Paddy McAloon, the leader of Prefab Sprout, seems neither a random Costa del Sol tourist or a hooligan “looking for trouble”. His image, far from these stereotypes, is another: the British Gentleman having a cup of tea – or finishing a crossword – at five in the afternoon while bombs are shaking the ground all around. A real musician for whom “real music is born in the heart”.
“Jordan, the Comeback”, the latest album from his band (Prefab Sprout), an LP for which once again Thomas Dolby was responsible for production, contains no more or less than nineteen cuts: “It was premeditated . There were four songs which in one way or another talked about Elvis and if I’d made a conventional LP people might wonder what that meant. The songs are like little concepts. They finally all arrived and there were nineteen of them. ”
Paddy seems lucky and considers himself to be so “because I live to do what I like and I’m in love with a wonderful mistress” and that his only misfortune is “I don’t have more time to write songs”.
As a composer, Paddy McAloon considers himself by his own admisssion to be very influenced by American music, “from Gershwin to Dylan,” although he continues: “the way the American market operates is a mystery to me and I don’t sell much in the U.S”.
Unlike most of his peers, Paddy prefers to leave the city for the bucolic solitude of the countryside to live and write: “I live in a very small town, the same one where my grandfather lived and I have returned to it. This allows me to see my surroundings as they are; I don’t like London and when I have to go there for professional reasons I always take a small keyboard with me.”
Without losing himself in a complex maze of definitions, the leader of Prefab Sprout has his own version of what pop means to him. “I’m not in favour of defining the kind of music I do, I just say that I settle for a melodic pop. Not to sound pretentious, but for me, pop is like a little child, you have to nurture him and help him grow.”
Paddy cares more about the relationship between his heart and the music he writes than the relationship between his music and the mainstream. “Real music is from the heart, is born in the heart. The music I make comes from my heart. So far I’ve been able to sell enough to make a living from it. Obviously I want to sell my records, but it’s not something I worry about too much.”
And Paddy ends with harsh words for the “new age”, saying that “it’s marketing, not real music.”