Paradox are an Alternative Rock/Grunge Outfit hailing from Ireland whose music has gathered rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic for its unique diverse blend of melodic vocals, driven by cutting edge riffs.
The Early Years...
Paradox were formed in 1996 by brothers Pete Mac and Mike Mac in Cork, Ireland. Mike the older brother grew up listening to Guns n’ Roses, Metallica, the whole 80’s metal phase and started playing guitar at an early age before switching to drums a few years before the band formed. 'Appetite for Destruction' was the album that turned Mike onto Music and Rock n 'Roll at the age of 8 and opened the doors to many more bands of that era. By the time Pete discovered music it was 1991 and the whole Alternative scene just started to take off. Pete describes his early years "I was a 10 year old kid when I first heard ‘Teen Spirit’. I can honestly say it changed my life. After my cassette copy of Nirvana’s Nevermind had worn thin from being over played I discovered other Seattle bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam to Mudhoney and Screaming Trees." Pete started playing guitar in 1994, that same year Kurt Cobain died and the whole Grunge scene seemed to disappear as fast as it had appeared. The early Paradox years were heavily influenced by everything musically coming out of Seattle.
Even though both Mike and Pete have somewhat different musical tastes they both seem to combine their influences. The band shaped much of their music around many vocal harmonies layered on top of power chord riffs heavily influenced by the likes of Alice in Chains. That band was their musical compromise and possibly their biggest influence. As for the third Paradox member the band has gone through many bass players. 8 in total and that number keeps growing. The bands longest playing bass player from 2000 to 2002 was Bjorn the Bass who's a huge Punk Rocker and he brought that into the bands music especially when playing live.
Debut album - 'Circle of Growth' - (2000/2002)
After a few years of playing the local circuit, recording many demos and fine tuning their sound Paradox headed to the US and secured a record deal with an independent label based in Los Angeles California. Pete and Mike flew out to LA for 2 weeks and recorded their debut album 'Circle of Growth' in December 2000 @ Master Groove Studios in the Valley. They both played all instruments on the album as well as producing the album themselves. 'Circle of Growth' defines the
bands earlier sound, a raw mix of Grunge, Punk and Garage Rock. Reviews of the album compared it to Nirvana's Bleach and to bands like Local H and Mudhoney. The albums most prominent track 'Infinite' was nominated to be the albums single. An independent video was shot and the song ended up receiving a lot of airplay on many college radio stations and main Irish radio stations such as Redfm and the Green Room on Corks 96fm. The band continued to tour all over Ireland, including playing the historic Sir Henrys in Cork as well as headlining the IMRO showcase in 2001 and returned to the US in 2002 for more touring, playing the BOB Music Festival in Las Vegas among other shows. As a result of the publicity in the US Paradox were featured in many newspapers and magazines in Ireland including Hotpress among others. Although the band received mostly positive reviews their relationship with their US label would prove to be short lived.
'Sacred' the album - (2004)
When the band returned from the US the second time they parted ways with their label and decided that the only way to go is DIY. Paradox hit BPM Studios in Cork, Ireland in January 2003 and recorded 6 new songs that were initially to be released as an EP. Among these tracks was the song 'Lame and Languid' which portrayed a completely new sound for Paradox. In January 2004 Paradox returned yet again to the same studio and recorded another 6 songs including tracks 'Downward Spiral' and 'Pretend Friend'. These 12 songs became 'Sacred' the album.
Pete and Mike Mac yet again played all instruments on Sacred. Pete done Vocals, Guitars and Bass while Mike played Drums, Vocal Harmonies with the addition of Keyboards and Piano on this album.
'Sacred' is a major progression from the bands debut album 'Circle of Growth', veering away from their previous Punk Rock/Grunge sound to a more Melodic Alternative Sound that the band has been thriving to achieve since their creation. 'Sacred' was released May 11th 2004 and distributed mostly online through the likes of CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes and all the main online retailers. That year Pete moved to London and Mike moved to Canada which proved hard in terms of touring for the album. Despite the lack of gigs 'Sacred' received rave reviews online from fans to online fanzines and radio stations. One review quoted 'The core of Paradox's sound is driven with passion and is reminiscent of the grunge/hard rock styles prevalent in middle America. The lyrics are quite insightful and are obviously something these gentleman put a lot of their heart and soul into. "Pretend Friend", one of my favourites displays their appreciation for the musical content of a song with their use of harmonies and a meaningful topic.' Another review added 'Driven by melody and pure adrenaline, these guys are a commanding force in the new music arena'. Track 'Lame and Languid' was the song that got the most attention and went viral online. While the album was proving to be a DIY success Paradox found themselves yet again without a bass player.
By 2005 Pete and Mike returned to Ireland and some shows were booked starting with a show for Pulse Radio UK in Dublin. New bass player Jon Finn jumped in and the band continued to play more shows back in Cork and Dublin. In that time Pete moved to Berlin, Germany and it wasn't long before shows were booked. Their debut German show took place on Dec 28th 2006 to a packed house @ Rock at Sage in Sage Club, Berlin. The show was widely advertised and was considered to be one of the bands best live shows to date. The following year Paradox played a few outdoor music festivals in Germany and 'Sacred' continued to sell and gain momentum. But the fact that Pete and Mike lived in different countries and the lack of touring began to take it's toll.
Pete Mac - In Limbo (2009)
By 2008 many new songs had been written over the past few years and were just waiting to be recorded. A few acoustic demos had been recorded back in 2005 on an analoge old school 4 track in Ireland. At the time Pete was listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley, PJ Harvey, Elliott Smith, Eddie Vedders solo album and the idea came to put out an acoustic album. Instead of going to a traditional recording studio Pete recorded at home using a 4-track, 2 microphones, an acoustic guitar, bass, tambourine and a little imagination. Half of the album was recorded in his apartment in Berlin while other songs were recorded in a bathroom and 3 of the tracks were the demos that were recorded analoge in Ireland in 2005. The album did however take a long time to complete, 6 months in total. The album was called 'In Limbo'.
'In Limbo' is an album of many moods, emotions, each song bringing across a different vibe. From the political outbursts of 'Corporate Pollution' to the atmospheric ambience of 'In Limbo', followed by the melodic waves of 'No Words' to the dischordent chops of 'Bury the World', 'In Limbo' takes a different musical direction from any previous Paradox sound.
'In Limbo' was released February 2009 again mostly online through CD Baby, Amazon and Apple iTunes. Two videos were also shot by Pete for the songs 'No Words' and 'Pretend Friend' with various art like images and video clips shot all over Berlin.
The new acoustic sound was well received by Paradox fans as well as attracting many new fans that might not have listened to Paradox before and the album received mostly positive reviews. The Grunge fanzine Minerva Corner in Portugal summed up the album as follows - "In Limbo" is a simple/ acoustic and direct album with some twists of electric guitar, nothing more added. Its natural and emotional as an intimite album should be... Nothing artificial, no masks, simply true! Other reviews added "The common thread across the diverse songs on the album seems to be the melodic smoothing of sharp edges (biting lyrics) by your spot-on harmonies between lead vocals, guitar chords, and backing vocals."
Pete started playing solo acoustic shows all over Berlin throughout 2009. At a lot of shows Pete would play covers including Eddie Vedders 'Society' and acoustic versions of a few Paradox songs. Although for the most part the shows went well Pete found it hard to fit the traditional singer songwriter role. A lot of the new songs lacked that sound that only a band could create.
'Corporate Pollution' - (2010)
By 2010 Pete and Mike were back jamming together, rehearsing lots of new material written over the past 5 years. A plan was made to record a new album, the bands first since 'Sacred' in 2004. The first Paradox UK tour was also planned for July with 16 dates initially booked. After much confusion with the booking agency the plug got pulled on the whole tour just 3 weeks before it was meant to start. The band continued to pursue the tour themselves and managed to salvage 8 dates. New bass player Jet jumped in and the band hit the road in Mikes blue tour van playing dates all over the UK all the way up to Scotland. On their return it was straight back rehearsing for the new album and then off to a secluded recording studio in County Kerry. Some tracks had been recorded at a different studio a few months before but the band were unhappy with the results so they decided to re-record everything from scratch at the new studio in Kerry.
'Corporate Pollution' is the third Paradox studio album displaying the bands most powerful sound to date. 11 songs were recorded and mixed in 9 days @ Data Recording Studios in County Kerry, Ireland. Just like the previous two Paradox albums brothers Pete and Mike Mac play all instruments. Pete plays all guitars, bass, vocals while Mike plays all drums, piano and vocal harmonies. They also co/produce the album. A few of the songs appeared as acoustic tracks on the Pete Mac solo album 'In Limbo' in 2009 (Emptiness, Bury the World, Serenity) but were re-recorded with drums and a full band sound for this album.
'Corporate Pollution' is the bands biggest loudest sound yet. On average 6 electric guitars were recorded along with triple vocal harmonies, 2 acoustic guitars, lots of bass, piano for certain tracks, a female vocal for one track and two days of drumming. 'Corporate Pollution' captures the frustration, emotion, anger, sadness, happiness and confusion towards todays superficial society in the form of expression through music. From the opening track 'Corporate Pollution' with it's churning guitar riffs and political sneers to the melodic melancholic melodies of 'Repress Excess' or the distorted confusion that is 'Mind Mud' the albums diverse mix and ever changing pace create an interesting and unique sound. The albums stand out track 'Mr. Bureaucracy' was chosen to be the first single with it's fast pulsing riffs and melodic vocals. 'Mr. Bureaucracy' is aimed towards any corporate or political establishment designed to keep society dumb, confused and poor. While the riffs are fast and grungy the melody and lyrics almost seem sarcastic. The line "Mr. Bureaucracy can you control the air I breathe" opens the track to a sudden burst of energy. The chorus refrains of "Freedom of choice not good for me" ring through to an old school grunge sounding riff that takes the song in a somewhat different direction yet repeats itself as the song ends. While the album potrays a much bigger picture than any previous Paradox endeavour the band still maintain their Alternative Rock sound remeniscent of the 90's.
'Chapters' - (2014)
2014 saw Paradox back in the studio recording their 4th album to date at Wavefield Recording Studios in Bantry, West Cork with multi tasking musician and engineer Brian Casey on the desk.
Titled 'Chapters' the 14 track album combines a variety of new sounds some of which have not yet been heard on any previous Paradox album. The first single 'Nothing Lasts' features slow melancholic Cello tones carrying the song to it's climatic refrains of 'Nothing Lasts'. A music video also accompanies the single. Cello makes an appearance on various other tracks on the album such as the track 'Eat' which subject focuses on the treatment of animals in factory farms and was initially inspired by the controversial documentary Earthlings.
The new album has been a working progress for over a year which originated in September 2013 with songwriter Pete Mac playing all instruments on the recordings. Paradox drummer Mike Mac joined his brother Pete in the studio for a session in May 2014 after dropping back from his Canadian travels to drum on 4 tracks on the album.
Overall 'Chapters' is far more experimental than any previous album with the band pushing their limits as much as possible in the studio which included recording in different rooms, distorting various bass sounds and having what became a trademark routine for many songs of a noise track when recording the electric guitar. The Noise Track basically consisted of Pete improvising spontaneously with a heavily distorted guitar while recording over various tracks with nothing rehearsed as the noise track was being recorded to add an extra live feel to certain tracks.
As the album name suggests this is the next chapter in the band's history with many songs reflecting chapters in the band member's lives.