Alternative artist Paul Supreme recently released his new single, “Ninja Sword,” revealing his tantalizing amalgamation of genres.
Paul’s music utilizes infectious melodies, riffs, and rhythms, and stands tall on the strength of its songwriting above all else. Uniting aspects of pop, electronic, and hip-hop, his craft eschews categorization and the music industry’s expectations. Creativity drives, so each track speaks volumes on behalf of the situational ideas and emotions behind it. There’s realness and heart in both the lyrics and his unwavering passion on the mic – qualities that connect in a manner rarely found within mainstream music.
His most accomplished album to date, HWY 100, released in 2022, delves into Paul’s own hardships – the tragic loss of his father, and ending a long-term relationship with a girl he believed was the one, a quest reflected in “Ninja Sword.”
Tattoo.com caught up with Paul Supreme to find out more about the inspiration for “Ninja Sword,” how he got started in music, and the evolution of his unique sound.
What inspired your latest single, “Ninja Sword?”
‘Ninja Sword’ was inspired by my current relationship situation. I’ve been looking for the right person for a while now and I’m pretty selective since I want her to be the ‘one’ I’m with forever. 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 want me down (sorry for the ego but it happens), yet I’m always glowing (scintillating). There’s a certain promiscuity that starts a relationship and I like an intense flame to go along with my confidence and knowing what I want.
How did you get started in music?
I got started in music by fate. I was never pushed by my dad or anyone to do music. In fact, one night at a party in college when I was 18, my friend Tony and I were listening to the band Travis Porter and started talking. We were like ‘We could probably do this’ (meaning rapping) and so we started writing and booking studio time through the studio our friend was using. Our first song was called ‘Screensaver’ about a girl who is so hot that she was our screensaver on our computers. It was full of puns and clever lines with absolutely terrible flows and a beat made from fruity loops. It’s still somewhere out in the ether on YouTube today if any fans are interested.
Did your sound evolve naturally, or did you deliberately push it in a certain direction?
My sound evolved naturally. On the vocal side of things. I’d always remember what my dad would say, ‘It’s just you and that microphone.’ Combining that with various other artists always talking about going hard I found my confidence and voice. I always try different tones and voices in the studio and then determine which will work best for the vibe of the song. As far as the instrumentals and beat go, I have been sticking with my guy Mark who I met at the studio I record at. He has been evolving with me and I’m always pushing him to listen to what we are making more intently. I’ll play something by major artists such as The Weeknd and say, ‘Why doesn’t ours sound like this’ or ‘We need to get this thing sounding as clean and brilliant as possible.’ Building that relationship has helped the sound evolve over each song as Mark is always coming with fresh equipment or ways to make us sound like the big time if not better.
How do you keep your sound fresh, and avoid falling into the trap of imitating either yourself or others?
My sound stays fresh because I’m very good at adlibbing and coming up with new content in the moment when I’m writing. This also applies to creating the beat and co-producing which I do on every song. I am very eclectic and do what I want to do genre-wise as well. The blend is never stale.
How do you keep your sound consistent on stage?
My sounds stay consistent on stage through Mark’s live packages. When I’m performing at venues, sound check, monitor mix, and room acoustics all play a part. For instance, EQ may have to change based upon the room’s acoustics, etc. Also, working with the sound engineer, communicating about EQ and effects, and rehearsing help bring a consistent sound.
Are there any special recording techniques you use in the studio?
My production engineer Riley will adjust gain if I’m doing a screaming part or a whispering part. He’s always giving me the best settings to be able to deliver the vibe I’m going for and get us the best-sounding vocals. We also have a crazy old-school reverb plate that we use from time to time. In terms of singing, I always sing with my mouth at mic level. The most special technique I use though is going in with confidence and being able to display that fire that any human can pick up on.
What is your definition of tone? And has your tone changed over time?
My definition of tone has two sides, pitch/quality, and character. I’ve learned to increase my range over time to vary pitch where applicable. Quality comes from my actual delivery and the post-processing we apply at the mixing stage. Our quality has improved over time. I think back to my second album, and I listen to the tone in those songs compared to my recent singles and can hear the difference. Character can be thought of as a guitar, piano, and my voice all producing the same note at the same volume, but each will have its own distinct and differentiable tone. The way I cast my tone and blend it with emotion is something I’ll always be striving to perfect.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, or other media?
I draw inspiration from life. It could be music I’m currently listening to. I may hear a great song that I like and tell Mark, ‘I want to make something like this.’ I follow and read books by the modern philosopher Eckhart Tolle. The main thing he preaches is to practice living in the moment. I get inspired by whatever comes to me in the moment. Maybe I’m tapped into the Akashic record. I have written about my past before and those tend to be the roughest songs as it’s rocky back there.
What can you share about your writing process?
I can share the whole thing. Step one is to make a beat with Mark (we mix over Discord since he moved to Cali on me). We use Ableton to mix samples. Step two is I live with the beat for a while and will record blurbs of flows on my phone usually after I get out of the gym or when I wake up in the morning, could be whenever. Then I get a premise for the song in my head depending on how I’m feeling or what the vibe is or what’s going on in my life. I take those blurbs and turn them into real words, record with intent and emotion, mix/co-produce, and voila. The iPhone is quite handy for storing all of my lyrics and song ideas.
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
I’m not going to lie on this one. I don’t know if I really think anyone is that amazing to me right now. There’s so much more music that’s accessible than there was when I was growing up in the ‘90s. With the advent of the internet, the market is absolutely flooded and some of the artists I like such as Darci don’t get the full recognition they deserve. There’s truly so much undiscovered talent out there and let’s not fail to acknowledge that money runs everything reserving the limelight for the select lucky few. If I had to pick someone, I suppose I’d say, Morgan Wallen. The guy puts out a 36-song album and it’s some good country music.
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Music videos? Live gigs?
Over the next six months, I’m going to be aiming to put out two songs a month and maybe an EP. I will probably be recording my first music video and setting up some live gigs around the Milwaukee area. I’ve got a lot of vacation coming up, so I’ll be drawing inspiration from that, especially Ibiza. Peace and love.