Interview: Paul Nolan

British music producer Paul Nolan has for a long time been a reliable source for percussive-heavy, melodic house music, and has released his music with record labels such as Chapter 24, Selador Records, and XYZ in the past.

In more recent times, he’s seemingly took a more mature and measured approach to his studio sessions, putting out introspective downtempo and ambient sounds, which has also just seen him release his first album.

His ‘Dissolve’ LP is a visceral blend of chilling pad sounds, ambient textures, and glistening strings, put together in a seamless, 7-track project that also marks the launch of his newest imprint, Microdose Music.

Paul joins us this week on Inflyte to chat about the concept behind the album, his time spent making it, and what else we might hear him soon. Read the full interview with Paul Nolan below.

How are things in the life of Paul Nolan right now?

Really interesting! Between starting two record labels in wildly different genres, and releasing an album, life is definitely throwing me enough to keep me out of trouble!

You just released your debut album, that must bring a lot of relief and anxiety at the same time, how have your found the experience?

Everything you’ve mentioned and more! The bulk of the album had to be written in just two weeks at the back end of 2023, so there was a period of intense work, followed by putting it to one side for a while, and then as the deadline for release loomed, another period of work to complete the package.

It’s been one of the most interesting work flows I’ve experienced and I’ve learned a lot about myself – most significantly that I’m at my best with my nose right up against the deadline so it has to get done – that pressure brings out my peak performance

The record is primarily downtempo and ambient stuff, what brought you to that – as you’ve released so much club-focused music in the past?

To cut a long story short, my life expanded in a very interesting way 7 years ago, when I had my first psychedelic experience. I had a lot of trauma I had to get through, and attending retreats and ceremonies was a key part in my healing process.

Ambient, downtempo, and drone style music work very well with such experiences and it allows people to drop in and go on that ‘heroes journey’ as it were and having experienced a lot of that music in my own experience, it only seemed right to give the kick drums a rest for this project.

And you call it ‘functional music’, can you elaborate on that concept?

It’s music you can use in a variety of ways – obviously the psychedelic experience can be profound but very intense, so it’s ideal to expand the use case to other modalities such as yoga, meditation, study, any activity requiring deep focus, and even aiding in sleep.

The truth is dance music is also functional music, in that its function is to make you dance and move. With ‘Dissolve’, the purpose is still there to move people, just in a different way, with a different function.

What are some albums that inspired you during the production of ‘Dissolve’?

Oh too many! Of course Jon Hopkins’ ‘Music For Psychedelic Therapy’ was a big influence in that it showed that this type of music could exist and have an audience. In terms of the sonics, Cliff Martinez’ score for the movie ‘Solaris’ was huge, in terms of the contour of the overall experience and the ethereal string arrangements.

Will we see remixes of the tracks at some point in the near future?

You very well may, I couldn’t possibly comment right now though.

And what else might we see from yourself going forward?

This album is released on one of two record labels I’m starting. This one is Microdose Music, a label devoted to functional music and music specifically designed for use by therapists for psychedelic assisted therapy using MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ketamine to treat depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD etc.

The other new label is more dancefloor focused and will be announced shortly, so more news on that soon.

Is there anything else you want to discuss before we finish up?

Only that you can listen to ‘Dissolve’ on your favourite streaming platform, I’d recommend Apple Music as I mixed it exclusively in Dolby Atmos, which really works for this style of music.

The album can also be bought on Bandcamp where it’s been selling really well! Finally I’d love to hear what people make of the album and where it took them, so feel free to drop me a line on Instagram.

Paul Nolan – Dissolve LP is out now on Microdose Music.