Arts A La Carte - Tell us about your career as a performer? When did you first start and why?
Paul Nagi - I started out by performing in high school. My best friend at the time was an amazing musician and I was not, but I had been deeply bitten. I sat and wrote songs but it wasn’t until the death of a family friend that I really started putting songs together. In 2003 I moved out to Los Angeles to actually pursue a career in music. I went to open mics and my guitar was in my hands all the time. I amassed about fifty songs and on a fated day, I met Cass McEntee on a golf course. He was a bassist and guitar player with tons of experience. I think he liked that I hit the golf ball really far and that was it. When I say that, I mean that was “the start”. He then introduced me to a few guys and then one thing led to another and I had a band. Billy from Bushwalla, Cass’s roommate was the first drummer I had played a show with. Billy is an amazing musician; he tours with Jason Mraz and is a great performer. The rest was all hard work and more hard work. Two years of vocal lessons with a guy named Greg Safel and then add on more hard work.
Arts A La Carte - Describe you're genre of music? Do you do your own writing?
Paul Nagi - I call it Dark New Wave or Alternative New Wave. It goes back to the early eighties British sound; “Synth and simplicity” meets “punk” in that very rock n roll kind of way.
Arts A La Carte - Who or what bands have influenced you the most and why?
Paul Nagi - Song writers in the purest form of storytelling have influenced me greatly. For example, Billy Joel and Kenny Rogers, you know those who sang the stuff that my parents played while driving in the car. Also by listening to the radio in the mid eighties to nineties, it was the pre iPod era, where most were forced to make mix tapes. At the time I did not have a ton of music but I made due. I always loved the “synth stuff”; it seemed to really connect to my body waves. New Order, Depeche Mode and all the top 40’s stuff. The Cars and The Cure really seemed to combine all of the elements that I loved. The guitar stuff along with the “synth” and the emotion, man that was what I was looking for. Basically, the entire soundtrack for “The Last American Virgin” was everything that I wanted. The last ingredient to add to my mixture would be the huge iconic bands like U2 and Guns n Roses where huge choruses of 100,000 people could sing in unison.
Arts A La Carte – Who would you say are you’re biggest fans? How do you do your promotions?
Paul Nagi – To me, that feels like a weird question because I am so used to working hard and getting friends to come down to my shows that it feel like I don’t have fans and it’s just the people I drag from show to show.
I always find it hard to tell if people are genuine or not. If I had a ton of people showing up to my shows that I didn’t know I would be able to answer that question much better, but as you will see in the film, that can be a Herculean task at times.
Arts A La Carte – Tell us about your music videos? Where were they shot and how would you describe your experience?
Paul Nagi – My videos were made on an extremely low to no budget, meaning
$0-$400. “Erase This From My Blood” was shot in the streets of Los Angeles and “Quite Gorgeous” was shot in a desert just north of LA in an area called Lake Los Angeles, which by the way, has no lake. I absolutely loved making these videos. I have to say that Keith Lancaster, the Director of both videos is a great guy to work with. It was quite an experience.
Arts A La Carte – Do you have any CD's out currently or will you in the near future?
Paul Nagi – CD’s, who prints CDs anymore? Download cards baby that is the future! I have three albums on iTunes and just released a single called “Chemical Reaction”. Everything is accessible on my site.
Arts A La Carte – What would you say is the biggest reward about being a performer?
Paul Nagi – Playing with the group of guys that I do. Don Sprouls, who plays the guitar, is my true hero and I promise you that one day, kids will have his poster in their room. Dre Howie, who plays bass is so much fun to play with, he is just an all around super talented guy who knows what to do every time. Drummer wise, I have had seven, but I love drummers. Often times, I just can’t afford one but hey. The other part is letting it all hang out, showing people what you got and what made the songs.
Arts A La Carte – Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Paul Nagi – I no longer look into the future and I never thought I would be here ten years ago. I am just trying to keep this ship steadied as long as I can.
Arts A La Carte – Where can people find out more information about you and your music?
Paul Nagi – Everything is on my site www.paulnagi.com. I do all my communication there, I have a bunch of free downloads, videos, karaoke contest and info.
Arts A La Carte – Do you have any last words for the viewers?
Paul Nagi – The servant waits, while the master bates! Something to think about, that’s all I’m saying. Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you got this far. Enjoy the music.