A Permanent Shadow - 10 Questions Music Interview
A Permanent Shadow is a project initiated by musician CP Fletcher. Fletcher recorded the album Songs of Loss with a rotating cast of musicians and producers in his hometown of Barcelona. The album, with lyrics that deal with different types of loss, contains eight original compositions as well as two covers, one by Lou Reed and the other by Simple Minds. Initially a drummer, Fletcher stepped up to the microphone some years ago to form a Lou Reed tribute project called The Magic and Loss Orchestra. After a while, he decided to record his own songs under the guise, A Permanent Shadow, and teamed up with Albert Catalá, a classically trained pianist and synthesizer player. Fletcher and Catalá form the core of the group, although contributions from producer Valentin Nieto were essential to the overall sound of the debut album which has already garnered rave reviews and healthy airplay all over the world.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
At a very early age I got into the music of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed. They have been a huge influence for decades and I'm sure they had something to do with me wanting to be a musician. But it was actually my sister who insisted I should become a singer. I used to be a drummer and never even considered becoming a vocalist, but my sister saw something in me I didn't. So much credit goes to her. In terms of writing music and lyrics, I tend to absorb a lot of what's going on around me and work it into my music. This goes for particular sounds as much as conversations or stuff I see on TV or elsewhere.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I think people in general are just crazy. Not necessarily in a freaked-out way, but rather in that they are full of spleens and weird ticks which you may not detect in the first place but they start showing up after a while. I recorded my album with some hired hands who I didn't know very well. After a couple of days in the studio the producer and I looked at each other and went, "God, these guys are from another planet."
What has been the high point of your music path?
I'd say the recording of our debut album. I have really fond memories of the recording process in a lovely little studio in Barcelona. There was a lot of creativity in the air and a really good atmosphere with everybody giving their best and having a good time. I think though the album is a bit bleak lyrically, you can hear that it was made by a group of very committed people.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
There's always a nagging theme that begs to be turned into a song lyric. Family matters, political issues, documentaries on Netflix or Youtube. Whenever something really hits me and occupies my thoughts, it will end up as a song lyric. This may take some time, but in the end the lyrics are like a valve or a channel for my thought process. Musically, being a drummer many songs start out as rhythms and then get fleshed out little by little.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Well, it's obvious that in order to make a mark in music you need to have a budget for recording and promotion. So money is always a challenge if you don't have any record company backup. Recources in general need to be optimized as you can't be in a hundred places at once, neither physically nor mentally. That aside, you need to dedicate a lot of time you'd rather spend on creating to business and promotion. I couldn't really say what I would like to change, today's music business is what it is. More income from streaming and more mainstream media support for new artists would be a good start.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
There are quite a few female artists I'd like to work with. Blondie's Debbie Harry, The Anchoress, Lisa Ronson, Catherine Ringer from French band Les Rita Mitsouko, for instance. It would also be great to duet with John Grant although I think I'd be completely stressed out.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
With A Permanent Shadow we haven't played any live shows yet. We only did a live in studio session a while ago for which our producer who was on guitar brought in some of his musician friends. We only had two rehearsals as the guys were super professional and had studied their parts at home. From the first moment on the songs sounded amazing if I may say so myself. I hope we can go on the road in the near future.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
The song "Sailor" from our debut album is an ode to the late David Bowie but also deals with the loss of a father figure in general. It took a while to get it right lyrically, because I wanted to incorporate lyrical and musical hints at Bowie without making it too obvious or corny.
What's coming up in the future? We are currently preparing the recording of our second album which will start towards the end of the year. There's also some more promotional work to be done as we have another single and video out in January. We're also in talks about staging a one-off webcast concert here in Barcelona in early 2020.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
You can get all the necessary information about A Permanent Shadow on his website. From there you can access all our social media accounts and streaming platforms. There's also always some exclusive stuff for subscribers, like free songs or videos.
Permanent Shadow's “See the light” will be airing on National Indie Radio (WNIR) commencing December 1st through December 31st as part of BWH Music Group’s Holiday Radio Special. WNIR features the best independent artists in the world and is part of the highly selective and nationally renowned BWH Music Group platform. The Holiday Radio Special will feature original holiday songs as well as covers by exceptional independent artists. Station information can be found at www.wnir-radio.com