Quirked-up colossus of the British pop singalong Paloma Faith is gracing Wales with her presence for the second time in nine months, performing at a “ladies evening” at Chepstow races in early July. She and Carl Marsh looked ahead to that.
Regarding performing in Wales, what do you love about us as a crowd?
I always feel like they’re so optimistic, and I think people don’t realise that a great gig doesn’t just mean that the band’s great: it’s also about the audience. When we play in Wales, the audience is always so involved in stuff, and it just makes us really push ourselves to be as best as we can.
One of the tracks on your latest album, 2020’s Infinite Things, is called Monster. It reads, lyrically – potentially – as a reference to how the music industry can change an artist, especially at a young age. You’d been signed to a recording deal at 27, though – do you think you’d avoided any such changes?
Potentially, but I think I did turn into a monster! [Laughs] I think it’s not as literal as just being, like, a terrible person. But yeah, I’m talking about when I first started, when I didn’t really need any money and didn’t desire any kind of lifestyle. I feel like that’s the type of monster I’m talking about in the song – someone trying to sustain things I would never have desired.
Besides the music and touring, you’ve got the acting, interior design stuff, and two young children. How do you find the time to do anything?
I don’t know. I guess I don’t have the time! I don’t really watch TV, and I don’t do the recreational things that other people do.
Where does all this motivation and creativity come from? Your parents? Something you’ve just instilled in yourself as you’ve gone through life?
I think it was a combination of… creativity because my parents are creative: my dad was good at art, and a designer. And then my mum was one of those frustrated artists who ended up being a primary school teacher. So I was encouraged creatively as a kid and exposed to lots of that.
But also, my mum was a single parent, and I feel like the motivation and drive came from that. I always wanted to be able to not take money off her and get to a point where I was independent – that I could help her out, rather than the other way round.
It must be good to do that. Still, is there a part of you that misses those early days, when life was a bit slower for you? When it wasn’t so hectic, and you weren’t in the public eye?
Yeah – and recently I’ve been feeling like that more than normal. Looking back to that person who was really creative and never had any responsibility. I feel like I’m in a transitional period of, like, “how can I bring that back” – but also maintain what I’ve got. I think there must be a way.
How involved are you with things like the videos and stage creations for your tours?
I’ve been involved in everything because I’m a control freak! [Laughter] I think that’s what makes me different from other people because only I would know my aesthetic. I’ve been working with this amazing creative director named Theo Adams, and basically, this is the first person I’ve met who, when we think creatively, we always conclude the same thing. So that’s been fantastic. But I genuinely try to be involved in everything.
Ladies Evening feat. Paloma Faith, Chepstow Racecourse, Fri 8 July. Tickets: £40. Info: here
words CARL MARSH
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