Journalist Emil Mohr describes Paul’s Brooklyn home studio as virtually overflowing with music equipment – vintage guitars, microphones, gadgets, keyboards, a giant modular synth and more.
‘The headline of the article is a pun on the old Beastie Boys album title “Paul’s Boutique”,’ Emil tells us. ‘”Påls fabrikk” means “Påls factory”.’
Paul the sound engineer likes to experiment with this wide variety of equipment, whether he is working with Zoe or with Morten, who has visited the Waaktaar-Savoy family and spent some time working with Paul in his home studio in Brooklyn.
The main impetus for the interview is of course the release of the debut album from Waaktaar and Zoe, ‘World of Trouble’, out last Friday on Norwegian label Drabant. Paul discusses the project with obvious excitement, and praises Zoe’s clear voice, describing her singing ability as ‘wise beyond her years’. With few exceptions, Paul plays all the instruments on the album himself.
The interview covers the album mixing process with Steve Osborne, the challenges of songwriting (‘Each cut has its own huge math puzzles you try to solve. Sometimes it’s okay – sometimes you go violent rounds with yourself before you might find that you had the right basic idea in the first place’), what Paul has been doing musically since his last solo release (‘I have worked continuously. Despite the fact that I have not released anything of my own in the last five years, I have worked every day’) and a lot more again about – you guessed it – gear, instruments and technology.
For those who crave more detail from a sound engineering standpoint, the full article is well worth a read. We’re only presenting a summary here, courtesy of the author, so be sure to check out the magazine if you get a chance.
However we can offer a-ha fans a couple of interesting quotes:
‘To what extent are you aware of which band the songs are meant for as you write them – do you think A-ha vs. Savoy vs. Waaktaar & Zoe?’ Emil asks Paul. ‘No, I’m trying to do the best for the current album with the material that is written at the time. Things often come somewhat gradually. Many of the songs I first tried with Zoë, ended up with A-ha. “Cast in Steel,” “Under the Makeup” and so on – she sang them amazing. To be honest I was a bit divided as to which interpretation I liked best. Both have qualities that the other lacks, which makes it very interesting for me.’
And about the status of a-ha?
‘Well, the last tour was a very positive experience. I felt it sounded cool, so I have a good feeling about it. Hopefully we will manage to achieve something more.’
Thanks to the author and to MusikkWeb for allowing us to share this sneak peek of the article with you. You can order the magazine here. Subscribers received their copy earlier this week, and it hits the street in Norway on March 3.
Photo: Anne-Marie Forker
Tags: Albums, Emil Mohr, Interviews, Media, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Releases, Solo projects, World of Trouble, Zoe Gnecco