A Q&A with A Permanent Shadow
Spain-based Austrian making singular pop music…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our new single is called ‘Shining Star’. It’s a song I wrote with a friend a long time ago when I was still the drummer in the band The Lowtones. For the second A Permanent Shadow album (which will be out in early 2022), I decided to resurrect the tune as it brings back great memories and still sounds fresh to me. It’s about envy and jealousy among friends and family, which unfortunately is a recurring theme in many people’s lives, I guess.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
Recording during the pandemic was a fraught experience. We started laying down the basic tracks for album number two in early 2020 and were not able to continue until August 2020 when the restrictions here in Spain became more relaxed. It was difficult to reconnect with some of the songs after such a long hiatus.
Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
I work with two producers on my releases. Albert is the go-to guy for pre-production and arrangements and with Valentin we flesh things out in the recording studio. Albert plays synthesisers and Valentin guitars and bass. He does all the programming as well. I am very lazy and, luckily, those two are perfectionists. While I get excited easily and would happily settle for the first idea that pops up, they are always in search of a more exquisite tone or a better piece of arrangement.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I put a lot of thought into the lyrics and the arrangements of the songs. I hope the listeners can relate to the storytelling and references to other artists or events which you may not detect on first listen, but that will hopefully reveal themselves gradually.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
First, it’s the lyrics. Once I have a set of lyrics in place (for which I do a lot of rewriting), I start playing around with the drum machine. I record a basic rhythm track and sing a guide vocal over it, which I then take to Albert the arranger/producer and we work together on the melodies and arrangements. Valentin then adds guitars, bass and electronics in the studio. On some occasions I play the drums myself or we get in a hired hand for the trickier parts, as well as additional players for cello and backing vocals or whatever is needed for a particular song.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
I’ve always been a fan of David Bowie. His music has been a huge inspiration since my early childhood. In terms of more recent artists, I admire John Grant a lot as a songwriter and performer. He’s very fearless and experimental yet comes up with these big tunes and super candid lyrics. I also follow Welsh performer The Anchoress. I like how she connects with her audience via social media and how she manages her career as a cottage industry. There’s a lot to learn from her as an independent artist.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
I live in Spain and would like to play more shows here and in Portugal to start with. But I also have this fantasy of touring Eastern Europe and the Far East, places I’ve never been to, professionally speaking. Fuji Rock Festival in Japan must be a great experience. Glastonbury and other festivals such as Primavera Sound in Barcelona would be amazing, too. As for indoor venues, I’d rather prefer theatres to clubs.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
Our debut single ‘Empty’ is a good entry point. It’s only 2.30 minutes long, quite catchy and it perfectly represents what our music is about. That said, I can also recommend our new single ‘Shining Star’ which is a bit more downbeat but still quite catchy.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
Like any artist, I’d like to leave a bit of a mark before shuffling off. I have two albums’ worth of songs I’d like to record during the next two or three years, as well as a covers project I’d like to release. A Permanent Shadow is also quite active on the video front; that’s something I’d like to continue and perfectionate. And of course, play live to an ever-growing audience.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Thank you, it’s been a blast!
For more info visit: apermanentshadow.com