Name: Paulina Fae
Occupation: Artist, songwriter
Current Release: Paulina Fae's Glow is out via Projekt.
If you enjoyed this interview with Paulina Fae and would like to keep up to date with her work, visit her official website. She is also on Instagram, and Facebook.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
Everything, in some way, plays into that impulse to create. It’s a response to collective experiences and insights.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
A balance of planning and chance, more toward chance.
I like to leave room for experimentation. That keeps it fun. When results are a surprise, there’s much satisfaction and learning.
At the same time, I need to keep a base structure so that it holds its form and focus.
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
There is a succession of early versions because I re-edit and make changes along the way, in most cases.
‘The Orb Weaver’ from EARTHLIGHT had a ton of editing and changes; it took a direction all its own that I didn’t expect.
It took a long time to finish that one.
‘The Space Inbetween’ from DREAMWALKERS was produced quickly with very few changes to its initial structure.
The process changes depending on the song.
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
When songcrafting, the quiet of early morning works best for me. Or late night. Generally when there’s a certain stillness in the atmosphere. I’ll work for hours on end.
Candles and incense always help. I like tea when working on music, too. A little wine in the evening can be nice.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
There’s really no ‘first’ note. It comes along in sections. Then, it’s about piecing sections together. It works like a puzzle much of the time.
When do the lyrics enter the picture? Where do they come from? Do lyrics need to grow together with the music or can they emerge from a place of their own?
Yeah, the lyrics and song usually grow together. The lyrics come in once the song structure is formed.
It all seems to be channeled, when it does.
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
Through trial and practice. Some songs happen quickly. That's when I’m really excited about the sounds that somehow work out right away. Others show promise, and require a much longer process.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
It's most fulfilling for me if I let the song lead the way. A song comes alive early with a mind of its own. If I fiddle too much, it can backfire and fall apart. Other songs might need strict control. Really, there is no one way.
The process changes depending on the song. I love that, because I never know what to expect.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
Creating music (and art) is a spiritual experience for me, yes. I’m acutely aware that I work directly with spirit. The energy moves through — it’s a tingling in the crown of my head, the back of my neck.
I know these subtle sensations as cues and communications, and it flows naturally as I remain open to it. It’s a collaborative effort.
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
By keeping it simple.
There are endless fantastic options at our fingertips these days. By not supplying myself with an overabundance of options, I can better focus with a rather minimalistic approach.
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
The writing, production, recording, mastering, is all me. It’s painting with sound through my eyes, and I don’t mind wearing all the hats by trying new techniques to see what happens.
There are always new things to learn through all steps; infinitely.
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
It’s more a sense of relief that I got it out into the world. (laughs) I’m always ready to go onto the next thing, when something’s finished.
I recommend a bit of a pause time after something’s finished. So that I can regroup and renew.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Writing a piece of music is the most exciting creative venture for me. There's magic in the process and results, different from other creative forms. It’s a pulse that takes me beyond the earth realm. After writing a song I feel as though I’ve been through the wringer, yet I’m electrified and charged.
Really, it’s all about the experience, and songs are made to be shared. To communicate and connect. All from the heart, straight to yours.