Paul Draper: The Former Mansun Frontman Discusses His Debut Solo Album

Interview: Paul Klotschkow
Wednesday 28 February 2018
reading time: min, words

Currently touring in support of his first full-length solo record Spooky Action, the shows will also feature Draper and his band covering Mansun's debut album Attack Of The Grey Lantern in its entirety. We put some questions to him ahead of his show at the Rescue Rooms...


Firstly, congratulations on the release of your debut solo album. The reviews have been great. How does it feel to be touring a new record?
Thank you. It's beautiful meeting the people and communicating with the music, it's been well received and there's loads of positive energy from my band and everyone I work with; it all flows from the music and it's taken a step-up live so it's a great experience touring it.

There was quite a gap between the end of Mansun and your first solo releases? What took you so long?
I had been working on various projects as a writer and producer and ran my own studio for a long time. I did demo's of my solo album back in the mid noughties but time and events had overtaken me, I just shelved it. However a big resurgence in interest came about with Mansun and I had record companies telling me it was time to release a solo album, so it's out there now and people seem to like it.

You worked with the Anchoress, both on your album and her album. How did you first meet and creatively what do you feel the collaboration brings out in you?
Catherine’s a great songwriter, also she has a drive and focus which keeps pushing the music forward and we've got a good working relationship. We met after Catherine was looking for producers to work with and I recorded a few tracks with her before it blossomed into a whole album that we made.

You played a handful of Mansun songs on your first full solo tour last year. Where did the decision to perform the entirety of Attack of the Grey Lantern Come from?
It was to do with the anniversary and re-issue of Attack of the grey Lantern, which we’re working on now. Originally I was just going to do a whole solo set and tracks from AOTGL in the encore, but once we started putting it together, we decided to do two full sets. So I can maintain my push to be a relevant solo artist, and celebrate the anniversary too. It's a good plan I think. The whole show is two and a half hours!

Six is a totally mad sounding album: How did you get away with it and is that an album you would consider touring as a solo artist?
Yeah, we'll tour that probably next year, the fans want it. I'm not going to be a nostalgia act and just tour that, but, I'll play it in full after a set of my solo material, that way in my mind I can keep moving forward musically and reconnect with fans of Six too.

As a solo artist who was once in a band and has now decided to perform that band’s songs live with a new set of musicians, how do you go about teaching the songs to the new band? How did rehearsals go?
They're so good my band that they just know everything inside out on day 1 of rehearsal. We play through the songs and bed them in over a period of days, this band is as good as anyone you'll see live, I'm lucky to be touring with a group of people who are my friends as well as top pro’s.

In a recent issue of Mojo Magazine you discussed how the other members of Mansun tried to kick you out of the band prior to the recording of Little Kix. How did you recover to continue with the making of that album and tour?
I was sacked after Little Kix, they wanted to do a different band without me in it with a pub singer from Chester who was re-writing and re-arranging Britpop songs, but who they claimed was a non-denominational spiritual guru channeling art from another dimension to a live communion of people. Personally I thought he was shit and I haven't heard anything from any of them since. The truth always comes out in the end......

How did the way Mansun end affect the way you felt about the band and making music?
Of course it affects the way I make music but now I’m working in a positive atmosphere with great musicians, so it's a great improvement and I'm loving every moment.

How does touring compare now to twenty years ago?
Technically the technology on stage is at a different level now and is really great to use. However the touring around part is still the same, and I'm loving it. Everything's boring once you've been on tour!

There seemed to be a time when every time I turned on MTV you were on there being interviewed by Eddy Temple-Morris. How do you remember the 90s and early 2000s?
Well we didn't know it would be remembered like it is now when we were doing it but it was pretty full on, always recording or touring, I never stopped. The media were constantly wanting us to appear so we did a lot of stuff, you'd see all the characters of the music scene around and it was an amazing time. I have to say I prefer it now though.

What can we expect from your show in Nottingham?
Two-and-a-half hours of my solo material and a full run through of Attack Of The Grey Lantern by my shit hot band and myself, and my voice is holding up just nicely too. Looking forward to seeing the sold out crowd in Nottingham.

Paul Draper is at Rescue Rooms on Monday 5 March 2018. 

Spooky Action is out now via Kscope. 

Paul Draper website

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