Angels in Santa Monica.
Video directed by Angie Scarpa, all photos by Larry Hirshowitz.

St. Paul + The Broken Bones: KCRW Live from HQ

Intimate performances, fresh sounds, and candid conversations with a view.

Alabama rockers St. Paul and The Broken Bones are Live From KCRW’s Annenberg Performance Studio to deliver a serious injection of soul. Click in for rapturous renditions of songs from the band’s highly regarded 2023 album Angels In Science Fiction, including “Lonely Love Song” and “Sea Star.”

Frontman Paul Janeway is a consummate conversationalist going deep with Anthony Valadez on the philosophical and literary implications behind the album’s title. Fun fact: It was Janeway’s lit-major wife who insisted on the evocative “In” of the album’s name, rather than the first draft: Angels And Science Fiction. Plus, Janeway breaks down balancing life on the road and why he says, “genres are for PR people and record stores.”

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

KCRW: Tell us about the title of your new album. Angels In Science Fiction is such an evocative phrase, filled with juxtaposition. Where did it come from?

Paul Janeway: This record is a really special thing for me, because it's written for going through the pandemic and becoming a dad. A  bunch of us [in the band] are big science fiction fans, and this thinking about growing up in the church and angels, I liked the melding of the two. Plus, it just seemed like a really cool title. But the argument my wife and I had is this: She has a master's in literature, and I initially was calling the album Angels And Science Fiction, but she goes, “No, no, it needs to be In Science Fiction.” And she was right, which she usually is.

A lot of lyrics on the new album deal with the challenges of new fatherhood vs. life as a touring musician. How do you balance it all?

I don't know. I think I'm still figuring that out. It’s funny, I was talking to my wife about this the other day, I think what happens now is things have more weight to them. Everything has more weight, every time you leave, every time you make this decision… it has more weight to it, which we all deal with in our own way. 

I think what's interesting with the song [“Marigold”, written for his new daughter], it was before she was born, and I kind of assumed how I would feel. And it is pretty accurate. Like, “Oh, that's cool. I feel like Nostradamus.” So it is tough, and I'm still figuring out what I can do and what I can't do. What I'm okay with and what I'm not okay with.

More: Emily King: KCRW Live from HQ

Your influences range from the likes of Moodyman to DJ Shadow and Aphex Twin. How do these types of leftfield electro-heroes push your own sound?

I think for me, it's just that you follow your muse. What moves you and have you learned? It's a soulful thing, that's where we come from. But for me it's just really about being able to be moved by music. I think all of us probably listen to all sorts of things. 

I think it would be lying to the audience to say, “We only do this because that's what influences us. I'm exposed to everything. We're in an interesting world as far as that goes which is fun. I always say this: Genres are for PR people, and record stores.


KCRW Music Director: Anne Litt
Interview: Anthony Valadez
Video Director: Vice Cooler
Video Editor / Color: Angie Scarpa
Camera Operators: Dalton Blanco, Matt Smith, Vice Cooler
Recording / Mix Engineers: Hope Bush
Assistant Recording Engineer: Henry D'Ambrosio 
Producers: Anna Chang and Liv Surnow
Production Assistance: Marion Hodges
Lighting Design: Jason Groman
Art Director: Evan Solano
Executive Producer: Ariana Morgenstern 
Digital Producer: Andrea Domanick

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