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Hi Paul, how’s life?

Life is great, thank you. My wife (Laura) and I are currently waiting on the imminent arrival of our second child as well as enjoying every new experience of our first child, Joshua. I have also been running my own business for the past 18 months which involves teaching guitar, drums and piano both privately and at various schools, playing gigs and studio recording.

It’s been a long, long time since I last saw you play in a band. Remember 35 Stock when you used to live in Beverley? Looking back, which memories make you smile the broadest when you think back to drumming in the band?

It does, indeed, seem like a lifetime ago. There was a great sense of camaraderie and banter in that band. We never had any delusions of grandeur, but we did take the music seriously and it was the first experience we’d had performing our own music. I guess the greatest memory I have of the band is the shear innocence and naivety we entertained. There was no cynicism about the industry; I think we all thought it was only a matter of time before the ‘right person’ listened to our material. I wish I had that same blind positivity.

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Back then, you were fresh out of school. Even at that stage, did you hope to make a living out of music?

I think, in some way, I’d always wanted to make my living out of music and had always wanted to be a big-selling artist. My idols, particularly at that time, were the likes of Radiohead, The Beatles and Blur, and they are the kind of bands that just make it look effortless. You don’t see all the hard work that goes into making those bands so successful (and a bit of luck) when you’re young. I am very pleased with where I am now, although I don’t think I’ll ever give up on the ultimate dream of being a signed musician. I do consider myself very fortunate, though, to have made it as far as I have in the industry, and I have collected some great memories along the way.

Was 35 Stock the first band you were in, or did other musical adventures pre-date the 35 Stock days?

I was in a covers band before 35 Stock for around a year known as Tremblehead. We only ever managed to play one gig, but it was all great fun and very important in its own way. It was great to play with like-minded people and it taught me a lot about how to play in a band situation. I also recall we did a great version of ‘1979’ by The Smashing Pumpkins.

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Even though you drummed for the band, it was obvious that you were itching to sing and play other instruments. Which other instruments can you play, and how proficient are you on each?

I play the drums, guitar, piano and dabble in a bit of bass guitar. I would like to think I have a great knowledge in each of them (maybe not the bass), but I’m always learning new things (even post-grades) that consistently change my mind about things. It’s very important to listen, at all times, to varying opinions (even if it contradicts your own) as they may well be right. I’m very lucky, in Derby, to be surrounded by so many great musicians. There really is a lot of talent in the city, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before something happens for one of the bands or artists.

What was the main reason why 35 Stock disbanded, and what did you do in the aftermath?

I think we had just got to the stage where we all had differing opinions of musical direction and exactly what we wanted from it all. I know Neil is now in a Metal band, Iain is in a Ska band, and I’m still trying to push the Indie thing. After 35 Stock, I joined a band called Kid Samson (later to be known as Age of Jets), and we enjoyed a level of success. We managed to get signed to the Damaged Goods label in London and released an album entitled Go Go Gadget Pop in 2004. Unfortunately, though, just as we’d finished recording the album, things turned sour and we disbanded. This is when I made the decision to go to University, and I’m so glad I did now. There was a feeling of ‘so near yet so far‘, but that has faded over time, and I can see now that I’m in a much stronger position now than I was then.

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You now live in Derby. How long have you been there, and what prompted such a move?

I have lived here for 10 years this September, and I really do love the place. I made the move for University and must confess that I didn’t imagine I’d still be here when I first came, but I’m glad I am. I met my beautiful wife here and some fantastic friends.

I get the impression that you’re busier than ever in terms of making-music. What projects are you currently involved with?

As I answer these questions, I am currently mixing the new Tom Peacock E.P. which is extremely well written Acoustic-Folk music. I am always trying to promote my own music, of course, and I am working on new material all the time. I have a gig supporting the wonderful Mark Morriss of Bluetones fame in October, so that is what I am personally looking forward to the most on a musical level at the moment. I have also just joined a Rock ‘n’ Roll band called Robb Shenton and the Shentones which should be hitting the road at some point next year. There are lots of things going on, but that’s the way I like it.

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What’s the music-scene like in Derby at the moment, and which – if any – singers and bands would you recommend?

As I said, it’s really great. The bands that I would recommend having a listen to are The Fontana Instincts, The Ornamental Gentlemen, The Sons, The Park Bench and Crushing Blows. They are all really great in their own way, and well worth a listen. Singers I would recommend having a listen to are Jo Lewis, Simon Andrews and David Lacey. There is such a great mix of talent in Derby.

You are now a family man. Is such a truth reflected in the type of lyrics and music you’re writing these days?

I suppose it must be in some way, and I would like to think of myself as ‘older and wiser’ (even if that may not be true). I never like to give too much away about my lyric-writing as I would like to leave it open to interpretation, but being married and having children does make you look at life in a completely different way.

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What advice would you give to any aspiring musicians out there?

Practice is the most important thing. You must always keep improving at what you do or you will get left behind. If you start to think that you know it all and have nothing more to learn, that is when you will fail. Also, you must enjoy what you are doing or else you won’t do it to the best of your ability. You would just be wasting your time, and time is precious.

Finally, where’s the best place to go in order to sample your music?

You can hear samples of my music on Soundcloud and purchase my album from Bandcamp… 

You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter to find out where I’m playing and what I’m up to…

(Questions by Steve Rudd; Answers by Paul Tabor)


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