INTERVIEW: Producer, musician, & composer PARIS RAINE on new single “Free”

Paris Raine

Hailing from Shoreham Village in Kent, producer, musician, and composer Paris Raine recently released the music video for “Free,” a shimmering song mirroring elements of shoegaze, dream-pop, and hints of art-rock.

Paris explains “Free,” sharing, “To me, the song is about the freedom of love brings. It’s the feeling of once more seeing how life can be magical, a renaissance of seeing the world as a child, to be ‘born again.’ Too often, we want to cage love like a bird and hold onto it, but true love, unconditional love, is about freedom and allowing those whom you love to be free because that’s what made you love them in the first place, is it not?”

After scoring Ned Caderni’s award-winning film, Seagull, the two artists continued collaborating on the music video, “Free,” which depicts Paris trying to run to his destination, yet never quite succeeding as the visuals shift, pulling him back to the beginning as the landscape restructures capriciously.

Paris’ voice, dreamy and creamy, imbues the lyrics with cashmere, reverie-like textures.

“Pass the midnight oil / I’m out, since when? / Just to hear your call / I’m born again / When I think of you calling my name / Across from you whispering / It brings the new day home / It brings the new day home.

XS Noize caught up with Paris Raine to discuss how he developed as an artist, his cinematic sound, and how the video for “Free” came together.

Can you give us some background on how you got started as an artist?

I’ve been playing music for years in bands, but I decided to release music under my own name last year. The songs I was writing didn’t quite work with my current band, PÆN, and my other project Levitation Orchestra which is collaborative in its composition. I felt these ideas for songs should be finished and released out into the ether, rather than staying unloved on my laptop. It was an exciting idea for me and a release I had craved for many years.

How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?

You’ve got me in the corner here. It’s so difficult as, more often than not, my songs are very genre-fluid, especially from song to song. I ask a lot of people this same question and can never get a definitive response. The only common theme I have is cinematic.

‘Free’ could be described as a nostalgic psych-rock orchestral anthem with tones of Radiohead and Scott Walker. My next track is more of a Buckley-esque trip-hop ballad with a lot more electronic instrumentation than guitars and strings.

What inspired your new single/music video, “Free?

The music video was inspired a lot by Bonobo’s video ‘Kerala,’ and Japanese experimental films such as ‘Atman’ by Toshio Matsumoto (recommended by Ned, the director) and Weval’s incredible video ‘Someday.’

Are there any unique recording techniques you tend to use when recording the track?

I wish I could say yes, but a lot of this was pretty standard apart from accidentally recording the vocals in Omni. The whole demo was created on my laptop and my second hand £50 Tapco interface I bought from a mate at school. I recorded the drums, strings, and vocals at my studio I co-run called Big Limbo.

I had my friends Anne Han, Evie Hilyer-Ziegler, and Maddie Ashman come in for the strings. They performed together, and we used ribbons as a stereo setup and spots for each. They sight-read the whole thing on the day. They’re serious players. Dan Kinde played the drums, which is also a part of Big Limbo, and plays in PÆN with me. I’ve been playing with him since I was 11.

Whats your definition of tone? And has your tone changed over time or remained the same?

My vocal tone has changed a lot over the years as I’ve experimented with finding my voice. I had a very heavy tone trying to emulate Morrison in the early days as The Doors were a favourite. It comes out in ‘Free’ during the bridge.

Of late, though, I have found a much lighter and lyrical tone that is less dramatic and over the top, I feel—slightly more constrained yet expressive. I’m starting to become much more content with my voice after experimenting.

Ned Caderni directed the visual. How did you connect with him?

I met Ned at a party years ago. He was school friends with Dan, and he recognized me from the band we were playing in, Tired Angels. After that, I collaborated with him on a play for the Fringe festival. But when we connected was for his debut film Seagull, I wrote the music and, from there, have been working on each other’s projects since. We both give each other a lot of freedom and scope and, most importantly, trust. I feel very blessed to work with Ned and Edward Glynne-Jones, whose photography is stunning and his wizardry as a cinematographer.

Where was it shot, and did you collaborate on the concept?

It was shot in the village I grew up in called Shoreham in the woods. Ned came up with the storyline behind it. It’s a symbolic interpretation of finding inspiration which is how Ned saw the song. For me, it means something completely different, but I liked it. My mum thinks it’s me escaping from an asylum, so we have our personal meanings.

I showed Ned the Bonobo video, and from there, he started sharing a load of experimental films. We wanted to make a video that was influenced by left-field cinema rather than music videos per se. The music is cinematic, and it only makes sense to have a video that is also cinematic rather than performative.

We shot it over six hours, and we chose and waited weeks for the bluebells to blossom. Our approach to it was very DIY and in Rodriguez fashion. If you have ever seen his ten-minute film schools, you’ll understand. It was all about making an ambitious video but on a low budget and with as little gear as possible. All we used was a camera, a rented drone, and a dolly with PVC pipes. The genius goes to Ed’s cinematography and Ned’s vision, pasting it all together.

What music is influencing you today? In your opinion, are any artists or bands killing it right now?

People who are influencing right now are artists like Holly Herndon and Bjork. Their music is deeply innovative but also classical in its approach without neglecting feeling. Their music excites me and inspires my approach.

Bands killing it right now or worthy of checking out are SKTTRD, Koya, Black Bordello, and Nukuluk.

Are there any dream labels that youd love to be signed to?

4AD is a label I have my eyes on. I admire artists on their rosters like Scott Walker, Holly Herndon, and Dead Can Dance.

Have you been performing live this year?

Only with the band Levitation Orchestra. We played at We Out Here festival and closed the Jazz Stroud festival. Some of us at Big Limbo have been going out busking in London, learning tunes and just playing on the streets. It was some of the most fun I’ve had playing live.

For Paris Raine, I may do a couple of solo acoustic shows, but for the full band, I’m not sure. My plans are ambitious. I’ll release a few more songs and then see.

For the fans, do you plan on releasing more music 4th quarter of the year?

I most certainly do. I have a new song coming out titled ‘Tristian & Iseult’ based on the ancient legend. All I’d say is don’t expect ‘Free.’ Should be released in a month or so. We’re filming the vid for it currently.

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