observes with wrong shaped balls.
Music Eyz: Glasvegas, you have recently signed a worldwide recording deal with BMG. How did that happen and how did you choose BMG?
Paul: We were working on the album for the last half of 2012 and the start of this year, so we decided to take our time while we chose who would have the pleasure of releasing it for us. There were lots of different avenues open to us, and in the end we decided that BMG were the best company for us. We went down and played a small acoustic show in their office, and they put on lots of free beer and pizza, so that sealed the deal! (Ed – sounds like a good reason to me)
Music Eyz: You are obviously working on your third album (due September?), how is it going?
Paul: The music has been completely finished for a few months now. It took a while to get everything exactly how we wanted. The last thing was deciding where to put a two second piece of silence, at the end of one song or the beginning of the next, so that says a lot about how much effort and thought has gone into it. Recently we have been working on the artwork and b-sides, so it is almost completely finished and ready to go.
Music Eyz: What can your fans expect from your third album?
Paul: I think the fans can expect some of the strongest songs we have written. We really feel like this group of songs are some of the strongest we have ever put on record.
Every album we have went in to record has given us a little more confidence and knowledge. Although no album is easy exactly, our experience makes it run a little smoother. It’s also the first time that James has taken over production alone, and I think that has really helped the album to flourish.
Music Eyz: You are going to be touring next month, again, what can the fans expect?
Paul: We have worked hard on our live shows from day one. Everything is thought about by us, from the sound of the guitars, to the projections we use to even what point a strobe light should come on. So the fans should expect a sonic and visual assault. We always try to make the songs sound as special as possible, and between us and the crowd there is always an amazing atmosphere. We can’t wait to play the new songs too, they’re sounding amazing live.
Music Eyz: You have some pretty memorable tracks that your fans can sing along to. What balance will be old songs versus stuff from the new album played in your gigs?
Paul: I think that will depend on how much we have toured in a particular place. We don’t want to go out and play seven new songs to an audience who have never had any access to any before, that is a little bit unfair on them. The more tours we do, and the closer it gets to the album and people can get to know the songs the more we will do. We will probably play three or four new songs just now then keep adding more new stuff.
Music Eyz: You sign off the UK dates in June with a homecoming gig. How does playing in Glasgow compare to other dates?
Paul: There is always an unimaginable electricity when we play in Glasgow. From the minute the doors open you get the feeling this is a real event. Any time I have stood watching a support band or just people arriving in a venue in Glasgow, it feels like standing at a firework waiting for the fuse to burn down to shoot the rocket to the sky. When we step onstage, it’s a wall of emotion that hits us like nowhere else. We are very lucky that our city is home to the most passionate fans on the planet.
Music Eyz: You seem to be a really hard-working band, fitting in lots of promo and huge numbers of shows, isn’t that tough? What sacrifices do you have to make?
Paul: I don’t think we have ever felt like we are making any sacrifices. We live for the band and the songs. If we miss something in our personal lives we always remember how lucky we are to do what we do. The only sacrifice is that sometimes we can’t play FIFA on the Playstation as much as we’d like to! (Ed – give me your PSN name and I will play you)
Music Eyz: The last album didn’t really hit the heights of your debut. There were rumours of disagreements with the label and management, how do you feel about the lack of commercial success?
Paul: There has never really been a disagreement with our management, we’re like a family, and Denise and Dean are as much a part of the band as any of us who are onstage are. The label didn’t really see getting to number 10 in the album chart as success, but that isn’t how we measure success. For us, it is about being proud of ‘Euphoric ///Heartbreak\\\‘ every time we hear it. The last album seems to have touched people much deeper than the first too, more fans come up with tattoos or stories of how the album affected them more than anything else we have done.
Selling albums is important to us, but not as important as making the music exactly the way we want it. Being able to sleep at night knowing you have given any song you do everything you’ve got is how we measure success.
Music Eyz: You parted company with your label shortly after the last album release. That couldn’t have been great, how has it shaped you as individuals and as a group?
Paul: The strongest thing we have in our lives, both personally and professionally, is that when we are together we are invincible. We have so much respect for each other and faith in each other that nothing that happens ever truly affects us. We have the greatest belief in James‘ calibre as a songwriter and producer, and we work so hard on creating vibrant live shows that it protects us to a great degree from the ups and downs of the music business. Now we can focus on fans more than anything else, and that is what we think about the most, not the other stuff that goes on around that.
Music Eyz: Who has been the biggest influence on your musical career?
Paul: Probably each other and our friends and families. We always have so much support from each other and the people closest to us that it has allowed us to express ourselves exactly the way we want. That has influenced us more than anything else we have encountered.
Music Eyz: You can tell from your songs that you are music lovers. Are there any acts on the verge of a breakthrough that you would recommend we pick up on or our readers should listen to?
Paul: There are some great bands coming out of Glasgow just now. Our good friends called SOS are amazing, you should check them out. As well as them there are Holy Esque and The Amazing Snakeheads, it’s a good crop of artists coming through just now.
Music Eyz: Could you give some tips to our readers about trying to break in to the music scene?
Paul: The biggest tip I could give anyone is that they make sure they are making music that they love. Not every band gets a record deal and goes on to make music for the rest of their lives, so you need to enjoy whatever you do. Some of the best times we have had have been shows we have done when there was no crowd except for the support band. If you don’t love what you’re doing you need to stop there and then and change it so that you know you are being true to yourself.
Music Eyz: What can we expect from Glasvegas in for the remainder of 2013?
Paul: We are playing a free festival in Sweden this month, as well as our own show. Then we go to Finland, play some UK shows, play a festival in Benidorm, Spain and then play another festival in South Korea, where we have never been before so we’re all looking forward to being nosy tourists there. Our management have lined up lots of promo and shows for the rest of the year, so no doubt we’ll be on a TV or a stage near everyone soon.
Music Eyz: Thanks for those, now for some quickfire questions
Music Eyz: US or UK?
Paul: Too hard to choose. In the middle maybe, somewhere in the Atlantic ocean!
Music Eyz: Football or rugby?
Paul: Football. A rugby ball is the wrong shape, it bounces too unpredictably.
Music Eyz: Eat in or Eat out?
Paul: Eat in. I’m a great cook!
Music Eyz: Best recording artist ever?
Paul: The Clash
Music Eyz: What is your favourite breakfast?
Paul: Huevos Rancheros
Music Eyz: What is your dream holiday?
Paul: Anywhere with my Girlfriend and the band. Last one was Lanzarote, Spain.
Music Eyz: If you could run Scotland what would be the first thing you would do and why?
Paul: Re-install Glasgow Rangers to the Premier League! The fans have been amazing and deserve nothing but the best.
Music Eyz: If you weren’t in music what job would you be doing?
Paul: I’m a qualified tiler, but I was awful at it, so not that. Video Game tester would be good.
Music Eyz: Who is the most famous people you have in your collective phone address books?
Paul: Apart from each other, you mean? Probably Michael Sheen, the greatest British actor of recent times. The guy is a true talent and inspiration.
Music Eyz: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us and for all your answers. We really enjoyed chatting with you. Good luck with the tour and your new album.