Friday, 11 February 2011

Epic Soundtracks by Peter Paphides



Not strictly a WANWTTS outtake (not at all one to be honest) here's a strange little article that appeared in the now defunct weekly music magazine Melody Maker on October 31st 1992. Epic didn't get a lot of press in the UK so this was a rare joy, yet you'd read the first 100 or so words and not realise that Paphides is effectively raving about Epic's very first solo album "Rise Above". Peter Paphides went on to be music critic for The Times, a job he resigned from towards the end of 2010, and currently writes for Mojo amongst others.

I'm running it as a prelude to the soon to be released 2CD set "Wild Smile", a CD of Epic Soundtracks' best songs and a CD of rare and unreleased songs. This will be on Easy Action Records and should appear in the Spring of 2011.

Thanks to Andy Bean for sending me this.

Little Big Music

Post-punk pioneer with Swell Maps, EPIC SOUNDTRACKS has taken 14 years to release a solo album. It's out now, complete with guest appearances by Sonic Youth and J Mascis, and it's cracking.
Peter Paphides reports

“I remember everything I say, right?”
“Sorry.”
“No it's just that I've been misquoted before.”
“Oh.”
“The thing is I'm having this affair with HRH The Princess Of Wales and she doesn't mind if I tell all, so long as you don't publish the bit about the orgies with Princess Anne, Fergie, Mother Teresa and Steve Sutherland”

Actually someone just added that bit while I was out of the office. In our pleasant Notting Hill coffee house rendezvous, Epic, so wary of being misrepresented, said barely anything worth quoting, let alone misquoting. What did transpire though, is here's a somewhat nervous man who'd been milling about on the periphery for longer than the Labour Party, who seems so surprised at being finally allowed to make a solo record, that he thinks someone's going to find him out and bar him from making another.

Fat chance. “Rise Above” is a work of pensive autumnal fragility and of such high quality, that it would be a monumental injustice to halt the fresh flow of Epic's muse. After nearly two decades as drummer for These Immortal Souls, Swell Maps and Nikki Sudden, a trip to New York in order to help out his old muckers Sonic Youth, led to Lee Ranaldo enquiring whether Epic had written anything they might return the favour on. Take it away, Epic
.
“Well, I showed them a bit of a song I'd written, and Kim (Gordon) asked me if I had a lot more songs like this, so I said yes, which was sort of...a lie. But Lee Ranaldo encouraged me to sing a bit more, and as I got more confident I wrote some songs and my voice improved.”
Strange that you should have ignored such an obvious talent for a really sweet melody for so long. “I wish I'd done it before now, but in a way it's what everything I've done has led up to. I'm into melodies. More people should be. I mean you might as well write a melody if you're gonna write a song.”



It only takes a cursory hearing of “Rise Above” to see that it's packed with that attitude. No song more so than the dazed grandeur of “She Sleeps Alone”.
“That's one of my favourites. It's just about a girl who's really attractive, intelligent and popular, but wants to be accepted for what she is, and the loneliness that comes with that. That one's not about anyone, but most of the songs are very personal. Sometimes I think, “My God! Am I really gonna put that out!” But in ten years time I'll be glad I let those feelings out."

“Rise Above” boasts a stellar list of guests, from the drumming talents of J Mascis, to Rowland S Howard helping out with guitars. It's emboldened by the inspired string arrangements of Primal Scream's Henry Olsen and the sly appropriation of the typography of The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” on the sleeve. Between you and me, Epic's realised that there's no feeling in the world like recording your own songs. He wants to make lots more, but he's scared that we will ignore this one.

We wouldn't do that, would we folks?

Peter Paphides
Melody Maker
October 31st 1992


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