Interviews

Event Guide.ie - 2004

"With over 120,000 copies sold in Ireland of his 'Living' album, and with 'sold out' signs going up on the doors of his live shows, you'd think that Paddy Casey would be full of himself. Not a bit of it. The soft-spoken, self-effacing singer spoke to Kieran Owens about 'Living' for his living..."

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FunkyMofo - March 2004

"FAR BEFORE Damien Rice played on the Letterman Show, or before David Kitt became the darling of the Dido-demographic, a bloke called Paddy brought the modern Irish singer/songwriter formula out of the backrooms of Whelan’s and onto stereos across the country.

Casey’s first record, ‘Amen, So Be It’ was released at the tail end of the 90’s – when David Gray was cool – and unsurprisingly, it did very well commercially. But then Paddy Casey disappeared, allowing others to overshadow what he had initially achieved.."

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Hot Press - October 13 2003

"I wouldn't say I was pissed or stoned or anything though cos I never really do that at gigs".

"Released in 1999 Paddy Casey’s debut album went double-platinum, establishing him as one of Ireland’s brightest prospects. but the intervening four years have seen that crown slip, as a succession of home-grown singer songwriters battled their way into contention, outstripping him in terms of record sales – and hard graft. Now Casey is back in the frame, with his long-waited follow-up, the cheekily titled Living – an album that sees him gloriously back on top of his game. Why did it take four years to make? The answer to that burning question may go back even further. Because Paddy Casey’s life story is truly a remarkable one."

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muse.ie - Paddy Casey interview

The busker who came in from the streets, Paddy Casey is raising a storm with his debut album, his live shows, even those blooming large posters. Cat Hughes asks him if he remembered to wash behind his ears.

Of course the name is familiar. Paddy Casey. The most hyped man on the planet? The new Dylan? The new David Gray? The busker it's ok to like? The future of Irish music? The voice of a generation?

"God, I'm shittin' a brick!" whispers the tiny singer-songwriter with wide-eyed seriousness. It's two hours before gig-time and nerves have set in. Huddled away in the corner of the bar, Paddy's here to tell us about his life. And fidget. A lot.

Busking since the tender age of twelve, the Crumlin minstrel joined Grafton Street's legendary hardcore crew alongside the likes of Glen Hansard, Mark Dignam and Mundy. Briefly tempted by the dogs-on-string life, these days he's thankfully seen the light. And the soap. "No shoes, runnin' round the gaff - that was me! When I lived in Galway, I can't say I washed that often - or when I lived anywhere else for that matter. But I've got shoes now. And I had a wash this morning, I even had a shave!"

Not your average, mild-mannered singer/songwriter, this self-confessed "opinionated, arrogant little f**k" can boast some fairly eclectic influences. "I just like good songs. I love Aretha Franklin. Soul is what I put on first thing in the morning. Lyrically, I like Chuck D, Dylan (rolling his eyes dramatically) and I suppose I have to say David Gray, don't I?" It's hardly surprising that Paddy started wincing at the mention of Wales' most popular son with comparisons flying thick and fast in every review. But given Gray's tendency towards Van the Man tangents and Paddy's pure pop sensibilities, it seems as though early retirement could well be on the cards for poor old Dave.

Dropping a neat mix of styles, Paddy's debut album "AMEN (SO BE IT)" delivers some heartfelt beauty that looks set to secure its place in the record collections of all right-thinking folk - even if some traditionalists still have their doubts. "It's a mishmash of all the different stuff I like, with acoustic guitar, of course. Wait until you hear the band, I think people are gonna run a mile! We're using computers and stuff so people are just gonna call me a sell even though I haven't sold-in yet!"

Though Paddy might not be convinced of his universal appeal just yet, his record company are making sure that the nation knows exactly who he is, treating us to five-foot visions of his angelic mug around every corner. "I was so nervous walking down the street with my face on all those posters. I was sure someone was gonna give me a wallop! I haven't been in Dublin in a while and every time I come back, people have heard me songs and seen me video and now there's the posters! I'm gonna come back next time and it'll be f**kin' ridiculous!"

With devotees standing for hours in the rain in the hopes of squeezing into tonight's already sold-out gig and the guest-list reading like a who's-who of the Irish music industry, it seems that things are already starting to get a little interesting for the little man. But even with superstardom and millionaire mansions looming, it looks as though Paddy is still managing to keep his priorities straight. "I am a busker, that's what I do. It's where I learned to play and it's what kept me alive, so can I say thanks to all the people in Dublin who bothered to throw money in me case?"

"AMEN (SO BE IT)" is out now on Sony Music. Paddy Casey opens for R.E.M. at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, on Friday July 16th.

 

Iris Magazine - February 11 2003

Ruraidh Conlon O’Reilly is converted by the swaggering charm of Dublin’s own Paddy Casey.

“He’s a bit like Hamlet, isn’t he…?” a tipsy twenty-something gushes. “…Melancholy”. She’s wrong of course, like Noel Dempsey’s views on fees the girl is wrong. But that’s the thing: Paddy Casey has one of Dublin’s most mysterious and alluring personalities. It’s another night of drink-fuelled madness in Whelan’s and everyone is entitled to their opinion. And I’m forced to change mine.

As a philistine, my new view was one of awe. Having completely missed out on Casey’s previous efforts, the guy’s talents came as a shock. Taking the stage to redneck yelps and general enthusiasm, Paddy picks up his trademark purple acoustic and treats the sardine-tin-packed crowd to a quiet set of raw emotion. It’s nearly – nearly – enough to silence the loudmouths, but Whelan’s is a venue that enjoys its chatter like a knitting club. Tonight’s set comprises of material from Amen (So be it), some older as well as much newer material - nicely accessible to a previously ignorant heathen such as myself. Tender acoustic set aside, it’s when Paddy Casey stands up and plugs in his Telecaster that the magic really starts to happen. Leading a formidably talented band, the sound morphs from near-silent folk to choppy wah-wah rock in an instant. Declan O’Rourke is a special find, one of the most technically adept guitarists to be seen on a Dublin stage. It’s quite a rousing spectacle, making one wonder why, in a land taken by the blandness of David Gray, Kittser et al, Paddy Casey is not Taoiseach. I’ll ask him next time we meet.

In terms of demeanour and personality, there really is nothing like the guy. Whether frustrated at the on-stage sound (“Lash them monitors up there man!”), cajoling his guitar into tune (“Get in, ya bastard!”) or so perfectly aware of his own abilities (“I’m gonna go over there [the keyboard] and see what happens”), Casey keeps an audience interested as well as entranced. He feigns ignorance of pop music, dedicating some partly-sampled songs to the likes of Boyzone and Westlife. Highlights of the night are Sweet Suburban Sky, Downtown, and… well practically anything the man deigned to treat us to. Second Class Blues in Orange Shoes? Great name. Several encores later (including a touching song from O’Rourke) and finishing with a classic No Diggity, Casey is gone. It’s time to take the new material to a much wider audience. A while back, Melody Maker said “World domination is just around the corner”. Melody Maker is dead, but Paddy’s talent is still intact and the quote still stands.

Ruraidh Conlon O’Reilly

 

Vicar Street - March 22 2003

24-year-old Paddy Casey, signed to Sony UK's S2 label, has been playing gigs on the streets of his hometown Dublin since he picked up the guitar at 12. Casey's debut album, Amen (So Be It) was recorded in just eight days. It went on to reach the Top 20 in the Irish album charts and achieved platinum sales in Ireland. Amen (So Be It) earned Paddy a Best Album award at the Irish World Awards and nominations for Best Irish Songwriter and Best Male Singer at the prestigious Hot Press Awards. Paddy was voted Most Promising Act while Amen (So Be It) was voted Best Debut Album in the Hot Press year-end reader's poll; he was also nominated in seven other categories. Following the release of Amen (So Be It) in Europe last year, Paddy toured extensively, supporting REM, Ani DiFranco, Ian Brown and the Pretenders, in addition to his own headline gigs and playing Glastonbury.

Amen (So Be It) combines elements of not only folk, rhythm & blues, rock, jazz and gospel, but funk, electronics and even hip-hop (one of his goals is to open for Public Enemy). "When I first went in, it wasn't even supposed to be an album," says Paddy. "I was just sort of fantasizing about all the different kinds of music I liked, and playing around with my songs in different styles."

Asked about his early influences, he replies: "Anything that wasn't in the charts, I suppose... Music you didn't hear everyday. Records you picked up at flea markets." On the album's liner notes, he thanks, among others, Bob Marley, Otis Redding, Prince, John Martyn, Tracy Chapman, Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Randy Crawford, Parliament and Billie Holiday.

The wishful first single, "Whatever Gets You True," features a swirling roller-rink organ and a dizzying rush of imagery. "Everybody Wants" has a thick, sensuous layer of guitar chords that underlines the song's seductive pull, while the relaxed jazz-like feel and shorthand title of "Would U Be" underlines Casey's admiration of The Artist Formerly Known As.... "Downtown," which boasts a sultry reggae beat, is like one of those "songs from the soundtrack of 'Foxy Brown,'" according to Casey.

Much of Amen (So Be It) reflects the conflict between Paddy's own spiritualism and humanist pragmatism, which comes across in his awe of the unconditional love between a child and parent in "Can't Take That Away" and the anxiety about modern society expressed in "Fear," a track the NME called "Paddy at his poignant best."

"Ancient Sorrow" uses scratching and drum machines to update its prayerful, plaintive look back, while songs like the acoustic ballad "Sweet Suburban Sky" and the impassioned closing track, "It's Over Now, are universal in their linking of the personal to the political. Indeed, Amen (So Be It) touches on the human in a way that transcends geographical, as well as musical borders. The atmospheric arrangements create a visual quality that turn the songs into cinematic narratives.

Amen (So Be It) is an engrossing debut from a performer who cut his teeth playing for people on the street. "The thing is, you never know what's going to happen," he says of busking. "You could have a brilliant night or a terrible night. People basically came and hung around, not because they paid, but because they were getting a thrill out of it. And I kinda got a thrill out of them getting a thrill."

When asked about his goals for the album, Paddy Casey states tongue-in-cheek (maybe), "Basically, I want everyone in the world to hear this record, that's why I made it." Giving the matter further thought, he lightens up. "Actually, I want to get sued by my manager on 'Judge Judy' and appear on 'The Simpsons.'"

What the press is saying about Paddy Casey and Amen (So Be It):

Q Magazine: "....self produced and played largely on what sounds like a battered but treasured guitar, this musical prayer is simplicity itself, and excels because of it. He sounds like the grandson of Van Morrison, the son of ex-Waterboy Mike Scott, and for one so young, his voice is shot through with the experience of someone twice his age, and suggests a multiplicity of cigarettes, alcohol, women and dreams. Amen (So Be It) is out of both step and time, but it's impassioned fare indeed, and the closing 'It's Over Now' is how goosebumps sound when they explode...." (4 out of 5 stars)

NME: "The most prolific feature on Dublin's songwriter - busker scene, his debut album is wilfully ragged, truly the spirit of his live act. That's enough to capture his considerable presence, his ability to squeeze a bit more from those regular old guitar chords. 'Fear' is Paddy at his poignant best. He's wracked by the world's malicious potential, praying for better times. There's an intensity in the air that recalls Jeff Buckley, while a DJ scratches in the background, adding a fresh dimension...."

The London Sunday Times: "Amen (So Be It), which Casey co-produced, harbours a constructive fascination with electronic bubbles 'n' squeaks and soul. The result is an engrossing record that stands head and shoulders above the usual fare."

The Independent: "....a genuine talent, well worth seeking out...."

Time Out London: "....hugely promising...."

The London Times: "....magical...." (live performance review)

Paddy Casey plays Vicar St. on March 22nd. Tickets are €19.50 and are available from Ticketmaster and other usual outlets nationwide.

 

no disco - Paddy Casey interview

On July 7 on No Disco Uaneen interviewed Dublin singer-songwriter Paddy Casey who has just released his debut album Amen (So Be It) on Sony music.

Uaneen: You write very old lyrics for someone so young, why do you think that is?

Paddy: I think when you're younger you actually worry more about certain things. And when you get older you actually see the way the world is shaped and the way history repeats itself. So you actually worry a bit less because you've seen the problems before, it's like a cycle. So I think when you're younger you're more prone to writing cause you can't see these things.

Uaneen: When you were younger did you listen to your brother and sister's music?

Paddy: Well my brother got me into music. He had a pawn ticket for a guitar and he just kind of seen that I was obviously really into playing music. I suppose I was about 11 or whatever. So he just said to me Ma, 'There's the ticket, will you get that guitar for him cause he was trying to buy that guitar.' So he got it for me.

Uaneen: And how do you feel about people making comparisons?

Paddy: Like David Gray? Somebody actually said I was David Gray for slow learners. I was like, 'Hello'. I don't really mind when people make comparisons. Some of them are quite complementary as well cause like, I like David Gray and Van Morrison and Dylan, so it's cool if people say I sound like them, cool, because obviously I didn't come from nowhere, you know, I came from what I listen to.

Uaneen: Do you plan to take a band on tour with you? Paddy: Yeah, 2 guys. One of them doing a bit of sequencing and the other guy playing the drums. It's a bit like David Gray's band actually, which is even worse cause people are gonna compare it either way.

 

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