【Interview】Getting to know about Australian SSW “Grand Salvo”

Australian SSW, Paddy Mann performing under the name “Grand Salvo” will go onto Japan Tour in beginning of October, starting with the show in Kyoto. Its conceptual and poetic, cinematic world of music got a lot of music fans around the world. This tour will be held to celebrate his work, “Sea Glass”, the latest album released last year.

Previously, Mann worked with Nils Frahm, Berlin based post-classical producer to create his one of the most conceptual album “Slay Me In My Sleep” in 2012. Also, Mann held some Japan tour before, and he performed with Orisaka Yuta, who is now one of the most promised SSW in Japan. The latest album “Sea Glass” features loss, passing of time, and death, and he is eager to take Japanese Koto and non western instruments into his music making. It seems his style of music does not belong to any specific music genre, and its own unique sound is made from numerous kinds of inspiration piled up inside of Paddy Mann. This time, I got the chance to have a interview with Paddy Mann through email, and he told me his writing process, and building concept of each album, and his inspiration source.


“Its like a hermit crab’s shell or a snake’s skin, it becomes uncomfortable if you wear it for too long”

– Could you describe your music briefly?

Grand Salvo “I mostly write songs, but sometimes arranging and composing too. I mostly write for voice and guitar first, then layer arrangements over the top. I often explore single themes or narratives in my albums.”

– You are performing under the name “Grand Salvo”. Where did the name come from?

Grand Salvo “It’s a name I thought of in 1999 so its very old, and actually, whenever I really think about it I realise how detached and distant we have become (me and the name) Its like a hermit crab’s shell or a snake’s skin, it becomes uncomfortable if you wear it for too long. I originally thought of it as a juxtaposition to my very sparse and quiet style, as it means something like a ‘big sound’. I remember thinking the words looked nice next to each other.”

I’ve always wanted people to notice it only if it resonates with them, and to have to lean into it rather than me pushing it at them

– In latest album “Sea Glass”, you took Koto (Japanese Instrument) and other non-western instruments into your sound making, which seems to make your songs more poetic and give depth to the concept. What make you go on the adventure to non-western kinds of sound?

Grand Salvo I didn’t really approach the instrumentation of the last record as anything beyond timbre/etc, and planned to use the instruments purely for their sound, but as the recording progressed I started thinking about the players contributing too, rather than me just writing all the parts out as I usually do. It made the recording process much different, as sometimes the lines were instantly perfect and demanded other elements be altered to highlight this, or alternatively there were only snippets or small sections that worked and these had to be edited and shifted to work in the song. In the end it was an enormous editing process which was quite laborious, but I didn’t mind as it was all in aid of capturing the original immediacy of the players.”

– Your cinematic and gentle sound of world got me very impressed. What is the inspiration behind your music creation.

Grand Salvo Well, I do actually listen to a lot of sound tracks and do aspire to create similarly cohesive experiences in my albums. My favourite films all have a very particular mood and I’m also always trying to find and recreate that kind of mood in my music. My favourite sound tracks I like because they have a sustained mood and dynamic that, although made FOR the film, can be separated from the film and sometimes be the greater for it.

As to the music being gentle, that has been an idea I’ve had from the start. I’ve always wanted people to notice it only if it resonates with them, and to have to lean into it rather than me pushing it at them. I’ve also become interested in repeating and overlapping patterns over the years, which by their nature are quite languid and trance like.”

The Rocky Road To Dublin – The Dubliners (Live At Vicar Street | The Dublin Experience)
The Fureys- When You Were Sweet Sixteen
The Springtime It Brings On the Shearing

I think as usual though its too difficult to choose a favorite.

– I am so interested in your musical background, Could you tell me what you listened to around your house when you were child?

Grand Salvo Well my Dad was always playing Irish folk music like the Dubliners and the Furies. I also remember John Denver, and Gary Shearston’s ‘springtime it brings on the shearing’ has really stuck with me. Mum would crank Beethoven and Chopin and Elvis most of the time from memory. Beethovens famous piano sonatas have left the biggest impression of those I think.

My first record, chosen because of its cover, was ‘have you any wool’ by The People Down the Lane. Its a collection of nursery rhymes arranged in the Orff school music style by Richard Gill and its quite strange and haunting. It disturbed and intrigued me and has definitely influenced my music.”

– You’ve played in Japan a few times before, together with Orisaka Yuta etc. Could you tell me about your favorite Japanese Musician?

Grand Salvo “I have played with so many amazing Japanese musicians during my visits. Eddie Marcon, Tennis Coats, Kicell and Tayutau among many. Recently I’ve liked the latest releases from Noah and Cicada on the Label Flau, which always puts out great music. I also recently got into Eiko Ishibashi’s music through following my friend Joe Talia (Who will be playing some percussion with me in Tokyo) they have a duo together. She has very focussed album concepts too so I feel an affinity. An old favourite of mine is Nagisa Ni Te, they were probably my first introduction to Japanese music back in the 90’s. Haruomi Hosono’s ‘watering a flower’ is one I have been playing a lot over the last few years. Lately I have been listening to Joe Hisaishi a LOT, specifically the Ohm chase scene at the start of Nausica which my 4 year old requests on repeat. I think as usual though it’s too difficult to choose a favorite.”

テニスコーツ – 月の音 @ 全感覚祭2018
PV たゆたう つきにうたかた
石橋英子 / Eiko Ishibashi "Agloe" (Official Audio)
渚にて – よすが

Like a seed song that encapsulates a lot of what I want to achieve and will make the rest of the album take shape around it.

– When I listen to your songs, it feels like that each songs has each story, and make me imagine the people are playing roles in the movie. Your music remind me about the movie I have watched before. How do you build up the concept of each album?

Grand Salvo Well thats very nice to hear, particularly after my previous answers! Sometimes the idea will be a little vague and will only start to get a proper narrative form after a particular song has been completed. Like a seed song that encapsulates a lot of what I want to achieve and will make the rest of the album take shape around it. Other times I know exactly what the story will be and its a matter of puzzling out what will happen over which song and how the story will unfold. This is a harder way of doing it because the telling of the story and the shaping of the music has to have equal consideration.”

Tour Dates

Tues Oct 8, Kinse Ryokan, Kyoto. With special guests YeYe and Tayutau
Fri Oct 11, Guggenheim House, Kobe With special guests sumahama?, modae, rakkasei.
Sun Oct 13, Lete, Tokyo.
Mon Oct 14, Nanahari, Tokyo with special guests Muffin and TBA
Tickets: www.vaughan.tokyo