(UPDATED: Here is the full interview with Doe Paoro, originally premiered in Alt Citizen)
Doe Paoro: Born Whole and Going Forth
I first heard about Doe Paoro in early December 2011. Feeling slightly jaded by some of the reimaginings of folk and soul music being thrust upon me, I wasn’t sure what to think of the music described as ‘ghost soul,’ but gave it a listen.
I’m so glad I did. From the emergent understanding of sound and silence in music, to the articulation of emotion in “Can’t Leave You”, I was hooked. The art direction in the song’s video–beautiful. The rest of Slow to Love–refreshing. Her journey has been so wild since then I thought I would catch up for an interview.
I feel that SO much has happened in less than a year–amazing! Let’s start with the second album. When did you start working on ideas for it? Slow to Love was so great, I have to say I am interested in what direction your next album will go in.
I’ve been writing songs for this next album since we finished Slow to Love. I try to stay in constant process. Conceptually, the new album is a natural continuation of the first – exploring the soul and nature, the cyclical rhythm of time, and love continues to be my muse. Sonically, we are focusing more on the abstract R&B elements from Slow to Love.
The Dreambear shoot looks beautiful. When is that coming out? Unless it is and I just could not find it.
Thanks! The first video from Dreambear will premiere late February-early March.
The mashup with you, Ellie Goulding, and Kanye was pretty interesting. “Born Whole” had such a good vibe. Are there any other mashups people have done with your stuff that stand out to you?
That is the first mashup that I’ve heard. We have a few remixes because I released the stems to “Born Whole” on our Soundcloud. Chuck Criss of The Freelance Whales just remixed “I’ll Go Blind” […] and it’s definitely got a vibe.
So, big news–how did you Lasse Mårtén and Van Rivers come into the picture?
Lasse mixed “Can’t Leave You” for us on Slow to Love. He is based out of Stockholm and when he came to New York, we finally met in person and discussed working together on the second album, and here I am a year later in his studio in Stockholm. The White Iris Record Label approached us about making a vinyl with them, and they set me up with Van Rivers as the
producer. I had never met him before, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we work together—I’m inspired by his work. We’re creating something that I haven’t heard before, and I couldn’t be more excited about the two songs we made together with Adam (my main writing partner, plays keys in the band). The vinyl comes out on June 4th.
I’m moving the focus of my blog a little. I feel that it’s important for musicians to reach out to one another and share their experiences, which I hope to share there. What has your experience been with everything–the publishing, recording, writing music with others, working with different people in the business. Do you have any advice for others? Also, is it difficult or liberating to be collaborating on songwriting?
The music industry is in such an extreme moment of transition that it’s a bit tricky–people seem to be either panicking when it comes to business or seeing this interesting moment opportunistically. I’m not going to lie–I struggle with the business of side things because I’m a trusting person. My advice to any musician dealing with business is to know exactly what you want to accomplish with your music–what are you trying to say, and how you want to present it–because the more people that get involved, the more likely you are to distill your original mission. And as difficult as it is, try to be patient to do your due diligence to let the right ones in.
I remember talking to you about sticking to your songs on your previous album and not changing your artistic vision. How do you feel this has helped you move along?
As regards songwriting collaborations, it’s always a coin toss. I just try to stay present and pick up a few tricks here and there, seeing others’ processes. You never know. I love writing with Adam–it flows with him. Too often artists become so inspired by others that we forget that creating is all about expressing our own unique experience in these bodies. Anything short of that and you’ve sold yourself out. Why try to tell someone else’s story or imitate someone else’s voice when you are sitting on gold? I think this comes through in our music.
Another big news point: When I listened to “Can’t Leave You,” I immediately thought of Bon Iver, which I also remember talking to you about! And now Justin Vernon is involved in your new music. How did this happen? This is so wonderful!
Thanks! Adam and I wrote a song together in the days following Hurricane [Sandy] in New York. It was a strange time–the trains weren’t running, power was out, and nature was just hanging out in full heaviness. The song is so simple, but we were both tapped into some intense field when we wrote it and felt it had something special. We were looking for the right person to produce it. and I played it for a few people and heard the same thing twice–Bon Iver. I had no expectations but thought to send it to his manager. He wrote me back and said that they really liked the song, and Justin was down to produce it.
And if you can’t get enough of Doe Paoro until the new album, check out this song “Give Give Give,” live at the Bowery Hotel.
Story by Farah Joan Fard, LaParadiddle.com
Photos by Anjia Jalac