Q&A: Paul The Kid

Q&A: Paul The Kid

After nearly three years in London, reggae/ska artiste Paul The Kid is back home in Auckland and dropping some mighty fine summer tunes. What's Hot New Zealand shot the balmy breeze with him.

We listened to your single ‘Palm Trees and Ciggies’ and it’s got a great summer vibe – can you tell us a bit about the song? It. Is. A. Banger! I wrote the music to it while still in London, I think in the summer of 2018 when I was into ‘four to the floor’ music. I showed all the homies the beat and they vibed it so while in lockdown here in Wellington I focused on it a lot. It’s about travel, ironically; touring cities with my laptop and a backpack, a beer and a ciggie (I have quit now) and living through the kindness of the music scene and people you meet along the way. It's definitely a homage to my homies in London and the wild life we cultivated over there. I am a rude boy and love ska and reggae music, but I wanted to make something a little more than ‘BBQ reggae’, the laid back funky reggae sound which Kiwis are known for. I mixed it up a bit! I love this song, I am super proud of it and I am stoked with my mix and how it all came out. A lot of work but well worth it.

You’ve spent some time in L.A. in the last few years, right? What were you up to? On my way back to visit New Zealand I played a couple gigs in LA and one in San Fran. It was a ball reconnecting with people I met travelling while in Europe and, of course, the homies my band toured the US with originally. This was in early March before Covid really kinda kicked in and I am lucky to have made it back healthy and safe. I dearly love the US and was planning on relocating there but that has defo been put on the back burner.

How are you liking being stuck back in Aotearoa? I love being back. It’s so chill here. I was kinda lucky to have accidentally been trapped when visiting from London in March. I forgot that life doesn’t need to be lived in a constant state of anxiety – that was the London life! I do miss my friends over there but my mind is so much calmer and more focused here. Good to be home.

How are your homies in London doing? Some are doing fine and some are really struggling. I think also seeing us here in Aotearoa living our best lives doesn’t help too much.

Are you recording much new music? Too much. I have too many songs to choose from, they’re all bangers! Some party, some sad, some heavy, some chill. I love making whatever I want in the moment. My next tune will be out mid March. It is a super bouncy house-inspired feel-good bop! Really can’t wait, in fact I am mixing it in the studio tomorrow.

Favourite haunt you’ve ever played at? This is a hard one. My band toured the USA twice, once in 2013 and then in 2015, nearly 100 shows total. But I gotta say playing 924 Gilman in Berkeley, CA was unreal. It was packed wayyyy over cap at somewhere around 700-800 people – unreal energy. It was also the venue that bands like Operation Ivy, Green Day, NOFX, and Rancid all started out in. So much history there and to be this ska band from New Zealand selling it out with our mates Days N Daze was fucking crazy!

How long have you been growing your hair? A classic question! I guess since I was around 15. It is definitely the longest it has ever been and lives in braids 90% of the time, ‘cause otherwise I look like bloody Hagrid from Harry Potter.

Do you still jam with your band Night Gaunts? We don’t jam as a band as such, but we have been writing and recording new music. We actually released our first tune in years a week ago. It’s called 'Stupid Stupid' and is up on Spotify, BandCamp, et cetera et cetera. I spent a lot of time on it over the first lockdown. I am super proud of it. Our upcoming EP features our friends from around the world too which is really really cool.

Who’s someone you’d love to collab with? The late Mac Miller. RIP.

What’s a song that gets you going? I’ve been super into Easy Life the last couple years, so any tune from them. Current go-to jam aside from that would be 'San Francisco' by Dom Dolla. Banger!

You’re trapped on a deserted island, what three things do you have? Lorazepam, a sound system and as many Speights as possible. The island will take me so I’ll party ’til the end.

What’s on the cards for 2021? New music! New videos! Playing live as much as we can. It is harder with my band being such legends at life though. My bro Simon, the drummer, is a pilot for Air NZ and Finn, guitar, is working on his thesis. I am really proud of our live set, we put in a lot of work and it sounds huge for three people. The big goal is to book Bay Dreams, Soundsplash and Rhythm and Vines for next summer. Also to grow a true fan base again like we did for Night Gaunts, I have to make it happen; I will make it happen!

Who should we be keeping an eye on in the Kiwi music scene? I gotta say SOJØURN, our sax player from Night Gaunts jams with them and they’ve got some tunes. Also super sweet dudes and really helpful and kind to me, sharing advice for the New Zealand scene as I’ve been gone for a while. I believe they have a new tune out Friday February 12 too.




What's Hot New Zealand Newsletter

Stay in the loop with all the latest food, fashion, trends, events and more. Delivered hot to your inbox every month.