David Pajo is a busy man. In March, he finished the highly successful and cult-approved Slint reunion tour, released his sixth solo album in June and is currently working on a Slint reunion tour DVD and writing new material for yet another record. Pajo, who travels back and forth from his home in Louisville to his apartment in Manhattan, granted SLUG a candid look into the indie-rock legend's life.
(David Pajo)Pajo has released two albums under the name Ariel M, two singles under M, three LPs under Papa M and now, his latest, PAJO. He explains that his name changes were intended to delineate time periods in his life; time periods which produced different styles of music.
The new PAJO record, like the Papa M record preceding it, is delicate folk music centered around acoustic guitar. The new album, which is also available on vinyl, has more of a pop feel, which can perhaps be attributed to the drum machine accompaniments on some of the songs and the vocal melodies that can best be compared to Elliot Smith's.
Pajo has been a part of a number of influential groups such as King Kong, The Palace Brothers, Stereolab, The For Carnation, Matmos, Palace, Tortoise, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Zwan.
According to Pajo, in previous releases, he was trying to maintain a feeling of anonymity, whereas his newest self-titled release "just felt more like a solo record. ... With these new songs, I couldn't deny that they were about me."
Pajo explains how he recorded the entire record on his laptop, using the $40 mixing program that his computer came with.
"It wasn't a conscience decision," explains Pajo. "I was using the laptop as a sketchpad; I'd get a song idea and record on there really fast because most of the songs were written in New York. It just got to the point where I started to like the demo versions ... when I would come back to Louisville to record them in my more proper home studio, they sounded ... almost sanitized or something."
When David Pajo first starting releasing solo material, it was strictly instrumental. Over the years, Pajo began to sing more and more on each record, and has now, for the first time, put out an album in which he sings on every song. Pajo explains that he has gained more confidence as a singer, but still has trouble singing live. The vocals on his new record are very soft spoken, but as I learned, Pajo is quite soft spoken in conversation as well.
"I had a roommate who would often sleep during the day," says Pajo. "When I would put down my song ideas, I had to sing really quietly ... there's almost a completely different vocal style [on the album], which just came out of my roommate situation."