Paul Weller

From the Fabs to 2018’s best mu­sic in an ear-open­ing chat

UNCUT - - Contents - Photo by ni­cole nod­land

“I t’s been an in­cred­i­ble year for mu­sic,” says Paul Weller. ”Whether it’s Ka­masi Washington do­ing his spir­i­tual jazz or Vil­lagers rais­ing the bar for pop mu­sic, I think there’s been so many great records in so many dif­fer­ent gen­res.”

Weller is sit­ting out­side a favourite café near his home in west Lon­don, warm­ing him­self in the mid-morn­ing sun. Im­pec­ca­bly dressed in a navy mac, red sweater, white jeans and brown Doc Martens, Weller points out a small Robert Wy­att badge pinned to his jumper. “I wish he’d make an­other record,” he sighs.

Cig­a­rettes and a latte close by, he is here to look back on a typ­i­cally pro­duc­tive year – not just for him­self, but for other artists, too. Weller re­leased his 14th solo al­bum True

Mean­ings in septem­ber – a gen­tly in­tro­spec­tive set whose tone was in­formed, to some de­gree, by turn­ing 60 in May. that mile­stone gave him a rea­son to take stock, just as turn­ing 50 had in­spired his cre­ative re­newal with 22 Dreams. “It was quite a big deal for me,” he says of the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sonic ex­plo­ration. In this, he was helped by a num­ber of di­verse guest stars – rang­ing from stal­warts Danny thomp­son and Martin Carthy to rel­a­tive new­bies like Vil­lagers’ Conor O’Brien and Er­land Cooper from Er­land & the Car­ni­val. He even di­vulges the iden­tity of one artist he is keen to work with in the fu­ture…

talk of O’Brien and Cooper leads, in­evitably, to a wider dis­cus­sion about the new mu­sic Weller has en­joyed dur­ing 2018. He counts al­bums from Gaz Coombes, the Co­ral, Melody’s Echo Cham­ber, Gwenno and Young Fa­thers among his favourites – and has even com­piled a list of 15 es­sen­tial tracks from the past 12 months, which you can see printed on page 58. “I want to hear the great­ness in things, what­ever style it may be,” he says pas­sion­ately.

But as rest­less as ever, Weller al­ready has his sights set on the fu­ture. He talks about his plans for next year – be­gin­ning with a John Mar­tyn trib­ute con­cert in Glas­gow in Jan­uary and UK shows dur­ing the sum­mer – and in par­tic­u­lar the pow­er­ful urge to get back into the stu­dio to start work­ing on his 15th solo al­bum… “I’ve got tunes! I seem to keep writ­ing,” he says. “I’m not ques­tion­ing it, or won­der­ing why it’s hap­pen­ing. It’s good! I just go with it when it’s like that.”

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