The Paul McKenna Band have built a solid international reputation. Ahead of their show in Mullumbimby The Echo spoke with the band’s namesake about the music from these five guys from Glasgow.
You are acclaimed for your live performances. What is the essence of one of your shows and why do you think it connects so solidly with people?
We always strive to give everything in our shows, no matter where we are or whom we are playing to. We want to put across the stories in our songs and really try and touch every single member of the audience in some way.
How much of your sound and the way you play is influenced by Glasgow where you come from? Is it possible to hear a place in the music?
I think it is possible to hear a place in music, especially folk music. Being from Glasgow many of my songs are influenced by my surroundings and history and I hope that comes across to the audience.
What was the concept for your fourth album Paths that Wind?
I don’t think we really had a concept for Paths That Wind. I had just spent a year living and working in Florida when we recorded so I suppose lots of the songs were influenced by that, especially the more political ones. Donald Trump was starting to gain some momentum toward the end of my stay in the US and there was a great deal of unrest across the country, which did influence my writing and song choice.
How do you write songs as a band and get them from concept to a fully articulated song?
I write the songs and then bring them to the band to see what we can all come up with in terms of arrangements. I think it’s always been that way and it seems to work.
What song are you most enjoying playing off the new album?
I think I enjoy playing Long Days as it’s a very meaningful song for me; I wrote it it while I was living in the US. I struggled a lot with homesickness and this song is a reflection of that. I also love Song of Choice. It was written many, many years ago but is still a valid commentary on today’s world.
Which one gave you a bit of trouble but you managed to knock into shape?
I think we had the usual hurdles with all of the songs and tunes on the album but having a great producer in John McCusker made everything a little easier for us.
What should we expect for your upcoming show in Mullumbimby?
You can expect a fun-filled show with real, meaningful songs and stories and some great Glasgow banter thrown in for good measure. We try to keep our shows full of energy and want everyone to come along and have a great time!
They play Club Mullum at Mullumbimby Ex-Services on Sunday. Tix at redsquaremusic.com.au