Album Review: The Pretty Reckless

by Alexander Nagorski

Taylor Momsen talks a lot of shit. At only seventeen-years-old, the bohemian Gossip Girl star is desperate to be recognized as a serious adult musician. In interviews, she discusses how her “best friend is a vibrator” and jokes that she “fucked a priest once”. She bashes pop stars left and right in an attempt to squander the inevitable comparisons between her and musicians her age such as Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift. “I think the Disney bubblegum shit that the world is living on right now is pathetic,” she told FHM UK earlier this summer.

Recently, Momsen found herself in quite a bit of controversy due to a comment she made during an interview with Spin magazine. “People think pop is rock and the lines are getting blurred. Now Rihanna’s wearing fucking leather jackets and it’s really annoying,” she said. The massive amounts of criticism Momsen received for mocking one of the industry’s most prized “it” girls forced her to back-peddle and release a statement, which said that although “Rihanna is great,” the fashion of the rock star look is “the closest thing audiences have to rock right now” in this “very pop-oriented world.” Bold statement, Little J.

With all this talk of “real rock,” you’d expect Momsen to be the reincarnation of Kurt Cobain. Her band, The Pretty Reckless, is releasing their debut album Light Me Up via Interscope Records on August 31st, which Momsen (who co-wrote the entire record and serves as the lead singer) is using as a platform to elect herself as rock & roll’s savior. This “don’t call me a role model”, platinum blonde, raccoon-eyed, ripped corset-wearing, sullen teenager truly believes that her music will raise rock from the ashes of pop.

Now, I don’t necessarily agree with Cindy Lou Who’s claims about rock not having a significant place in today’s music scene, but I must say, this album backs up her self-declared role as adding a beat to the genre’s heart. As annoying and pretentious as she is, Momsen has come out with a record that is surprisingly terrific. She may be far from the new Kurt Cobain, but she’s nailed the vintage Courtney Love sound nearly flawlessly. Momsen’s raw and raspy voice, as well as her ability to rock out over guitar riffs as heavy as her mascara, could serve as a testing subject for vocal cloning. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that Momsen sneaked into the studio where Love was recording Hole’s less-than-worthy-of-a-comeback album Nobody’s Daughter and captured her vocal essence in a seashell necklace ala the sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Except in Momsen’s case, the seashell necklace would probably be a leather, spiked choker or a string of bones of Disney starlets that spells out “Told you I was better, mother fuckers.”

The explosive lead single, “Make Me Wanna Die,” bears enough angst that would make Amy Lee of Evanescence recommend Momsen for professional counseling. Whereas the majority of the album has more of a 90’s grunge feel to it, this track stands out as certainly the most radio-friendly due to its up-tempo, catchy, and anguished chorus. The follow-up single, “Miss Nothing,” finds Momsen channeling her inner-Shirley Manson so convincingly that upon listening to it, I was hit with an overwhelming wave of nostalgia, causing me to immediately dig up my old copy of Garbage’s “Version 2.0.” The track is succeeded on the album by “Going Down,” Momsen’s cleverly crafted, diabolical response (or should I say “fuck you”) to the controversy surrounding all the clergy convicted of molestation charges. After all, nothing proves you’re an adult more than giving the middle finger to the church, right? Just kidding, Tay-Tay. Don’t unleash your knife collection on me (yes, she actually has one).

Lyrically, the album is just as strong as it is musically. Rather than creating a sappy, cliché “I love you” and/or “I hate you” record, Momsen writes (usually somberly) about larger scale issues ranging from death to religion to sex to substance abuse. Replace the frequency of the word “baby” in a typical pop song with the word “pill,” and you have a typical Pretty Reckless song. The pained, post-hipster persona that Momsen exudes is translated clearly through her writing. While there are certain lines that will make you let out a chuckle or an eye-roll, the majority of Momsen’s writing is shockingly rich with provocative metaphors and a confident story-telling quality. I say “shockingly” because Momsen doesn’t exactly strike me as someone who’s very good with words (exhibit A: every single one of her aforementioned quotes in this article).

What makes Momsen’s lyrics really work, however, is how blatantly honest they are. She’s clearly not afraid to spill her most intrinsic feelings into her songs. At times she’s scathingly pissed (“Since You’re Gone”), scared (“My Medicine”), vindictive (“Light Me Up”), and so vulnerable (“Nothing Left To Lose”, “Just Tonight”) that you temporarily forget how precocious she is and instead just want to give her a hug and tell her that things will all work out for the best. On this album, Momsen runs the gamut from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, hitting every stop along the way. And while this track-listing may seem thematically scattered, the sophisticated musical accompaniment carrying these songs helps them flow and transition into one large, cohesive near-brilliant single entity. The tabloids can mock Momsen’s hurry to become a legal adult as much as they want, but Light Me Up displays a musical maturity that few musicians years her senior have accomplished.

The trick to releasing your frustration towards Momsen’s less than bring-home-to-mama personality is to let it out in a mosh-pit to her band’s music. As much as you might want to shake her and scream, “we get it, you’re edgy,” you can’t deny that Light Me Up is the most promising debut from a young, female-fronted rock band since (dare I say?) The Runaways. If Momsen can come out with music of this caliber at seventeen, I can’t wait to hear what she releases after a few more tortured, liquor-soaked years of rock-stardom.

Pre-order the album here
Check out the music video for The Pretty Reckless’ “Miss Nothing”:

Joe Meno’s "I Want The Quiet Moments of a Party Girl"

Aristotle wrote that one of the essential ingredients of tragedy was the hero’s realization – the too-late moment where he has an epiphany that if he had done something differently, then the series of consequences that become the tragedy could have been avoided. This theory has been supported by literature for centuries, but what happens if Aristotle’s definition is too narrow? A tragedy can be a tragedy without somebody making a mistake, and can occur simply because life sucks and the world is an ugly place.

Author Joe Meno agrees with me. In “I Want the Quiet Moments of a Party Girl,” a heart-wrenching story from his fabulous slap-you-in-the-face-with-loneliness collection Demons In The Spring (Akashic Books, ISBN: 978-1936070091), a couple is so staggeringly suffocated by tragedy, that they almost give up on taking that final gasp of air to resuscitate themselves.

The story begins with the male narrator describing the antics he and his girlfriend Sophie pull to entertain themselves. To some, the things they do would be considered immoral or strange (such as going to see guaranteed bad movies and yelling obscenities throughout the whole thing, only to ask for their money back at the end), but to the young couple it is their language of love. Their way of sharing and experiencing with one another.

This is not to say that the characters in this story come straight out of a romantic comedy, putting cake on each other’s noses and running around having pillow fights in their apartment while hysterically laughing before collapsing onto the bed in each other’s arms. What makes this duo unique is that they seem to have a solid understanding of the negative world around them, and rather than succumb to its bitterness, try to make the most of it.

“In our closet, Sophie has a collection of all the saddest things in the world. It is part of an art installation she has been planning for years, which we both know will probably never happen. On the weekends, Sophie drags me to all kinds of garage sales, yard sales, estate sales; it is her thing, looking for other people’s diaries, answering machine tapes, journals, letters, anything that tells someone else’s tragic story. She has boxes and boxes of that kind of junk, everything from war letters to miserable-looking family photo albums of people she has never met. When we first started going out, I asked her, “Why do you collect all this junk?” and she told me it was her way of understanding that life was one continuous tragedy. We were sitting on her small bed and I was just noticing the smell of her hair when she opened up a photo album from the ’70s and showed me a photograph of a girl who was maybe eight or nine at a zoo, standing beside a beautiful, velvety fawn. In the photograph, the girl was crying and holding her left hand. “It bit me,” Sophie whispered, pointing to a small white scar on the knuckle of her left hand. She kissed it and placed her knuckle against my lips. I felt like I understood something about her then, something that was both incredibly attractive and incredibly sad. I had never met anyone as sure of the imminent end of the world before, and for some reason I found it very reassuring.”

But in true Revolutionary Road fashion, the honeymoon period doesn’t last. The couple becomes overexposed to one another and the little ticks that once seemed endearing are now plucking the chords of each other’s last nerves. When Sophie becomes pregnant, the narrator is annoyed by her nonchalant attitude toward motherhood. “The only problem is that Sophie doesn’t act like she’s pregnant,” he says. “When I ask her when she plans on slowing down, when it is she’s going to begin to act like she’s having a baby, she just looks at me funny and shrugs, rolling her eyes, and then tells me to kiss off. Her hair is long and dark and she has a beauty mark just above her lip, and when she shrugs it makes you feel small and stupid for ever troubling her about anything.”

Sophie’s nonchalant attitude about a person growing inside of her ultimately fades, and the couple shares their excitement about starting a family, both with themselves and with everyone they know. “We are just past twelve weeks and so we have already told everybody that Sophie is pregnant; people at our jobs we don’t really know, people we think we despise,” the narrator says. The little ticks that seemed to be getting under one another’s skin seem to have disappeared, and the couple becomes the matured version of their previous selves.

And then the tragedy occurs: the narrator gets a phone call at work from Sophie that she’s bleeding and is going to the hospital. It is during the news of Sophie’s miscarriage that Meno displays his exquisite craft as a master of language. “What hurts is to find out we are not as special as we had always believed,” the narrator says in reaction to the devastating news. Meno’s choice of words are simple and eloquent, cutting right to the core of the sentiment being expressed as well as the heart of the reader. These moments of Lydia Davis-inspired minimalism are where Meno’s writing shines the most. His stories are sprinkled with beautiful brief sentences that provide more clarity than many writers achieve with full-length descriptive paragraphs.

After the miscarriage, the grieving couple is stuck in romantic limbo. They stop connecting both physically and emotionally because they remind each other of their loss.

“We try to talk to each other about it but the bad feeling is here to stay for a while at least. When Sophie is speaking to her mother on the telephone, I go around the house looking for anything that might remind us of what we have lost. I put the children’s books we have bought, toys, clothes, in a closet. I stare at the pile of stuffed animals and feel like I need to apologize to them, too, for some reason.
I notice Sophie sitting over her cardboard box of tragedies. Without a word, she yanks off her plastic emergency room bracelet and places it inside, then puts the top back on and shoves it into the corner.
When we finally go to sleep, we are too tired to say goodnight. I lie there feeling as if I have lost both arms and legs. Like something more important than my heart has been stolen from me. What can be more important than your heart? I don’t know. Whatever it is, it is now missing.”

But then something miraculous happens. The narrator hears Sophie running the water to prepare for a bath, which is when he realizes they haven’t even been naked together in longer than he can remember. He strips off his clothes and climbs into their tiny bathtub behind her, cradling his arms around her and holding onto her tightly so as not to lose the love they once had. He says “hello” to her and she says “hello” back. I’ll spare you the inevitable cliché imagery of the water they’re in cleansing their relationship or their nudity as a symbol of their vulnerability in exposing themselves to one another, but this gorgeous moment is tender and full of hope. Despite the suffering they’ve endured, Meno makes it clear that the tragedy they’ve endured will not be a death sentence for these two. Again, Meno’s minimalist language (the single most basic word, “hello”) successfully evokes pages of sentiment and feeling.

There is nothing that these two could have done differently to avoid the tragedy that came their way. What makes this such a profound love story, however, is how they wouldn’t let that tragedy signal their demise. They proved that their feelings were stronger than the obstacles life threw at them. Their love rose from the ashes it was incinerated into and emerged as a damaged but beautiful phoenix.

At first glance, Meno’s stories have a way of seeming dark and tragic. The key to seeing the light in this dark, however, is understanding that although his characters are consumed by tragic events, they always somehow survive and refuse to let these events define them. A miscarriage has the potential (and historical evidence) to shatter a relationship. In “I Want The Quiet Moments of a Party Girl,” it is not the miscarriage that is the focus of the story – rather it is the promise of resurrecting hope that the protagonists ultimately achieve that is what stays with the reader. The most crucial difference, then, between Aristotle and Meno’s definitions of tragedy, are that Aristotle believes that a tragic event must end with a crippled protagonist who cannot move forward due largely to regret. Meno, on the other hand, sees tragedy as a stepping stone, proving that sometimes it is the most heart shattering event that ultimately leads us to our personal salvations.

Illustrations by Caroline Hwang

Interview with Michael Paynter

by Alexander Nagorski

Michael Paynter is a rare breed when it comes to contemporary pop stars. When he first appeared on the Australian music scene a few years ago, it was evident that this was a man with an indescribable musical gift. With a heart-shatteringly gorgeous tenor voice that is rivaled by very few, and the ability to play the 88 keys of a piano like you’ve never heard the instrument played before, Paynter is the real deal. A musical prodigy of various sorts, he released his new EP Love The Fall earlier this summer. Already a smash success in his homeland and climbing the charts worldwide, the EP serves as an appetizer to his much anticipated debut full-length album. It also features the eponymous lead single, with contributing vocals by fellow Australian superstar pop act The Veronicas. Calling in via Skype from his home Down Under, Paynter chatted with me about the EP, the upcoming album, breaking America and of course … Justin Bieber.

AN: The first song of yours I ever heard was “Novocaine,” which I saw you playing on YouTube about a year ago.

MP: What’s funny about that song is that originally it was not meant to be on an album. Then I put that song on YouTube and I ended up singing it with Lisa and Jess (The Veronicas) and experienced how much people liked it so I thought “I’m going to have to put this out on the next EP or album or else I’m going to get chased down and mugged in the park.

AN: The week after its release, “Love The Fall” quickly became the most added song to Australian radio and continues to climb the charts. The music video for it has also ranked highly on YouTube in countries like the UK, Italy, Canada, and Mexico. How has this rapid success changed your life in the past month?

MP: It hasn’t really changed my life yet. It was the #1 most added song to radio and it’s the #6 most played song on the radio right now here, which is HUGE considering the rest of the chart consists of people like Taio Cruz and Katy Perry. I think what has changed is that people are finally appreciating and enjoying my music, and I’m really liking being able to say to people “Yes, I’m a singer, I’ve got something coming out soon and you’ll be able to get it in on MySpace.” It’s good to have people recognize the song and like it. It’s a different thing when you’re making music when people really want you to succeed and are behind you than when you’re making music and nobody really cares about it. It’s also nice to finally have some recognition and a bit of a pay-off for all the years of hard work.

AN: Are you planning on releasing a full-length album in the near future?

MP: Yeah. I’m going to release another single from this EP and then recording the next seven songs for the album. I’m finishing recording the album between here and Los Angeles and squeezing as much in as I can while I’m promoting and touring. I’m hoping to be finished up in a couple of weeks and then we’ll see what happens from there on.

AN: So on this album you’ll be including the songs from the EP rather than doing a completely brand new tracklisting, right?

MP: Yeah. I think the EP (and whether there’s another EP after this) is more just a strategy for not wasting any more time. I made my first record two-and-a-half years ago and it never got released, so I’ve been working my ass off ever since. But I thought that instead of waiting another six months to get all the mastered and finished tracks, I would release this EP to get the music out to people as quickly as possible.

AN: “Love The Fall” features guest vocals by your close friends Lisa and Jess, more commonly referred to as The Veronicas. Could you please talk to me a little bit about how you all met and became friends, and why you asked them specifically to sing on the track?

MP: Well we have a foundation here (in Australia) called ARIA. I’m not sure what the American equivalent is – it might be Billboard? The one that controls all the charts. Every year there’s an award ceremony called the ARIA Number Ones, which is kind of our version of your Grammys. The ARIA Number Ones just invites record company people and all the artists who have had number one singles or albums from the past year. I sung there three years ago and Lisa and Jess were there for “Untouched.” They came up to me afterwards and we started to chat backstage. I also spent eighteen months after overseas, mostly in L.A. but also in London and New York, so every time I was in those places we ended up catching up and getting together. We have really, really similar tastes in music and hit it off really well. I started singing on their tours while they were out there and so when it came to recording, we would send each other demos of new songs we were writing. I sent “Love The Fall” to Lisa about a year ago and she really loved it. When it came time to making the real version of it for the EP, I said “would you like to sing it?” and she said she’d love to and then got Jess involved and that sort of spiraled into them also being in the video.

AN: Is there any one song in particular off of the EP that you have the deepest connection to? In other words, out of the five tracks, which one could you play everyday for the rest of your life and never get tired of?

MP: That’s a question of the heart! I think my proudest moment as a songwriter so far would have to be the second track, “Are You Alive”. I’m very passionate about making music about things other than “baby, are you down, down, down” or “tonight, I’m at the party and baby you got some boobies like wow.” While there’s a place for that music and it does serve a purpose, my calling as a musician is probably to make music encouraging to live a great life. I’ve seen so many people going through their lives just playing it safe and getting by just being comfortable. Yeah, you might be able to pay the bills and buy a house, the kids might go to private school, but they never take any risks and would rather just do what they have to in order to get by easily from day to day and I think that’s a really sad, waste of life. I wrote “Are You Alive” to hopefully encourage people to question themselves. I think that’s a song that I wrote that hopefully I could take to the grave and be proud of. I hope so at least. Talk to me in ten years and hopefully I’ll feel the same (laughs).

AN: How will American audiences be able to access your music? Are you planning on releasing the EP or touring here?

MP: Yes, definitely. I’m coming over early next year to do some showcases for some labels, just off the back of the success of the “Love The Fall” single. I also spend a lot of time in America – I’ve got a lot of friends there as well as some industry people who are pretty keen on bringing me over. Before I do that though, I have to really get it off the ground here first. I’ve got a whole bunch of tours coming up at the end of the year in places like New Zealand. In terms of the EP being released, technically that’s a decision only iTunes can make for themselves. So far, in addition to Australia and New Zealand, iTunes in Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, Hong Kong, and the UK have already added it to their stores which is great, but America is still holding out so all I can really do is wait and hope.

AN: You mentioned that you’re in the U.S. a lot. What’s your favorite place here to visit?

MP: To be honest, mate, my manager, Paul, was actually the guitar player for two Australian bands: The Little River Band and Icehouse, both of which were pretty big, one in the 70’s and one in the 80’s. So he’s toured America many, many, many times and he’s told me all these fantastic stories about all these great little places in the mid-west. But I’ve only been to Chicago, Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles. Out of those, at the risk of sounding excessively diplomatic, definitely New York would be my favorite. I was only there for a week, unfortunately, but as you well know, it is possibly the only city in the world that has lived up and exceeded the hype from the very first time you land there. I really love London, it’s one of my favorite cities, and I really love L.A. now, but it took me a long time. L.A. I love for the people – I have friends there and have formed a little life. But the city is nothing like New York! I’ve never experienced a literal buzz in the buildings like in New York. It’s literally like the place is alive and not just because of the sickening amounts of lights in Times Square. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Greenwich Village or just a back alley somewhere, you’ll find a beautiful Italian café. It actually reminds me a lot of Melbourne, but much, much cooler. I’d love to New York one day. If I could afford an apartment there, that would be amazing.

AN: You cite various influences as having shaped your musical interest, ranging from Nirvana to Eva Cassidy. While writing this EP, which musicians were you listening to the most?

MP: You’ve probably asked about five questions in a row that nobody’s asked me, and I’ve been doing non-stop interviews for the past month, so well done! Maybe it’s because you’re from a different country. I’m enjoying it.

AN: Well thank you, I am as well!

MP: One of my top five, in terms of influences, is The Script. I also love Muddy Waters, John Mayer, Elvis, Sting, and maybe U2. Sting is probably up there as number one or two for me in terms of melody and songwriting. The Script is also hugely influenced by Sting – that guy sounds so much like Sting it’s ridiculous. I was listening to their album pretty passionately for a couple of years, which I think you can hear in tracks like “Icarus” and to a lesser extent in “Lay My Armour Down.” I’ve also been listening to a lot of David Gray. He has a beautiful album called White Ladder, which is a 90’s album with fantastic programming on it. It’s not like modern Timbaland programming, which a lot of people seem to be doing now, but it’s almost like an organic programming. I know that seems like an oxymoron, but it kind of just stretched my brain a bit when I was producing my music and thinking of how I could do things differently. I think the combination of White Ladder and Keane’s Hopes and Fears and The Script were my biggest inspirations for this record. I know this is also a little out of left field, but I’ve also been listening a lot to Linkin Park’s album Meteora, the one with “Easier To Run” and “Breaking The Habit”. I just reckon that’s a fantastic record. That guy has such an incredible voice and I don’t think he gets enough credit for being a great singer.

AN: I completely agree. Your music has been featured on numerous television shows such as “Heroes” and “Lost.” Is it strange for you to hear your music applied to stories and narratives that are so far removed from your songwriting process?

MP: It’s a little strange at the start. But it’s also quite thrilling. As a songwriter, you try to lock into a story, whatever that story may be, and try to convey it … unless you’re Justin Bieber. When other people take your story, like the people who produce these shows, and fit it in with their stories, it becomes very cool to see how someone else reads your songs. How they cut the song and what parts of it they choose to play implies a certain interpretation of your lyrics. It’s very exciting and a big honor when that happens too because there are a million songs they could choose.

AN: You play a ton of instruments, including the piano, guitar, and drums. Out of all of these, which medium do you tend to write songs on first, and why?

MP: That would probably be split between guitar and piano. I would say for the most part, more the guitar – but I also have quite a short attention span when I’m writing, so if I get bored of my guitar, I’ll try to switch to piano. Developing these sounds on different instruments though is immediately different. I think that’s pretty common though – most songwriters I know or have worked with have a similar process. More recently, I’ve been working a lot on the computer and recording and writing as I’m going. Because instead of having four chords and a melody to start with, you can have a great drumbeat, some wicked samples and some synths in there. Put that on loop and that takes you to a whole new place. So like I said, it’s mostly on the guitar but I’m really enjoying beginning to explore the other ways as well.

AN: Critics have often written that your immense vocal range constitutes you as a “freak of nature.” With all the performing that you do, what steps do you take to keep your voice healthy?

MP: I’m not a big party animal. I mean, I have my moments, don’t worry about that. But because I am a singer, when I’m on tour that’s my main focus. I think nowadays so many people who are trying to do what I do are wasting opportunities by trashing themselves and not being able to sing the next day. I tend to get as much sleep as I can. I know it sounds really boring but really the thing that repairs your voice better than anything else is sleep and water. And I’m a singing teacher, so I know this because I do this for a living: you really just cannot beat sleep and water. They’re the two most important things. I don’t take any drugs, I don’t drink a lot. When you’re on tour, it’s a job. For me, the excitement and the rush comes from being on stage and being able to sing, rather than being stuck at some nightclub on a sticky floor at 3 a.m. I’d rather be in my pajamas in my hotel room watching T.V. and eating a burger.

AN: You did a residency at a venue called The Revolver. As a performer, what do you feel are the biggest differences between touring from place to place versus playing the in same space on a consistent basis?

MP: I played eight shows at The Revolver and I think six of them were sold out. I didn’t expect that at all so that was a really big compliment for me. I was very humbled by the support I got there. The Revolver has a reputation of being one of the best live music venues in the world and from my experience, I’d probably say it’s the very best. It was a big honor to play there. With a consistent gig like that, you really get to know the sound system, the crew, and the managers. And if you play a residency (and you’re good), word spreads. The fans get comfortable with the venue too. For instance, they get to know the restaurants in the area and go to their favorite for dinner before the show. I had people who by the eighth show were bringing thirteen people with them.

AN: Your lyrics are often extremely personal. Are you ever afraid that you may be revealing too much through your music?

MP: No, I don’t think that’s possible. My job as a songwriter is just to be as honest as I can. I think people are really smart nowadays and can see through a lot so I don’t think you can get much past them. I find that some of my best songs are when I really tap into something that I’m feeling, whatever that may be, and just express it honestly without any second thoughts. Because if you start to second-guess or mask what you’re writing to appease someone, you’ve automatically taken a step backwards from truth. That’s what I love about musicians like Jeff Buckley. When you see him play, it’s just so raw and you think to yourself “I cannot believe I’m witnessing this. This guy’s heart is literally breaking in front of me on stage.” I think that still, even after all the technology that’s out there, it’s music like that which truly moves people and stands out above the rest.

AN: In an ideal world, if you could co-headline a tour with any musician currently out there, who would it be and why?

MP: This is a very, very difficult. I think for sheer numbers, being Pink’s support would be pretty rad. If I really had a choice though, it would probably be The Script. I think they’re one of my favorite bands, especially of the last decade. I think “Breakeven” is possibly the greatest pop song that’s been written in a very, very long time. It’s just one of those lyrically genius and melodically outstanding songs. I think it was either Rob Thomas or John Mayer who tweeted once “every songwriter in the world right now is trying to beat ‘Breakeven.’ Give up, it’s not going to happen.” Playing on a tour with them would be amazing, and I think also that their approach to their music is similar to mine, so hopefully their fans would connect with my music too.

AN: With the release of this EP you’re launching onto the platforms of international stardom. Five years from now, where would you ideally see yourself?

MP: I hope in five years I’ll have my fifth album out. I’d love to be twice as good a musician as I am now, maybe five times as good if I’m lucky. I want to be a much better singer and have a much bigger repertoire of great songs. I would love to have toured the world, which of course everyone dreams of doing. Really though I would hope that I would still have people who would want to hear music and would support it. Hopefully I’ll still be enjoying the ride and will be the same person. So Alex, if you read in five years that I’m partying every night while on tour, you can call me and say, “you’ve changed pal.”

Watch Michael Paynter and The Veronicas perform “Novocaine” live at The Revolver: