Interview: The Paper Kites
Melbourne indie-folk quintet, The Paper Kites, recently announced the release of their new single, St Clarity, and will be celebrating with a national headline tour of Australia through August and September. Somethingyousaid.com caught up with lead vocalist Sam Bentley to find out more:
The new video for “St Clarity” is really lovely. How did you come to work with Natasha Pincus? Was the concept for the video created collaboratively or spearheaded by one party?
Natasha was someone that I had been keen to worth with after seeing her speak on a panel and we had a lot of the same tastes and ideas about what a music video should be. I ended up meeting with her, and we chatted about the song and I had brought in a video of Sylvain’s (Letuvée) work. She loved it and sort of went away and wrote this beautiful narrative, and showed how we could use his art and turn it in to something that worked with the theme of the song. She’s got a brilliant mind for that sort of thing and it was a real privilege working with her and seeing her creative process.
How long did it take for your debut album, “States” to come together? Was the creative and recording process different to your two EPs?
We had a big pile of demos that I had really roughly recorded, some of them were even a few years old and we just got together and sifted through them. We decided the songs we thought might work on the record and started playing with them. We were in and out of the studio over a few months, it certainly felt like a long time. Mainly because of the amount of work that was in each song, for this record we really focused on textures and the arrangement of the tracks and putting things in there that sounded sonically interesting and we experimented with orchestral elements and it eventually came together. It was a lot of work when Wayne and myself started on the mixing. There were a lot of sounds to get right so we spent a lot of time on that. So it was definitely different to the last two EP’s in that I think in general it was a much more ambitious project for us, everything was stepped up – the instrumentation, the arrangements, the sounds, the songs we were recording. It’s definitely something new, but it’s still The Paper Kites.
You’re about to unleash “States” into the world. How are you feeling? Nervous? Excited?
My feeling is really just anxious I think. It’s a test of patience really, you’re sitting on something you’ve spent the last half year working on and you really just want to get it out there. There’s definitely excited vibes about finally having a full length album ready to release, it’s been a little while coming. But it will be great to see how people react to it, we’re really happy with the work we’ve done on it.
You’re supporting City and Colour on their upcoming tour of America soon. What are you most looking forward to about your debut US tour?
Driving on the other side of the road, a legitimate southern BBQ, driving around the country in a tour bus that is yet to be named, and there’s been talk of going to Harry Potter World. Aside from that stuff, half of us have never been to the states so that in itself is pretty cool. I think playing some of the venues we’ll be playing with Dallas, having never played in the States before is something we’re still wrapping our heads around. It’s an amazing opportunity we’re so thrilled to be heading over.
And what will be the thing you expect to miss most about Australia?
Playing in the US will be an opportunity to win new fans. Do you enjoy the challenge of performing to an audience that might not know much about you?
Well it really depends on the kind of show you’re playing, if you’re a support band sometimes people can have the attitude of ‘come on, impress me’. But most of the time the people that go to shows are music lovers, and are pretty polite whether they like you or not. Generally you don’t get heaps of the folks who show up just to drink and talk loudly and didn’t know there was a show on. But we’ve always just done our thing, I don’t think we feel like we have to make people like us. I’ve heard Americans are a pretty lovely audience to play for so I guess we’ll see.
Could you ever see yourselves relocating overseas on a permanent basis?
No I don’t think we’re that kind of band. Australia is where our families and friends are and at the end of the day you need something to come home to. These days with social media and all the different mediums to get your music heard I don’t think it’s as relevant to have to move somewhere to have a music career.
Before the US, you’re touring Australia, where, of course, you already have a strong fanbase. What can people expect from your shows? Any surprises up your sleeves?
We’re working on the show at the moment, it’s always a challenge having to try and replicate the sounds we got on the album as best we can. There were a lot of weird noises and stuff we sort of happened to get by chance in the studio so to bring those sounds in to the live show is hard sometimes. But we have a great team working with us on this tour, I haven’t actually seen what’s going to be happening with the lighting and stage design but it’s going to look great. I think much like the new album the show might confuse people a little, because we enjoy trying to push our sound and as a result it can sometimes mess with your fans’ perception of your music. But it’s just an extension of what we already do and the people that come to our shows usually go along with it. There’ll still be the favourites in there somewhere.
You’ve played live with acts like Josh Pyke and Boy & Bear. Which band/artist would it be your dream to tour with?
Funnily enough a lot of the bands I love we’ve crossed paths with on stage at some point. Feist would be cool to tour with, any sort of Justin Vernon project would be amazing too.
Finally, tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about The Paper Kites…
Christina is a fully trained nurse.
If you’re in Australia, you can catch the band live at the following venues. Tickets are available from the usual places. They are also at Falls Festival this year.:
FRI 30 AUG | THE SMALL BALLROOM, NEWCASTLE NSW
SAT 31 AUG | METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY NSW (ALL AGES)
THU 05 SEP | THE SOUNDLOUNGE, GOLD COAST QLD
FRI 06 SEP | THE HI-FI, BRISBANE QLD
SAT 07 SEP | THE NORTHERN, BYRON BAY NSW
SUN 15 SEP | THE HI-FI, MELBOURNE VIC (U18 MATINEE)
FRI 20 SEP | JIVE, ADELAIDE SA
SAT 21 SEP | FLY BY NIGHT, FREMANTLE WA
FRI 27 SEP | THE WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART TAS
SAT 28 SEP | THE FORUM, MELBOURNE VIC
Interview by Bobby Townsend.