D//E Interviews: Carly Paradis

Film composer, songwriter and pianist, Carly Paradis, will be releasing her very much ambitious third album, Nothing Is Something, on November 29th, 2019, in addition to her recent work for TV series such as Line of Duty and The Innocents. The album's genre fusing potency was introduced earlier this month with The Crushing Weight Of History, featuring Jonas Bjerre from MEW, while a second single off it, one in collaboration with London-based singer-songwriter and pianist, Douglas Dare, has just surfaced.

Carly answers our questions about the new album and her accomplished musicianship in an interview followed by the newly unveiled track.

How different are your personal albums compared to your works in film and television music?

When I’m working on music to picture, I’m there to serve the story, characters and vision of the team on the project. I’ve been super lucky to work on some incredibly high quality projects and be myself in the music which is what I’m all about. I want to work with people and projects that artistically vibe with me/my sound because I think that’s when you get the best and authentic results.

With albums, I have total control of and own (unlike most film/tv scores, you don’t own the music). It’s pure expression of all the experiences, moods, feelings, relationships, thoughts, people...whatever it is that is the muse, like a personal musical journal or a therapeutic medicine that helps me to work through emotions/experiences, positive or negative. It’s making pure music, for me.

Nothing Is Something includes a very impressive lineup of collaborators. How do you determine whether or not your work will match well that of another musician's?

When I was writing the songs, I had a tone or person or a vibe in mind. For example, Jonas Bjerre (MEW) was the immediate voice I heard in my head while writing the lyrics to The Crushing Weight of History. It blows my mind he sings on this. He was the voice that I wrote it for. To me he is a modern BeeGee, and nails the sentiment which is about realizing we need to face ourselves in order to face the future. It was an honour to work with so many talented singers and artists I adore, and see how they interpret my work. I’m so thrilled with the outcome.

What are some of the themes and ideas behind Nothing Is Something? How would you describe the new album?

It’s pop meets score. It’s anthemic, thematic, epic, emotional, growing pains, painful lessons, turning pain into power, and a journey written over the last seven years or so. At its core, the concept that even though we perceive ‘nothing’...it’s actually something. I imagine outer space and we see nothing, but imagine all the known and unknown energies that exist there? When we feel empty or hopeless...that emotion is still something, it is real, it is human and it is felt. It is something. I love that as humans we can connect through this concept and we are not alone. There is hope.

Who else, with whom you haven't work thus far, would you like to team up with?

Oh wow, too many to list but here are a few! Elton John, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Anna Meredith, Trent Reznor/NIN, Radiohead, Elizabeth Fraser, Annie Lennox, Hannah Reed (London Grammar), Beth Gibbons, Daft Punk, Kanye, Jamie Jones/Kate Simko, Imogen Heap, The Bee Gees, The Beach Boys, The Chemical Brothers, Steve Reich, (not with us: Frederic Chopin, David Bowie, George Michael and The Notorious B.I.G.).

How do you approach the fusion of classical and contemporary elements? Do you think that there's a risk of sounding out of place by bringing such diverse styles together?

I work heart to hands, and I trust in that. I come from the Toronto indie pop/rock scene, but with a classical piano background. Endless hours improvising/writing on the piano as a kid in small town Stoney Creek Canada with Frederic Chopin as my only classical creator that kept me in piano lessons. I was always more rock n’ roll than classical but I find power in merging the two worlds together. Who doesn’t want soaring strings or brass to blast out those deep emotions you are feeling?! Electronic elements are also inspiring and open up new palettes to play with.

Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road album, especially the track Funeral for a Friend blew my mind as a four year old, listening to my folks vinyl. I had to make epic, genre defying music from that moment forward.

How did you end up working with Clint Mansell, and how essential do you think that collaboration has been for you?

I sent him a genuine message about how I connected deeply with his music on MYSPACE in 2006 (Thank you myspace)! He actually replied. We shared some work we were working on at the time (I was in a Canadian indie band) and I went to LA for the first time in 2007. We grabbed a coffee and then sushi. Six months later he needed a pianist for the Gent Film Festival and then got that band to perform on the incredible soundtrack to Duncan Jones Bafta winning film Moon (2009).

It has been an incredible experience and an honour. I’ve been able to tour as his pianist for over a decade on his live shows all over the world, and also do some piano arranging along the way. So much to absorb from a composer/artist and to also have Clint as a dear friend is a wonderful thing. My advice is never be afraid to reach out to someone who inspires you!

Which existing film or TV series would you like to have scored if you had the chance?

True Detective (my music was in the official trailer for series 1). Any Black Mirror episode. I have collected Marvel comics since I was very young so She-Hulk would be my ultimate. Anything that resonates with my sound really.

What are you currently listening to mostly?

Always changing but this month Ghosteen by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Fibs by Anna Meredtih, and lots of chill, moody, new electronic music.

What comes after the album's release? What are your near future plans?

I have the 6th series of BBC hit drama Line of Duty filming early 2020 which is super exciting as always. I am co-songwriting a track with an artist for a new album. I’m excited for my album launch party in east London where I’ll be handing out gems, have a tarot card reader, listening room and piles of sparkling musician friends and industry guests to celebrate! I also want to meditate more, feel more in the now and open a new, big, big book of life :)

Artist photo by Kris Dewitte

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