Getting Groovy With 'Nights Like This' Album From Eli "PaperBoy" Reed
Born in Boston,and based out of Brooklyn, Eli "PaperBoy" Reed brings excitement with,“Nights Like This” album. He comes back into the music scene with another soul enriching album, which will get you dancing! We caught up with Eli to find out what music keeps him grooving, and what captures his essence.
How do you approach your songs?
With this record, it was a shift in the process that I normally would have used in the past. A lot of the time it would just be me in a hotel room, a guitar and a pad and paper, and most of time its still how I write, even when I’m working with other people who write differently I always have my guitar and my pad and paper. We started with some different starting points, like started from a drumbeat, vocal melody, bass line. Instead of just saying I’m going to sit down and write a song, we built up from the ground a bit more, I also did a lot of sessions with other writers. I was anxious to see how other people did that, it was exciting to see how other people made music, I took a lot of my cue’s from them, because I written in my own particular way, it was interesting to see other options that were out there, it expanded my thinking.
What were some of the things that you took away from working with other people?
Me and my good buddy Ryan Spraker, who used to play guitar in my band,wrote these songs on the album together, he and I produced these songs together. We made the decision that whatever session we went into, however the person we were working with, was most comfortable that’s how we would work. He and I are pretty flexible in terms of making music and writing, for example, if we were with a hip-hop producer, and he wanted to start with a beat, or a piano line then we would start from that. When we got back and we were doing our own writing together, we saw that we could have a whole arsenal of ways we could start writing.Something as simple as kick drum, can really inspire you to write a song.
Listening to you new album ‘Nights Like This’, there’s a certain song that stands out “Grown Up”, talk to us about that.
Sure, it’s probably my favorite song on the album. It was an in-contention for the title of the album. I feel like grown up is probably the song that is the best example of the combination of the new Eli style and the old Eli style in a way. It has it looping southern funky groove but there’s a lot of modern elements to the production, the lyrics are tongue and cheek in that way, but vocally, and melody wise its still soul music. I think it brings it all together for me, that’s why I love that song. There are a few songs on the record that I think has a lot of the elements that we wanted to incorporate.
While listening to your album, I actually put you in the same ballpark as James Brown, what are your thoughts on that?
I’ll take it. Thank You, I love James Brown. I grow up listening to James Brown. My favorite James Brown is the early James Brown, the pre-funk James. I actually like James Brown as a ballad singer. I think he is kinda an underrated ballad singer, go check out James Brown’s ballads. The big one is “Lost Someone” the first live at the Apollo the centerpiece of the show is ten and a half minute version of “Lost Someone” and it’s like a church service it’s pretty incredible.
What are your thoughts on long runs, and intros to songs?
I think now you can have a three and half till four minute songs, at that time if it were over 2:45 it wouldn’t make the record for the most part. I think for live that was where a lot of people were able to shine, and to engage the audience. That is something I like to do for my live shows, the songs that you hear on this record, when we play them live we definitely extend them. I am a firm believer that there is a way a song suppose to sound on a record, and the way a song should sound live, and often times they can be very different.
What’s the favorite song that you like to cover while performing on stage?
Last year, for record store day we put out a single, robin song call your girlfriend and we flipped it to call your boyfriend. We’ve been playing that live, we do it as a soul ballad. That’s really fun to play live; I really enjoy doing that song. Another big one we have been doing live is “Love on Top” by Beyonce. I have such a good time singing it, I did a YouTube cover of it and Beyonce actually put it on her website, and Facebook page which was pretty exciting.
Listening to “Nights like this” and “Shoes”, they both have a similar upbeat tempo, would you say that you’re performing from a happy place in life? Would you like to talk to us about the importance of picking a right studio to do these songs in?
I think right now I’m definitely in a good place; I think this album really reflects that. I was really excited to kind of break out and make new music; I think this is a joyous record in a lot of ways, I hope people will take it as such. I think it’s the kind of record you can put on from start to finish, and enjoy. I enjoyed playing the songs live. These songs on the record make me happy that’s for sure. As far as the studio goes I don’t know if it matters, the engineer is someone that I’ve work with all the time, doesn’t necessarily come with the studio. He is a good buddy of our name Pat Dicenso, he engineers everything that I do. We did this record half of it at Q divisions studios in Somerville, Mass. I love it there, I think it’s a really great place to make records. We made the other half of the record at place called Apple head Studios, which is in Woodstock, New York. I would never make a record in a boxy studio; we like to have a big live room and a lot of live instruments that we can use. I am have partial to Q divisions, because they put out my first record, that place is like home to me.
Is there a certain vinyl that you haven’t been able to find for your collection?
I am big fan of soul music, I’m from Boston. Most people won’t not think of Boston as a hotbed of soul music. There’s a small group of records that came out in Boston during the 60s and the 70s, and I’ve gotten a lot of them, but there’s a guy from Boston name Steve Colt, and he put out a couple of records on the label called Big Beat, and one of them is called “Hey girl how Ya Gonna Act” and I haven’t been able to find that. I’ve looking for it, for a long time.