Paul Cafcae has had an ear for staying melodies from an early age. Starting on the accordion, studying music theory, piano, and vocals in the USSR, he picked up the guitar while attending high school in Maryland, USA. Around this time, he began experimenting with writing his own material before touring with several bands across Europe and North America.
Taking advantage of the pandemic by continuously exercising his undeniable writing techniques, Paul Cafcae understands the importance of a song that is flooded with infectious grooves. The buoyancy emitted in his most recent release, “Downtown,” plays upon a Country swing fused with a Blues inspired framework. You immediately envision yourself taking in the melodic structure of this song at a venue of your choice while sipping on a cold beer and sharing the moment with your friends.
Adding a smidge of mockery into the way that Paul Cafcae showcases the mesmerizing lyrics, there is no doubt about it; you will be tapping your fingers and toes to the jaunty navigation of “Downtown.” The magnetism that pours from the opulent guitar riffs and exceedingly vibrant drum patterns rev up your engine as you indulge in the amplified sound of nostalgic tenors. The intention set in place for Paul Caface’s “Downtown” is to make light of the cultural differences of the big wig, busy city people, and the rest of the world who groove in the outwards of society.
To sweeten the deal, Paul Cafcae recruits Venezuelan Hector Alexander to amplify his talents during a harmonica solo that speaks for itself. “Downtown” glistens in the upbeat universe of an astonishing Blues soundwave that trickles into a boisterous collaboration of artistry. Paul Cafcae is most definitely on to the way he has us craving a live show on a Saturday night.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Paul Cafcae, its a pleasure to sit down with you. The Country meets Blues sound that you nail in “Downtown” has us fully immersed in the energy this track brings forth. How did you come up with the idea for the subject of “Downtown?"
Hi BuzzMusic, thanks so much for having me! When it comes to cultural differences between urban and countryside cultures, there is no lack of recognition: there are plenty of songs, books, poems, and movies about that. I grew up in a large city of about 5.5 million and settling down in the small town on the outskirts of Toronto definitely gave me even more perspective about these distinct differences, albeit in a slightly surprising way. Often downtown living is positioned as less prestigious, (think about David Wilcox's "Downtown Came Uptown" or Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl," but that's not the case here in the GTA. Having toured, I have a lot of friends both in big cities and in smaller communities, and I always found it a bit funny hearing them talk about how unimaginable life in that other setting is. So I wanted to switch things around a little bit and write a song from the position of what the countryside folk thinks about living in a big city vs what the city folk thinks about themselves. Thematically this piece is influenced a little bit by songs like CCR's "Fortunate Son," John Lenon's "Crippled Inside," and of course "September" by my personal Canadian idol Corb Lund. But this song of course is a tongue-in-cheek allegory. I guess I just wanted to show there is no single truth and that there will always be different strokes for different folks. I'm a bit of an idealist and I dream of global acceptance and inclusion one day! We love the harmonica solo by Hector Alexander. It’s the perfect touch to spice up the ambiance. What was it like working with one another on this song? Could you please tell us how the collaboration came to be?
That's a great question! Hector lives in Venezuela and he and I never actually met in person. I came across his profile on one of the internet musicians' boards when I was looking for a harmonica for one of my older songs, Quarantine Blues #1. I learned that Hector played bass and harmonica, so I sent him the scratch track for Downtown, along with some notes, and may I say he nailed it on the first try! When I heard the harmonic track I knew immediately that this was it! He told me that he loved the tune so much, and I think that's the secret: if you have people working on a piece they really enjoy, they just make it much better than even the author can imagine it! So Hector and I have collaborated on a few more songs, and we will be working together on my next record, so stay tuned!
You mentioned that you’ve been working on plenty of new music to come. We’re excited about that! What can you tell your audience about the releases to come?
That's true, it feels very strange and unusual to produce and release at this pace, but in the absence of touring opportunities, all I am left with is making new music and playing live-stream concerts. As for what's in the works, there will most definitely be more songs like Downtown. In the past, my songwriting has been focusing mostly on individual peak experiences, things like romance, heartbreak, loneliness, or hopefulness. My goal was to provide entertainment and comfort to the listener. But now I feel like I need to touch more on public and social issues, I need to feel more like a part of the community and less like an isolated individual. Downtown is sort of a harbinger of that transition in my art. And as for You can expect a couple more singles before the end of the year, and then a new LP! How have you found the pandemic play into your talents as an artist? Has your creative process changed or stayed the same?
As far as I can tell from my conversations with my friends and family, everyone has been affected by the pandemic one way or another. On the surface, I most definitely spend more time on the creative process. I used to practice for shows, but now I do less of that as I don't have any shows, and live streaming requires much less effort and preparation. So I found that now I use this time to think and come up with new songs and new music. I also think the pandemic and all that occurred around it changed some of my perspectives around what's important and what isn't. The healing power of music and art, in general, has been highlighted by its absence. And as an artist and a creator, I now feel more responsibility to leverage my ability to affect people's emotions and help them stay strong and hopeful. And thank you very much for generously calling my ability to write and perform songs a "talent!"