Australian band The Paper Kites an indie rock-folk band from Melbourne are flying pretty high in North America at the moment but here in their own country while they have a large following are still relatively unknown. Having gone Gold in the US placing them in the same league as INXS, Midnight Oil, Sia, Kylie Minogue, Flume and Silverchair as the few artists to do so I think it’s time we pay them more attention! Releasing their latest album On The Corner Where You Live on September 21, Christina Lacey took some time out to answer some questions for Hi-Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.
Your new album On The Corner Where You Live comes out September 21. Can you give us an insight to how this album differs to your last one On The train Ride Home which was only released in April?
It differs a lot really. The new release On The Corner Where You Live will probably be more like what people were expecting from a new The Paper Kites album. It’s a collection of full band songs (mostly) and it’s bringing more of the sound that I think people have come to know us for in recent years.
What made you come up with the concept of releasing two albums in such a close period of time instead of releasing them all on one album? Was there a flood of creativity coming out that you felt had to be released?
In a way, yes. When writing Sam Bentley brought us the songs he’d been working on for the album there were so many beautiful quieter/acoustic songs that we knew we’d have a hard time choosing just one or two to feature on a full length album. So the idea for On The Train Ride Home was sort of born from not wanting these songs to go unheard but also wanting to give fans more music. Sometimes it can be two years between albums and we thought why not release more songs if we love them have them sitting here? Let’s give them to people instead of holding onto to them for further albums.
I’ve only recently discovered The Paper Kites and I’m really loving your songs like Bloom and Electric Indigo but I’m especially into your new single Deep Burn Blue. Tell us a bit about the new album and new single.
The new album feels like a real natural progression forward from TwelveFour (our previous release). The songs are new, obviously, but I think we found a sort of matured sound in TwelveFour, and the new record On The Corner Where You Live has that similar feel. It was a real pleasure to record this album. It felt like a real collaborative effort from the whole band and our producer Peter Katis, and I think we all came back from recording feeling really stoked with the result.
Deep Burn Blue really shone once we got it into the studio. To be honest, it’s not the song we would have initially thought would be our first release but it came to life and we all fell in love with it so we were excited to share it with everyone.
To me your music doesn’t stand out as a typically Australian sound. You have been categorised by some as folk, but I also hear elements of country and soft rock. How would you describe your sound?
Personally, I’m not a really sure what a typical Australian sound is? We have such an eclectic range of artists in Australia. But yes I’m continually finding this a hard question. We certainly have folk influences in our writing and music but the sound has developed to incorporate a lot more too. I’m happy for people to decide what they think the sound is. We don’t feel the need to put it in a specific genre box.
Having half a BILLION streams for your music on Spotify and over 3.2 million monthly listeners as well as going Gold in the USA must be exciting achievements for you. How do you feel about that?
It’s definitely exciting! When we heard about Gold in the US we were blown away. I think it makes us feel really proud of the hard work we’ve put in over the years and also incredibly grateful to everyone who listens to and supports our music. It’s amazing to get this opportunity to create and release music and we can only do it because people keep listening and turning up to show, so we are forever grateful for that!
The live shows have been a big part of your bands success where you have been touring across four continents, twenty-four countries with nearly two hundred shows in just under three years. Is that exhausting and rewarding at the same time?
Yep that’s probably the best way of describing it. It’s amazing and it’s been an incredible way to see the world and meet so many wonderful people and share our music, but it’s also really hard sometimes. It can be physically and mentally gruelling and it can be really lonely sometimes too. Personally, I’ve learnt how to look after myself physically and mentally much better on tour and it’s certainly gotten easier as the years have gone by.
What’s it like to tour constantly? Does that affect the dynamics of the band or strength it?
After touring together for years it feels like we are a pretty well oiled machine these days. There are good and bad days on the road – just like any job – but we all know each other so well and we know for ourselves when we need space or time alone or a good phone call home and usually that will make a huge difference to a hard day on tour. We’re really lucky that apart from loving playing music together, we also actually really like each other and look out for each other and have a lot of fun together, even in the mundane parts of touring like driving for 12 hours to a show or waiting around a venue.
Now that there’s a new album coming out will there be a tour announced for Australia?
All in due time! We can’t wait to get back on the road in Australia.
You seem to have a big following in the USA where you have toured a few times and returning to in November. What do you think it is that Americans have taken to your music so enthusiastically?
We’re not really sure to be honest but we absolutely love touring in North America and we can’t wait to go back. They are always so so good to us and it really does feel like a second home these days!
You have been together for many years, but it feels like you have been a quiet achiever on the Australian front and we are only now starting to really hear about the band’s success and achievements. Was it a conscious thing to be more low key and just concentrate on making good music?
I wouldn’t say we consciously tried to be more low key. I think we focused on the music but also just tried to run our own race and not let what might be perceived as ‘success in the Australian music industry’ dictate our moves. We’ve always tried really hard to be integral in what we do as a band and I guess have always figured that if we’re making music that people around the world seem to be enjoying and listening to then it doesn’t matter if we’re not getting played on that radio station or not playing that festival that everyone else is playing. I think we’ve felt really proud and grateful for the opportunities we’ve had so it hasn’t really mattered if everyone else heard about it or not.
I’ve noticed your music videos have an emotive and expressive element to them. Is that a medium you like to use to help translate the visual meaning of the song?
Yeah we’ve always really enjoyed bringing that visual element into the songs. We’ve tried to use the music videos as a sort of visual extension of the songs and it’s been really enjoyable to see people respond to that so well.
Do you see your music as an artistic package? In other words, the story or expression doesn’t start and end with the song. It continues with the cover artwork and the visual form of video.
I’ve never thought about it like that but essentially yes. We’re always very intentional about all the elements to the albums, whether it’s artwork or videos or music. Sometimes we probably think a little too much about all the details but we think it really important to be involved in all of those aspects and not just hand them over to someone else. It’s nice to watch things roll out when it’s all getting released and see how the pieces all fit together.
Who are your favourite musicians or bands? Any new music that you’ve been listening to?
Too many favourites but some new music (well new to me) I’ve been loving is Freya Ridings, Allen Stone, and Gregory Allen Isakov.
Interview by Anastasia Lambis
For more information on The Paper Kites and to order their new album On The Corner Where You Live head to http://thepaperkites.com.au/