‘Who doesn’t like music?’ Is Paul’s steez entirely. His passion for music runs deep and he’s a genuinely lovely fella to boot. The ideal record label owner – relatable, real and a veteran musician himself (so he knows the sh*t from the chocolate). Paul created Hippie Drive Records Inc, borne from the reality that there must be a better way of showcasing music than going through the often unreliable and ruthless route of bigger labels. Independent all the way…
Paul’s always loved vinyl (he’s got a point), and Hippie Drive seeks to include electronica and alternative guitar artists… But Paul isn’t really in to dubious genre descriptors…
Finding the artists was a bit of a challenge because he decided to search worldwide artists to feature. With a bit of help of some of the collaborators on the inaugural release, ‘Heroes of HiFi’ was made.
Why ‘Hippie Drive’?
“When my daughter was young, my wife would bring her out in the car to go shopping or collect her from her friends. Even though Jersey is small, my wife would always get lost down some little Jersey lanes, eventually ending up at their
correct destination. My daughter would call this a ‘Hippie Drive’ for some reason and it just stuck. Pretty philosophical message too for someone so young – no matter what twists and turns your journey takes, you’ll get where you need to be, in the end!”
Having grown up on the Shankill Road in Belfast, the backdrop to Paul’s youth would have been pretty tense – at home though, his family were a music loving bunch. His mum was a single parent who saved up and got him this first guitar when he was 11 and from there, Paul went on to be inspired by Led Zeppelin, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles, Fast forward a few years and Paul was in a band.
“My friend Ivor and I formed a band and we got a drummer who loved the Dead Kennedys so we were noisy and quick. We got a singer and away we went playing gigs and noising it up around Belfast… As is the way with bands, we split and got
another drummer and singer. We had only played like 3 gigs in this new band but got a weird opportunity to support Therapy who were playing with the Divine Comedy. In a strange twist of fate the bass player from the Divine Comedy sliced off a finger in a bizarre gardening accident so they asked us to play in their place. We just stepped in at the last minute and took full advantage of the opportunity. The music scene in Belfast really started to take off in the early 90’s, and we were a part of it. It may sound corny but it helped the peace process, because people from all over came together to listen to music, go to raves or whatever. That’s the thing about music, it’s special, it unites, it’s mindfulness, it’s wonderful. it didn’t matter if you were a Protestant or Catholic as long as you were having a good time that’s all that mattered.”
The Belfast scene was an exciting place to be and Paul tips his cap to the memories and the music, and the creativity and energy it brought him. His band went on to do pretty well too…
“The Therapy gig/ Divine Comedy accident gig is pretty good but my favourite thing was supporting Primal Scream. It was just before Screamadelica came out and we were lucky enough to support them in Belfast in a fairly crappy pub.
It was an amazing gig and we really enjoyed it, especially after we’d played – I felt obliged to smash up an old guitar as I’d just got a new one from a friend and it seemed to fit the moment! When they (Primal Scream) were massive, not that long after our gig with them, they put us on the guest list when they played the Ulster Hall which was of course, very nice.”
We asked Paul to describe Jersey’s art scene in 100 words, and this is what he said… (he went outside the lines at 114 but that’s creativity for you!)…
“Jersey massively punches above its weight as far as culture and music are concerned. By way of example, Wilson Nash who mastered the record and also gave me loads of invaluable advices based in Jersey. And Crystal Dinosaur whose mark making brought the album alive beautifully. I would really love to see a proper art scene that is truly inclusive. What I mean is not only from a diversity angle but
also that you go, for example, to an art exhibition that has music for a total sensory overload. In my hometown of Belfast they have an annual Culture Night where the whole place comes alive and celebrates local art, music, dance, poetry etc…”
(We second that notion, Paul).