Two years since the release of his universally-acclaimed third album The Hill, Dublin singer-songwriter Paddy Hanna returns with aplomb.

His trademark duelling lyricism and elaborate instrumentation come to the fore on his new single ‘New York Sidewalk’, which released this week.

Hanna began his career in music as the frontman of Grand Pocket Orchestra before switching his attention to solo material with the release of his debut album Leafy Stiletto in 2014, which music bible NME called 'wickedly smart'.

Over the years, he has supported legends of the music industry including Joan as a Policewoman, Billy Ocean and Cate Le Bon. In 2019, Hanna supported one of his musical heroes, Burt Bacharach, during the Irish leg of his tour.

1. Your new single 'New York Sidewalk' seems to open a new chapter for your music, was that a conscious decision?

I don’t make conscious decisions during the song-writing process; I tend to work unconsciously and then put all the pieces together when gathering an album's worth of material. It's not unlike a puzzle: assembling a series of disparate shapes and forming a recognisable whole.

2. It's been two years since the release of your last album, how have you changed musically over that turbulent period?

I slowed down, I became far more affectionate. That affection bled into the recording process. I was adamant that the only guitars I would use on my new tracks would be the first guitar I ever bought, a Danelectro DC 59, and a special hybrid guitar that my father-in-law made for me. I wanted that affection to not only be in the words I wrote but in the instruments I played.

3. Who are your biggest musical influences?

I often flip-flop on this question depending on where my mind is at the time. I’m feeling nostalgic at this moment so I will tell you a story. One of the first gigs I ever went to was a hardcore punk show by a band called Converge in Dublin’s Voodoo Lounge. There were four acts that night: a local band named Coldwar, who if I recall had a song called “Dirty Protest”, the second act's name escapes me, perhaps for good reason.

The third act however was an American fellow called William Elliot Whitmore, a gravelly-voiced gentleman with eclectic tattoos and a banjo. Remarkably, this lad was able to win over a crowd of hardcore punks with nothing more than a banjo and a heaping of soul. That takes a lot of courage and it’s something that influences me to this day.

4. Describe the best experience of your career, so far.

This one's fairly easy, to the point that I'm starting to bore people with the details. I was lucky enough to perform with Burt Bacharach at the Galway Arts Festival in 2019. I sang 'Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head' with him and his wonderful band as his encore, I sang that song for my Leaving Cert music exam! To be able to perform it with Mr. Bacharach himself was a dream come true.

5. How do you feel about releasing a new song into the world?

A journalist once described a song by my former band as sounding like “a bunch of cats in a bag being beaten with sticks”. I have feared nothing ever since.

6. Name one act that you would love to collaborate with.

Martin Rev, formally of the band Suicide. I’d love to throw down with him.

7. Name one record that everyone should hear and why.

It would have to be something that not enough people have heard. I'm going to say the first Ginnels album, the self-titled 'Ginnels'. It's a great lo-fi record that has a wonderful bright sparkle.

8. What's the one song you wish you'd written?

'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' by The Walker Brothers. The harmonies, the arrangements - that song has been on the end of a hook and I’ve been chasing it for years.

9. You've mentioned before about how Italian zombie flicks influenced your album 'The Hill' - What's your current movie inspiration?

I will never not be inspired by Italian zombies flicks. I find them oddly uplifting. At the moment I’m enjoying a lot of folk horror, particularly the Australian ones - films like 'Wake in Fright' and 'Celia'. I discovered recently that my friend and label-mate Junior Brother is a massive folk horror fan, which thrilled me to the core.

10. Finally, what are your plans for 2022?

There will probably be some more music in the pipeline - who knows? I intend to do things at my own pace this time round.

Paddy Hanna's new single 'New York Sidewalk' is available now to stream here.