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Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Thursday 22nd August, 2013 8:25AM

Paquin will release the second in their three part EP series (they released the first back in 2011) tomorrow, Friday August 23rd. Appropriately called II, it contains singles 'Gunn' and 'Glass Houses' and signals a turn into more driving, dance territory. UnderTheRadar caught up with songwriter Tom Healy to discuss how this EP nestles into the other two parts, and what else he has planned for Paquin.

Firstly, what made you decide to release a Triple EP project?

To start with I felt keen on releasing music in smaller doses - particularly in this internet saturated environment. I didn't think as a new band the best use of our time was to work for a long time on a BIG project. Instead, I thought EP's could be better markers of the band's development and let us figure out the music we want to make. With that in mind I thought that EPs might be the best way to release the music, and felt like by EP III we would have a better picture of what the band is and what to do next.

How did you chose the tracks for each EP? Is there something sonically or thematically that ties the tracks on each EP together?

I guess they were the songs that fared the scrutiny of the practice room the best, and those that locked together as a group the best. A couple that never made it were a little too drifty and had shifting time signatures that I felt pulled them away emotionally from the songs on here. They might make up a more oddball release later.

I don't feel we have settled very heavily into a sound thus far. The songs seem slightly disparate to me, subject matter and sonically. Something spiky like 'Quiet Heart', something krauty like 'End To End', something dancefloor-orientated like 'Gunn' etc etc. Instrumentation is consistent though. Drums, synths, bass, guitars, voice.

More specifically, tell me about writing the songs for II:

Where and when did you write them?

Somewhere between the bandroom, the computer and a writing pad last year.

Is there anything thematic going on in them?

Not intentionally.

Was there anything you were inspired or influenced by when writing these songs?

I set a general goal of making each song a multi-coloured beast, something that had big sonic changes, and more 'extroverted' than the the songs on Paquin I. I guess the Paquin I cover that has morphed through the hard work of Jenna Todd into the Paquin II cover suggests a framework.

Now that the EP is a finished product, what would you say about it? What are the most significant things about it?

To me it is the sound of the band trying to come to grips with using synths and an MPC as one of the foundation elements of its music. I think all of us come from guitar, drums and bass backgrounds. These EP's are fun for me as they draw together skills I use more in isolation when working on other peoples records.

You also produced the record yeah? Tell me about the production style you went for, and how you producing the EP affected the overall sound?

Yep, produced it alongside a lot of band input.

Personally I wanted a hybrid sound for the drum kit, somewhere between Stu's (drummer) vintage Rogers Kit and his 80's Simmons Kit (think hexagonal drum pads and early New Order).

I have always been drawn to guitars treated more texturally than a bunch of power chords and proficient solos. I love shoegaze records, and guitarists like Tom Verlaine and Robert Fripp who seem to play parts that don't fall easily into the 'rock guitar' tradition. Lots of the strange noises on the record are guitars, and not synths, and I certainly rely a lot on strange effects pedal to get that across.

And I wanted a lot of synths on it, and for them to be incorporated at the time of the songs inception, not after the fact.

Most of all I wanted the band playing the songs - so what you hear is attached to people and not just complex programming. I feel that many of the pieces I love in records I work on are the happy accidents people make, so I certainly tried to leave room for those things, and put the sonic microscope on them when they appear.

How do you thing your songwriting has progressed or changed since EP I?

It is much more band dependent, taking in other peoples ideas. More dance orientated tempo-wise. And I am always wanting to make music that is more direct, painted in bigger colours and more exciting. I think EP III (end of year) is certainly in this direction, and Paquin II has its moments to me.

You work on a bunch of other stuff as well; you're in other bands and you produce a lot of artists too. Tell me what you're working on at the moment.

I just finished the mixes to the upcoming Tiny Ruins album, I have been finishing two EPs with Streets Of Laredo, tracking the next Die! Die! Die! album, planning the next Popstrangers album. I also finished my first soundtrack (a feature length NZ documentary due out later this year). I also play with The Verlaines, Jamie McDell, and Model Train Wreck (new material due for all those artists too at some stage soon). These (and other) projects I am working on I am really pumped about.

What are your future plans with Paquin throughout this year and into next?

Split 7" with She's So Rad later in the year. I'm aiming to have EP III recorded and mixed by the end of November, and then we'll do another tour in NZ, and then hopefully a jaunt overseas in 2014 if it is all making sense.


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