Hi! Everyone, This weeks 'FEATURED ARTIST OF THE WEEK' is the talented guitarist & electronic musician PAPER HIGHWAYS

1.Please introduce yourself

Hello, I’m Ste and I record and release music under the name Paper Highways. I make electronic music in my living room on a PC, essentially...

2. How did you get into music?

Wow... Er, it’s just always been in my life. My Parents used to play records on the turntable when I was a kid and it’s always something that has fascinated me. Back then it was The Beatles records that really got me. My Dad would play Queen too but I’ve never got on with them... Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, The Stones all that stuff as a kid... I was heavily into Britpop – Blur, Oasis and Pulp in particular. And then puberty hit, I got all moody, discovered Nirvana and Korn and all that angry Nu Metal stuff (I still love Korn and Slipknot)... I bought my first guitar at 14 and got into local bands and I’ve been in love with making music since.

3. What instruments do you play?
Daphne The Guitar

So, my primary instrument and the only one I would say that I am remotely proficient at playing technically (although I am no Steve Vai or Steve Craddock) is guitar. I also play bass guitar, but not properly (I’m a guitarist who plays bass. Those who know will know). So naturally, I make electronic music with soft synths and all that jazz! 

This electronic thing is kind of a beautiful mistake that I stumbled into. An escape from real life and a way of quenching the thirst to make original music on my own. As a guitar player, it’s tricky being in bands, especially in the English Black Country where I live. There’s not much of an original music “scene” and I’ve never bought into the being in a band as a job thing, I need to be around friends and it needs to be fun. So, I do play guitar in a band, but it’s just covers and we do it for the love. There’s no desire within that band to be original or make anything new... Electronic music on a PC is great, because I can be my own band and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else think, as long as I like the outcome.

4. Who are your influences?

All sorts. Really, all genres end up on my turntable and on my playlists. I have already mentioned The Beatles and all that Britpop stuff. My single biggest influence as a guitar player is actually Graham Coxon... I need to make more of an effort to get guitars into my songs!

As for this project, I have to say that the biggest source of inspiration as an aspiring and developing producer of electronic music is Joel Zimmerman (deadmau5). He kind of gave me the kick that I can do this and I can learn all these techniques. He’s not even a musician, he draws in midi and his results are unreal. I also draw influences from Radiohead, Royksopp, Bjork and Pop acts such as Robyn.

5. Tell us about your latest release

My next release is due to drop on the 8th November. It’s called “Celexa”. It had a working title of “Clock”, as it sort of ticks along to a plucked violin that holds together this anxious mess of fuzzy synths and noise. It’s pretty dark really. I should probably mention that it’s instrumental, like all my work. I can’t sing, so I figured why not let the music talk for me? Anyway, I tried the track out on quite a few close friends and the question kept coming up as to whether I was a bit anxious during sections of the writing and recording process. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it coincided with me quitting both alcohol and citalopram and this song is pretty much a product of citalopram withdrawal, so I changed the name to “Celexa” because of that and it suits her (she’s definitely female this one).

It’s not all moody though, there are nice moments amongst the noise. It’s held together by some string sections and the drums thump throughout. It’s a little bit cinematic and if I ever had a video budget, I think it’d be amazing to work with expressive dancers to see how they interpret it.

6. What’s your song writing process? 

This is a good question. My process is probably a bit strange... because I am essentially a guitarist, who is learning as he goes and trying things out on the computer, I tend to write chord parts and melodies on guitar and then draw them in midi as a start point in Ableton with a basic synth. Once I have a chord structure or a melody to work with, it’s all just a story of trying things and messing about with synth settings, making beats with either plugins or samples or a combination of both and seeing where a song takes me. Sometimes things comes together quite quick, other times less so. I’ve always generally got three or four on the go at any one time and I dip in and out. I’m a busy boy, this is my escape from being a boring Business Analyst, a Dad and a carer for my chronically ill wife. So it’s really just escapism. That’s why I love this crap that just falls out of my head. I don’t usually have much of an agenda to start with, so the music probably just naturally ends up reflecting the mood I am in without really trying to force.

7. Which musician/ artist would you most like to collaborate with & why?

Can I have two? Bjork is a must. She’s so unique and I’d love to get inside that brain for a day. Secondly, Graham Coxon. If only for him to give me guitar lessons! He’s such a creative player and I really do need to get more guitars into my mixes, it’s ridiculous that I don’t.

8. If you were on a desert island what 3 musical gear would you take? 

My PC (obviously), my Interface and my Fender strat that I built myself to my own specs from parts. I’m so proud of her! Her name is Daphne. I could get away without an amp, because I could use emulators through the PC... This desert islands would obviously need mains power...

9. Where can fans find your music (links etc)?

So, I’m on all the good streaming platforms such as Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and Amazon... I’m also on a load that I’d never even heard of... I’m on youtube if you search for Paper Highways, my debut single “Nocturne” is on there. You can buy my music from iTunes and Amazon too. You can also follow me on twitter @paperhighways and also Facebook.

I would like to say a huge thank you to PAPER HIGHWAYS for taking part in 'Featured Artist of The Week' 😀😀