Keep The Aspidistra Flying: Paul Orwell

Paul Orwell lieing on his record collection (for no little reason).

All hail English music! Looks like things are cool again! And yet, at this point, only a couple of thousand people seem to know. But then again – how many were there at the last supper? How many people were there with Albert Einstein when he split the atom? Listen to Paul Orwell - and you’ll find out. Listen. And you will find out.


Mysterion Art Factory sat down (on the other side of the planet via the internet) and asked the singer/songwriter from London a few questions. So welcome to the new age of atomic music. Welcome to the age of Paul Orwell……


Firstly, how did the recordings for your Debut EP “Like I Did Before” come about? Was it out of thin air – or hours, days & months of studio time?

The first batch of tracks were written in a week…i just sat down, got my shit together, Focused and started being myself. I like catchy songs, with interesting hooks that keep me entertained….. All these songs just pored out of me. I produced and played all the instruments myself… didn’t wanna waste time!


One listen to his debut single “Little Reason” and his new EP, “Like I Did Before”, proves Paul Orwell’s point. Not one note, nor second of a song for that matter, has been wasted. The idea that these songs “pored out” can be believed. What can’t be believed is the idea that very soon these songs won’t, in turn, pour into the ears (and pores) of a planet starved for too long of such a talent. It just goes to show the age of commercial music in which we have been living that Paul Orwell is not busy doing press conferences at Heathrow as he flies out to another nation baying for the next hit single. Luckily for us – he is busy answering our questions while smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.


Have you always been a solo artist? When did you start recording?

I have been in bands…but i hate having to rely and depend on other people. People who don’t wanna get on, just hold ya back! I write so many songs, in different genres and different ideas…. Record them, but just end up holding onto them…not sure why…. maybe i’m a song hoarder.


The Beatles wanted to sound like the Everly Brothers (RIP Phil), Hendrix wanted to sound like Muddy Waters and Marvin Gaye wanted to sound like Nat King Cole. What were you inspired by when thinking of the look and sound for the “Little Reason” single?

I suppose i just write whats natural for me to write, i’ve grown up on obscure 60’s gems,… i love random poppy interesting music.


It is indeed a brave man who releases a monophonic song called “Funky Octopus Waltz” – as it is a brave man who writes “Effervescing Elephant”. English music history is full of brave men – from Ray Davies to Damon Albarn to Graham Coxon to Marc Bolan to Paul to John to Noel to Syd Barrett and back again. What to expect with the release of Paul Orwell’s new EP is, already at the start of his career, to simply expect the unexpected. I think they used to call that great music.


What equipment do you record on & write on? Are they one-and-the-same or do you separate your writing time from your “time to create a pop symphony” time?

Instrument wise, i’m using a 330 Rickenbacker a lot, but it all changes from time to time, to do whats best for the song.


Where do you hail from in London? Do your songs mirror any suburbs – or is your “Village Green” period still ahead on the release calendar?

I don’t really think of my surroundings when writing, i’m just in my own little world.. i try to block out anything going on… hence why i’m always lost!


Orwell is an important name in the history of the English Language. Are you, by chance, any relation to author George Orwell? {Please note that this is your opportunity to start a myth that could be with you for a while}.

That’s a secret!


Do you have any videos on the cards for any of the new EP songs?

Yes, not sure what to do, or what song yet though. Maybe a track off the E.P….but it would be cool to release a new track.


While listening to the EP’s opening title track there is an almost ultra mono thin-wild-mercury happening as a hit song plays underneath. It sounds like a straight up top ten UK hit single and yet the man is giving it away on the internet. The trip to musical Mount Olympus is not his alone – but something tells me he’s one of the scouts a few miles ahead. If we could see him on stage with the Hypnotic Eye (and soon) the world would be a better place for it.


What artists are getting you out of bed at the moment?

At the moment i’m really into Jacques Dutronc, L’idole is such an epic track! Also the stuff Joe Meek produced…some crazy magical stuff!


Are their any venues in London you love playing at more than others?

Not really, they’re all as bad as each other!


Track two on the EP is “Hide and Seek”. It’s 60s only in that it is music to dance to, with a sound you have heard before but nobody knows where. You can’t hear a word he’s saying – but when the music is that great – does it even matter? As Blur bassist Alex James once said before he started judging cheeses – “nobody cares what a pretty girl (or boy for that matter) is wearing”. Make no mistake – these songs are pretty in the sense that Telegram Sam is beautiful – in the sense that a Lambretta is best driven after the rain has fallen. But all the mod-cons and words under the sun couldn’t convince anyone more than simply pressing play (or putting the needle on the groove). All this man needs is a record deal – and preferably not with a loan shark.


Track three, “Death Wish”, is a welcome rest – one to sit down and listen to. A pulsing bass shivers inside the song – as though it was cut to pieces and stuck back together by Paul McCartney on the floors of Studio 2 – while John is busy serenading Mr. Kite in the organ-cloaked background. This – for those sick of oblique Beatle comparisons – is a compliment. To simplify and say that “Death Wish” sounds like the Beatles – would be an insult to both. To compare is to simply announce to all that this is music from an age (or year) that has not yet happened – from a genre that still has no header card. Are you with me?


What sort of release schedule are you setting for yourself? After 4 straight listens of the EP (this morning!) we’re hungry for more. Have you thought about an album or are you keen on keeping it single & EP focused? What visions have you had for 2014?

I have an album and more recorded, would be nice to get a release in 2014 instead of Downloads… a proper product.. thats my main aim for 2014.


The EP ends on the Sunday common sounds of “Damaged Goods” – to our ears the second single – if not a great b-side. That all depends on how many more atomic songs Mr. Orwell has hiding in his closet – amongst his theories of relativity – for that is what a great musician writes – so why did Einstein even bother?


Download Paul Orwell’s EP “Like I Did Before” via Soundcloud on

(2015 Update: "Like I Did Before" is now only available by begging Heavy Soul to release it on Double EP. We encourage everyone to do so.)


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