Paul Melançon is releasing a new album on April 10, a strange little monster dealing with Saturday-morning cartoons and clinical depression.
Musictap writes: Marking the release of his first full-length listed as Paul Melançon since the early 2000’s, The Get-Gos Action Hour! Is a slippery creature. Its exterior promises a sweet confection, wrapped in graphics reminiscent of late ‘60s Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows, the ones where everyone was a detective AND a pop star too. The wording on the package promises a concept “power-popera!,” and when taken at surface level, I suppose one can infer that. But Melançon has never really been surface-level.
A power-popera — a lot of people will think ‘why didn’t I come up with that’?
When I thought of it, I thought someone HAS to have already used this name. But through some kind of trans temporal wormhole, I’ve learned that that person was me all along.
What was the moment you knew you were on to something?
It took a long time. I wrote the little theme song that starts the new record way back in 2002, just as a sort of inside joke. I had a song on my first record called “1985 by the Get Gos” and in my head, I’d made up an entire backstory for this fictional band, without any real idea what to do with it. The idea to flesh it out for this record didn’t really dawn on me until 2017 or so, when somehow I made the connection that I could use it to transparently tell my own story about my struggle with severe depression.
How did this record come together?
Very slowly. [laughs] I tried to cobble it together by recording drums at Lee Flier’s Radio Flier Studios, and then let the rest of the band record their parts at home, and then I recorded vocals with Rob Gal, who has produced all of my records so far. It was intended as a way to try and make the whole process a bit more affordable, but in the end, it became a bit of a mess and took a lot longer. I probably won’t try it again. But I owe a lot to Lee, Rob, and the band for their supreme efforts at making it all work.
As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
No, but I’ve been dealing with depression for almost two decades now, and it affects pretty much every part of my life. Over time, I’ve grown to feel that, if I’m not open about it, my behavior can sometimes seem pretty odd. More to the point, it’s such a mis-understood illness that it feels important to be open and honest about it. And turning it into music or art is how I interact with the world, for good or ill.
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
Some of my favorite songs really only revealed themselves after multiple listens. If I have an overarching style, it’s that I try to write like that. I like to hide things below the surface of the songs, in the hopes that anyone who gives the music a little time can have that moment where the song suddenly opens up and the whole nature of it changes. I hope I reward repeated listens.
Vinyl is back, Spotify is ruling, tickets for concerts are becoming more and more expensive, everybody can record songs, social media is the marketing tool, Coldplay stops touring … how will the music industry look like in 5 years?
I didn’t have an answer for this before COVID-19, I have even less of an answer now. Original music, in general, has become terribly devalued over the last decade or so. Even I recognize that deliberately making a full-length concept record is insanity in an industry that only cares about singles these days. It may be foolhardy, but I guess my hope is that, maybe once this crisis is over, people will be sick enough of being trapped inside for so long that we see a new renaissance of live music and art.