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Q&A With Paul Smith – Tipping Point Live 2019

Tipping Point is delighted to welcome Paul Smith to our Curator Panel for Tipping Point Live 2019. Paul Smith is a musician best known as the singer for Maximo Park. Through his transition from frontman to solo artist, he was able to finally pick up a guitar. Now on his fourth solo record, he has combined pop music and politically charged lyrics to create his best solo project to date – ‘Diagrams’. Check out the Q&A we did with him below...


How do you feel about new music coming out of the North East at the moment? 

It’s the same as always – vibrant and varied! Someone will always be making good music in the region but it might take a while to find the ones that excite you. 


Is there anything you’re aware of that you think is particularly exciting? 

I’ve enjoyed Archipelago (and poached some of their musicians for my solo records!) and Horse Loom (who I asked to play guitar with me and Rachel Unthank when we collaborated recently). 


What do you think higher profile artist like yourself can do to support new music and new music events/ what do you think the value of this is? 

Going to gigs and being curious is a good start! After that, it’s about being supportive and telling people if you think it’s good enough. I’m always happy to give advice to new artists if they ask me. 


How important do you feel festivals like Tipping Point Live are for the development of new artists? 

When Maximo Park played this kind of event, a lot more people got to hear the band, which can only be a good thing. Our live performance is key to understanding our band, so it’s always been important to show people what we can do. It’s also nice to be part of something and feel a sort of camaraderie with other artists, whatever genre they might be. To be part of a ‘scene’ can be both helpful and a hindrance but if you forge good relationships with other people, that can only be a good thing. DIY music is all about a sense of community. 


Do you have any favourite memories of being involved in music in the North-East? 

I remember playing sweaty sold-out gigs at the Head of Steam with both Meandthetwins, my instrumental band, and Maximo Park, which felt amazing. So many gigs at the old Star and Shadow were memorable, including performing a live soundtrack to the silent movies The Man Who Laughs (with Maximo Park) I also did a live soundtrack at Side Cinema for the 1924 film Aelita with Andrew Hodson from Warm Digits. Newcastle is a very creative city and we all just got on with our own thing regardless of the attention we got. 


Were there any applicants you particularly enjoyed? 

Me Lost Me, Taupe and Swine Tax. 

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