Interview for Bang & Olufsen • Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bang & Olufsen presents 'The Living Room Tour': Paul McCartney

Interview of Paul McCartney
Published by:
Bang & Olufsen
Interview by:
Zane Lowe
Read interview on Bang & Olufsen
Timeline More from year 2013

Album This interview has been made to promote the New Official album.

Master release

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From, October 4, 2013:

Bang & Olufsen presents the first instalment of ‘The Living Room Tour’ with world’s biggest music icon, Paul McCartney. McCartney to give exclusive insight into the creation of NEW.

On 15th October, Bang & Olufsen will present Paul McCartney in conversation about his NEW album, set for release on October 14th (October 15th in the US). NEW is Paul’s first album of brand new recording material since 2007. McCartney’s NEW album sees him working with producers Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns, Paul Epworth and Giles Martin for the first time ever. ‘The Living Room Tour’ will provide an opportunity for people from across the world to put their questions to Paul about writing the album, working with new producers and the recording process.

This exciting event will be the first instalment of ‘The Living Room Tour’ – an on-going project where Bang & Olufsen brings the audience one step closer to the music and artists they love. ‘The Living Room Tour’ will provide artists with space to share their love of music and talk about the nuances, inspiration and intentions behind their own sounds.

“We are excited to work with Paul McCartney – the world’s most iconic musician,” Tue Mantoni, the CEO of Bang & Olufsen iterates. “Bang & Olufsen and Paul McCartney share an immense passion for great sound and we believe our brand is the perfect platform to convey his true intentions and emotions. With Bang & Olufsen you get the full experience.”

‘The Living Room Tour’ is built around this shared passion for great sound and the belief that great music deserves to be heard as the artist intended. This is only possible with the highest quality speakers and every single Bang & Olufsen product is meticulously designed to deliver immaculate sound quality in your home, with particular focus on the living room – the heart of the home and the room where our love of great sound is most apparent and most explored. […]

Welcome to the Living Room Tour and Paul McCartney. How are you?

Hi. It’s good to see you again. – You, too.
First of all, what has a record become to you, once it’s released?
I always forget … It’s like sitting at an exam.
And this is the oral, and when you put it out, you realise –

you’re putting it out for people to have opinions on.
Do you take the marks on board, what people give you?

It depends if they’re good marks. – Someone is getting those for you?
Yeah, I tell everyone: “Me! Yes!”
It’s unique for an artist of any genre to work with as many producers.
I wasn’t supposed to have 4 producers.
I was trying 4 producers with the aim of having 1.
I assume you didn’t let the others know: “When I was in with Ethan …”
Sorry, guys. I’m gonna be out of town.
You’re with Giles, the phone rings: “Sorry, it’s Paul Epworth. I’ll be back.”
First of all I went ’round to Paul. Paul Epworth and his studio.
I went up there and said: “I’ve got my little bag of songs.”
He said: “You know what? I’ve got this idea!
I’ve got this feeling of what it should be. It should be like …”
So he started to give me this up-tempo beat, and I said okay –

realising now that we are gonna make it up.
I didn’t know he did that. I just got on the piano and started banging away –

he jumped on the drums, and he’s a good drummer, Paul.
I said: “What do we do? We keep you on drums?”
He said: “Sometimes. We can get a proper drummer in.”

But he didn’t sound convinced. – No.
No way was he ever gonna get a proper drummer in.
The thing is he’s got great energy, so he’s all …
And it was his idea after all to do that tempo.
So I said: “Let’s hear how it sounds,” and I banged it out on the piano –

started to put some chords with the idea –

and we gradually just that day layered it and finished it up.
When I was working with Ethan Johns on this album –

I brought him a couple of acoustic songs.
He said: “Just come down to the studio.” We were at Abbey Road.
“Just go down there and play it.” So I did that, we did a take –

and he says: “That’s great!” So I came back up and I said:
“A bit of the vocal is a bit wobbly, I’m sure I can that a bit better.”
He said: “But it’s you! It’s vulnerable, and it sounds really true to life.”
And we left it, and people have said to me: “Oh, I like that track.”


I had a few weeks when I settled in a regular system. What I would do is, I’d take my little girl to school, my youngest daughter and then I’d come back, and I’d have some time before I would have to go and pick her up again. So, I’d just come home get myself a cup of green tea and sit with my guitar or piano. On Alligator I wanted to feel Zen. I was messing around and I started getting the idea: “I need someone to come home to. I need a place I can rest”. I knew that in about 3 or 4-hours’ time after I started I’d be ringing Nancy, who was in New York, and I knew I’d wake her up. It was about 12 o’clock, it was 7 o’clock for her. So this gave me a motivation to write something and ring her up and say: “Morning, baby. You wanna hear a song?”

You are such a player. It’s amazing.

Still writing songs for girls basically. – You wanna hear a song, honey?
Still writing songs for chicks.
It was a late night, and I was at home in London –

and I got my dad’s old piano that used to be at our house in Liverpool.
It’s a great sound, and obviously the whole vibe ’cause it’s my dad’s.
I played it when I was a kid, and he played it.
It’s a nice instrument to play, so I just came up with that …
There are only so many ways you can talk about meeting someone –

and falling for someone.
It occurred to me when I was writing the song that I could say:
Then we were new. There we were going along, and then we were new.
It was just another way that I thought was, hopefully, original –

to say then we were in love.

I messed around on an auto-tuner. – Oh, my God.

I knew all my mates would go … – I don’t know if I’d wanna hear that.

I think it would just destroy me. – This is what I’m talking about.
People I knew were going: “Oh, no. You can’t do that.”
Because of that, I’d never even gotten near one.
But I went to see Kanye, and he’s usually more live, and I thought:
You know what, that’d be fun. Maybe I’m not gonna use it.

Which I didn’t. – Did you record anything on it?
Yeah, on this Appreciate track I did some stuff. We didn’t use it –

because it was too …
The Four Horsemen would’ve been mounting up, if you’d put that out.
It was great to do!
I think vinyl is the best. Vinyl just sounds good.
And I asked my engineers why it sounds good.
They explained there are frequencies above and below you can’t hear.
We got into a rap with George Martin a long time ago about that –

and we talked for hours about these frequencies below the sub –

that you couldn’t really hear and the high frequencies only dogs could hear.
In fact we put a sound on Sergeant Pepper that only dogs could hear.
I guess it worked.
If you ever play Sergeant Pepper, watch your dog.
Suddenly he’ll go …
Down boy! Jokers.
I love this. You Came Along and Made My Life a Song.
That describes how a lot of people feel about you.
I’m really writing it about Nancy.
But I do love that thing about songs.
When you release them, they become people’s property.
They’re not mine anymore. So if someone puts a meaning –

on one of my songs that suits them, or in this case –

they think it’s about me, then that’s great.
I can only be complimented by that.
And I really am massively complimented.
I will walk along the street in London or New York –

and I will really quite often get people …
“Hey, man! I just gotta tell you. You changed my life. Your music.”
Well that’s kinda … Whoa, it’s a biggie!
So, I really do love that.
We didn’t set out to do that.
We were 4 kids originally who set out just to make some money –

get to play a guitar, maybe a car –

and that was sort of the only motivation. Have some fun.
Get a few girls. But the list is building.
Still doing that though.
Okay, so we gotta say goodbye but I hope everybody has enjoyed it.
I most certainly have. Thank you so much!

It was great! Thank you. – Good to see you.

Last updated on February 5, 2021


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