Recording NEW with Paul Epworth #1

January 2012 • For Paul McCartney

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the New Official album.
AIR Studios, London, UK
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK
Wolf Tone Studios, London

Songs recorded


Save Us

Written by Paul McCartney, Paul Epworth





Written by Paul McCartney, Paul Epworth




Written by Paul McCartney, Paul Epworth

Recording • Not clear if “Struggle” was recorded as early as January, or later during the year.


Production staff

Paul Epworth:


Paul McCartney decided to audition some young producers for his new pop album. He firstly met with Paul Epworth. In the end, four producers would be involved in the making of “NEW”.

The sessions with Paul Epworth produced four songs, which Epworth shares a writing credit with Paul McCartney. “Save Us” was the first song to be recorded. Out of the four, it’s not clear if “Struggle” was recorded as early as January, or later during the year.


To start with, there was no particular plan for Paul’s sixteenth studio album: just a batch of songs that needed to be put down, and the idea of doing it with a young producer, with someone who could bring something different. […] The initial intention was to go in and work with a handful of big-but-youthful names, and see which turned out the best. There was Paul Epworth, co-writer and architect of Adele’s monstrously successful ‘21’, and innumerable cool indie records. And there was Mark Ronson, the man perhaps most notable for making Amy Winehouse’s classic recordings but, even putting that to one side, also with a jaw-droppingly impressive collection of credits. […] Also, with strong links to Paul’s past but also focused firmly on the future, there were Giles Martin and Ethan Johns. […]

First up for a dose of fun was Paul Epworth, who did what anyone presented with 20 new Paul McCartney songs to record would do, and decided put them to one side and jam something more. “I feel like I thrive as a producer from getting in a room with somebody, and making music from scratch,” says Epworth. “He came down for a meeting, to sit down and have a chat, and within an hour we were in the live room with him on bass and me on drums – that was definitely a pinch yourself moment! – and within 20 minutes we had this riff together, which became the first song on the record.”

For New, he was feeling social. His first stop was at the London studio of Paul Epworth, the young producer and songwrit­er best known for his work on Adele’s 21, which McCartney, like so many millions, adored. McCartney arrived emp­ty-handed. “I was like, ‘OK, what am I going to do here?‘” he re­calls. “I’m very open – I just don’t wanna bore myself.” Epworth was assertive. He mouthed a muscular, hurtling rock beat, telling McCartney that this was the tempo and energy he should hit. “I said, ‘That’s a good idea, let’s get lively, let’s not get all deep and serious,‘” McCartney says. “So he jumped on the drum kit, I jumped on the piano, we multilayered it, I put chords in, structured it a bit, and started blocking out the words. Normal­ly with me it’s melody and lyric at the same time – I’ll follow the train of thought, and the lyr­ics and melody all come at once. But when you’re improvising, you don’t have words, you don’t know what the song’s about. You just know how it feels and how a vocal might sound, so you go wada bada bada wado biddo woo in order to get the melody, then you find words that fit the blocking.” The session yielded “Save Us.”

From RollingStone, November 7, 2013

It’s hard not to get caught up in that kind of excitement. It’s similar to my Fireman project and I like working like that. It’s always a motivating thing for me, having to clear the backlog before I can write more, to realise you suddenly have enough for an album. But Paul had an idea for us to write something new. So even though I had 20 songs, the first one we put down, the opening track, we wrote in the studio just off the back of Paul’s enthusiasm.

Paul McCartney, about working with Paul Epworth


That song, ‘Save Us’, with the kind of modern-yet-retro, frenetic and fuzzy guitars that so characterised The Strokes, certainly lives up to McCartney’s claims of not being in a style that you would associate with him. And Epworth’s contribution to the record is more than evident on his other two tracks, which took shape in Paul’s Hog Hill Mill studios in Sussex: ‘Queenie Eye’ has more twists and turns than you would have thought possible to cram in to a mere 3 minutes and forty seconds, while ‘Road’ – which closes the album – subtly builds from lounge-y rimshots-and-xylophone groove into something approaching an epic.

“I felt like it was important to keep doing stuff to these songs, try to look for things in them that were… not referencing things Paul had done in the past, but of a similar spirit,” says Epworth. “So you go from the slightly esoteric, meandering of ‘Road’, which is almost a psychedelic blues thing, to ‘Queenie Eye’, which is quite a tough rock’n’roll song. Paul creatively is very open minded: he’s able to create something and then step back and take a judgement on whether he likes it or not.”

Paul likes to work short concise focused days and I felt it was definitely a very productive way to do

Paul Epworth

Last updated on December 15, 2020

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