Indie + Alternative culture appreciates new rising artists that create diversity and new insights within their respective genres. We constantly feature notable indie & alternative artists on the verge of success.
Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview. Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist: Paul Newman & The Ride Home.
Paul Newman & the Ride Home is punk rock outfit from Baltimore, Maryland, together since 2011. Their first studio album, ‘El Salvador Dali Llama Farm’ is out August 2016.
We recently talked with Matt (guitar), Jake (bass), Nico (drums), & Jacob (ukelele/vox) to get their take on alternative culture. Read on to find out more about your next favorite artist.
Comments From The Curating-Editor
Interestingly tagged under “folk-pop” on their bandcamp page (due to use of ukelele), Paul Newman & The Ride Home’s latest release, off their upcoming debut album, perfectly captures their off-center charm–I mean it’s an album called El Salvador Dali Llama Farm, there’s an immediate captivating quality to that cultural eclecticism. Mars Winks starts out with a standard pop-punk sound, a more refined, rounded, and rich sound from their previous DIY ukelele-punk fusion in earlier releases. With addictive distort & fuzz tone emerging form the guitar lines that wind about until a fun indie-rock breakdown, there’s a thrashing drive that combines well with the unexpected melodic quirks in these guys’ sound aesthetic. Lyrically, the essential storming energy is there through passion-driven vocals that wittingly sing “The brutality’s up front and I know what you want. With comrades to betray, Mars winked and walked away.” All in all, this is an incredible punk song that’ll surely invigorate you.
What are your top 3 favorite albums that inspired you to get into music?
Against me! – Reinventing Axl Rose; The Clash – London Calling; The Discocks – Long Live Oi!
I think these first two are pretty standard in punk rock. I think reinventing axl rose (the song) was the first thing Matt, Nico and I ever played together when we were in high school. I wrote in The Clash S/T first, but switched it to London Calling, because I think London Calling is a great example of how you can have a distinct sound without having to stick to narrow genre parameters. The first album was raw, but by the time London Calling came out, the were all over the map, but really knew what they were doing. If you compare their version of Police and Thieves to Rudie Can’t Fail or Revolution Rock, you can see that they developed a better understanding of other genres and grew as musicians and as composers/arrangers.
I can’t remember how I even heard of The Discocks. It was probably some compilation. It was Japanese punk rock at its simplest. They played three or four chords and sang about as many intelligible words. They are that “hey, I could do that” band for me. My first band even had a Discocks rip off and some of the lyrics weren’t actually words, just sounds that the Discocks might make.
What are your fondest musical memories?
The first couple Against Me! shows I went to were amazing. Them at the Ottobar with the place so filled up that there was no mosh pit, just a mass of people swarming and singing every word and sweating. That’s a good show to me.
My old band, The Part-time all-stars, at our last show was the same way. We had some talent, but we mostly had cohesive energy.
That band’s first show was in a college dorm laundry room. The second was a battle of the bands at a synagogue and it was just weird.
Paul Newman & the Ride Home did a little tour a few years ago, which was a lot of fun, but for some reason we decided to do the northeast in January. 20 degrees and wind in NYC isn’t that fun.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
I’ve been listening to current music lately, which is kinda weird for me. I used to always listen music that was on average 15-35 years old: old Violent Femmes, old Flaming Lips, The Pixies, The Clash, Sam Cooke etc.
The three artists I’ve been listening to most lately are The Menzingers, Walter Mitty and his Makeshift Orchestra, and Shakey Graves. They’re all pretty current. I don’t think they are that stylistically similar in terms of sound, but maybe in terms of energy. The Front Bottoms too. I think the common thread among is energy and dynamics. I love when there is a nice, quiet hook and then everything crashes.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process? Is there a particular message or theme central to your creative works?
My creative process has changed quite a bit. When this band started, I already had a bunch of songs I had been playing acoustically by myself. I would just play them for the band and they would add parts and make changes, but the song was still pretty much what I had written. Lately I’ll bring them an idea or they’ll start jamming on something and I like it. Things work out a lot better when everyone is doing it together instead of me trying to get anyone to do what I want.
Editing too. It’s always funny finding old lyrics or a quick recording I made of something before it morphed into what it eventually became. We have a song called “House of Cards.” If you heard the original version you would be like “this is about an iPhone,” and it kinda was.
We’re a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe your city’s music scene? How has it inspired you into crafting your sound?
Baltimore has everything. There are some really cool bands right now like Western Star, Among Wolves, Sister City, Sun Club, Us and Us Only (the band, not us) are the first that come to mind. There is no shortage of awesome bands to see. I feel like there is no one distinct scene. Shows will blend genres which makes things much less confining. Something new is always happening. Two of the places we’ve played a lot over the years, charm city art space and club k, shut down recently. Just when that happened, The Raven Inn started putting on shows. Places fall through and new places pop up, but there is always good music if you’re looking for it.
How would you describe your visual aesthetic, in terms of album artwork, music videos, and artistry? How does the music you create contribute to your visuals? Does this extend to your live show experience?
Our visual aesthetic has been kinda scattered. The cover of our first demo, “The Importance of Being Ernest Hemingway,” was a shotgun schema (Hemingway died by a shot gun). Our next demo “(sic)” from the Latin “sic erat scriptum” which translates to “thus it was written” was a picture of a Ferris wheel with a whole bunch of effects and filters on. I think it was taken down in Myrtle Beach. I thought it looked cool and basically nobody else came up with anything better. This time we decided to get an actual artist to do the cover. My old band (The Part-Time All-Stars) used to play with a band called The Skanarchists a lot. One of the guys, Brian Zager, now does design [BKZ|GRFX] http://www.brianzager.com/. He did a great job.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
I could go on and on about streaming/downloading/ripping. There is a lot of music I would have never heard if I hadn’t ripped it. Thirty years ago you might tape a song off the radio or from a friend’s LP. Then it got easier with CD burning. Now you can go on a torrent site and get something on you iPhone in minutes. The difference is how easy it is and how much you have access to. One of the first artists I remember having their catalog up for free online was Bomb The Music Industry. I don’t think I would have ever heard them if I only had choices at a record store. But there stuff was free and and they’re awesome. So, whenever they’d come to town I’d see them and usually bought a shirt or something.
Everything seems different when it’s you. Our two demos were self-recorded and we gave them out for free. We maybe made a fifty bucks from donations. When you go to a studio and pay money, and pay a guy to master it, you want to get something for it. I don’t know if it is a reality or just the way things seem because of how easy it is to access music now, but it feels like there is a saturated market in the music industry. You either have to get discovered or shove stuff in people’s faces, and I find the latter distasteful.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
It’s not really a collaboration, but I think it’d be cool to get the old band back together for a split with the current one. It’s three of the same guys (including me), but we had a weird set up where sometimes I’d be the singer and sometimes I’d drum. And we had keys and horns. We were a bit wacky.
Which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community
So, I have a weird obsession with iTunes playlists. They are limited by plays, I have one that I put new songs on and once they reach 20 plays they graduate to a different playlist. It helps me keep from listening to a song to death to the point where I don’t want to hear it again.
“Cough it Out” By The Front Bottoms just graduated from the new list. I would suggest Walter Mitty and His Makeshift Orchestra – now just Walter etc. “Well Soon” is one of those albums I feel like I have to listen to straight through whenever I hear one song on it.
The Menzingers too, of course. Jake, the bass player told me I had to listen to PUP, so I just got into them. “If this tour doesn’t kill you, I will” is currently at the top of my new obsessions list. They’re crazy. It’s like beachy noise punk from Toronto.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
We just finished recording our album. There were a couple of songs we kinda put on hold while we were gearing up for that. I want to get them all worked out and maybe record a few acoustic tracks.