Paul Dempsey goes solo in Byron

Paul Dempsey
Paul Dempsey

HE’S practically just stepped off the plane from New York, he’ll tour the country in a whirlwind throughout April, he hits London in May, then Dublin and Germany as well. There’s an absence of tropical islands but it’s a jet-setting life.

Once better known as the front man of Something For Kate, Paul Dempsey is enjoying a few days at his Melbourne home before heading back on the road.

“I’m glad to be back in my own bed, that’s for sure,” he says.

"”’m two metres tall so hotel beds can be quite difficult to manage at times.

“Mind you, I’m back on tour in a few days so it’s short lived.”

Dempsey released his debut solo album, Everything Is True, in August last year. The album has since been named iTunes album of the year and received nominations for ARIA awards as well as Triple J’s album of the year.

Everything Is True has marked Dempsey as one of Australia’s leading songwriters, creating a name for himself in his own right outside of the SFK brand.

“I couldn’t be happier with how it’s been received,” he says.

“When you’ve been around for so long it’s easy to be pigeon-holed.”.

With Paul’s husky, baritone vocal carried from one project to the next, he’s happy his solo work is recognised on its own merit.

As a multi-instrumentalist, Paul recorded every instrument for his debut, but with such a distinct vocal, he was concerned people may pass it off, simply saying ‘it sounds like Something For Kate’.

While his voice is recognisable, there is something that separates the two.

“The obvious difference is you’re not bouncing things off two other people. It’s more personal, more intimate,” Paul explains to Pulse.

“It’s not a conscious thing; it’s just the reality of it.”

The writing process is always long for Dempsey, but it didn’t include the island kick-start of years past.

“It took a good 12 months, every day full-time, it was frustrating, but unfortunately, sometimes life doesn’t allow those things.”

A few years back Something For Kate sat in a rehearsal room, with recording going nowhere after six months. They stepped across the road to the travel agent.

“We were at the stage where we needed a very large release point,” he says.

“We pointed out three island destinations and the next thing we knew – three days later – we were in Thailand,” Paul laughs.

“We were clambering on to these mini ferries with these giant guitars. I don’t think the locals could understand why on earth we needed all that stuff,” he says.

With half the album written on the beach, the trip paid dividends.

There’s been an 18-month hiatus for Something For Kate but they will soon be writing and plan to record their next album in New York.

Paul tells Pulse the break has done nothing but good for the band.

“We met up a month-or-so ago and everything’s fresh; you know, the slate’s clean again.”

And for the direction of the album?

“We don’t plan stuff like that, it just happens,” Paul says.

For the moment, though, Dempsey is happy to be on tour for the second round of Australian gigs promoting Everything Is True.

“I would tour all-year-round if I could. It’s my favourite part of the process,” he says.

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