Husband, aka Michael Paolino, launches his debut album, The Money, this Friday, January 23, at Mojos with help from Moana, Limbo and The Little Lord Street Band. BOB GORDON has a chat.
In releasing an album, what did you want to evoke beyond that of your EP in 2011?
I felt like I needed an album of songs to convey the full range of my emotions – the good and bad. An EP of four songs couldn’t really do that, so an album made sense to me. The EP in 2011 was my first attempt at writing for myself, I hadn’t given any thought to its direction and we had a really limited production budget. So in recording the album, I was able to re-record the tracks from the EP, as well as six new songs, paying more attention to the overall quality of the tracks. Evoking a sense of cohesiveness, while letting each track tell its own story, was important too.
Did you feel you were writing songs for an album as such, or is it better to just keep writing and what will come will come?
At first I just wrote and wrote. The only time I was conscious of writing for an album was when I noticed that a couple of songs sounded similar. I would experiment with them to see if there was another direction I could take, as I really wanted each song to stand alone. Other than that, my songs tend to be pretty different from each other, which I think makes for a better album. It was incredibly freeing to experiment with loads of different songs, knowing only 10 or 12 would end up being recorded.
Do you let songs ideas gestate for a while, or do they come pretty directly?
Definitely gestate. I normally come up with a hook and then I’ll just sit with it for a few months. Then I’ll devote some time to writing lyrics, and at that point start weaving the hook into a song. From there, it sits a while longer until enough time has gone past that I can confidently say whether I like it or whether I think it’s crap. At the moment I have about eight songs or hooks waiting to be finished from early 2014. I’m really slow at writing.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition, using the stage name Husband while the imagery shows you alone. Your artwork in the inner sleeve is also evocative…
(Laughs) Perhaps you’ve unlocked some inner demons of mine. I like writing about social structures and the expectations of those around us. As far as being alone in the photos, that isn’t a comment on marriage. I see marriage as the most important partnership you can have. The photos are probably more of a comment about being in your head, or feeling alone or misunderstood.
The inner sleeve artwork depicts the daily trek to work. I would love to believe we are all self-expressed and happy in our employment, but I think the reality is different. The painting I did, as well as the music, up to a point, is just me venting my frustration.
What music were you drawn to in your formative years and how present is it in your music now?
I listened to bands like Silverchair, Powderfinger and Nirvana growing up. I love a big chorus. I’ve tried writing chilled music but I just don’t have the disposition for it. I think what that music instilled in me was the need to push the song through a wall in the chorus. When I write now, I try to push past the urge to keep the song plodding along. I do my best to come up with something awesome. All the bands I listened to in school had a way of making everything seem okay, kinda like they were wiping the slate clean.
With the album now out, what are you plans – and hopes – for the year ahead?
I would love to tour. We have some great shows coming up and I’m excited about Nannup Music Festival. Touring to the east coast would be so much fun, and I want to record another album with Seb (Kane), Dave (Robinson) and Anneke (de Rooij), who are the backbone of Husband. I think we all have a good understanding of where the music needs to go, so I’d love to write the next album with them.