Exclusive Interview With Paul Terry of Cellarscape and Review of His Upcoming Album “The Act Of Letting Go”
Paul Terry is an independent performing Artist, Song Writer, Composer, Producer, Author and Co-Author of many projects. The latest being the upcoming release of Cellarscape’s new album “The Act Of Letting Go” Solely released through Paul Terry’s self-reliant label “SkyBabyRecords” The act of letting go will be on sale to the public from the 28th April 2014.
The album is his fifth release and most prolific to date; this album is a collaboration of talented minds and shows only too well with the depth of music, lyrics, and production of this album.
After listening to the full album myself, it most certainly sets out to capture the listener’s imagination racing towards forming their own gallery of moving pictures in their minds.
There are lots of elements in this album that seem to intertwine to create an ambiance of belonging. The lyrics and musical score for each track have an orchestral cinematic feel and ambiance; all combine to provide a pleasant experience to the listener.
You can hear examples of all 12 songs in the album trailer + the full video for Epinephrine below. You can also follow this link to place a pre-order for Ultra Limited Art Book CD Edition right now at http://cellarscape.bandcamp.com/
Interview With Paul Terry Of Cellarscape, Find Out In This Exclusive, Why He Named His New Album “The Act Of Letting Go”
Everyone would agree that the business of entertainment has massive diversity. However, you seem to have your fingers in a few portions of the pie.
Singer-song writer, film making, music composer, author, co-author, producer, and you even get out and about performing. How do you find the time to keep on top of everything and keep focused on one single project?
I’m not entirely sure… When I see it all listed out like that, I do sometimes get that “rabbit heart” feeling and think, “Erm… Good question… How exactly are all of those plates still spinning up there?!”
But it’s always felt very natural to me to be involved with a variety of different creative projects at the same time. Even going back to school days, I was always happiest when I was super-busy, and that would mean rehearsing for a stage musical, acting in a drama, having weekly band practice, working on some kind of art project that wasn’t homework…
So although I don’t really know why I’ve always multitasked, I do know that it’s always made me happy. I find the creative process really fascinating and energizing because you’ve absolutely no idea about how something will ultimately turn out.
You’ve got all of these ideas, as have the talented people you’re collaborating with, but ideas are like water – they are constantly moving and changing shape, which means they’re unpredictable. That’s exciting. When you start to feel an idea taking shape, it can sometimes be quite hard to tame into something more solid.
But that’s the challenge that I’ve always got a kick out of. With regards to focus, it’s kind of like a constantly rotating wheel in my head – when something needs to be at the front, like this new album, I spin things around so that project gets the most support on that day or for that period of time.
On other days, the album might slip to second place, and a book project that needs a final edit will shift up into first place. Maybe all this has something to do with my love of multilayered, complex storytelling and music – maybe my busy brain enjoys mirroring those kinds of things?
All of which means I’ve always been a total night owl – I rarely turn in before 1am. And those that know me will tell you – with a sigh, I’m sure – that I have quite a lot of energy. I was given the name “Tigger” some years ago (and even a mug to match), which is pretty accurate.
What part of the industry drives your ambition the most, music, film or writing and how does everything combine to produce a clear career path for you to follow, has there ever been a situation where there has been a conflict of interest?
For me, it’s all about the “plan Bs” rather than seeing something as a conflict. I’m so grateful for all of the projects I’ve been involved with, and when an exciting book or film project has come into view – which I know will have an impact on my current plan with something like a Cellarscape record – I tend to pause, evaluate, and then make an adjustment if, in my gut, I feel I want to be involved.
I’ve always trusted my gut, and although that doesn’t sound very scientific or tangible, I’m happy to listen to it and trust it. As far as ambitions go, I think people often use that word to mean a battle towards becoming super-famous.
Fame’s never interested me in the slightest – I’ve always been ambitious, but it’s always been about challenging myself to do things that I’m kinda scared of attempting because it might be considered “pretty ambitious.” Either thinking up something creative that feels difficult, or someone asking me to be involved with a project that demands things of me I’ve never done before – those are the qualities of the creative industries that drive me the most.
As each year goes by, I really want to push myself and learn something new all the time. This new album was the hardest record I’ve ever written, and on a technical level as the producer and co-engineer, it demanded things of me that I’ve never done before. But as the title suggests, at this point, after four previous records, now was as good a time as any to “let go” and just go for it, regardless of how scary that felt.
I see so many young people in this industry who seem to have only one goal in mind, “Fame” I believe that fame should not be the main interest of anyone’s involvement in the arts. I would say, first and foremost it’s the business side of things that should interest them. Fame may or may not be a by-product of hard work. Working hard, making mistakes and learning the business first is the way to go. What’s your thoughts or advice for people wanting to get a foot hold on the ladder to success?
I agree. For me, the creative process is the most important thing. The music you create has to make you satisfied. It has to make sense to you. If you compromise on that, you will never have a song or a record that you are truly happy with. If you were a painter, you wouldn’t change your brush strokes or color choices to fit a trend, would you?
So for me, making music is no different. There will always be people that don’t like the music you make, and that’s absolutely fine. But equally, there’s a chance that your music will make a connection with an audience.
Then, once you’ve come to a happy place about the music you want to make, finding a way to get your songs out there – in a way that makes sense to you creatively, emotionally, and financially – is very important.
The way the industry is now, independent artists have virtually 100 percent control over how they choose to market their music. So I would definitely say, learn to love the marketing part of the process. If you believe that’s not your responsibility because you’re a musician, well, here’s an image: on one side of the fence is the old business model where a huge record label would sign you, effectively give you a bank loan for an album, and you’d trust them to market your music correctly.
On the other side of the fence is a place where, yes, you have got to learn to love some new marketing skills, but it is you that gets to control your destiny, and it’s you that gets to decide how you and your music is represented by the planet. To me, not wanting to embrace the latter is crazy.
Yes, of course, it’s more work, but then all creative projects demand a huge amount of your time and energy, so why would you not want to do the best that you could to support and nurture that “baby” of yours in the big wide world?
Skybabyrecords and Evil Hypnotist Productions are two of your interests. How does composing the music soundtracks for film, influence cellarscape, albums?
Composing the music for the EHP films I’ve worked on, plus the other scores I’ve done for other directors, has always had a huge influence on the Cellarscape songs I write.
I’ve always been a massive film nerd, and have always been extra nerdy about how sound design and film music is crafted, so the film soundtracks I’ve written since 1999 have had a really positive effect on my Cellarscape material. From the first very first EP in 2006 (‘Copilot’), I wanted Cellarscape to be a project that hopefully would be described as, on some level, cinematic.
When I wrote the song ‘Repeat, Erase, Unite’ for that first record, something clicked in my head – that song definitely felt like a style of songwriting that I wanted to explore more in future records. As each of the five records has gone along, almost in parallel with the films I’ve scored, the more ambitious and the braver I’ve gotten with regards to the kind of film music I’ve written, that’s had a really wonderful domino effect to the Cellarscape songs.
I’m proud of all the records, but 2011’s ‘A Theta/Delta Union’ felt to me like I was really getting more confident about applying a cinematic sensibility to the songs. And ‘The Act Of Letting Go’ is a big step up from that soundscape. This is, by a long way, the most “filmic” collection of Cellarscape songs I’ve written, and that makes me very happy indeed.
You founded Evil Hypnotist Productions with, director and writer, Paul Williams: “The Furred Man” has earned global recognition with 13 awards and more than 30 festivals; that’s a great accomplishment… What are your ambitions for cellarscape, any awards you have your eye on?
The international success of “The Furred Man” has completely blown me and Paul Williams away. I’m really proud of that score, too. But as with that film, and any Cellarscape record I make, or any creative project I collaborate with others on – like the Lost and Fringe books I’ve co-authored with the ever-awesome Tara Bennett – it’s never about award-chasing.
With regards to my Cellarscape work, the biggest reward, honestly? When I hear that songs I’ve written have made an emotional connection with someone. That means everything. When I write these little musical stories, I obsess over them for a long time.
I’m my biggest critic, so I don’t feel that a song is finished until I’m 100 percent happy with every second of the music, and every word of the lyrics. Be it a happy, sad, reflective song – whatever the emotion – I always try to make sure there is an emotional honesty present. So if the song I write ends up connecting with someone on an emotional level, that makes me more happy than I can express.
“The Act Of Letting Go” Cellarscape’s fifth release has a lot of depth and most certainly sets the listener’s imagination racing. There are lots of elements in this album that seem to intertwine to create an ambiance of belonging.
The lyrics tell a story on each track, musical scores that have an orchestral cinematic feel, all combine to provide a pleasant experience to the listener.
I can only imagine how much time and effort and collaboration it took to put this album together, What was the inspiration behind the creation of the album?
Wow. Thank you so much for those very kind words – and I refer back to what I said only a second ago: if this album has made an emotional connection with you, then I can “drop my mic and leave the stage” and be happy.
As far as the inspiration behind the creation of “The Act Of Letting Go”, I’m always a little cautious about going into the inspiration behind a record, simply because I really like creative things to retain an air of mystery, so that people can interpret them in ways that make sense to them.
What I love about music is that the artist has an intention behind a song, and pours their heart into that song. But then, the listener has their own emotional history and experiences, and they unwittingly bring all that to music they listen to.
So there’s this magical fusion of those two things, and the result of it is that the listener – if they love the song – takes the song into their heart and defines it in their own unique way: they make the song and the music mean something specific to them and their life.
I do exactly this with all of the bands and artists that I adore, and I always flinch when someone I adore goes into loads of detail about the story behind a song, simply because you can never “un-hear” or “un-know” that – and it changes how you feel about the song. But what I will say is that one element, one reason (of many) as to why the album is called “The Act Of Letting Go” is because it signifies me completely letting go, musically: if I wanted to do lots of strange, homemade samples in a song, I did it.
If I wanted to add a big element of “pop” to a song, I did. If I wanted to craft a really long, complicated, intense song that is influenced by a lot of metal artists that I love, I went for it with no hesitation. Musically, this album is me completely letting go.
Any message you want to give for your fans and future fans out there?
If you check out my Cellarscape work, thank you so much for taking the time to do that. There are countless bands and artists out there, so I really appreciate your time and interest.
And I just want to say a huge thank you to the amazing people I got to work with on this album. My dear friend, the incredible Anneke van Giersbergen (http://www.annekevangiersbergen.com/) sang with me on the duet ‘The Same Place’ and I can’t thank her enough for making that such a special song.
My life-long friend James Bellamy co-arranged all of the string sections with me and brought some brilliant ideas to the table, as always.
Niki Jones has played bass on virtually every record and film I’ve made since 1999, and he did his best work to date on this one.
Tony Lewis did an amazing job engineering the string quartet sessions and all of my vocal sessions. The string players Fra Rustumji, Nuno Carapina, Theodor Küng, Joe Fisher, and Tom Wraith played so beautifully.
Dave Draper absolutely smashed the mixing and mastering duties, and Paul Shubrook’s (http://www.paulshubrook.com/) bespoke artwork for the cover and the Art Book Edition is just so perfect.
Cellarcape may be a solo project, but as with all creative ventures, it’s always the sum of your collaborators’ talents, and for that, I am beyond grateful for everyone’s efforts.
Cellarcape’s Social Links and Music
The Act Of Letting Go’, released April 28, 2014, on SkyBabyRecords. Pre-orders available now: http://cellarscape.bandcamp.com/ Ultra Limited Art Book CD Edition is for you (strictly 500 copies, you also get ‘Epinephrine’ as an instant download:
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