Doomshakalaka is the, rather excellently named, new project from Paul Rafferty, best known up until now as the vocalist and bassist of Liverpool’s, Hot Club De Paris. Formed on Paul’s 30th birthday, Doomshakalaka’s aim is to create the soundtrack to, “being sad at a party”. The result is the upcoming self-titled debut album, out in June on Moshi Moshi Records.
Much of the record is a reflection on youthful hijinks, only viewed through the lens of time and ageing, both a love letter to the past and a reflection on what those memories mean to him now. To date, we’ve had two slices of the upcoming record, the melancholic debut single, Black Balloon and more recent offering, James Asleep. James Asleep is in Paul’s own words, “about remembering a sad time that in turn reminds you of a happy one”, the conflicting emotions set to a track of bright, fuzzy guitars and inventive percussive tones. Black Balloons is a downbeat melodic beauty, in the mood of Bill Ryder-Jones or Graham Coxon’s solo output, as Paul works through the tough times in pursuit of a moment of truthful happiness. Following his band’s split back in 2012, Paul has spent a long time outside of the gaze of the music industry, yet it already feels like time well spent, here he sounds rejuvenated, reinvigorated and ready to make a splash.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Doomshakalaka?
Doomshakalaka is mainly me, Paul Rafferty. My friend Tom English played drums on the record but I played mostly everything else. I wanted to make a record where I was in charge of everything just to see if I could, so I spent the best part of 10 years meddling with recording gear, learning the ropes and honing the songs. I could’ve probably spent another 10 years on it but fortunately Moshi Moshi put an end to my procrastination by threatening to release it.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Doomshakalaka hasn’t actually played any gigs as yet but I’ve played live in other bands and as a session musician. Session playing gives you the opportunity to have many first shows; the most memorable thing about them is usually my mind attempting to convince my brain that it has no idea what it is doing and the proceeding war of wills between them until the gig is over.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I’ve been playing music for such a long time (about 30 years) that it’d be plain weird to stop now. I find the physical act of playing an instrument very meditative and it’s a joy to still pursue an activity that hasn’t yet been reorganised as a data-collection operation by a third party (like running or listening to music, for example). With regard to writing music, there’s something about having a project on the go, coming back to tinker with it for the sake of making something good that is still so compelling after all these years. I work as a graphic designer and screen printer too so I have experience with practicing other art forms, but over the years I’ve found I’m so much more willing to give my undivided attention to music for as long as it takes and for the least reward. I want to start painting again but everyone who painted and quit says that.
FTR: What can people expect from the Doomshakalaka live show?
The Doomshakalaka live show is at this point completely theoretical, so I’d say for now to expect the unexpected. I’d assume there’ll be a decent collection of pyro elements right through the show, kind of like an Olympics opening ceremony meets Superbowl halftime, but I guess I’ll have to speak to Moshi about logistics and costs. Most likely you can probably expect me and a group of reluctant but understanding friends playing the songs and trying to get to bed before midnight.
FTR: What’s next for Doomshakalaka?
Well I’ve actually just had an operation on my foot so the next milestone is to walk without crutches. I’m like Rivers Cuomo circa 1995 but with lower stakes. I’m making a record with my friend Charles Watson (Slow Club & Surfing Magazines) at the moment, so we’re looking to finish that in the next few months and then I’ll start recording the second Doomshakalaka album.
They Listen To…
Sparks – Sherlock Holmes
The Mantles – Don’t Lie
Walter Becker – Down in the Bottom
Television – Days
Wire – Kidney Bingos
Doomshakalaka is out June 5th via Moshi Moshi Records. Click HERE for more information on Doomshakalaka.