Oya Paya - INTERVIEW
Next up in our North West month is Liverpool trio Oya Paya. Well, I say Liverpool trio but these three are about as global as they come. With heritage in the UK, France, Iran and Singapore, they're upcoming mini-album 'Connected' is dusted with irony as the three never even recorded in the same room together, separated by nearly 7,000 miles due to COVID.
This blend of cultures comes in handy when it comes the actual music though. It creates a fun-loving sound that captures retro aesthetic and funky grooves in tracks that often surprise you as they continue to develop. 'Pretty Slick', the second single from their mini-album is out now on all platforms!
The two new singles carry an energetic yet spacey tone to them - what do you want people to feel when listening to the new tracks?
I guess we’d love to give our listeners the same experience we had listening to loads of angsty 90s rock as we were growing up; that uplifting release when somebody sums up exactly how you’re feeling.
Ultimately people will always feel slightly different when listening to a song so we try to keep it as authentic as we can in our music and let whoever is on the other end take the wheel of their emotions. We want whoever is listening to feel like the music is the soundtrack to their own movie.
What is the lyrical meaning behind Pretty Slick?
Pretty slick is a bit of a layered one. The inspiration of the song comes from a close friend to Max the lead singer, unsurprisingly called Patrick. Their relationship was full of boisterous teasing and pranks, testing each other's boundaries and patience but without malice, until a line was crossed. Once that happens, regret and consequence aren’t considered until action has been taken, something we should all avoid.
The name “Patrick” later became the embodiment of a voice that Max had been hearing over time, the “little man” inside his head that praises this type of behaviour and seeks to antagonise precarious situations that lead to trouble. No one got too hurt though so all remains well. But again we try to leave an element of interpretation to the listener and not be too direct in the lyrics, that way everyone can relate to the song in their own way.
The two remained friends though and grew up !!!!
How would you say you have developed over the years as a band and how does the upcoming mini-album differ from your previous releases?
We’ve had to experiment over the years in our songwriting and production due to the distance issues we have faced since the beginning of Oya Paya but it’s all been a very interesting learning curve. We’ve gotten a lot better at being apart and making music together from a distance, it’s been challenging but necessary to keep the music flowing which has led us to becoming the self sufficient DIY outfit we are today.
We feel the new batch of songs we’ve been cooking up for the mini-album has definitely defined what we’re really all about, some smelly 20 somethings making spicy tunes without any boundaries, be they musical or being 7000+ miles apart.
As a band with such different upbringings from across the country how do you feel Liverpool & the North-West have brought you together and impacted your sound?
We all met at university in Liverpool and shared a common love for the gig nightlife which Liverpool is very accommodating for when it’s at it’s best. Most of our close friends in Liverpool are all of the creative kind so there’s always a performance of some kind to go see. But the real gift from Liverpool is the people, neither one of us is from there originally and everyone we met helped us feel right at home. The rich musical heritage of the city probably didn’t rub off on us as much as the life there did.
Oh yeah, and Max once ran into the ghost of George Harrison on his way home. Taught him some sweet new scales.
Do you feel a part of the North West musical identity or due to your variety of backgrounds to you feel like you transcend any one geographical scene?
Yeah definitely, we’ve all lived a lot within the music scene in the North West with Oya Paya and all other projects we’ve worked with in the past and present. We’ve had the luxury of being championed by Dave Monks a few times which has really helped us move up the BBC ladder but also with our development and making us feel like we fit in Merseyside
I think no matter where we’re from or where we are, Liverpool will always be a home to Oya Paya.
LISTEN TO THEIR NEW TRACKS ON OUR BEST OF THE NORTH WEST PLAYLIST