10 Questions: PAUL MAHON of THE ANSWER (interview)

We catch-up with The Answer’s guitarist Paul Mahon ahead of the release of their upcoming album ‘Raise A Little Hell’, released on Napalm Records, and accompanying UK and European tour…

The Answer - Winter Rocks, Sheffield Corporation, 6 December 2014

What have you got planned for the next few months music wise?

We are ready to release our new album “Raise A Little Hell” and will embark on a UK and European tour through March and April. We will tour America in June and have a packed festival season coming up also.

Could you take us through the songs on ‘Raise A Little Hell’ e.g. stories behind the songs, songwriting process etc.

The process has evolved through the years, we begin by just jamming all together in the same room and when we happen upon something good we would just hammer it out there and then until we had something close to a song and then it would be refined outside of the practice room.

Or we would work on ideas individually and bring them to the rest of the band, some of these may be 80%-90% finished but it doesn’t become an Answer song until everyone has put it through their own filter.

It takes longer but it stops us repeating ourselves and it helps to make songs that may be in a traditional format and style but they come out just a little different. This is something we worked on through the years and I think an advantage we have, or uniqueness, compared to many of the bands around today.

‘Long Live The Renegades’ is a call to arms to all those who haven’t given up on their dreams, who haven’t given into the status quo.  ‘I Am What I Am’ is a stinging riposte to a certain journalist. ‘Gone Too Long’ and  and ‘Strange Kinda Nothin’ are bittersweet love songs.

‘Aristocrat’ and ‘Red’ are about bad women.  ‘Last Days Of Summer’ muses on the passing of time, how it passes quicker as we get older and about how we have to achieve as much as possible before it’s too late. ‘Raise A Little Hell’ is a celebration of life through all it’s good and bad times.

The Answer - Raise A Little Hell

Has it helped the band being with the same label Napalm Records for this new album?

Yes it has been very important to the continuity behind the scenes which makes a big difference to the album campaign. We had changed 3 times over the past albums so it has been good to keep things the same and move forward on this album. We have signed for another 2 albums so its a relationship that will continue and shows faith and belief on both sides.

Were you pleased with the reaction from fans and reviewers to your last album ‘New Horizon’?

For the most part the reviews were favourable. There were one or two that didn’t understand the record the same way we did but that happens on every album to an extent, not everyone gets the music the same way you do so you just have to deal with it.

The fan reaction was great, it was an album that captured a different side to the band, maybe we didn’t lean on our blues roots as heavily and I know some fans really like the blues inflected side of what we do.  But I think when they came to the shows they understood the album more and enjoyed the new heavier side we were showing. It’s something we have kept into the new record and infused it with some blues.

You are using Pledge Music for the new album. You have some good extras like an exclusive live album. How did you decide on the extras for ‘pledgers’ and has it been successful to date?

It’s been a very successful campaign. The extras are quite easy to decide on. Obviously you offer exclusive formats of the album with goodies like the live album. We played some acoustic shows over the summer at some of the festivals, Download included, and they went down well so we thought we would offer some exclusive acoustic shows in the comfort of your own home.

I had a guitar that wasn’t being used much anymore so I offered that. There are also guitar lessons and some nice one off experiences available. The Pledge campaign gives us the chance to have some additional marketing funds we wouldn’t normally have which can give us exposure in places that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

THE ANSWER - Academy 2, Leicester, 25 February 2014

You have another extensive tour lined up. Have you seen your more people attending your shows and how tough is out there on the UK/Irish live scene? We read about a lot of venues closing and how hard is it for the the Answer to get on a support to an arena sized band?

It’s tough these days. We were lucky that we had the chance to build a core audience over our first 2 albums.  Albert Productions gave us great support in those early days and it has allowed us to remain and prosper when a lot of other bands have fallen away.

There is more choice than ever as so many bands are touring so it is a very competitive market and with the economy the way it is now fans can’t afford to go to every gig so you have to give them a reason to go and we still do.

It’s always competitive to get on an arena tour, every band wants the slot. They can be good to expose the band to a new fan base but are also very expensive undertakings in terms of finance. For us we are more focused on building our own audience and we have laid the foundations so we can still keep adding to it.

Message for your fans…

Thanks for being the best fans in the world and supporting us through thick’n’thin. We hope you enjoy the new album and look forward to raising a little hell at a venue near you soon.


UK Tour Dates 2015

Fri March 06 BELFAST Limelight
Sat March 07 DUBLIN Whelans
Mon March 09 MANCHESTER Academy 3
Tue March 10 LEEDS Key Club
Wed March 11 YORK Fibbers
Thu March 12 ABERDEEN Lemon Tree
Fri March 13 GLASGOW Garage
Sat March 14 NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Riverside
Mon March 16 GRIMSBY Yardbirds
Tue March 17 LIVERPOOL Arts Club
Wed March 18 SOUTHEND Chinnerys
Thu March 19 NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Fri March 20 BIRMINGHAM Institute
Sat March 21 SHEFFIELD Corporation
Mon March 23 NORWICH Waterfront
Tue March 24 BRISTOL Motion
Wed March 25 BRIGHTON Concorde
Thu March 26 O2 Academy Islington
Fri March 27 EXETER Lemon Grove
Sat March 28 SOUTHAMPTON 1865

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