After having to call it a day while recording their second album almost twenty-five years ago, Paris Angels are about to finally release the band’s new / old album, Eclipse. Louder Than War’s Carl Stanley met up with bass player Scott Carey to talk about what it feels like to finally get the album out in the open.
Also up for discussion is the story behind the albums recording and how Scott thinks the album stands up against Paris Angles still acclaimed debut LP ‘Sundew’.
Eclipse includes stand out tracks such as ‘Shake’, ‘Complete Mind’, ‘Sleeping with the Radio On’ as well as the band’s very first recording ‘Stairs to the Sun’, on all of which Paris Angels musically stretch themselves with funky synth melodies. The album is a real treat for all indie music and Manchester music fans – and of course it also features the drums of the late Si Worrall, the band’s much missed drummer in whose memory Paris Angels released the compilation album ‘Distant Drums’ back in 2013.
Go to the Paris Angel’s Bandcamp page to get Eclipse as a free download and / or to stream it.
Before diving into the interview here’s Perfume by Paris Angels, a video which has never been seen before…
Louder Than War: Hi Scott and thanks for talking to Louder Than War. So, Paris Angels go back and have released the never before heard follow up their debut release Sundew, it must be a great feeling to finally release Eclipse after all these years?
Scott: Hi Carl. I think putting the LP out will put a proper full stop to what we did with the Angels, and hopefully it will give whoever listens to it an idea of where we were going in 92. We are calling it Eclipse, as our band disappeared and Big Si and others directly linked to us are not with us now. But the tracks are going to see the light of the sun after a period of being in the void.
When was Eclipse actually recorded, and how did it come together?
The LP was recorded during 91 / 92 and the songs were written by Rikki, Wags and myself. Each band member was coming up with ideas, so you can expect a wide spectrum of sounds on it.
Along with Public Image Limited the band was dropped after Virgin was sold to EMI with the album completed. What were the bands initial plans regarding Eclipse? Were you still hopeful you’d be able to release it some way?
We had management through Virgin who looked for another label but basically once the cash cow ran dry, they didn’t stick with it, and moved on to pastures new, leaving us to look after the farm. And we weren’t very good at getting up at 5am and ploughing fields – we were more used to going to bed at 5am – sorry not sure where I’m going with this farming analogy, but obviously we didn’t sign to anyone else … or become farmers. We shut that gate and kept it shut!
Above: Paris Angels – Complete Mind
Eclipse was the follow up to your debut album, Sundew. What direction did you go on it for what people refer to as ‘the difficult 2nd album’? In terms of writing and content as well as the influences that went into it, how different was it from your debut release?
As all members were chipping in with ideas, the album does have a a lot of styles going on, but I would say that Sundew had a fair old mix on it – and we were always a band that wanted to try out ideas. We wear our influences on our sleeves and hearts, so there’s rockier tracks like ‘Release and Rise’, Rikki’s lyrics are concerned with taking charge of our lives in a political and personal way and these are the closest to protest songs we’ve ever written.
‘Sleeping with the Radio On’, ‘Tough’ and ‘Door to Summer’ are poppy but have a melancholic edge to them (we love that kind of pop). ‘Shake’ is dirty funk and most closely sounds like Angels live. And all these songs are strewn with the genius of Wags’s guitar; for me he was one of our generation’s best guitarists, so inventive with off kilter riffs that are just hook city!
So, over 20 years later, how does the album sound to you now, is it a sound and style very much from its time, musically. Or actually quite the opposite?
It’s hard to be objective, but having not listened to these tunes for years, it’s surprising how many sound fresh (to my old ears – maybe not to the kids). I think ‘Door to Summer’ and ‘Sleeping’ are timeless, and I occasionally wonder where we would’ve gone if we’d stayed together, I would’ve thought we would have done four or five albums then called it a day.
Have you added any new tracks or re-produced some of the original tracks from the album, which was Originally produced by Simon Crompton?
Yes, ‘Stairs to the Sun’ is our first ever recording as Paris Angels, this was just if memory serves me well, a four piece of Wags, Si, Rikki and me and we sound like the Bunnymen on speed – great riffs though. All the tracks apart from Stairs are Crommy at the wheel, he and Laurence and Barrington Stewart (production and vocals team) became extra Angels, in fact Crommy was as much as a handful on tour as anyone of us.
‘Perfume’ was such a big tune, and still is both online, on radio and in the clubs / at festivals – it’s a song which is without doubt the band’s trademark tune – did it ever pin you down somewhat to a certain sound / style though, especially with the fans … was there any pressure to repeat it again for Eclipse?
There was pressure from Virgin to have a pop hit and I think we only pandered to that with ‘Dolphins’. It’s a good pop song but I don’t like it at all, it doesn’t sound like us, it sounds like us trying to be East 17 … OK not East 17 but some band playing pop pap – this is not the official view of the Angels, mind, it’s my own view.
The album also features original Paris Angels drummer Simon Worrall who sadly passed away in 2011, does it feel good to be able to put not only your own work out there but Simon’s too, something I’m sure he himself would be made up to see finally happen?
This all came about because of Si’s passing – it was and is tragic. Big Si for those who never had the pleasure of meeting him was a man mountain and the funniest person I’ve ever met, he was the mood enhancer of the band, a mixture of Keith Moon and Tommy Cooper. It’s just a pity that he’s not here, he also didn’t see City winning the league, something he would’ve had great pleasure at goading me with as I’m a red, (we were 50/50 Utd / City). But getting back to the LP, Simon was a powerful drummer who drove our live performances and track’s like ‘Tough’, ‘Stairs to the Sun’ and ‘Release’ are both fine examples of his drumming.
Lastly Scott, will you maybe play a few gigs around the release of Eclipse?
No is the short answer, the longer answer is that we got back together after 20 years for Big and a John Peel gig and that was great to see each other and feel like the old family again. But releasing Eclipse is the full stop that wasn’t realised in the 90’s, where we ended with a whimper and not a bang.
Follow Paris Angels on Twitter as @ParisAngelsuk.
And a reminder that you can hear and download Eclipse on Bandcamp.