McCartney reveals how happiness inspired his new album
- 4 October 2013
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
As Sir Paul McCartney prepares to release his first solo album in six years he tells of how his happiness with his wife Nancy Shevell has inspired his writing, how he struggles not to repeat the past and how his wedding DJ ended up as a producer on the album New.
Is New a joyful album?
This is a happy period in my life, having a new woman - so you get new songs when you get a new woman. But in actual fact there is a lot of sadness mixed in on the record - the more you listen to it you'll find pain getting changed to laughter - there is quite an undercurrent of that. But generally I'm having a good time so I hope that's made it onto the record.
Why did you chose the four producers for this album?
Mark Ronson DJ'd at our wedding. He's a really good DJ and we like to dance and a lot of our friends do - so we had a little dance floor and there was kind of disco situation at the reception. He was DJing and putting on great music and it just kept us all going and I knew I liked him. I'd also met him on and off because he's friends with Sean Lennon.
I've known Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin) since he was a little kid. Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams and Kings of Leon) was the son of Glyn Johns one of my Beatles and Wing's producers. Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence and the Machine) I didn't really know but I knew his work.
But I was mainly really looking at their work and if you look at any of those producers they've all done great work recently. It's not just something they did in the past and that's what I was looking for. I just really enjoyed working with each one of them, but in a different way every time.
Could they say no to you?
I always make it one of the first things we talk about when we're sitting down and just settling in and I say OK lets get this straight everyone in this room has got an opinion and don't be frightened to tell me, particularly the producer because that's his job.
I say 'tell me if you don't like it or I'm doing it lousy' and I will refer to them and say 'was that any good?' So they do have a voice and I encourage the voice. I say 'please don't be frightened just because I've done that or I've done that, don't worry about it let's just start fresh and you tell me'.
But can they challenge you as much as John Lennon did?
No. We were just kids that had grown up together, so any of the guys in the Beatles just could tell each other 'I don't like that' and then it meant it had to go.
Do you wish you could release this album without people knowing your past work?
In an impossible world it would be nice if no-one knew what I had done - and there are a lot of young people who don't know what I've done. But mainly people are looking at what I'm doing now as a continuation of all the other stuff.
But I don't really worry about it. The main thing I try and do is not copy what I've done in the past. I've found myself once or twice, picking up a guitar and thinking I'm going to write a new Eleanor Rigby - I have to stop myself trying to do that.
There is the past but I don't see it as a burden, I see it as something I'm very lucky to have. But when you do a show - you can't just do new songs, if I don't do Hey Jude I've missed an opportunity. In Las Vegas (performing at the iHeartRadio music festival) we were mainly doing our new songs and it was going down well, but man when we got to Live and Let Die the audience responded - we basically blew them up and they loved that.
Are you trying to make a statement with the track Early Days?
When I write songs I don't always think I'm going to make a statement. On the day (I wrote the track Early Days) I was thinking about the past, particularly me and John in Liverpool in the early days so I just ran with that. I started to get images of us in the record shop listening to early rock and roll and looking at the posters and the joy that that gave me remembering all those moments.
So that song just evolved around that and then I found that one of the things that came was - you can't take it away from me, even though you can say 'hey this is what happened in Liverpool in the late 1950s but I'm going to say 'were you there or did you just read about it?' Because I was there and I was walking down that street - so it's that kind of song. It gets a bit of a dig at people who say they know what it was all about but they weren't there - but mainly it's just fond memories for me.
Are you going to open the World Cup in Brazil, as has been rumoured?
That's just a rumour - there's no truth to it. I know somebody asked me to be involved in the (Rio) Olympics. Every time these great occasions come up it's great that they think about me, I love it and I'm very flattered, but you can't just be the guy on all of them. It's going to get boring for the audience 'oh no not him again here we go again na na na na, nananana'.
Are you cool?
I never feel cool. I'm just me. I recently went to Las Vegas to do iHeartRadio (music festival) and there's a lot of cool people on that and so because they're in Las Vegas they all walk around with their entourage and their security and everyone's very serious about how cool they are.
And course there's me and I'm going 'Hi Miley' and I think 'oh god what am I doing I sound like a fan, I should try to be cool'. But they didn't even notice me. Actually, the security noticed me and they doubled back and she came and said hello.
New is released on 14 October (15 in US)