- Album This interview has been made to promote the New Official album.
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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 May 26, 2019