Singer-songwriter Paddy Casey has said he never made any money despite selling nearly 300,000 copies of his hit album Living, selling out gigs, signing to a major labeland playing support to acts such as U2 and Bob Dylan.

The Crumlin-born solo artist returns this summer with a new double album, his first LP since 2012, but he insists he never saw the fruits of the massive success he enjoyed in the mid-noughties.

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Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment, Casey said, "I don't have to worry about making money anymore because there’s none. I sold a lot of records, but sure, I didn’t see a penny of that.

"But that’s what it’s like when you sign a record deal. Every can of coke cost fifty quid."

The laconic and dry-witted Casey, who has just released new single, Won’t Take Much, added, "I spent all the money from Living on touring. It’s just the way it works.

"I don’t know what they call it, they call it stacking the deck, don’t they? It’s just the music business. You get a bit of money up front and you know you have to pay that back. I’m not saying I didn’t do really well, but I did really well from touring."

Making a Living from music was never easy . . . 

Casey remains resolutely independently minded and his well-known dislike of the music industry has not mellowed in his absence from recording. "It’s always been the beast it was. It never fooled anyone." he says.

Since his last album, Casey has self-released a few new songs, and before the pandemic struck, he continued to gig at least once a week.

"This is the longest there’s been between releases for me," he says. "I figure I have about five or six albums in me already so if I pace it properly, I can get to the age of 80 and release an album every few years."

"2014 was a bit of a break-up year for me. That was a tough one, I'm not gonna lie."

His new double album, Turn This Ship Around, is out this summer and it has two distinct but complementary halves - one record of rock songs and one record of mellower acoustic tracks.

"I wanted to do a double album - one side is full-on electric with strings and synths and stuff, and the other side is more laid-back, piano and strings or guitar and strings, acoustic-y," he says.

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"They didn’t fit together well but they belong together in a weird way, so I made a double album, two different entities."

It was ready last year but the pandemic cut his plans short. "Life gets in the way, nothing too drastic, nothing everybody else doesn’t go through . . . life in general put a hold on it for a couple of years," he says.

"There were a couple of deaths . . . I’m not that fast at writing songs, anyway. I wait until I have songs that I think are decent. I wasn’t in a rush and it’s a double album, so I wanted to make up for lost time."

Going by the sound of new album track Out of Control, there was also a romantic break-up. "That was a few years ago, 2014," he says. "It does what it says on the tin, it was a bit of a break-up year for me. That was a tough one, I’m not gonna lie."

He recorded Turn This Ship Around in his house in Wicklow with a simple rule - anyone who visited or who was staying over had to contribute something to the recording.

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"Lots of people who don’t sing for a living are on the album," Casey says. "Anyone who was in the house, I’d get them to pick up an instrument. Declan O’Rourke plays a little bit of guitar."

He says not being able to gig because of lockdown is awful ("It was my only social activity!"), but he has managed to do something he wouldn’t have done if restrictions weren’t in place.

"I’ve written a musical," Casey says. "It’s a space adventure conspiracy. It needs a bit of work. I have a lot of the songs in place, but I need to find a writer to finish it. It could change, but it’s called "Space Adventure 4 44" at the moment."

So, does Paddy think it will give Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, and Enda Walsh’s hit musical Once a run for its money. "Well, there is a busker in it. Hahahaha."

Alan Corr @CorrAlan2