Paleface Looks Neither to his Past nor the Future
By Nick Schwab
Paleface lives in the here and now because it does not make sense to be passé, while the future is always unpredictable.
He also doesn’t want to restrict or limit himself and his music solely by words created by others to define his art. Although he is often thought of as a sort of outsider figure due to his non-traditional hip-hop take on folk, Paleface isn’t really concerned with guidelines or labels of any kind in his music.
When corresponding with Paleface, one gets the feeling that he just wants to put on the best performance he can night after night. When recording albums, he tries to make them as good as he can, yet knows with each step in his career that he has not done his best… at least not yet.
This balance of the future, the present, and the past with no absolute definition is the talking point of the interview, as well as a basis for his art. Even if he is certainly not stuck in the past, and even if he looks forward to the future, one does not quite get the impression that he dwells on it.
He points out when he is asked which of his albums is his personal favorite, “It’s corny to say, but I don’t think I’ve made my best records yet. For a while I was going backwards, but I think I slipped out of that stream and I am traveling on righteously. “
Then at the end of that thought, he adds: “I’m happy with what I am doing right now.”
Paleface also isn’t one to align himself with a certain scene or time and place in his music. In that regard, one gets the impression that he just enjoys doing his own thing.
“I don’t worry about it, I am on the other side and I am not too concerned with defining myself,” tells Paleface. “I don’t think about it too much. It’s music… you like it or you don’t and audiences will tell you what they think.”
He continues, “It’s all about the live show now anyways and underground is for hipsters– I was there a long time ago, I just don’t think they’re nearly as cool as they think, (but rather) just young and at the age in which you think you know everything, but you don‘t really know how dumb you are.”
Paleface then concludes about classifications, “In the end it’s really meaningless and time sorts it out anyways.” He then later adds that is more vital to “To be open to (good music), try to grasp it as soon as you can, otherwise you can miss things.”
…And he has had some bumps and bruises along the way in his career.
In his early career he first came to the attention of renowned producer Danny Fields (Ramones/The Stooges) and soon being signed by the major label, Polygram Records, he was paired on a tour with The Crash Test Dummies, in which performances have been described as chaotic and marked by clashes with the police. Polygram unceremoniously dropped him while recording his second album.
“I was already having problems with alcohol, so the shows were mostly shambolic. It wasn’t really my audience anyways. Polygram dropped me because I was really unwilling to take the artistic lead I had established with my first record and run with it. They saw the alcohol thing, too.”
As far as how success comes, Paleface has thoughts on that as well.
“I never bought the bullshit success mode that high school tried to drill into me.”
Paleface then says that his music acts as a sort of balm.
“Sometimes I get bummed, like if ceiling in the kitchen is leaking, but then I write a song I like or have a good gig and then I stabilize.”
With all this said, as far as the near future is concerned, Paleface tells that he is writing tracks for a new record that will have a live vibe and sound really good at shows.
“I’ll try to get more soulful and closer to creation,” he concludes about what the future might potentially hold in store.
Paleface will perform on Saturday, June 30 at South Park Tavern, 1301 Wayne Ave. Also on the bill are Shrug and Avondale [Cincy]. Admission is $5 for all ages. Doors at 9 pm. For more info, visit palefaceonline.com.