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Interview: Paxy Chats About her Debut Single, ‘Sober’

Newcomer Paxy has just revealed her debut single, Sober. A track filled with soul and heart, Sober is a head turning debut and highlights a huge career ahead for Paxy. To celebrate the debut release we caught up with Paxy to find out more about the new single and more.

Congratulations on the debut single! How does it feel now that it’s out in the world?

Thank you! It’s wild. So, so wild but also a bit of a relief. I wrote the song back in 2018 or 2019 before I had concrete plans to start releasing music as PAXY and it’s just been years and years of will I, won’t I…so I feel like I’ve finally bitten the bullet. I’m so excited!

Sober delves into themes of dysfunction and unavailability in relationships. Can you share more about the personal experiences or inspirations that led to the creation of this poignant track?

I’ve never been great at talking through how I’m feeling and I’m shit-scared of confrontation, so writing has always been my safe space to flesh this stuff out. I guess that makes me somewhat of a paradox given I’m now sharing those feelings with the world. There’s no in-between with me – I’m either keeping things to myself or yapping about it in a song.

Writing this song was the thing that made me realise how much of an emotional hamster wheel the situation was, and I was like ‘oh, you only really want me when there’s no one else to pick you back up because you know I’ll put up with it, I’m being such a clown’. It was a super cathartic way to close the chapter.

Sober showcases a blend of pop, blues, soul, and RnB influences. How did your upbringing and musical journey shape the sound and style of PAXY?

As a kid, YouTube was a long way off and streaming wasn’t a thing, so the only music I had access to was what was being played on the radio or the records my parents played around the house. I think that’s exactly why I’ve landed on the sound I have. I loved pop music, like I would literally go to war for Christina Aguilera, but I also gravitated towards a lot of the music my Dad listened to (though I wouldn’t admit it to him at the time) – the Stones, Neil Young, Bowie, Carole King etc.

If I heard something I liked, I needed to know everything about it, I was a real nut about it and Dad would quiz me. I’d be flipping through liner notes to figure out who wrote on it and who played on it and then I’d try figure out who inspired them. That cycle just kind of kept going and that always led to blues and soul. My sound is definitely an amalgamation of all of that.

The production process for Sober sounds intricate, with layers of vocals and experimental elements. Could you take us behind the scenes and share some insights into how you and your producers crafted the emotional depth of the track?

The song is pretty simple in terms of melody and my vocals are pretty restrained, there were no big belt-y moments or anything like that, so it was important to me that we gave it some texture.

I think vocal stacks work really well when they’re sort of subtle enough that you can’t decipher the harmony at first listen but it gives the track some depth. The swelling guitar was the magic of one of my producers, Jeremy. It was the last thing we added to the song and it really brought the whole moody vibe together and created some tension particularly towards the end of the track.

Your lyrics in Sober are described as repetitive intentionally, echoing the exhausting cycle of toxicity in a relationship. What significance does this lyrical approach hold for you, and how does it contribute to the overall narrative of the song?

The song toes a line between hope and hopelessness, going from super resentful to a fleeting moment of hope like the pattern I was stuck repeating. I love playing around with song structure and wanted to create a sonic representation of the relentless cycle I was stuck in. The lyrical repetition was super intentional, I wanted to create a sense of frustrated acceptance and resignation to highlight the loop of disappointment and I chose to end the song with a verse, and not a chorus, because there really was no resolve or happy ending.

Were there any particular songs or artists you were listening to when you were working on this track?

The  one sonic-reference I bought into the studio was Lana Del Rey’s ‘West Coast’. Aside from the fact I think it’s genuinely one of the best-produced songs of all time, I loved the sound of the drums on that track in particular, and the sparse, wavy guitars in the verses are really cool. I wanted to try to do something similar with this song.

Collaborating with producers Michael Bradshaw and Jeremy Chua on “Sober” seems to have been a significant part of bringing your vision to life. Could you tell us about your creative process working with them and how their contributions shaped the final version of the song?

This was the first song I’d worked on with Jeremy and Michael. When they picked it up, I think it was basically the lyric and melody, piano, drums and mellotron keys and straight away they understood the vibe I wanted.

I’m the biggest pain in the ass when it comes to recording vocals, even on a song like this that isn’t at all vocally challenging, but they were super patient. I think it was Michael who suggested backing vocals and the stacks and those made that track what it is.

They made it a comfortable space for me to try out different ideas and sounds and challenged me when they knew I could do better. Originally there was a different middle-eight I’d written, and they weren’t afraid to tell me it wasn’t my best and I appreciate that kind of honesty.

Looking ahead, what can fans expect from PAXY in the future? Are there any upcoming projects or plans you’re excited to share, or directions you hope to explore with your music?

I’ve got a few singles lined up that I’ll be rolling out over the next few months that’ll expand further on introducing PAXY and all of my influences.  I’m planning on a show to launch this project later in the year and I’m back in the studio at the moment so I think there’ll be an EP. I’m always writing, so watch this space.

With this very impressive debut, we’re sure the future is bright for Paxy. Sober is available now, everywhere.

Written by John Zebra