Originally hailing from Montreal, Canada, multi-instrumentalist Paul Farran started his music career with the alt-rock band, Pacer, releasing two albums between 1998 and 2003, as well as performing hundreds of shows each year. He found the pace too demanding however, especially as he was working for the United Nations, and had a family, and so decided to put his music aside for a while. In 2008 he and his then fiancee packed up their lives in 2008 and walked the 400 miles of the “Camino de Santiago”, an ancient pilgrimage route which crosses Northern Spain. The pair got married at the end of the journey. They quit their jobs with the UN in 2016, and decided to backpack with their young children on a half year trip which took them to Africa, to South East Asia, and back, then on to Europe.
During this trip Paul conceived of the idea for The Camino Side Project, named for the pilgrim route in Spain – “Camino” translates to English as path, or way. He enlisted the help of musicians he met along the journey, as well as links from his past to join him in telling the story of his travels. This project became 11 songs about 11 countries, with each reflecting the experiences in life that affect one’s perspectives, and decisions. The guest artists brought with them their own cultural flavours, such as Vietnamese hip hop artist Radical, on ‘Highbeam’.
The album was recorded while on the road over a period of 18 months, and took in four continents, 11 countries, and 14 different studios during that time. Fusing a wide variety of sounds, the one uniting factor is Paul’s baritone vocals, which come somewhere between Nick Cave, and Montreal’s other favourite son, Leonard Cohen.