Auckland-based singer, multi-instrumentalist and production wizard behind Flying Nun crew Ghost Wave, Matthew L. Paul (he/him) announces his new solo project LEON to the world with debut album Cherry.
Recorded in New York, Bangkok and his New Zealand hometown, Cherry is a spellbinding statement of intent, delivering nine tracks of club-igniting dance grooves, 60s-tinged psychedelic pop and fervent funk — threaded throughout with the artist’s irresistibly soulful wordplay.
Mixed and mastered in NYC by Eben D’Amico of New Jersey melodic punk / hardcore pioneers Saves The Day, guests on Cherry include Julien Dyne (Avantdale Bowling Club) drumming on ‘Daddio’, ‘Once To Cheat’, ‘YO-TD’ and ‘Golden Ghost’, as well as contributions from former Ghost Wave bandmates Malcolm S and Jamie Kennedy throughout.
At its heart an expression of hope for the world around us, the Cherry makes healing connections between some of the producer’s favourite inspirations — citing such diverse sources as Harry Nilsson, Primal Scream, Maurice Fulton, Mamas & Papas, Timbaland, George Michael, Adele, Rihanna and Bob Marley for Leon’s musical melting pot.
Matthew L. Paul aka Leon opened up about the ideas behind Cherry: “in a lot of ways this is the record I’ve been trying to make for most of my life. It’s been a long, very personal journey to get here. The message of the record is what I’ve slowly learnt and have come to value above everything over the years, and it’s pretty simple. It’s a message of caring and empathy.”
With all the division in the world right now, all of the opposition, this album is saying we can go that way and be divided forever, or like, we can do something else, maybe there’s still something in music, in harmony, that can bring us together. Even for a brief couple of moments, when we can really see each other as brothers and sisters.”
“I wanted the music to sound juicy, full of colour and flavour. I hoped that the music would reflect not only my tastes, but for it to have a psycho-graphic quality too — Cherry: a peaceful place where scary ideas can be explored and you know, it’s cool to just be what you are.”