PAUL MESSIS - Lost And Found

Paul Messis is a young songwriter from Billingshurst, a small town in West Sussex, England. His vision is to re-create the jangle punk sounds of obscure American groups from 1966.
He writes angst ridden, loner type songs and uses vintage instruments. Fortunately for him and everyone who digs this type of music he's currently being guided by Marty and Mole from The Higher State. Paul's released songs have all been recorded at their Sandgate Sound Studios.
His (so far) two very authentic sounding 45s are opulent jewels in the stinking morass known as contemporary music.

PAUL MESSIS - Lost And Found

Paul read my review of his debut 45 on my site last year The World Is Square and we have been exchanging emails since then. Here's a recent interview I conducted with him earlier this month.

You're still only 24 years old so would have missed the 60s garage revival of the mid 80s. There are virtually NO bands playing your kind of music anymore. So how did you discover 60s garage and when did you decide to write your own songs in the garage style?

I discovered 60s garage music around the time I was 15 years old which would have been around 2001, prior to that as a kid I had a wide scope of influences hitting me from all directions, My grandfather was really into be-bop, blues and jazz, my uncle was really into bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and the whole Krautrock thing and my parents were both into stuff which ranged from typical 70's rock and soul.

However during my school years I was a bit of an Outcast and like the Kinks song goes decided "I am not like everybody else".... during High School I listened to alot of 80s indie, stuff like Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain etc and found that these groups were quoting garage bands from the 60s as influences, which when you are a kid you just grab and research into instantly.

Since 15 years old I have always played some form of garage punk, but always leaned more to songs with melody.

You seem to write songs that fit perfectly in with the teenbeat folk janglers of mid '66. Is this type of garage your favourite genre?

Yeah the Garage Janglers are my favourite in the genre, comps like Class of 66', Shutdown 66, The Teenage Shutdown series and New England Teen Scene have had such a huge influence on me, not only cos the songs are all brilliant, but I also really relate very much to the lyrics and the general vibes of the tracks, many of those kids sing about things that actually have happened and still do happen to me. So yeah the moody folk-punk aspect to garage is my favourite indeed. I do have some fuzzed out punkers I'd like to record in the future, but it just depends how I feel when I go to Folkestone to record. I have about 40 odd garage songs I could record with Marty and Mole and continue to write songs all the time.

Have you played in any bands before?

Yeah I have played in a few bands actually, During the first few years of moving to Sussex in 2002, I played in an Iggy and the Stooges type band called The Deviants we only played at peoples houses and did a few local gigs I never really got along with the rest of the band, plus didn't feel confident with my guitar playing back then and decided to leave.

Around 2006 I joined London Mod-Garage Punk band The Fallen Leaves on Bass and played with the guys for about a year, it was really fun, I am still friends with the band, but personal commitments mean't I left. I then briefly started playing in a group with Sterling Roswell, but we only did about 3 gigs together, I had to stop playing with him cos I was going through various trials in my life and I really had to stop playing music and find a job etc.

How did you connect with Mole and Marty from The Higher State?

This is a funny story actually, Marty liked my demos on Myspace and we had sorta got a friendship online. The Higher State were going to be doing a gig In Hastings which although is a bit of distance for me, I felt 'Hey it's still Sussex', and went and saw them.

Me and Marty hit it off fine and in-fact have become really good mates. I basically enquired with Marty about how much a 45 costs to make and if he knew anyone I can contact... a few days later he emailed me and said "fancy doing a 45 with us?" ... I of course said "Yeah!!"

Your first single 'Stuck In Society'/'The World Is Square' is a very strong debut 45. Both sides are killer and both sides are very different in the own unique sounding way. Were you satisfied with the results?

Yeah I was happy with both sides, although I guess because of my initial fear of playing in front of others after such a long time, I didn't get the same amount of energy on 'The World Is Square' recording as my original demo had.

The moment we all heard the mixed version of 'Stuck In Society' and knew instantly we had faithfully recreated a track which mixed a Surf Sound and Merseybeat sound together, Which is very similar to what the Minnesota garage sound is (check out any release on Soma) We all felt that no-body else is doing this kind of garage stuff in the contempory garage scene, so we all were really pleased with the results.

What instruments were used during the session?

For the 'Stuck in Society'/'World Is Square' session, we used Mole's Ludwig for Drums, Marty used our friend Gina's Fender Jaguar which is a beautiful piece of guitar, I used my Hagstrom Futurama Guitar and for Bass I used my Vox Cougar, the amps we used were Fender Twin Reverb and Marshall Bass Amp.

You told me earlier that almost all of the 500 records pressed have sold. Are you surprised by this?

Yeah most definitely, Marty and Mole have told me endlessly that they are not surpriced. BUT personally yeah I am surprised that the record has sold well. I am a lone musician from the middle of nowhere West Sussex, I don't have a band to promote it with live. The 45 just appeared to be a word of mouth thing, I know that the people that really dig the record, know where I am coming from, those who don't get it quite frankly can't be garage fans.

Your new single on 13 O'Clock Records is perhaps even better than your first. 'Lost And Found' is a perfect folk jangler. At times the guitar has a tripped out raga sound. Tell me about the recording session for this song.

Well The demo I did at home for this track, the guitar solo was more Byrds-esque, but I forgot how to play what was on my demo. The thing with 'Lost and Found' is I used a 12 string electric guitar on it which non of my previous tracks did. For me 'Lost and Found' is a very personal song.

When I record songs with Marty and Mole, we usually just knock them out in about an hour or two, there hasn't been too much time spent on them.'Lost and Found ' was an enjoyable session cos every thing just seemed to fit together, I was playing all the guitar parts very well, the bass part was a challenge but I eventually remembered how to play it and got it down ok... and I even allowed Marty to play one note on the record, which is the Fuzztone note at the end of the song (just so he can say he played on the track haha).

'I Gotta Go' is teen punk all the way. How did the recording go with this? Did Mole or Marty play anything and what instruments were utilized?

I Gotta Go was really easy to record, what happened with this track was this... I played the guitar and Mole played drums and we recorded it, I then recorded the Bass Part, I then added the 12 string electric, I then added Combo Organ which was funny, cos Marty and Mole laughed at the fact I played the whole song with one finger, It is pretty primitive my keyboard playing. I then did the lead vocals, and then asked Marty and Mole to add some backing vocals whilst I enjoyed a cup of coffee in the garden. 

You mentioned to me in Sept 2009 that a cover of 'Live And Die' originally recorded by Texas garage band The Barons would be released on a comp given away by perhaps Shindig magazine or Lost In Tyme. Will this release still happen?

No, unfortunately I doubt any magazines will feature this cover on their comp CDs, We will keep it in the vaults for something in the future I am sure?? What I'd mostly like is for the original members of The Barons to hear it, cos I reckon they would really dig it. It is a very faithful cover version.

What are your plans for the future?

Well I have a few new songs to record with the guys in Folkestone, one is called 'Time Will Tell', which in my head will be like a Byrds-esque or Nightcrawlers styled love song, it is a song I wrote from the heart and I know when completed with full band it will be a great great track.

The other new song is called 'I'm Leaving Town' which has a New England garage vibe and will have a 'fuzztone guitar throughout' I guess it is still folk-punk though. I also have a real Back From The Grave styled song I'd like to record called "I'm Sick' which I'd like to attempt to record, cos I believe I could really nail that BFTG sound. I also hope over the year I can manage to record some of my Myspace demos with the guys, songs like 'Escape', 'Alexandra' and 'Why' would really sound great with the State records touch..... I have loads of plans musically.

I would like to get a group together and play the odd gig live, more as a personal achievement moreso than anything else and If I managed to do an LP that would simply be killer.


Check out some more

Buy the 45s here.........


  1. Thank you for having given me the opportunity to discover this cool artist.
    It makes me think of the italian Folk/beat's combo : Head and the hares, won't you ?


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