In Conversation With Paul Party
22nd March 2023
Please introduce yourselves and your roles.
Ed: I’m Ed Vizma. First of all, we’re Paul Party, the band. I play guitar and sing.
Loz: I’m Loz Foster, I play bass and guitar. I do a fair bit of the songwriting on guitar but play bass live.
Could you please give us an overview of the band.
E: We’ve got Kit Searle on drums. Very good drummer.
L: Very creative.
E: Very Zoomer vibe. He’s like, he’s younger than us, but I think it’s nice to have that….
L: That youthful energy
E: Then Archie is playing lead guitar. He does a bit of singing as well. Very good guitarist. I think there’s a lot of different genres going on inside.
L: A lot of it is because, if it’s a song that I wrote for example, it’s probably gonna be my musical interest. My previous bands have sort of been jingle jangle, kind of Smiths rip-offs. And more bedroom pop stuff I’m quite into. Sort of dreampop. Then Archie’s into metal mostly, but also then Gypsy Jazz. A lot of his solos share this bedroom pop structure.
E: Then we have Kelly who plays keys and flute and she does background singing as well. She only started in the band in May.
L: We’ve only done two gigs without her.
E: And then we practice at L’s house with Kelly. It was very interesting to have all her different sonic textures. Like with the keys and the flute, so then we brought her into the band properly.
L: I think also because Kelly’s classily trained. She does a lot of jazz improv on piano, so we’re adding another element.
Tell me about the name, how’d the name come about? How did you guys with your different music interests come together to form Paul Party?
Ed: Paul first started off a long time ago, before Covid around 2020. L and I were in a band with two other of our friends that was called Plant Based Hotel. It was quite militant… we weren’t even vegans though, half of us were vegetarians.
Loz: Oh yeah some probably had bit of meat.
E: So a militant vegetarianism band. But we actually never got to play a gig because of covid.
L: The Paul Party Instagram account used to be the Plant Based Hotel Instagram one, so I sometimes get things pop up from that. And I got a memory from it the other day on the story in 2020 being like “oh April gig confirmed” and I saw it and I was thinking how that didn’t age well.
E: Then I was away for a year, for my year in industry. So L and I didn’t talk loads. I think we met up once or twice in between. Then when I came back, it was October 2021, I wanna say, and that was in West Street Live. I think I was dressed up as an alien at the time.
L: I remember seeing you and you had your fucking tinfoil and stuff.
E: Yeah it was… interesting. I said we should start a band again and then I’d seen this cool design on a t-shirt, it was a just a drawing of a pool and I said we should be called Pool Party, like swimming pool. But then I think we looked and quite a lot of bands were already called Pool Party you see. And then L had this painting which was interesting.
L: Have you seen Paul?
E: No No. The Painting.
Oh, no. Were you going to make that your Album or EP cover?
E & L: We’ve considered it.
L: It’s just quite a big painting to put into it. We did put in a section of it. I painted that at quite a dark moment in my life, I was quite ill to be honest. It was probably just a bit before quarantine ended. Which was just a week into the band. Yeah, I had scurvy which was pretty surprising. And it made me literally feel like what Paul looks on the painting. So I was sorta depicting it and I painted this monstrosity. And then we were like that could be Paul.
E: Yeah, that became Paul Party.
L: Now it’s just a sort of cult.
E: So yeah, and then we take the painting with us to most gigs. Unless we forget.
L: I think some of our best gigs are when we forget him. Paul’s kind of a burden.
E: Yeah, and he’s become sort of a semi-mascot, semi-ghost.
L: I think quite like, because I’ve always been, growing up I really liked Gorrilaz, and bands that have like…
E: Like lore.
L: Yeah, they have sort of lore around them and then characters that you could weave into songs, in the music video. All Gorillaz videos have a 2D Russel who is the drummer of Gorillaz, and he has a rapper ghost that lives within inside of him. And it’s all this bizarre lore. Which I think is something I would like to build. We’ve put some other characters within our songs, which we like wanna elaborate on. We mentioned Lady Caramel in one our songs that Archie sings called Big Muff. Archie’s obsessed with the concept of the Dean. Cos he hates deans.
E: I think it’s important to keep it unserious.
L: None of it’s serious. Not to say that none of our songs don’t have meaning. But also when you have a song called Big Muff you can’t really be that serious about it.
Who or What are the influences on your sound?
Loz: I think it’s definitely changing because when we started the first songs we were doing, a lot of them were songs I previously done with the old band me and E had, Northern Slopes I wrote in 2019/2020 but I never actually used that song. I listened to a band called Her’s. I was really into that, especially the guitar line, the dreamy sound, lots of chorus guitars and quite lot of melodic bass lines. Which I think we definitely still have, but we definitely moved to a more psychedelic sort. I hate to use the word prog because my dad hated prog, but it is to some degree.
Ed: I think it depends on the song, I wouldn’t say it’s one solid genre. I’d say some breakdowns are almost Pink Floyd-y in a way. But I guess my singing style, because when I was sixteen all I listened to was David Bowie for like three years, and that was when I started singing as well. So, I think I sang like that.
L: I think one of the most common thing people say, would be “oh you sound like David Bowie.” Not a bad thing.
E: Yeah definitely.
L: Black Country New Road and Black Midi are also big influences, we’re big fans.
How would you describe your lyrics and process?
Loz: I feel like our styles are quite different, so far I think it’s just myself, E, and Archie who’ve written.
Ed: I think L has written 90% of the songs probably.
L: I mean 75...
E: Archie has got two, I’ve got one.
L: You’ve got two, you’ve got two now
E: Ohhh I have, yeah yeah yeah.
L: E does it where he’ll give us a song every six months and it’ll be this ten-minute epic where you can see why they took six months, you know. I feel like I churn them out a bit more, which often means a lot of the ones I do write they’re shit. For every song we do of mine, there’s four we don’t do. I guess it’s just different ways of working.
E: I have a big issue with lyrics, as in I write something, come back to it two weeks afterward and think this is horrendous. I think a lot of mine, is not a lot of meaning, I’ll make up a scenario that’s completely surreal and write about that. But I think removing it from reality makes it easier to write about.
L: I write more topic based. I wouldn’t write with emotions even if some of the songs are emotional. But I might read something in the news, our new single Hairdressers in Berlin I wrote during lockdown because there was a lot of stuff coming out about “oh we’re in lockdown” and it’s just like yeah you’re saying something fucking obvious. Then I heard on the news hairdressers are reopening in Berlin, in Germany, and I was like oh that’s nice! I sorta built that as the chorus and then I built the verses around both feelings of sort of nostalgia.
E: I think it’s nostalgia for places you haven’t been to and times we haven’t lived in. Like I feel like a lot of our friends were just like “70s or 80s like would’ve been so great”, but also maybe it wouldn’t have been.
E: Yeah exactly. Thinking practically. Like you see all this nostalgia for other times, but maybe we should just be making the most of what we got right now.
L: There’s definitely social commentary in some of the songs. Even if they’re really ridiculous. I wrote a new one recently called The Bonus Ball and it’s about a post-apocalyptic bingo hall, where there’s this magical bonus ball which is the only way to progress in society, and everyone believes in the bonus ball. And there’s this Big Wig sat up on a mezzanine looking down at the masses saying “maybe this week I’ll win the bonus ball if I buy this product” and there’s all these sort of myths about this bonus ball “If I do this, if I maybe buy these shoes, then I’ll have more chance of winning” But actually it’s completely random.
E: It just feels like if you watch the lottery draw and feels like the Hunger Games.
L: I basically just wrote a song about the Hunger Games really. That sort of thing. I mean it’s the same as yours (E) I think maybe you’re not conscious when you do it, there’s definitely a sort of social commentary.
How would you describe the process of coming together with your different styles, how is the process of jamming?
Ed: Very Interesting. I’d say normally we show it to just one other person first to get it down or to get the structure.
Loz: Archie’s quite prominent in that.
E: I think he has a lot of music theory behind him, so he can help hammer in the structure of the song.
L: One of our other singles Skinny Boy I showed to Archie, showed him the breakdown of it and then he was like “I got this” and he just started having a little jam. I could play it to him, and he started doing this riff which is now so integral to the song I can’t imagine it not being played. Archie’s a key player in that sense.
E: And we’d normally have a practice at L’s house.
L: Yeah, three of the band we live together, which is always good. Very accessible you know.
E: Then it’s pretty much going over the same four chords until we figure out how we want the sounds or how the instrumentations supposed to be. It’s a bit awkward with kit, because we’ve not got drum kit at his house, so sometimes we’ll bring a snare and just work out sort of a rhythm.
L: Also I think majority of songs have been written without keys, made before Kelly joined the band or they’re were written as guitar songs, and then it’s fitting keys into the songs, so picking tones. To be honest whatever Kelly does, is what we do. First time we’ll do some jazzy thing and it’s like wow that sounds amazing. And always knowing when to put some flute in as well, because I think you can overdo the flute. I know Kelly’s in the process of writing a song so that will be exciting. That’s the thing as well, I think we’re all very open to ideas, there’s no sort of dictatorship.
E: I like how open it is because I’m not very good at writing solos. But you (L) seem to like writing solos very much.
L: I mean I had a band on solos which in hindsight, I wasn’t very good on.
E: But that’s what’s good about having Kelly and Archie because if you were to give them sixteen bars and say you do you, they’d write something quite good.
L: That’s the thing, I know no music theory and I don’t pretend to know any, I’m useless. But I also like to use really jazzy chords, which then when I have to show people songs I’m like “this is this one, this is this chord” and having Kelly and Archie in the head who know a few more, they can name these things and sorta know what goes with it. It’s been a help for me, because I wouldn’t of thought do this, I don’t know the scales.
How do you find being up-and-coming artists in Sheffield?
Ed: I mean I love it really, I just love playing music in front of people. I think Sheffield’s really good because there’s just so many like small independent venues, like DINA where we played before, like Hatch. Then obviously you have the Washy, West Street Live, basically where every single band plays and you always know there’s going to be people there no matter when you play.
Loz: Brad. Shoutout to Brad.
E: Brad got us a lot of gigs from the start.
L: Brad does sound at the Washy but he does other things as well. He got us Saint Patrick’s Day, he said do we wanna play Tramlines Fringe. Fringe was pretty good that was the afternoon on a Sunday in the middle of the Summer, everyone was down, it was really nice.
E: I’m a big fan of the Sheffield music scene.
L: I think there’s more diversity than I initially thought. I think when I first started in Sheffield I was like it’s just Artic Monkey cover bands – which there are still a fair few – but if that’s what you want to do that’s fine, do what you want with your music. I think it’s nice how we’ve started to find bands similar to us who are kinda wanting to use different instruments, more kind of brass, some kind of keys.
E: More bridging rock and jazz in a way.
L: Yeah, there’s Pelican Behaviour and We Hate the Sharkmen who we played with at DINA. I feel that was a pretty good night because it was like these are all bands who I’d wanna listen to.
E: We’re not in the same genre, but we’re genre adjacent.
What were your favourite places to play? Any memorable gigs?
Loz: Haha. Yeah. Memorable for a bad reason.
Ed: I think our second proper gig was at Record Junkee.
L. That was our worst gig.
E: To be fair it was a great space and the sound was really good. But we were just a pop hungover.
L: We had a gig the night before because the Record Junkee gig was really last minute. I think it was booked in the same weekend, and a few days before we were like “Oh it will be back-to-back gigs, we’ll be fine”. And there was no pressure to bring any crowd because they were like you’re doing us a favour. And we were like it would be good opportunity to get in with these. Was it Donny Brooke?
E: Yeah yeah.
L: Yeah but it was nice, the people we were playing with were fairly established. I remember mid-way through the day I felt so rough but I just kept feeling rough, by the time I was on stage under the lights I was like “this is not what I wanna be doing”
E: Sounds a lot worse. But our best gig? The DINA one we just did. I think was one our best.
L: Yeah DINA was really fun. I mean that was nice because we put on the event.
E: Yeah true. Also because we had Molly Clarke doing the sound who produced our single as well. She was amazing. A lot of sound engineers, they just turn it up really loud. Other good ones… the Washy.
L: I mean every Washy gig
E: Our home almost. We’ve played there four or five times.
L: Our home away from home. We played a lot of holiday events, Halloween, St Patrick’s Day. and the Tramlines Fringe like I said before. They’ve all been good ones where there’s been a big crowd that were up for it.
E: One thing about it is you can bring twenty people and it feels rammed. Other ones - we’ve played quite a lot of rogue gigs or at places like the Dam House in Crookes Valley Park. Completely not set up to have bands but that was a really fun gig because it was a Rugby and Netball Social.
L: It was not our usual crowd.
E: Yeah - like drunk Rugby people.
L: I think the people on before us were people from the Rugby or Netball society and they would have like Gary Barlow masks. And they would just be doing some shouty covers of some Take That songs or something. And then we came on with the full shebang, and we might have overcooked it, doing originals.
E: But it was good fun. I just remember sweating so much.
L: Everyone was just there having a good time. But in terms of most memorable, that’s got to be up there.
E: Yeah, just how there was no proper PA system, it was just amps and a couple of speakers. There was no sound engineering. It was ultra DIY.
Which is your priority going forward, recording or live performances?
Loz: I think we’d like to prioritise recording more. It’s just time and money the main thing. Even when you’re doing it on the cheap, it’s still not cheap. Most of the band is still students. So generally, as a student you have slightly more time, but you have less money. Then obviously if we all had full time jobs, when would we perform?
Ed: It’s THE dilemma. Also I think we don’t really wanna put out demos.
L: Yeah, I think we’d rather go for quality over quantity because we could put out demos, like live demos on SoundCloud, which would be fine. But I feel it’s nice to have a proper polished product that you’re happy with. That you’d put on in the car and be like “oh that sounds like the next song that comes on the radio.”
E: And to be fair the priority is also playing in front of people. I think I’d do it as often as we could bring a crowd, I guess doing it every single week would be firstly exhausting and people won’t be coming after a while. But I think like once a month is what we aim for.
L: We also wanna try and get some gigs outside of the city as well - spread our reach. We’ve collectively got quite a few friends in bands in different cities. It’d be nice to start local then go Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and then who knows, maybe take on the South at some point. Hopefully to get out of Sheffield soon is the dream.
For our readers, what kind of a live presence can they expect from you?
Ed: I guess just hope for the best, prepare for the worst. To be honest, deep down all of us are quite shy.
Loz: Yeah don’t expect to be coming to an Idles concert.
E: There’s no mosh pit and people throwing themselves about. I’d say a some of our songs border on Funk.
L: I’d say with a lot of the longer ones, E’s ones, there’s a lot of different parts. So it can be very sweeping… there’s one moment which sounds orchestral, it’s this solo with the guitar and the flute harmonizing in Great Waterfalls. But within that song there’s also a section which is this funky bassline, and that’s all within seven minutes of the song. So prepare for the many different emotions and genre’s.
E: Then you’ve also got the painting of Paul overlooking everything to really make it weird.
L: I feel like we never really mention Paul, we just put him up and it’s just like, if you wanna look you can, if you don’t you don’t have to. I think it’s a very welcoming atmosphere though.
E: It’s quite chill
L: It’s quite inclusive and you can come for one drink and just listen to us sort of fucking around on our instruments for forty-five minutes and just go home. And also you can also be absolutely hammered and be up front. I think there’s something for everyone.
Let’s talk about what you’ve released recently.
Ed: We’ve got two singles at the minute. The first one Skinny Boy came out in November 2022, which was written quite a while ago.
Loz: I wrote Skinny Boy in January 2022. I think I wrote it over Christmas with Archie. I think lyrically the structure was done, then he added the guitar line. That was probably one the most self-reflective songs I’ve ever written. It’s just sort of a reflection of going to university at the time, very optimistic, idealistic individual in the single.
E: We recorded that in September. Also, we met Molly at our Tramlines Fringe gig. So L chatted with her there. And we spoke about recording and things like that. We listened to some of her tracks that she does with her own band.
Let’s get to more about the future. What are your musical ambitions?
Loz: Album ha-ha.
Ed: I feel were not particularly ambitious as a band really. We just started doing it for fun, I don’t think there’s any end goal. I guess like L said, playing outside of Sheffield would probably the next step probably.
L: I think it’s one of those where if the band could be what I do for living, that would be Incredible. That would probably be thing that I’d like to do the most. But I appreciate that it’s really hard to get to make that happen. I don’t think our ambition is to be on the charts but more to tour, and I think to have a fanbase would be fun. To make music for a certain group of people who may not feel like they’re catered for.
E: If we could open for acts we really like as well. That would be a really big thing. I guess play a couple festivals, like smaller stages. Who knows. We don’t really like to plan more than two months ahead.
Do you guys have any upcoming gigs and singles people can look forward to?
Ed: For gigs, we’ve got one on the 22nd March - pretty much.
Loz: Maybe yeah. I think it’s you who we’re waiting on.
E: Oh is it? Yeah I’m free.
L: You said you had to rejig. This is as you can tell… is the problem. Musicians have to organise. Doesn’t work. You can see why they have managers.
E: So that gig will be in Bungalows and Bears. I think it’s a Bummit Social for a charity hitchhike. And then we’re supporting this band called Dead Slogans. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them. That’s at DINA as well.
L: Very excited for that.
E: That’s on the 25th. So two gigs quite close together. Then after that we don’t really have any plans.
L: Definitely wanna get back in the studio.
E: We’re talking about April potentially.
L: We’re thinking maybe a slightly longer release. Maybe a little EP. Again, this may change.
E: I think a summer release and see where we go from there. The really good thing is we got more songs written than we have time to record. So we can pick out the best ones.
L: There are definitely some we do in the set, which you wouldn’t put out as a single. But if you were to do an album, it would be a lovely mid-album. You know how some people have a favourite song of an album from an artist? Which is like a second to last song, it’s a simple piano piece or an interlude, we definitely have some songs like that which I really like. That’s why I’d like to do an album because we’d get to do the more niche ones.
E: I think there's a lot of genre’s I’d like to explore still.
L: You were talking about EM.
E: Yeah, some borderline EM stuff or an entirely synth-based project, I think would be quite interesting. But I feel you wouldn’t really be able to do it live.
One final question. How would you describe your sounds? You say you fit so many boxes: Indie, Shoegaze, Jazz, Funk Experimental…
Loz: All of the above ha-ha.
Ed: This is the hardest question that we get asked. When we say ‘oh we’re in a band’, it’s always “what music do you play?” I never really know what to say.
L: It’s one of those as well, where we’re not so avant-garde it’s like “oh you wouldn’t’ understand you know it’s not even music anymore, it’s just sound” we’re not that. We definitely still make rock music I would say.
E: It’s definitely in the Indie Umbrella. But I’d say there’s prog and psych influences in there as well.
Thank you for your time.
E & L: Thank you.