An Interview with Páll Joensen

The first time I ever heard someone play the Ukulele I thought ‘that sound is amazing, I want that sound’

 

This interview is with Páll Joensen, a first year Pop Music student from the Faroe Islands. He is a singer-songwriter and plays Ukulele and Guitar. “I do a little bit of piano as well but I couldn’t really say that I played it.”

Páll started playing when he was fourteen, “I started late compared to my friends back home, I had a cousin back home who started when he was about 10 and I always aspired to learn but just never got around to it. This one month I had this sudden urge to just play, so I took up the guitar, my dad showed me a few chords like G, D and C, the usual stuff and then I learned a few of the 3 chord songs. I was just having fun, then I would put more chords in, it added up and everything just worked out.”

He likes experimenting to find different sounds from his Ukulele, “I like to play with Ukulele and amps and stuff like that to get weird sounds from the Ukulele, see what I can get. Because you don’t often see Ukuleles with amps, that’s pretty uncommon.”

Although he likes the music he produces now, this was not always the case, “as most musicians I am very self-critical and that becomes a problem a lot of the time – this is not good enough, this is too stupid, these lyrics are wrong. It’s tough but I have recently come to the point where I say, this is fine. You have to almost imagine that it is someone else’s song, you think, ok if someone else made this song I would like it, it would actually be good… I feel it’s a very important point as a musician to come to. Most musicians are not happy with what they are doing. So that’s one of the most vital points being an artist, being this IS good enough and I AM an artist… I think it is an important milestone to reach as an artist – to be like ‘you know what yes, this is good enough just get it out there’ ”

“I think one of the main reasons me not being so self-critical was my experience being in a band back home, called Danny and the Veetos. The main singer who made most of the songs was very liberal in what he did. He just did stuff and I was often very critical – the old side of me came out again saying ‘that’s not good enough, that sounds too similar to this’ but to a certain extent he didn’t care. He would just say ‘I know but it’s still good, it’s still got its own thing’. The fact that I could see this guy basically being ‘yeah, those criticisms are fine but I’m still going to do this’, the songs that he wrote were good, even though they were 4 chord songs, C G Am F. If he can do it like that why shouldn’t I?”

Although Páll has written lyrics and melodies for the band, he has recently started writing his own songs, “So I have two finished songs, one I wrote back in the day and another one I finished yesterday. The song I finished yesterday was actually a very quick process, I was fast at it by myself. It obviously inspired me to write more stuff, obviously doing a popular music course as well. So this song I finished yesterday started about 2 weeks ago and I made a draft – one verse and that was it. Then yesterday I didn’t have much to do so I just grabbed my Ukulele and said ‘right, I’m going to finish this song right here, right now’. Some songs you just finish instantly, other songs you spend years and years and just never finish them.”

We talked about the role the internet plays in marketing yourself as a musician, “Everyone’s making music… like most people you don’t try to search out new music, it doesn’t happen. So that’s also why as a musician it’s really important to play everywhere, anywhere, to get yourself out there because people won’t just listen to you randomly.” I asked him if he thought the YouTube, Spotify and SoundCloud platforms made it easier, “it’s actually made it much harder, for example with Spotify not giving you anything. Everything is now all on tours… it is interesting how that has reverted.”

I asked him what he hoped to gain out of studying a music degree at Falmouth, “One of the things is that I definitely want to do is to release my own CD because that’s always been on my bucket list. With my band back home we did release a CD but it’s still not quite the same – your band releasing a CD and you yourself releasing a CD, it is quite different”

“With the band it is like shared work and compromises but if you make your own stuff then this is all yours now, you are really putting yourself out there to everyone. So that’s definitely one of the biggest things I want to get out of it and I also just hope to play a lot of gigs, do a lot of stuff and meet new people.”

 

If you would like to find out more about Páll and listen to his music then visit his SoundCloud account at https://soundcloud.com/brimdream

You can read the full interview here

Matthew Woolley

Matthew Woolley

Matthew Woolley is a musician and Falmouth University student from Shropshire. His main instrument is Folk Fiddle but he plays several others and likes almost all types of music. Matt came up with the idea for Fern Sessions after wanting there to be more opportunities for 1st year music students in Falmouth to get their music heard. He plays under the name Quantum Penguin (he likes Penguins!) and you can check out his music at www.quantumpenguin.co.uk

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