April 22, 2015
It’s a Wednesday afternoon.
The sun shines brightly down on the main courtyard at UNC Charlotte and reflects off the lenses of the black-framed glasses of Paul Wright. The contrast between his red hair and piercing blue eyes is impossible not to notice, along with his towering height. But for now, 27 year old Wright is sitting down on a bench, and he takes the time to reflect on his new creative start in life.
“It’s kind of crazy how it’s all come together,” says Wright.
After a spark of the rock-star life brought him away from the university and across the country for five years along with his rock band Fusebox Poet, Wright and his bandmates ended the project in April of last year for each of them to pursue other endeavors. For Wright, the pure creative side of their music became a little lost when the promotion and branding seemed to flood to the forefront of it all.
“It was always about commercialism, always about getting numbers, and that stuff’s important,” he pauses. “But when it becomes the center of what you’re doing, you’ve lost sight of what got you there.”
But since he’s returned to the university this past fall, he’s discovered that he doesn’t have to make a choice between his music passion and academics. He can pursue his degree and stay focused on being more grounded, while also having an outlet for his creative endeavors.
He’s taken the lead with his own alternative solo project, LATE (stylized L/\TE) – a fitting moniker, as Wright admittedly feels a little late in finding an equilibrium between himself, and his music.
“When you’re consistently becoming more and more successful, it’s that balance that kind of escapes you,” Wright mentions. “Since the root of this project really centers on being honest, I felt like I had to stick with the name that I did.”
LATE’s first single “Love & War” shows how his project looks to be that attractive and powerful blend of industrial rock influences like Muse, Nine Inch Nails and Haim. Wright has also heard from unbiased peers, that there’s even a bit of a Prince influence, likely because of the sprinkle of guitar work throughout the single.
The music video, directed by Charlotte filmmaker William Brooks, is visually-oriented and performance-based, shifting shots with every beat. It’s like an intercut concert with hints of a greater story.
He mentions that the song talks about more than the typical romance drama, commenting instead on “knowing what the right decision is, but not being able to make it yet.” The video also uses its simple, yet creative set production to help elevate the story.
“One of the key elements I tried to focus on and translate in the video to avoid the typical girl-guy thing was to translate love and war in the sense of lighting,” said Wright. “There’s a lot of correlation between what is being said lyrically and the lighting in a shot.”
Wright looks to explore more storytelling elements in future videos, and he intends to release the songs and the videos for LATE at the same time, every time.
“I would prefer for people to hear the song along with the video, before listening to it on its own,” Wright said. “The road I want to steer people down is one on which the visual is kept with the music.”
The marketing major would ideally like to keep on a road he’s familiar with, which is creative branding and marketing for bands, an area he dove in deep with for Fusebox Poet. As for LATE, he has plans in the works to have a second video release sometime in May.
As of now, Wright has no solid plans for shows, EPs or anything else quite yet; he knows there’s plenty of time to still figure that out. When his creative engine begins to crank up, it’s sometimes difficult for Wright to make sure he keeps his balance.
“I still face that battle from an artists’ perspective, because I still want to create content fairly quickly,” he laughs. “But we’ll see how it goes. I’m looking forward to the journey.”