Interview with Paul Pouwels of Pipsy
PIPSY have just released their highly anticipated debut single and the accompanying video ‘Why Can’t I Get What I Want, For Once?’
Project creator and lead man, Paul Pouwels had a relaxed chat with Amnplify’s Pauli Dee about recording the single, touring and the making of the hilarious video.
Pauli Dee: Hey mate, thanks for talking to us today. We’re chatting because you’ve just released your single “Why can’t I get what I want for once.” You wrote, produced, sung and played guitar and drums on the track… Couldn’t you find anyone else good enough to play on it?
Pipsy: Hahaha yeah I don’t know what I was thinking! I thought it would be a walk in the park but half-way through the recording session, I was glad that I actually got a band together before we went in, because I really couldn’t have done it all! I did all the demos alone, you know I sung, played the guitar and the drums but my brother played bass for me and a friend helped me out on the guitar as well & an old collaborator came in to do some keyboards too so I did have a bit of help! I just made sure I played the things that I love playing because I love playing the drums, so I made sure I got to have a good bash on the drums! I’m the guy at every jam session that if the drummer gets up out of his seat, I’ll jump in there straight away & grab his sticks and just bang away annoyingly. Usually when everyone wants to have a beer and a break!
Do you do that at your own gigs?
Hahaha I should start doing that at my own gigs, but I don’t know because that would probably eliminate the singing & guitar playing bit & people would probably start leaving, but it has crossed my mind!
I heard you wrote the song quite a while ago. Is that true?
Yeah, that’s very true. This is actually an old, old song. I’ve had it for about for years.
I’ve been in a couple of bands. I played bass in one band called “Julian Temple Band” and I played drums in another one called “Males” and while they were all writing great songs, I had this Dave Grohl/ Kurt Cobain-type thing where I was in the corner writing these songs & not showing them to anyone, just writing for a bit of fun & Richard our singer back then was writing amazing songs, so the first thing, if you wanna get kicked out of a band is for the drummer to say “Hey, I’ve got this song, I reckon it’s real good!” I didn’t want to do that, he wrote some really amazing songs, but once I decided I was coming over to Australia, I came here in 2016, I thought I may as well give it a go. There’s so many Kiwi’s here & I have a lot of mates here & everyone has a home recording studio! They work at Mitre 10 all week, then come home and record music, so when I came over here I jumped in one of my friends’ recording studios & just sort of did everything myself and he did all the quick moves on the computer & people started to like it, which was weird to me because there’s always a high possibility when you’re writing stuff in your bedroom that it’s actually terrible! I think it might be good, but I may play it for someone & they’ll be like “Don’t quit your day job… Oh, your day job is a musician? Oh man, quit your day job!” hahaha I was definitely surprised by how much people liked it, so that’s when I asked my brother to play bass & it took me a while to find a drummer because I kept wondering how I could do everything myself live!
You’ve got a couple of drummers, haven’t you?
Well I just had a friend drumming for me at the start. One of my friends moved over here & he’s one of the best drummers in the industry & he’s kind of the glue of the band now. He’s been playing in Dunedin bands for years. We played a fresh show with him at Ding Dong lounge recently and our next show is with a band called Busy Kingdom at Yah Yah’s in Fitzroy, so that’s going to be a lot of fun, but I had a bunch of people coming up to me after the gig, saying “Where did you get this guy? He’s so good”
Oh good, as long as you’re not kicking him off his drum kit, saying “you’re doing it wrong!”
No! I do tend to be a bit of a micro-manager sometimes, because I can be too enthusiastic about stuff, but with William, I don’t have to say a thing, he’s just way better than I am!
Well here it is in writing, so you can’t deny it now!
Hahaha Yeah well he’s really good. Still, there is something fun about going into a room & recording everything yourself, there’s some sort of weird sense of inflated achievement, you know like I did the drums and bass and guitar on that, so I still like to demo everything myself. I can’t play EVERTHING great, but as John Lennon said, “if it makes a sound, I’ll get a sound out of it”
I watched the video today, which is really cool. How did that concept come about?
Well my brother is an amazing art director, he’s worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rhyse Darby and a heap of other big names & I’m a massive fan of the music video. I know a lot of punk or DIY musicians don’t particularly dig music videos very much & there was this backlash feeling like Metallica not doing a music video until they were 4 albums in with ONE, you know, but I love them. Those Foo Fighter videos are so funny & I just love watching them, so I definitely wanted a music video for the single and because the song’s content is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but can come across as a little depressing, I wanted it to come across as having a little whinge, but also to be funny. I try not to take myself too seriously, so when Cam said the video wold be them basically throwing different stuff at me & harassing me, I thought yeah that’d be funny! I’d watch that!
I was getting worried, in the first half of the clip you were handed a glass of red wine, then what looked like a Jäger shot & I thought “Oh shit, how far is this going to go!”
Hahaha yeah well I can give you the scoop that I actually did about 18 shots. I think it was a mix of Jägermeister & Jim Beam. By about the fifteenth time I was just blind drunk, so we had to stop filming for a while & have some water & then for the last 4 takes, which they didn’t end up using anyway, they had to water it down because I was just getting too drunk!
It was also directed by this guy named Josh who very kindly come in & helped us out with it because we’re a pretty DIY band & don’t have that hundred thousand video budget, which is what he’s used to, doing stuff for Google & YouTube, but he played a big part in making it look cool.
Do you have any more releases planned?
Yeah, we’re going to release a single at the end of May to coincide with New Zealand music month. It’s a song called “I just want to give up on you” & has a real Ramones fee. I’m in love with pop, you know I grew up on David Byrne & Queen, but then I also love the punk bands of the early 90’s, so the first single is the pop stuff & the second single is more of a pop-funky thing! We’ll do some shows around that too.
Have you finished recording that?
Yes & that will be a part of 3 singles we’ll release this year before releasing an EP in September, so I think it’s going to be a good year for us. It’s going to be fun. We’ve sort of had a year just recording & not paying too many live shows, so now we get to crack into it. This is the fun part now!
Any plans to head back over to New Zealand?
Ooh, good question! We recorded over there in November with Tex Houston & I’d love to go back there to play a couple of shows, but I moved to Australia so we could have a pretty good slog at it before going back home. We’ve been back twice to record, but I think we’re going to do a bit more of a wider tour this time & get out to Brisbane & Sydney & Adelaide.
Is there anywhere in particular you really want to go play at or see?
Hmmm another good question. I came here on tour in 2014 with the “Males” band, but only played Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane, so they’re the only places I’ve been to. I’d really like to go to Perth, but I’ve heard that it’s something like… is it 7 hours away?
Four! …A four hour flight will get you there & well worth it, it’s a beautiful city.
Yeah I’ve heard that & I’ve heard the music scene is an absolute killer over there. There’s so many great bands coming out of there, so I definitely want to go there & I haven’t been to Adelaide, so I’m looking forward to going there too.
I have a thing I like to do to end my interviews called One Random Minute, which is just that; a minute of random, irrelevant questions that if you could answer as quickly & honestly as you can, could be a bit of fun!
Fantastic! I love this! I’m a very analytical person, so I’ll try & put that aside & answer these ‘quick-fire!’
One Random Minute
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
I didn’t have breakfast, but the first thing I ate today was a Southern fried chicken burger, which may be terrible, but oh well!
Your favourite dessert?
Chocolate cake, straight up & down. Nothing can beat chocolate cake in my view.
If you were a Spice Girl, which one would you be?
Hahaha oh my god, amazing question! I would be ginger spice! I’ve always thought she was a bit of a badd-ass!
Apples or bananas?
Tea or coffee?
COFFEE! I’m addicted to coffee. I have a problem and I need people to tear me away from coffee & I’m in the coffee capital, I’m told, so I’m in trouble!
Boxers or Breifs?
Oh definitely briefs. I went many years as a young high-school guy in boxers, with my pants falling down & I don’t play those games anymore!
What animal makes the best pet?
A corgi! I think the corgi is the king of the dog kingdom!
Favourite super hero?
My favourite super hero has always been & always will be Spiderman
Favourite thing to have on a sandwich?
I don’t want to sound like a hipster or anything, but I do love avocado on toast. It’s turning me around, I love it! That & pepper, I could do all day!
And last but not least, your new single is called “Why can’t I get what I want for once,”
What’s the one thing you want?
Well right now I want another coffee!