Interview with Paul Supreme

Your new track “Ninja Sword” deftly balances a nocturnal synth lushness with an upfront, stellar hook while being rich in metaphor. What’s the central lyrical theme behind the track?

Thanks for that awesome description. The central lyrical theme is promiscuity mixed with confidence and a longing for the right love. I’ve been looking for the right person for me and I’m pretty selective because I’m an empath and I believe in true love and finding a soulmate. However, the lyrics “and I cut just like a ninja sword, and I love to scintillate a lot” reflect some of the times I have to let girls who are interested down, yet I’m always glowing and hopeful. There’s a certain lust and intensity that start’s a good relationship.

How pivotal was the role of your father, the talented Dennis Flemion (who played in renowned band The Frogs), in shaping your musical influences and the stylistic direction of Paul Supreme?

In terms of other bands he really had me on the 90’s and early 2000’s alternative music as a kid. My favorite song was “Closing Time” by SemiSonic amongst others. He didn’t influence me a ton in my style or direction, that was more my modern taste in hip hop/rap and every other genre besides metal, hard rock, classical, and bluegrass. However he did influence me with his boldness and one of the phrases that will always stick with me as he was trying to teach me when I was young; “It’s always only ever you and that microphone, there’s nothing else so you’ve got to go as hard as you can with emotion.”

You were born and raised in Milwaukee. Do you have any tips or recommended experiences for visitors to the city, music-related or otherwise?

If you come in the summertime, Summerfest is a music-related experience that I recommend. If you like sports, check out a game at the Fiserv Forum during basketball season, it’s a beautiful arena or tailgate at AM Fam Field. For those who like craft breweries we have a ton of good ones, Eagle Park is recommended. For the best cocktails check out Tied House on Water Street. It’s a pretty chill city compared to Chicago or one of the big ones. 

What’s your favorite venue to perform at?

To be honest I’ve yet to perform, but I’m in the midst of setting up my first show. More details to come and I hope you all can be there.

Do you have a specific process or ritual when creating new music?

I usually write the best in the morning or right after the gym. Mostly it’s right after the gym when I’m all fired up still. I harmonize melodies and record them in my phone, then later I write real lyrics to them based upon the syllables. Nothing too much more than that besides the candles and the bat wings.

Any favorite artists or albums you’re listening to at the moment?

I just got back from a trip to Ibiza so I’ve been listening to Calvin Harris, Rufus, and some others. I’ve got 3 beats already that I’m writing to for an EP I’ll be releasing later this year that’s a deep house/EDM vibe. Trying something new and off the wall for fun, but the beats are fire.

If you could collaborate with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be?

Kurt Cobain. Would love to bring my rock voice to a track.

What do you find is the most satisfying part of being an artist?

Losing myself in the creative process is like therapy to me, so it’s got to be that. It takes me away from all of the mundane things in life and my day job. It lets me tap in and be a kid.

What is the biggest challenge you find in today’s music industry?

The biggest challenge is breaking into the game being found amongst the money. By the money I’m referring to how everything is about it and there are so many people in the game that have more money to do advertising etc. It’s not like the 90’s where you had to play gigs to get known to blow up. It can happen backwards. You can put out a “hit” online and have it trend to the world and then play a show once you’re known. There are too many pitfalls for artists starting out and as an Indie artists you have to do it all. That means learning marketing and things that aren’t exactly straight forward…or you can just have money to pay people to do all of that. It’s you against the world in the era of the internet, not just you against getting on the radio or MTV anymore. Staying authentic and original is key.

What’s upcoming for the project?

I mentioned earlier I’ll be doing an EP coming up, but besides that I’ll also be releasing a new track next month called “Bet I”. It’s a really good pop rock song. After that we have another rap song on deck and then I’ve got 3 other songs I’m currently writing that I don’t know exactly what they are yet. 

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].

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