London based trio Paradisia, are no doubt our favourite new group of the year, as they should be yours. Their 70s influenced sound that is both enchanting, haunting and absolutely heavenly, will soon have you falling head over heels for these talented angels.
Gearing up to release their debut album ‘Sound Of Freedom,’ on Friday 26 May, vocalist Sohpie-Rose, Anna (harp) and Kristy (vocals & keyboard) kindly took the time to tell us about the early beginnings of the band and what is yet to come.
We’re very intrigued by Paradisia ~ Would you mind telling us a bit more about how the three of you met and came to form the band?
Anna: Sophie and Kristy met at vocaltech just after Kristy moved to London. Sophie dropped out soon after but the second she heard Kristy sing she knew there was something there and they’ve pretty much been singing together ever since. It’s amazing how much their voices connect with each other in perfect harmony. They started by doing backing vocals for a punk band which is quite a funny route considering how skilfully they can sing, and I love that about them.
Sophie-Rose and I met at a house party. I was living in a derelict flat in Ladbroke Grove and we were having a house party. Sophie came into my room for a peep and was mostly surprised to find a huge harp in such place. Turns out she’d always wanted to have harp in her music and I was looking for someone to make music with so that was an exciting night… I think some idiot ran on the rooftop and broke my ceiling so it started raining in my room from then on but that’s another story.
We’ve all been involved in different projects since then but last year we decided to put our heads together realising we could do it all by ourselves and also not be afraid of being a girl band as such, so we took the next step and formed Paradisia.
Do you all come from musical backgrounds and can you recall your first musical memory?
Anna: I come from a family who’s really into music, more as listeners not players. I was lucky enough that they introduced me to the conservatoire from a young age and at 9 let me choose to play whatever I wanted! Which backfired as I chose to play the most ridiculous instrument, the harp. My first musical memory is very much that – being really young yet so determined to play an instrument as odd as the harp and sticking to it. I lived in a really small town outside of Paris then so there wasn’t any harp teachers around so we had to drive two hours every week just to go to my harp lesson.
Sophie-Rose: There isn’t anybody in my family that is musical as such although there was a lot of soul music being played in the house and my mum embraced my spurts of creativity and desire to sing by running me around the country to auditions and music, drama & dance groups. My earliest musical memory was in church although mind numbingly boring for me age 10, to make it worth my while, I was in the choir.
Kristy: I have always been surrounded by music, mostly by my Dad playing pretty much everything and its dog when I was younger! I used to do piano lessons, singing lessons, dance and even drama classes- the lot. It has been in my life from a very early age. My earliest musical memory is probably singing for a McDonald’s competition in my local town centre, (hilarious, I know) I must have been about 8 and I sang Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing’ and practiced so much and was so nervous. I even remember the shiny purple flares I wore. Still only came fourth! Won sod all.
How would you describe the Paradisia sound?
Sophie-Rose: I’d say pop with a sprinkle of folk, harmony led songs and big ballads.
With the release of your debut album only weeks away, how are you feeling about having it out there in the world very soon?
Anna: Like I’m about to give birth to a baby that everyone’s going to babysit.
Kristy: Like it couldn’t come any quicker! I’m so ready for it to be unleashed into the world.
Sophie-Rose: Astonishingly calm actually! I’ve never been more ready for this album to be heard.
Can you fill us in on what we may be able to expect from the record?
Kristy: You can expect to be taken through love, heartbreak and lust. From start to finish it’s a rollercoaster of many emotions! You might find yourself dancing one minute and crying the next, in the 50 minutes the album is on for.
Sophie-Rose: Like Kristy said there is a whirlpool of emotion poured into this record, it’s also about growing up and moving on. I think nowadays it’s okay not to be one thing and for albums to have a variety of sound but with something to link it altogether, that’s definitely how I hear the record.
Hailing from London and recording the album in Berlin – Both of which are hugely vast, musical cities.. Do you think this impacted your sound in any way and if so how?
Sophie-Rose: I wouldn’t say it impacted on our sound but we definitely benefitted from recording outside of London, there was less distraction and therefore gave us the chance to really immerse ourselves into the process!
What do you hope people take away from listening to your music?
Sophie-Rose: I hope the listeners feel as though they can relate to what we’re saying but also that this becomes an album they play for years to come, it took us a while to make it and we deliberately didn’t rush with the intention for it to be a timeless record, in the way that all our/my favourite albums don’t really age.
Where do you pull your influences from?
Kristy: All over really! It can be from new artists, old artists or something as simple as walking down the street and seeing someone or something popping into your head. We all individually have different influences but they seem to work when we come together!
Sophie-Rose: When I’m writing I tend to listen to singer-songwriters and lyricists from Laura Marling, Joni Mitchell to some more recent artists like Isaac Gracie, Frank Ocean and Michael Kiwanuka.
‘Warpaint’ is an absolutely stunning song.. Can you talk us through what it’s about?
Sophie-Rose: Warpaint is a song about female solidarity and the empowerment that comes with that, it’s about escaping, breaking through the glass ceilings and barriers of female convention. Putting on our warpaint and joining the race hand in hand. There’s something really special that happens when women unite, anything is possible and this song is all about that.
The music video is also very captivating ~ How creatively involved were you with the concept and what was the overall aim?
Anna: We first sent out a minimal brief stating that we wanted a conceptual video, along with visual references of pink smoke. Silent Tapes, the directing duo we worked with came back with a stunning pitch and we took it from there. The overall aim for our first music video as per was to convey the idea of female solidarity, introduce the band as well as our visual aesthetic.
Speaking of which, We’re big fans of the the band’s simplistic and delicate visual aesthetic.. How important is fashion and that sense of visual representation in terms of creating and portraying a particular image as a band?
Anna: I think fashion and art go hand in hand with each other mutually influencing what’s happening at the time. I don’t think there’s one that is leading the other, it’s very much going in the same direction at best. Visual representation is so important as it transports what you hear into something you can see and touch, it adds the other senses to music and gives you a tone and context to a sound. I think it helps your brain process and enjoy the experience. We’ve used pink silk fabric to illustrate the softness and femininity to our work.
Back to the music, can you talk us through your creative process?
Sophie-Rose: We have a group called ‘Sunday Club’ where every sunday we individually write lyrics, chord progressions, a title even or a 1 line melody and we send it to each other. Once we’ve accumulated a bunch of ideas, we’ll lock ourselves away and work on them. Then we’ll go into the studio and record the songs in our 3 piece formation and take it from there with a producer or even our session band and work on it together.
When it comes to performing live, how do you find that transitional process between a song you’ve been working on in the studio, to having it stage and performance ready?
Sophie-Rose: It takes a few goes and a lot of rehearsing but some songs just click into being performance ready more than others, we don’t use backing track or triggers, it’s quite an organic set up so we do our best to make the more produced songs come to life with our instruments.
Kristy: I think it’s better to have played a song live before you record it. This isn’t always the case and can’t always happen like that but learning from my own experience, it makes such a difference if you have had time to play it round, try different things and for it to become what you really want the song to be. That way you can assure it’s studio ready, and performance ready!
With the constant growth of technology, what are your views on the internet and tools such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, when it comes to the music industry and promoting yourself as an artist / band?
Anna: It’s interesting to see how people interact in real life vs on the internet. Last week we played two shows back to back, one where the audience was incredibly responsive and appreciative and one where you could hear a pin drop and they were much more reserved. Well surprisingly we had tons of feedback online on the second show and very few echoes from the first show where the crowd was so feisty! I guess people interact in a different way online than in real life.
Kristy: You definitely feel the pressure that you should be doing this all the time and it is another part of the brain that we have had to program to make sure you’re keeping up with everyone else. Saying that, I do think it’s a very clever platform and such a great way to know how people respond to your music and for self promoters like ourselves it is essential these days. I actually quite enjoy it!
Do you think those tools provide a positive or negative platform for young, up and coming artists who may be trying to break into the music scene?
Anna: I think it has good and bad sides. On the one hand it provides a worldwide platform for someone who 20 years ago wouldn’t have been able to reach an audience past their local pub, but at the same time it means there’s an overload of information and I think people have less patience to discover new music overall.
Lastly, Do you have any advice you could pass on to other young female musicians or artists who may be trying to do just that?
Sophie-Rose: Our mantra is to be as independent and in control of your own career as possible, no one else truly cares as much as you do so being in control of it is key, don’t expect anyone else to get you there!
Paradisia’s debut album ‘Sound of Freedom’ is out May 26.