Hitting high notes with new band
His fans knew Paul Lennox was into rock so the tropical beat coming from his new band had them confused.
The drummer gave everyone who asked about the switch the same answer.
“My music is really inspired by the time I spent living in Bermuda,” said Mr Lennox of his work with Megaphonic, the band he and Gregory Gordon started this year.
He moved here when he was 11 after his father, Robert, was hired as principal of Warwick Academy. He left five years later to study music, and now lives in Brighton near his parents.
“I’d had a rough first year of high school in England and Bermuda seemed like heaven, if it’s not too cheesy to say,” the 33-year-old said. “I’ve never forgotten it.”
It’s what led him to ask Devaune Ratteray to sing a couple of tracks for Megaphonic.
Netflix & Chill came out in February; Mojito was released this month. They hope to drop Work Your Body in August. The music is completely different from his regular gig with the Queen tribute band Rhapsody.
“Devaune is great,” Mr Lennox said of the London-based Bermudian who performs with dance production company Bolly Flex.
“He is an amazing dancer and is a pop star. We started writing with him in mind. We are now working with him as much as possible, but we’d also like to feature other artists as well.”
Their hope is that with Mr Ratteray involved, Bermuda will listen in.
“We’re trying to build a fanbase there,” Mr Lennox said. “I think Megaphonic’s feel will really resonate with people there.”
So far, the band has been more a labour of love than a moneymaker.
“When I started in music, I only had an inkling of how hard it would be,” he said.
“The industry has changed so much in the last 15 years. The most profitable decade was the 1990s. When Napster happened in 2000, suddenly sales of singles, albums and CDs dropped. That revenue hasn’t really been made up yet in a way that the artist profits.”
A million hits on the streaming service Spotify will earn an artist anywhere from $5,200 to $6,500; back in the day, a million sales would mean $1 million. To save money, he and Mr Gordon are doing everything themselves.
“It is all self-financed and self-produced,” he said. “We haven’t done much performing with Megaphonic so far.
“Each area of the production of music takes so long. The lyrics take for ever to write. Then there is the actual production of the songs and the mastering. The process of promoting and marketing the music is a relentless task. We have to be smart with our marketing and have a good strategy in mind.”
He also has another band, Mon Frère, with his brother Matthew.
“Mon Frère has a completely different sound,” he said.
“We call it ‘post pop’. It’s pop with a twist; be that quirky chords or rhythms and avant-garde nuances, all packaged as pop songs. Mon Frère is going really strong.
“We have an extended play song which is on all British Airways, American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic’s in-flight entertainment. We had a bit of radio play for our single Deeper Tears.”
He started playing the drums a short time before he came to Bermuda.
Wendell “Shine” Hayward, the popular saxophonist who was then music teacher at Warwick Academy, continued his education here.
“He used to have us put calypso or reggae beats into the school song,” Mr Lennox recalled. “That made it really fun. I had my first gig in his band.”
Mr Lennox was last on island in 2010.
“It was really good,” he said. “It was a blur because Bermudians like to party. I have become a little bit of a lightweight in that department. Friday nights usually make no difference to me because I’m usually in the studio working on something. I would totally like to come back and perform.”
•Listen to Mojito on Spotify, SoundCloud and iTunes or watch it on YouTube: youtu.be/T4PaNFRi7dc
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