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TC in Conversation with Eric Paslay

One of the most regular faces to head over to Europe from Nashville, Eric Paslay has well and truly become a firm favourite for fans on this side of the pond. With an extensive back catalogue of hit songs of his own and some monumental hits that he was creatively involved with along with bringing fun high energy live performances there is no surprise that after his stellar performance at The Long Road Festival last year, he was set to return to play Europe’s largest festival Country 2 Country back in March. However after playing the event in Amsterdam and Berlin, the world dramatically changed before he was able to play the flagship event in London along with the subsequent shows in Glasgow and Dublin:

I was in London, one minute ready to play the O2 the next night for C2C and the next buying plane tickets at one in the morning then at the airport at six AM and gone! Just crazy, complete insanity! It was like each crew for themselves. I think everyone realised the inevitable of we don’t need to bring a bunch of people together right now so I’m glad that they made that call but it was crazy. All of a sudden the whole world just changed like we needed to.

Fast Forward five months and the world has drastically changed. Live shows are almost a thing of the past in the current climate, so artists need to look to be creative for new ways to connect with their fans and get new music out to their fans. New music is exactly the focus for Paslay, when we last spoke back in September last year on the terrace upstairs at Bush Hall in London this was something that he didn’t just tease but emphasise how excited that he was to bring it to the world. Last month in July he wet the appetite with his four track extended play “Heartbeat Higher” which has acted as the prelude and first four tracks of his brand new album “Nice Guy” which will be released this Friday (August 14th) and as he genuinely is such a nice guy, we caught up with Eric to hear all about it.

On writing and recording his new album “Nice Guy”:

We recorded all of this before the pandemic happened. One of them is maybe eight years old, it’s called “Wild and Young” that I’d been trying to figure out a way to release it for years, it’s finally time, it’s stood the test of time. Then there’s some that are only six months old when we recorded them but thank goodness we were able to be in the studio with all the musicians before the pandemic and the same with a lot of the videos where we filmed a lot of them before then here in Tennessee, we’ve been able to film in the US with social distancing. I can’t wait for people to see the “Nice Guy” video which we just filmed that a couple of weeks ago. It’s kind of cool to think I filmed it a couple weeks ago and it’ll be out in a couple of weeks. It’s fun to be creative and watch things happen so quickly, I’m just smiling and smiling because I’m looking forward to people getting to come on the adventure with us.

Talking about the prospect of releasing new music in the middle of a global pandemic and particularly an extended body of work:

It’s always a good time having something new, having something to look forward to and I’ve been looking forward to putting this music out for years. I always look forward to seeing music come out from people I love. It’s kind of a wild thing, we don’t need another song but for some reason we do. I’ve been waiting a long time to put this out, we had a blast putting it together in the studio recording it. It’s just freeing for me to be finally be able to put music out and I wasn’t going to have it any other way. I’m like it’s time, it’s been way too long! I’ve always been a fan of an album, I enjoy taking people on a journey if they’re willing to listen to it all and also, I feel like every song stands on it’s own if you just want to hear one song. I love that too!

and whether the current climate had any impact in regard to considering his release strategy:

It definitely did in a way but having all the creative control, it was like we’ve put out the EP so we may as well just put out the album. Everybody is ready for it and there’s nothing else really going on so let’s put it all out. Then that means when we put it out, I can start working on the next one because why not? I’m always writing songs, every day I’m writing a new song!

On ways people are having to adapt to connect with their fans and sharing new music:

Typically we are going out playing shows, doing radio stations and all that stuff. It is amazing though, I could write a song this morning and put it out tonight, it’s amazing with Apple and Spotify and streaming, all of these ways for people to get music now. I’m very grateful that we have ways to get music to fans immediately, so that’s definitely a blessing with releasing this new music and music videos or stuff like that is just fun to do. I’ve been doing a thing called the Nice Guy Request Countdown, where I’m doing one song a day. I guess I’ll have about twenty four of them by the time “Nice Guy” comes out so everyday I’m either getting to learn a new song or play a song that I know and a couple that are mine. It’s been good, just a way to help people have a little more entertainment and stay connected with them. I at least get to talk to people online rather than have to wait another year to see them again on the road.

The new album features almost a who is who of creative minds in Nashville that have collaborated with him, so does there become certain ideas for songs that he feels would be best suited for certain individuals to help him write?

There definitely are certain ideas I keep for certain writers, just as a person, that you know they are not afraid to write this type of song and also that you know where their heart is on certain ideas. Every eye sees a picture a little differently and if you really know what you are wanting to paint, you know what the other person is going to paint and make it even better, then there’s definitely ideas that I turn to certain friends of mine that I know will help me write it better! Other’s you think we might make this too much of a party song, when it’s not a party song. There’s certain writers that are so good at writing straight down the middle, fun songs that we might end up watering it down and I want it to be a deeper song. There have been times in the past that I have shared an idea and I was like Argh, should have held on to that! There’s always been a few times like that but we’ve still wrote a great song and I still love the people that I wrote it with but there is a little feel of should of held that for Laura Veltz or someone. That’s life, it’s always a conversation! It’s what conversations do you want to have with a friend. You get to know what conversations your friends would rather talk about, it’s just like songs – what do we want to write today? We know that we agree on this conversation, or maybe we don’t agree and that’s why we will get to an even better conclusion.

and how ideas flow during the current global situation and is writing songs any different to how things were in March?

I always go in going this song needs to be written because we are writing it and if I choose to do it then that will be my voice on it or if somebody else chooses to do it, it will be their voice on it but it’s still written and I know that we wrote it as best as we could. Sometimes it’s just an up-tempo no-brainer fun song down the middle, you don’t need to think too hard. It’s just drink your beer and let’s party! Then sometimes it might make you turn the radio off and call someone you love, ask for forgiveness or tell them you love them! Whatever that is, we all know those songs in our lives that have done all of that. It’s always just fun to show up and write with some of the best writers in the world. Right now, it literally is the world! The best thing about Zoom is that I’m getting to write with people in the UK and Korea! I wrote with a guy that does K-Pop, all of these cool little worlds are being connected through this whole pandemic/quarantine/lockdown. It’s just kind of cool that we’re realising how small the world can be through video conferencing and phone calls then writing songs.

and finally what else is keeping him motivated and excited about for the future:

I miss playing shows and I miss seeing people in real life. But at least we can still put out music, right? You can share music, but I am looking forward to coming back to the UK. I know The Shires tour keeps getting pushed around, I’m always joking but it’s true that we have something to look forward to with that. The Shires tour is always around, by the time that we play the shows, it will probably be about a year and a half old which is great because I love them and the thought of being in the UK and hanging out with everybody over there. Hopefully by then I won’t have to be quarantined because America is so far behind or maybe I’ll get two extra weeks at an Airbnb?

The new album “Nice Guy” from Eric Paslay is released on Friday August 14th which you can pre-order and later listen to HERE. You can keep up to date with Eric and find full details of the rearranged tour dates with The Shires on his website and socials:

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