Paolo Nutini

Dundee Westport Bar on Tuesday 6 June 2006

You’re releasing your debut album in July, produced by Ken Nelson, what can we expect from it?

It’s like a little sort of diary of the last three years and what’s been going on, it’s mad, it’s been weird, building and building. The songs are really personal, songs about my grandfather, songs about when I moved to London, songs about my ex-girlfriend, it’s things that people should identify with, it’s everyday things like putting on a pair of new shoes or lying about your age. I’m surprised the way that people have taken to it so far.

You’ve just signed a five album deal, how do you feel about that?

It’s exciting, especially on a label like Atlantic, but it’s not something I’ve thought about, it’s something I signed and then I thought more about the first album! There’s not as much of an obligation as it sounds, we’ll have to wait and see if that will be fulfilled, it’ll be interesting to see if it is five albums that I get out of it.

What influenced you to take up music?

The first thing that got me into singing was when I got my mum and dads old records and sing with the Drifters and Atlantic sort of soul, and just harmonising with the Drifters. I’ve never had one direct influence, I don’t know whether it will be a hinderance, it’s not proven to, but it’s more of a collective range I listen to.

It’s like how a voice can inspire you, not so much to make you want to write the song you just heard, but to make you want to put pen to paper. People like John Martin and Bill Withers really help me with stuff like that, Jeff Buckley too, there’s always someone to make you want to do that..

So music has always been a big part of your life?

Yeah, especially since fourteen-fifteen, that’s all it’s been, before that, football! I played a bit of football for a while. I’ve always had some…there’s a song on the record called Autumn, it’s about my grandfather who passed away when I was twelve, he introduced me to music, he let me listen to two Scottish guys called the Corries, who wrote O’ Flower of Scotland, I loved that. He used to be a big opera fan, he had pianos and sang, my dad never did and my ma never did either. My dad always said he wanted one thing, to have a singer in the family, and he never seen the day.

Does the speed in which you’ve gained media attention surprise you at all?

Aye, it scares me a little, a lot of the time, you wish you weren’t even in there! A lot of the tabloids in Scotland, there was one, the Scotland on Sunday put in a piece that was inaccurate, and the tabloids just fed off of that. They thought my mum and dad had a fish and chip shop and it was the worst piece of writing you’ve seen: “The chippie kid”, “Things can only get batter”.

As everybody says, it’s weird that three years ago having been sitting in your living room with all these people saying “You’ve got to take the good with the bad”, it almost becomes a cliché. We did this Herald piece that was a great piece that focused on the right things, was really honest, and that was great, but when you get things like “Things can only get batter”, you wish it wasn’t even there.

How are you adapting to all the changes?

I never thought I’d be doing anything like this, sometimes the best way is just to do it, I don’t know what sort of advice you could give anybody, you try hard to adapt, but when you’re adapting, there’s no template, but things are busy for me now.

We’ve got a possibility of doing Pukkelpop, Lowlands in Holland, then T, then V, some German promo, and you’ve never done a promo in Germany, you’ve never done a festival in Holland, you’ve never done a festival in Belgium, so trying to adapt is weird, sometimes it gets to you a bit. It’s all a journey, and such a good thing to do day in and day out, it’s a good life when you’re sitting in the Carnegie hall listening to the original singer of “I do-ron-ron”!

You’ve shared bills with Ian Archer, KT Tunstall and Amy Winehouse, out of todays generation of musicians, who would you like to perform with?

There’s this guy called Scott Matthews, the day my girlfriend back home mentioned him and I was like “That’s ace”, went to go and find out about the guy, and the day after I was supporting him, and I was playing with the guy the next day in Stoke! I also like Jim Noir, it’s really suited to the summer and I like the vibe. We played a gig with him in Sheffield the other day.

I’d love to jump on a bill with something crazy like Gorillaz, I don’t know, as far as the vibes concerned, something like Jose Gonzales, I love doing gigs, but I’d also love to do something where people are sitting down, chilling with a wee glass of white.

I’d love to play a solo acoustic gig with Dave Grohl, and Jack White too.

So do you listen to a lot more rock music as well?

When I’m in the van, I’ve got this playlist that I keep adding to, I’ve got stuff like the Arcade Fire, Simon and Garfunkel and stuff, but when I’m at home, it’s Queens of the Stone Age, the Foos, Nirvana, I love Bleach, the first Nirvana song, About A Girl is one of my favourite songs, I’ve always wanted to do a Nirvana song at a gig.

You’re playing T in the Park, Wireless, V Festival and Across the Tracks, will you be trying anything different to win across the festival crowds?

I doubt we will, just basically we’ll change the setlist, there’s a couple of songs on the record we don’t play live because we’re restricted. Our albums got some more produced stuff, a lot of it’s live, but there’s stuff like New Shoes which is a little like Beck, but I think we’ll just go on, sing the songs, and get the hell off there!

It’s like when we played the One Big Weekend here in Dundee, it was a great day, any nerves that we would have had on the main stage were shot on the head by the Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” cover we had to do beforehand, it’s a good song but it’s been overplayed, I’d love to put that one to bed sometime.

After that, we ran down the grassy hill, had a couple of wines, then went on to play first on the main stage which was really surreal, someone said there must have been about 11,000 people!

The Carnegie hall was weird, we played rewind with a 120 piece orchestra, I’m really glad we did that.

Do you feel that you have a great deal of expectations to fulfil?

I don’t really know what people could have expected, a lot of people understand that when we’re doing it, it’s real, we don’t really have a structured set, so I don’t really think people know what to expect.

I really like it when people come up afterwards and ask if we’re coming back, it’s not like “We’ve seen him once, we’ve seen him a million times”, but it’s early days, so expect to hear these songs s***loads!

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article by: Matthew Shaw

published: 13/06/2006 09:00


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