What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Musically there’s probably too many to name. I grew up listening to stuff like Hendrix, Guns n Roses, Metallica, Eminem, Radiohead, The Prodigy… but if you want to know what stuff I listen to on a daily basis now, the stuff that inspires me to make music, then it’s artists like grandson, Kid Kapichi, Holy Wars, Bob Vylan and Nova Twins. If I wasn’t doing music now, I’d probably be dead.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I spend way too much time just watching TV and eating junk food, sometimes I think that blocks my creativity as I should be using that time more constructively. But actually, it’s really important to look after yourself and just shut down sometimes with a box set on Netflix. When it’s out your system, you can come back with a fresh perspective.
How long has your band been around?
Erm, it’s just me, Paul, aka pieces. The project started during the Covid lockdown of 2020 when I was gifted all this extra time to really invest in my own personal goals in life. It was an opportunity I’d never really had before, or maybe I did but I was just too busy procrastinating or making excuses of why it was out of reach. I had a vision for the music so pursued it on my own to keep it simple, but I’ve been working with some incredibly kind and talented people to bring the project to life, namely Groove Machine duo Alex Condliffe and Noah Booth (Ratboy & Low Lying Sun), ex Prodigy and Pitchshifter guitarist Jim Davies, and Ramon Blanco, grandson’s lead guitarist. These are artists who’ve all had a massive impact on my own musical upbringing, and they’ve shaped what I’m creating today. Putting together a band is the next step.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m born and raised in Essex, and that probably does come through in my music, especially with my accent.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Having recovered from a hopeless drug addiction (6 years now without a drink or drug), I’ve been picking up the pieces of my life over the past few years, and I’m now in a place where I seem to have got my shit together, enough for me to throw myself into my music anyway. The music is a piece of me, all the songs are deeply personal and writing and creating them has helped me heal. So that’s why I chose the name ‘pieces’.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, The Prodigy and Queen.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Surround yourself with like-minded people who support what you’re trying to achieve, find some people who are already doing it, ask a tonne of questions, be open-minded to listen and learn from people who’ve been there and done it already, and stick to what you believe in. It’s your music at the end of day. Be prepared that not everyone will like it, and grow a thick skin because there’s going to be lots of highs, but probably more lows.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I’d tell myself to get off my arse and start chasing the dream, instead of letting fear of failure hold you back. No one ever achieved anything hiding in their comfort zone, so stop procrastinating and make it happen.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
It’s probably a song called ‘Tick’. It’s unreleased but I might drop it at some point this year. It’s probably the most honest I’ve ever got in a song, and it’s all about being at my lowest point in drug addiction. I’m nervous just thinking about people hearing it, especially my friends and family because it’s pretty dark.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
A lot of these early songs talk about emerging from the chaos of addiction and mental illness. I’ve had to get really honest in my own recovery, and I want that honesty to come through in my songwriting, but the songs also offer a glimpse of hope, that there is a way out, no matter how bad things have got. There’s no hard and fast creative process for me, sometimes I start with a riff, sometimes I start with a vocal melody or a phrase I’d like to include in the lyrics, but for the most recent song I wrote, I actually made a conscious decision to start with the drums first, just to see if it inspired me differently.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I wrote ‘soul’ as a reminder of the chaos I’d left behind in the madness of day-to-day drug addiction. Just listening to it keeps me focussed on staying out of trouble, trying to be a better person and helping others… I hope the song might help someone else who’s still desperately trying to find a way out. But most of it all centres around 3 key things for me, don’t be a dick, own your shit, and give a shit.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I’m a solo artist, so I have the luxury of being in charge of my own music! But that also means I have to make all the important decisions and I’m guilty of procrastinating or just tweaking again and again and never being satisfied. So the closest I come to a disagreement is usually about the mix, but we always iron them out with love and tolerance!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
There’s plenty more music to come this year, which will form an EP with around 5 or 6 tracks on it. There’s more in the back pocket too and I’m always writing, plus I’m putting together the finishing touches for a music video shoot that I’m hoping to get over the line in the next few weeks. There’s always something to be doing in this game. My debut song ‘soul’ is available on all the streaming services or you can download it on iTunes. And RIPs & likes comes out on June 10th. My social handles are all @thisispieces so check me out and I’ll post all the updates there, mainly on Instagram, for now. https://linktr.ee/thisispieces