Liverpool’s sonic overlords, Paris Youth Foundation, have shared yet another gutsy guitar anthem peppered by poignant lyrics of forlorn romance, with their new track ‘Late Night Lost Love’.
Formed back in 2016, and making their live debut at the Reading And Leads Festival, the band have become one of the most prevailing acts in the Merseyside music scene, and are hurtling towards both national, and international success.
Get to know more about this dynamic quintet as The Lowdown put some questions to the group’s poetic front-man, Kevin Potter...
Congrats on your latest single ‘Late Night Lost Love’! How much fun was it to write?
"Hey, thanks a lot. It's always fun at the end when you're sat listening to it and can finally relax, but the months prior when you're desperately trying to get it there is a weird and wonderful place. You either think you're Chris Martin or that you should sell your guitar. There's no in-between with song writing. I love it for that."
The song’s lyrics are incredibly relatable- as we are all guilty of bad romantic habits. What are your worst to date?
"All of these songs are from first-hand experience. Calling people, you shouldn’t at the witching hour when your friends are too drunk to talk you out of it. Thinking that you're in a Netflix series and every late-night mistake is some cool, pre destined step all leading to a happy ending. There’s no happy ending. Not realising this after years and years is the worst mistake I made."
It is from your upcoming debut album. Can you tell us more about the LP?
"It was so special to be given the chance to make an album and we’re counting down the days until we can release it. It’s a story of a long-distance breakup really. Each song is Its own chapter following the stupid things we all do for love. It’s specifically about the way in which our mobile phones become our enablers. As if they are telling us to message that person we shouldn't when it’s late. It’s about the same bars, in the same cities we spend our Saturday nights in, pretending we’re over someone when we’re not. It’s a very sad album deep down but hidden within indie pop songs."
You have always been praised for your exceptional lyricism. What does it feel like when the crowd at one of your live shows is singing those lyrics back to you?
"It’s very surreal really. When you’re 16, just learning guitar and writing awful songs, you're dreaming of people singing your songs back to you. I've always had to pinch myself when it happens and think about that 16-year-old lad in his bedroom. It will never ever get old. If one person in a room has taken the time to learn the words then it was worth playing to that room."
Do you write based on ‘what is this going to sound like live’?
"I wouldn’t say so. I think you know when you've got it right as a songwriter that normally comes across or doesn't when you show it to the band. I think because we write in a rehearsal room it’s always very much live. There’s no computers or laptops or home studios it’s all very raw. So, if it’s working in a small room with everyone playing loud then you know it’s already passed the "will it sound good live?” test."
How are you coping with there being no festivals this summer?
"It’s been really sad to see such a huge gap in everyone's lives. So many people depend on it from catering to sound techs to the artists. From a selfish point of view were devastated we aren’t out in a field somewhere with our mates showing the country our debut record. But you also have to keep some perspective and realise that there's people losing their lives and, if not being able to play some festivals for a summer will help save one life, then it’s more than worth it."
Why is it important to you to write songs about personal experiences? Opposed to writing eccentric fantasy numbers?
"I think I've tried writing made up stories but they just weren't as good. I hadn't lived it, so I didn't know the situation I was trying to describe inside out. I was just guessing and that’s where it doesn’t sit right with me. My songs are very personal and fragile, I'm not trying to act the cool guy I’m putting it all on the table. I hope people can feel that. I'd hate people to have a connection with one of my songs I didn't have a connection with."
You named your band after a piece of graffiti that you came across in a Metro Tunnel in Paris. What was it that made you think, ‘this has got to be our band name’?
"I think none other than it was saved in my old phone and i just happened to stumble on that phone an hour after we spoke about band names. It felt like a sign, I guess."
How important to you is success?
"I don’t think I could pretend that it doesn't mean anything and were all just doing it purely “for the music” because it’s probably not completely true. We do it because we love music and it’ our dream, don’t get me wrong, but I’d be lying if I said I didn't dream of the biggest stages in the world. I don’t think there's anythin wrong with wanting to be successful. That said, if you’re writing songs for all the wrong reasons it will shine through in everything you do. You have to be genuine; you have to love music and you have to wear your heart on your sleeve, but pushing yourself in every way to be as big as you can just means more and more people will hear your band. That's what it’s about, surely?"
You guys are from the musical hub, Liverpool. Talk us through the current music scene there. Any bands that we should be paying attention to?
"Liverpool is such a special place. It’s tiny compared to London, Birmingham and Manchester, but it consistently knocks out great bands and artists. I think, because it’s so small, all the creative people in the city are in studios in the same buildings as each other. I think that breeds a special atmosphere and shows the kids who are just starting out they can be the next Circa Waves when they see them in the lift in the building. There’s a real creative community and so many great artists. By the time this is being read, I’m sure there will be another group of kids starting out on their journey who sound incredible."
Ultimately, why are you guys in a band? What does it mean to you?
"We’re in a band because, at a certain point, and for me it was, and still is, about the seconds before your favourite bands come on stage. The lights are down and the crowd is holding its breath. That buzz, that feeling is what made me think I need to experience this from the other side. I need to feel this from the stage."
Thank you for chatting with us here at The Lowdown! Last question: is your preference the writing process, or the live show?
"Such a hard question. I love writing songs. I love the loneliness of it, the locking yourself in a room and getting into a certain headspace to write a Paris Youth Foundation song. I love the places you have to go to chase the song, the holes you have to go down and the feeling when you find it. I love showing it to the band and watching it turn into something really special. And then finally it’s amazing to play it live somewhere and a guy or gal from a different city or country is singing every word back to you. The fact you can write something in your bedroom and a few steps later you’re having a connection with a stranger on stage somewhere is why music is and always will be very special."
INTERVIEW BY ALISTER ROSS