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AAA Music | 23 January 2021

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AAA Music Approved: The Answer

| On 09, Mar 2015

The Answer - Interview

Who are you and where are you from?

I am Paul Mahon and I play guitar in the rock’n’roll band The Answer. Our background is in the blues and hard rock of the 60s/70s and the alternative rock of the early 90s. We formed in 2000, I had played in bands with Micky the bass player since I was 15 and then we added James on drums and Cormac on vocals around this time. We were very disillusioned with the state of the music scene at the time which was predominantly nu-metal and indie rock,the only remaining great rock band of the time still making new and vital music were the Black Crowes, also I think the legacy of bands such as Soundgarden and Nirvana had been lost a little.We wanted to put a kickass band together in which every musician could play and hold their own musical corner much in the same way Led Zeppelin were conceived. We were going to use the blues as our roots and break it free out of the 12 bar constraints and rules and see where it took us and you can hear it over our five albums.

What inspired you to get into music?

I grew up hearing lots of music around my house but by chance saw AC.DC playing ‘That’s The Way I Want My Rock N Roll’ on a Saturday morning TV show and immediately went out and bought Blow Up Your Video and my life changed forever. The next week I got ‘If You Want Blood You Got It’ and I was hooked on AC/DC for life and then became a student of all hard rock for the next 10 yrs. Records were my teachers. After AC/DC I got into Aerosmith, Motley Crew, Black Sabbath, Metallica and then the next big influence on my musical direction was Led Zeppelin. They were the first true genre hopping band in a way and welded together blues, rock, proto-metal, folk, prog and psychedelia with ease. I saw this approach as the ultimate not restricting in any sense and still very entertaining.

What have you done?

We were part of the new school of rock that emerged between 2003-05 and we are one of the few bands who have stayed around,had an influence and are still making vital and exciting music. We had our first album released in 2006 and will have released five albums in total with Raise A Little Hell released today. I’m proud of all our records, particularly Rise, Revival and Raise A Little Hell. I think it was quite an achievement coming from Belfast and making it to the pinnacle of our chosen genre and still enduring while music tastes and fashions shift frivolously year to year.

What are you like live?

We are a band most at home in the live arena.Our live show is full of energy, no frills and lots of thrills. We have toured with the Datsuns, Wolfmother, Eagles of Death Metal, Whitesnake, Aerosmith and we did the entire Black Ice tour supporting AC/DC!

What makes you different?

I think we have managed to combine an energetic live show with great musicianship, a unique frontman, great songs and a laissez-faire attitude where you never know just whats going to happen. We don’t play it by the book and try to make sure that our audience are always wanting more.

Physical vs Downloading vs Streaming…How do you listen to music?

A great question and debate for everyone with an interest in music! Ok, let me start by saying I think the experience of an album is more than just musical, it is a multi-sensory experience.Part of it is going to the record store either knowing what you want or picking something on a whim, then getting excited and listening to it on the way home. Then putting it on when you get home, looking at the art work, looking at the photos, reading through the inlay card and listening to the whole album track by track in one sitting! It can be a spiritual experience or you may think the record isn’t that great but maybe it has one or two great moments that will keep you going back to it. And the search for more of those great albums keeps you repeating the experience.

10/20 years ago there were more albums that gave the religious or life changing experience. You can have this experience on vinyl or CD, it’s up to you. Now downloading has given a different experience. The first thing about it is the convenience of it, you can get any track or album in the iTunes catalogue any time of the day or night, I think this is pretty awesome in a futuristic way. It also means you don’t have to commit to buying  a whole album,you can pick and choose your tracks. Again this is good and bad, the days of buying an album and finding it only has one track you like are gone,but it also has a McDonald’s fast-food mentality to it where the want it now urge is fulfilled and you don’t preserver with some albums that eventually reveal themselves to be gems. If iTunes existed in 1991 Nirvana would have sold one million downloads of ‘Smell Like Teen Spirit’ and only a few thousand of Nevermind! Can you imagine!? But all this said while I favour physical product I’m not against iTunes. Spotify however is a whole different kettle of fish, it’s a model where you don’t have to commit to any choice, a musical one night stand with no strings attached and it leaves one distinctly unsatisfied and with no musical personality or identity.

What have you been listening to?

I have been listening to Noctum, Ghost, an instrumental post rock band called Tides From Nebula, the latest Prince album Art Official Age, Yngwie Malmsteens, Rising Force and the Stooges Funhouse. All classics!

What are your aspirations for the future?

We are about to release our new album Raise A Little Hell (released today) and we have just shot the video for the first single ‘RED’. Then we embark on an extensive Uk and European tour. We are touring America in May/June and then we have the festival season coming up,we are already confirmed for Greenfield, Nova Rock, Wacken and Hell Fest.

Questions answered by: Paul Mahon (guitar) of The Answer…

The Answer’s new album Raise A Little Hell is out today.