We caught up with Paul about Little World Festival, progress on the new album and future touring plans. Thanks to Ben Yacobi for the pictures from Little World. As ever, please leave your comments below!
Hello Paul, how are you?
I'm good, thanks.
What have you been up to?
Well, it was Sinead's 30th birthday yesterday. We had a really lovely day. Her dad was over, which was nice. He actually came over for my granddad's funeral which was this week too, sadly. So we had all the presents in the morning, then we went out for dinner in the evening. Sinead thought it was just going to be me and her, but there were 15 other people there as a surprise. So we had quite a party.
How are you feeling today?
Exhausted, actually. But not so much from the late night, more than accumulation of the last month or so. We had the lead up to the festival, then the festival itself and then we had the death in the family which was obviously a hard thing. So, yeah, it's been quite a demanding time, definitely.
Did the festival go well?
It was amazing. Really great. We did everything we could in the run up to it to ensure that it ran as smoothly as possible. There were a few little hiccups when we got there, but really there was nothing which stopped it from being a really brilliant week. It just went incredibly well. We were quite proud of ourselves.
The Feeling: clearly on the piste
What were the highlights for you?
Well, the whole idea of what we were tying to achieve was that all the artists know each other and travel out together and live together. And then get up on stage with each other. That really worked. It was like a proper collective of musicians, which is quite unlike the modern day festival. There's very little collaboration at most festivals. But the atmosphere that we wanted to create among the musicians at Little World was there in spades.
How did your collaborations go?
Oh, brilliantly. We were playing with Glenn Tilbrook and Graham Gouldman. They're both heroes of ours for what they've done with Squeeze and 10cc and it was an honour and a pleasure to play their songs on a stage with them. It was a mixture of really enjoying it, but then also trying to do the songs justice! But they seemed happy too, which was good.
Did you collaborate with anyone else?
Well, Fictionplane were there, so Dan and Richard got up and did some backing vocals for them. Sinead and Sophie both got up and played with us on some things as well. I think pretty much everybody was onstage somehow collaborating with someone else.
And were the venues busy?
Yeah, it was good. We were really happy with that side of things too. I think everyone who attended and who was involved seemed to agree it's something worth pursuing, so we may well be back next year.
Did you get much skiing in?
A little bit. I actually tried to learn to ski - I've only ever snowboarded before. But, to be honest, I got quite frustrated with trying to snowplough at 1mph, when I know I can tear down the hill on a snowboard. So I soon succumbed to the temptation of going and getting a board instead. But we didn't actually have that much time on the slopes, because we had a lot of rehearsals to do. Quite a few of the afternoons were taken up with trying to rehearse the new songs for the gig in the evening.
How did the new songs go down?
Really well. One of the reasons we wanted to get out there and play the smaller club gigs was to get a response to the new songs. We played five in total. A couple of them got played more than others, because they suited certain venues more than others. A song called Set My World On Fire and a song called Say No seemed to go down particularly well. We played another one called Love And Care acoustically, and that went down really well too. I think we may have to do some more small club gigs to try out the new songs.
MC Jeremiah on the mic
So playing them live before recording them helped?
Oh definitely. You can rehearse as much as you like in a rehearsal room, but as soon as you go on stage in front of people and try and play something, it all kind of goes out of the window and you re-learn playing that song on the spot. You learn quite a lot about what makes a song work by performing it to a crowd. It really highlights things which you never would've noticed in a rehearsal studio - things that may be really right, or really wrong. Certain things worked exactly as we'd planned, while others seemed to take on a whole new life. Which is great.
And you think you'll. be doing some more little shows at some point?
Yeah, that's the hope. Watch this space on that.
What's the latest on the album?
We're still in the pre-production stage, before the actual recording. But we've got some firm studio dates in the diary now, which is good. It looks like April will be the month where we really start to knuckle down with recording.
Did you party hard in Meribel?
I think the truthful answer to that would have to be, "absolutely, yes"! I think it surprised us all how much partying went on! It wasn't something we really set out to achieve, it just seemed to happen that way. There were so many other bands playing, so everyone would go down and see everybody else's gigs. You'd go there thinking you'd just have a couple of beers, watch the first half and get an early night, then find yourself at 2am on the dancefloor going crazy!
They weren't joking when they said some of the shows would be intimate...
Sounds like a fun time was had.
Oh, definitely. Meribel's one of those places where people really feel like they get away from their life back home. I'm not sure if it's the altitude or what, but it's definitely a very cheery place to be. It's difficult to be miserable or moody out there.
Right, the readers' questions are from Twitter and Facebook. Lindsay would like to know when the next UK tour will be.
Before the year is out, definitely. As we've been away for a little while, we'll definitely re-introduce ourselves a bit slowly. We won't go crashing into big venues or anything like that. We'll be looking to get around some smaller, more intimate places, perhaps. We really want the fans to hear the music first. They're our top priority.
Andrea, Paul and Mark ask when you'll be in Japan, Canada and the US respectively. So, essentially, is there any chance of touring abroad?
I think we're going to have to concentrate on the UK first of all, and try and get everything up and running again here. In terms of internationally, it's probably a bit early to say when and where we'll be going. But we'll be itching to get out there. We've been to all three of those places before and been well received. We'd love to go back.
Finally, Jonathan says, "Just the obvious. When will the new album be released?"
What's your current guess?
I guess that there will be leaves falling from the trees in a golden-reddy-brown fashion, when the album comes out. I don't think this summer will be rocking to the sounds of The Feeling unfortunately. Well, unless you want to put an old album on. Which I highly recommend, actually. We just don't want to rush anything at all. If anyone does want to come and see us at the festival dates this summer, we will be playing new material at those. But as far as the recording goes, I reckon autumn time.