Awkward Silences, The Wrong Life and Paul Hawkins

paulhawkinsFollowing the release of their new EP The Wrong Life yesterday, Paul Hawkins of The Awkward Silences takes God Is in the TV’s Tiffany Daniels through life on Audio Antihero, leaving Jezus Factory Records and what he has planned for the coming year.

You can already order your new EP The Wrong Life as a digital download – will it be available physically?

There are some physical copies. I think there’s a limited number – they’re available at the gigs and […] I think through the website.


You moved labels recently. I take it that hasn’t changed the way you distribute your music?

We’re still on a label – we’re not self-releasing, no. [Audio Antihero are] in charge of the release side of things and I’m making the music. I’ve been trying to get on the ball with [release information] but clearly I still need to work on it!


Why did you move over from Jezus Factory Records to Audio Antihero?

We left Jezus Factory after Apologies for the Enlightenment because the number of records we were selling [wasn’t enough].

It was our decision, but basically I started to feel quite conscious of the amount of money that Andy [Bennett, JFR founder] was putting into the band. We weren’t sure what we were going to do for a while, whether we were going to self-release or what was going to happen. Then Jim [Halliday, AA founder] discussed […] releasing an EP through Audio Antihero, as a separate thing where we could sign to another label later on or whatever. I like Audio Antihero a lot – we’re massive Hefner fans – so yeah! We signed to them and now we’re releasing The Wrong Life.


Do you consider The Wrong Life an EP or a mini-album? I’ve seen it listed as both.

I call it an EP. I get confused between the two and I’m not sure what the press are calling it, but I’d call it an EP.


Have you got any plans for another full length?

I think we’re going to release a new full length next year. We’re having a talk about that now. There have been a lot of questions about what we were going to do, particularly when we weren’t on a label, and we were getting a bit busy [with other things] a few months ago. There were a few questions about whether we were going to record any more at all, but now we’ve decided we are. We’re going to start – we’ve got three songs from these recent sessions that we’re going to put on this new album along with some new stuff that I’m starting to write now. I think we’re going to record them in six months or so.


Will there be any singles off of The Wrong Life?

I think we’ll probably just sell it as an EP. I’m hoping to make a couple of videos for the songs, and put a couple of them out for radio play. Because it’s a five track thing and because of the amount it costs to buy, I imagine anyone who’s going to buy a single will just buy the EP anyway. I think the plan is to release the EP and promote the songs on their own, but not actually sell them away from The Wrong Life.


Are physical releases preferable to you or do you find that – with the music industry as it is at the moment – digital releases are better?

I like physical releases […] because of the art work and [because you] have something in front of you. They’re also really good at gigs because you can hand them out and promote your work more easily, and if you wake up the next day hung over you’re not going to forget what band you saw the night before!

I think what frustrates me with the way that the music industry is at the moment is how many radio DJs and magazines will only accept physical CDs. For small labels obviously it’s a hugely expensive process, and the fact that so many places demand physical CDs even for a small scale release [means] you end up having to make 50 to 200 CDs as a freebie for people to review. Given how easy it is to simply download music I really hope soon radio stations and magazines will be able to accept digital sharing. If only to keep costing down!


That’s really strange, whenever I get a CD in the post I feel almost unresourceful. I’d much rather get it by email!

I think a lot of people do, but as is always the case it takes a while for the majority to move on.A lot of it’s when you start dealing with PR companies and radio pluggers, and they insist on physical releases because they feel radio stations and magazines want physical releases. I suspect actually most people would be happy enough with a download. I mean okay if you’re a reviewer and you don’t get paid, then a promo is your prize so to speak. You could get a promo of something that later becomes massive, and that’s your exclusive copy of it. I guess in reality you just end up with a huge pile of CDs!


Have you managed a national tour since last year?

At the moment we’re taking gigs where we can get them. We always want to play outside of London but because all of us work full time, organising a tour can be quite difficult. Probably because I’m quite lazy as well if I’m being honest! If I get offered a gig somewhere we try to go. I’m hoping to get a gig in Glasgow at some point this year, and we’re talking with a guy in Holland about doing a gig over there.


There won’t be a full scale tour any time soon then?

I don’t think so. The money’s the main thing, really. You do a night away and go home straight after, and you can afford it because it doesn’t use much cash. But going away for a week and finding a place to stay, paying for petrol, paying for food – it’s not really viable.


I noticed on the front cover of The Wrong Life it says ‘the’ Awkward Silences. Is it ‘the’ Awkward Silences now, rather than ‘thee’ Awkward Silences?

The second ‘e’ was one of these pretentious things that started a few years ago but kind of bombed, and for whatever reason we never got around to getting rid of it. I quite crucially wanted to drop the second ‘e’ to confuse people, but then we got the record label and started to release things and it was just hard to do! Really practically now it doesn’t bother me which one gets used, but I’d prefer one ‘e’!

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.