Paleday seem to have set out to break some moulds by endorsing any they see fit to use.
The seven-piece, fronted by writing partners Anthony Stubbs and Stephen Farrier, offer up breezy pop melodies – the sort of thing you’d possibly expect of The Lighthouse Family.
But they’re self-funded – so “indie”, in fact, that they play at The Water Rats, a tiny London rock venue not known for its love of such music. Dichotomy or deluded? musicOMH caught up with Anthony and Stephen…
Paleday are this evening in a hotel bar somewhere near Kings Cross, London. That is, Paleday’s songwriters, Anthony Stubbs and Stephen Farrier, are seated opposite me sipping soft drinks and looking not in the least bit nervous about their appearance later at The Water Rats.
Their gig venue this evening is tiny by all accounts, more two halves of a pub seperated by a door than a venue. What’s bewildering about all of this is that Paleday, whom doubtless you, dear reader, have not (yet) heard of, are playing in such a venue. They are an eight-piece jazz-pop treat in the best traditions of Jamiroquoi and Brand New Heavies, but they are playing in a resolutely indie watering hole deep in the denizens of north London.
Perhaps, dear reader, you are confused as to what all the fuss is about here. After all, Paleday’s debut single, High (Getting Over), only emerges, blinking, into the searing sunlight of the record-buying public on August 14th (changed date). Well, if you’ll forgive my condescensions, dear reader, allow Messrs. Stubbs and Farrier (co-writers) to explain.
“We’ve got a similar vibe to Lighthouse Family,” explains Stephen. “Cars in summer, coffee table, chardonnay, that sort of thing.” Anthony continues reeling off the list of focus-group images, such as “Habitat, Conran, vodka… we’re not going for the teen market, not going for Britney Spears, except maybe with a knife…”
By now, loyal reader, your bemusement will have turned to an outright expression of preposterous connotations and you’ll be wondering who else will be mentioned in connection with this band you’ve never heard of. “Simply Red?” questions Anthony. “We’re more interesting. We’re more of a crossover, and have more appeal. We can surprise people. Venues do wonder how things will work with us, but we usually get a round of applause after soundchecks. I think people get tired of hearing this grungy noise that goes on night after night. We come and actually play some tunes! It is refreshing and unusual to have that.” Time for another soundbite: “We’re an expensive-sounding band with tunes in a grungy little venue tonight.”
“We’re not going for the teen market, not going for Britney Spears, except maybe with a knife…” – Stephen Farrier
So why the name? “The band is named after one of our songs, Pale Day with two words,” says Anthony. “It’s a torch song, a ballad.” It is around now that I notice just how camp both Anthony and Steve are; their voices, their mannerisms are somewhere between Boy George and Charles Hawtrey. I wonder how they met.
The answer seems to be at college, some eight years ago. In the intervening time, Anthony studied music and found a job in computing. “I fell into contracting,” says the immaculately-dressed Anthony. Contracting was a handy arrangement – unlike most up-and-coming bands, who survive on perpetual benefits until they are “discovered”, Anthony was able to work for three months, then concentrate time and money on the band. He soon realised that the arrangement could not last, however. “If you can’t give something 100%, there’s someone else who will. We’re both bona fide struggling artists…”
Indeed they may be, but their website is testimony to the slickness with which this band have entered the business. As Stephen explains, the band have assembled “a collection of crack SAS people with impeccable credentials… our manager’s (Dominic King) a bit like a pit-bull – he won’t let go!” He’s more than that, being as he is responsible for the writing and promoting of so many songs from The Three Degrees, Carly Simon and Music Sounds Better With You by Stardust.
The band depart from the roped-off half of the hotel bar and we can’t help but wonder if the setting for this interview, secluded and exclusive, defines Paleday’s approach. As the evening’s gig was to prove, they are an expensive-sounding band in a strange setting. And I wouldn’t bet money on them being unheard-of for long.