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A Far Out interview with Robert Paul Corless

In late 2014, Robert Paul Corless struck a deal with Eromeda Records, he would deliver as many or as few studio albums as he wanted with no restrictions or boundaries. He embraced the arrangement and since September 2014 has released 16 albums, all differing in themes and highly unique.

Volume Sixteen sees Robert provide song composition and programming, teaming up with a group of comrades from his long-term base at Butterfly Music, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, for what can only be described as experimental fusion conjuring a sound that lies somewhere between Warp Records’ finest moments and the sprawling soundscapes of Vangelis.

Far Out sat down with him to briefly discuss the new album, before veering off into the kind of abstract territory we just can’t get enough of…

How has the new album gone?

Really pleased, the players on the album were all in house at Butterfly Music, which seems to have worked. It’s like this mystical land where this lonely old man called Robert Paul Corless makes records. It’s got Holts’ [brewery] in it, Robinson’s [brewery] in it, but not very many lasses!

Does that environment mean making the record was a fluid process?

I wrote about half a dozen songs before I went away to Spain and Africa, somehow that imprinted on me. When I came back I wrote the other six songs, which turned the album into a bit of a journey as such. Something was gained from that. But then coming back to the studio and already having six to get going on. That’s what the album is really, the sound of that travelling.

But putting the record together at home gave it a base?

Yeah definitely, coming back to Manchester, to the greyness and rain, and I wouldn’t say misery, but… hell! I’ve done everything here, it’s the only place I know how to do it, so I always return. It’s like an easy way out. I like to write here, but when you go wandering you can pick up on different energy and then bring it back to your space. And my space is here, Butterfly Music, Oldham Street, Manchester, M4… I don’t know the fucking postal code. Probably spells out sexy as fuck or something, it’s a sexy street this, especially when it’s raining.

What inspiration did you take from the travelling?

I think it was just the time and the place and what I wanted to do, take in those different things and then bring it back to people. I think I’ve captured that and whatever a so-called fucking artist is, you’re able to do stuff like that, whether you’re a writer, painter or bricklayer. You’ve go to try and capture… not beauty because I don’t know what that is, but it’s something. It’s trying to capture truth really. You know because it just smacks off the audio, or of the page, or the canvas or whatever it might be.

Yeah, so basically the most important thing is that it’s real?

Yeah that’s right, I mean look at the Northern Quarter for example, it’s rife with fucking bland-ites. It’s not good and it’s not good for themselves. I mean you’ve worked in an ale house, it’s like a stage where you see everything going on, I don’t know how you put up with it, I’d be out the fucking door me!

Has that problem got worse over time or has it always been like that?

It’s always been like that, Manchester’s always been full of fucking clowns, and there have been greats, but it all just comes in waves and then it’ll go. Then they’ll be another, like these fucking hipster cunts who are around at the moment. They’ll wash away and then they’ll be some other fucking trend. Its’s all ‘we’re not in touch, but we’ll fucking dress like we are in touch’. I don’t like apathetic bland-ites, I don’t like that shit. I like good, wholesome people.

Too many people pretending in order to impress others?

Yeah it’s an interesting concept. It’s like we’re living in the age of the amateur, everyone can do everything, it’s easy, never used to be. Why? Because it was never on a plate like it is now, you had to obtain it. Shall we leave it there? [signs off with an operatic-style rendition of Chicago’s ‘If you leave me now’].

Cheers Robert, yep we’ll leave it there!

The new album by Robert Paul Corless, Volume Sixteen, is available now on Eromeda Records and to stream on Spotify and Deezer.

Patrick Davies