PS & Kingston, I love you

Local hero Paul Saulnier can be seen around town bowling, working and playing in a handful of music projects

PS I Love You, one of local musician Paul Saulnier’s many endeavours, recently released his self-titled debut album which has been a fixture on CFRC’s weekly Top 5 since July 8.
PS I Love You, one of local musician Paul Saulnier’s many endeavours, recently released his self-titled debut album which has been a fixture on CFRC’s weekly Top 5 since July 8.
Suplplied photo by Jeff Barbeau

When Paul Saulnier goes bowling, everyone at the Cloverleaf Bowling Alley wants to take his picture—all three of them. Maybe it’s because they’re his friends.Talking to Saulnier—member of the bands Magic Jordan and the now-defunct Nich Worby band and the force behind PS I Love You and DJ Haircut—does feel a little like meeting a local hero.

Interviewing Saulnier at a Kingston bowling alley with a group of his friends is appropriate, considering his friends and Kingston are the two major influences on his music.

Recorded at the Grad Club—a place that Saulnier calls “fun” but “creepy because of all of the ghost stories”—on Saturday afternoons, his album is brimming with catchy riffs, hollow eighties-like reverb and bittersweet lyrics.

“Writing lyrics [is] not really my thing. I mostly write about whatever I’m looking at while I’m playing guitar, things and places. I don’t like telling a story or painting a picture. My songs are meant to sound how something feels—not in a mushy way—but in a funny way,” Saulnier said.

PS I Love You’s songwriting process is just as idiosyncratic as his stage presence.

“I’m normally shy but I want to make my shows as big of a spectacle as I possibly can.”

Clad in glam rock make-up and a tattered red jacket, his look was actually something the Journal once called “an emo version of KISS with a glittery silver cloud on his forehead sending lightning bolts down his cheeks”—a comment Saulnier originally disliked.

“I hated emo kids and KISS. But recently I’ve grown to love KISS and I was thinking about what an emo member of KISS would look like. Tears coming down from the lightening bolts and a brooding cloud on my forehead seemed right.” PS I Love You’s signature jacket—in all its deep red, tattered majesty—also has a story behind it.

“I used to wear it all the time—it’s ugly but whatever. I was dancing with a girl one night and I did this spin move and she ripped the back,” he said. “It’s my fancy heartbreak jacket with three rips in the back.” For PS I Love You, pretty much all things have sentimental value. Even Saulnier’s stage name was given to him by his friends, a cute play on the musician’s initials.

“The thing that affects me most is my friends. I’m absorbed in everyone I know because Kingston is so small I see them everyday. It can be suffocating,” Saulnier said.

“Kingston is part of who I am, whether I like it or not.” Even though Kingston can occasionaly be stifling, it has also been the source of opportunities Saulnier’s extremely grateful for. He’s currently represented by Apple Crisp Records, a local Kingston record label, and his self-titled album is number one on the CFRC charts. Although these may seem like small feats, Saulnier wouldn’t ask for anything more.

“I have dreams of becoming a rock star, but no ambitions of it,” he said.

Becoming a rock star would require the move from the limestone city to a big city with bigger music scenes and that’s not something Saulnier’s interested in.

“It is tempting to move, but I like smaller cities and I’ve lived here most of my life. A lot of my favourite bands come from small scenes,” he said. “But who knows what will happen.” The streets of Kingston have shaped Saulnier latest musical endeavour in a large way.

“I can see bits of myself scattered throughout the city.

Emotional-geography, a pretentious word I like to use, kind of means that your memories come alive in certain spaces—so much of my life is in downtown Kingston.”

PS I Love You plays Friday September 12 at BarNone with Spiral Beach and Black Diamond Bay. Tickets are $15.

Spiral Beach will also be performing a free show at Sunrise Records (Cataraqui Town Centre) at 4:30pm, September 12.

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