【Interview】Paul Chastain (The Small Square, Velvet Crush) -English

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Q. What is going on in your life recently?
A. preparing for the tour.  thinking about new songs. i would like to start recording soon. always working  letting more people know about this release. enjoying seeing my girls grow and learn new things every day.

Q. How / why did you start the unit the Small Square with John who is your friends for the thirty years?
A. quite a while ago i had the idea of trying to write songs and play with my friends from Champaign, Darren Cooper (Three Hour Tour), Adam Schmitt and John. we got together a few times and played a few shows under the name Dream Fakers. it didn’t work out very well as far as writing songs together so we stopped at which point John and I decided it would be fun for just he and I to work together. we slowly started putting songs together and recording when we could manage. He lives about 8 hours away from Champaign so it was difficult to get together often but we persisted and eventually we had some songs which would become this record.

Q. I am going to ask you about the album. When did you write each songs?
A. the music for So Low and SML is quite old. just after Velvet Crush had stopped recording, i think. Some of the songs started out as demos for Sony Japan like Dream Faker, which was not finished until more recently and After The Tears which is a newer song. WIld Chump and Otherwhile are the oldest ones which John and I did together (as opposed to my demos). Enough To Know was started at John’s studio probably 2006. 

Q. You wrote a song with Jeffery. I got very emotional about it. Could you tell me an episode about this song if there are any.
A. The demo was around for a long time. I did the guitars to a drum machine track and sent ot to John who added real drums at his studio without me there. i always liked something about it but could never get satisfying words and the melody was incomplete. one day while while living in Japan i thought of how Jeffrey and I used to write together. i contacted him and asked if he would be interested in trying to contribute. he said he would love to try. He had only had the song about a week or so when i got his demo back in my email box. I took his words and melodic ideas and merged them with mine and started recording vocal tracks. a few days later the mixing process began. it all happened so fast after sitting around for years. i wish i had talked to Jeffrey about it much earlier!

Q. Joey played some songs、”Otherwhile” and “The Trip”.I was very impressed his energetic play. did you have him play as he wants?
A. We played the recordings for Joey and asked him if he could add anything. I originally wanted him to play the chords on Otherwhile and remove mine but he didn’t really seem to be into that. I asked if he could do some lead bits at the end and that was what we ended up with. On The Trip, we just asked if he could hear anything and do what ever he thought. he started playing the line that was kind of like John’s original keyboard line which was the backbone of the songs. it sounded much cooler the way he played it. then he had a couple of other ideas and played those, as well. after the session, we drove him back to Minneapolis (where he lives). He was telling stories about the All Things Must Pass recording sessions. He and his Badfinger bandmates were part of the house band for that record. it was very interesting. he was playing alongside George, Clapton, Ringo, etc. He used to go over to Lennon’s house on a regular basis and participate in blues jams there. He was really there in the middle of all that! He is a very humble guy who was surprised when he met Tom Petty (of whom he is a fan) and before he could get his introduction out of his mouth, Petty said of course he knows who Joey Molland is! 

Q. I think “Five Nine Song” and “Kimi to Baku no Aida” are very pretty love song. Are they about you and your wife? Is “Stories” are written for your daughter?
A. “Five Nine Song” is inspired by my older daughter, Hatsuyuki’s poem that she said when she was quite young and is about me walking with her, carrying her, ombu-ing her to make her sleep.
“Kimi to Baku no Aida”  is about when my wife leaving the U.S. to go back to Japan without me when she had to have surgery before we were married.
“Stories” is about my daughters an how I can always hear their “songs” and see their faces when i am on the road and traveling without them. 

Q. You play many intruments in this albim. Could you tell me the instruments you use mainly?
A. Ibanez Les Paul (1976), Fender Japan Telecaster (mid-nineties), Fender Jazz Bass (1965), Gibson Dove.  acoustic guitar, Tokai EB-3 bass, Wurlitzer electric piano

Q. I liked the acoustic guitar melody in the song “Wrong” and practiced it. Do you write these kinds of song from the code or melody?
A. I do it both ways but I think Wrong was written more from the melody.

Q. Japan tour is starting from October 30th. Is it your first time to tour with John and Tommy and Brad?
A. My first tour with John and Brad. John and I have played shows together, though. I filled in on bass for Brad (Tommy’s long-time bassist) on a Tommy Keene tour in the states in 2006(?) and Mr Keene played about 100 shows as part of the Velvet Crush touring band during TSTG tours. we were on the road for about 18 months for that record and Tommy played the bulk of these dates. Mitch Easter did some touring with us during that time, also. 

Q.  What the highlite of the shows?
A. will be great to bring the songs from new record  to the stage, finally! also, the band will be supersonic! we are going to have much fun making it happen with this group of players. And, Tommy’s fist time in Japan!!

Q. You played some of the Small Square songs at Jittoku on Sep.19th. The Mayflowers played the back band. Is it your first experiment to play the show like this ?
A.Yes! I have never had another band be my backing band. We had a fun show. Mayflowers are very nice guys.

Q. I played the song, “Drive Me Down” using your guitar. It was such a dream night for me to play with you. I assume that the guitar was Eric Clapton model and i was very surprised. How long have you been using that guitar?
A. That is a Clapton Strat. It belongs to my wife, Yatsuka. I play it in Japan. I have not brought any of my guitars from the US because she has a couple of good guitars. We don’t have the guitar because we are huge fans of Clapton but I do like him. The Cream and Derek and the Dominos, in particular, and his work with George Harrison and the Beatles. I like playing the guitar. I have never had a Strat before.

Q.Could you give some message to the fans in Japan?
A. The record is available at many retail outlets as a CD and download. We hope you will check out some of the songs and see what we are all about. Please come and see a show if we are playing in your area! We would love to meet you and have you be a part of the first TSS tour.

thank you,
-P