Lethal Dialect is a busy man as of late. In the past year since the release of his acclaimed third album 1988, Paulie Allwright has assembled a band featuring members of Kodaline and Overhead the Albatross, shared stages with the likes of Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey and has just finished shooting his big screen debut in Cardboard Gangsters, directed by Mark O’Connor and starring Love/Hate alumni Jon Connors. Ahead of his biggest gig to date in the Academy this Saturday December 5th, the Dublin native sat down with State to discuss his artistic growth, literary influences and what fans can expect from his new stage show.
You’re playing the Academy on December 5th, can you tell us a little about what fans can expect from the gig?
It’s going to be our biggest gig to date, our first hometown gig in one of the bigger venues and there’s going to be a lot more of us on stage. It’s going to be with a full band and it’s something that we’ve been perfecting for the last year and a half. Being on the road and performing with the likes of Damien Dempsey, Glen Hansard and Maverick Sabre, I’ve been gaining experience and figuring out what works best. It’s going to be our tightest set to date.
How have you found the transition from playing with a DJ to a full band?
When you’re on the stage with people who mastered their own instruments and you see how good and passionate they are, even in rehearsals – it’s amazing. It’s great to be on stage with such talented musicians – I could never go back. It’s made me step my music up just from being on stage with these guys.
Has it changed your songwriting process?
Absolutely. Our process is all organic so it’s completely different. Before, I used to get the readymade instrumentals sent over to me and all I had to do was write to them and record them, but this time around it’s totally different. It’s a bit more tedious as you’re recording each instrument separately, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s a whole new experience. I feel like I’m after finding music again.
You’re also starring in the upcoming film Cardboard Gangsters directed by Mark O’Connor and written by Mark and John Connors, could you tell us a little more about that?
Yeah, John Connors initially hit me up to work on the soundtrack for a film that he had written the script for which Mark O’Connor was working on also. This was John’s baby. He had it written it before Love/Hate, but there’s been a lot of red tape and waiting to get the green light for funding. I went in for the soundtrack initially and met them where they were doing auditions in Film Base. John and Peter Coonan who plays Fran in Love/Hate were there and he said “Come in and do an audition while you’re here”. So I ended up going in and getting one of the roles in it. We finished shooting there and it’ll be released around this time next year.
One of your more recent tracks was a full band cover of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Here but I’m Gone’ with original verses. In your verse on that record you invoked Irish literary figures such as Joyce, Wilde and Heaney? Is Ireland’s rich literary history an influence on your work?
Absolutely. It’s one of the things in Ireland that we’re privileged to only have to go back a couple of generations to when those people were alive. I think it’s one of those things where we don’t really appreciate what we have until it’s gone. That was the concept behind that. In my opinion, there’s a lot of new age Patrick Kavanaghs and Brendan Behans around and they don’t get credit and probably won’t until they’re gone. Hopefully we appreciate the legends that we have in our city today.
What are the plans for 2016?
We always try to have a little plan in motion. We achieved a couple of things we wanted to do this year so it’s really about building on that. The show on December 5th is just a way to end the year as we mean to go on. The aim is to take that energy into the New Year.
Lethal Dialect will play the Academy on December 5th and tickets can be found here.