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The Papertiger Sound.

19 Jan

I am not going to hold back whilst declaring  my love for The Papertiger Sound. They tower a million miles above pretty much every other new band that I hear. The PTS fill me with a childlike enthusiasm that no other music comes close to. I already feel like my head is going to explode with trying to explain how much I love them. Yes! I love them! I do, I do.

I don’t have a song that I do not like by this band – The PTS create palpable images of lost childhoods, train journeys and warm country air, how could anyone not like all that?. Take a listen, I am not being all flowery here – This is music for reminiscing with thoughts of days gone by and better times.

The Papertiger Sound have just released a brand new mini album called “Call Home” and once again they prove just how incredible their musical ability is. “Call Home” walks similar paths that the band’s previous releases  but the sound is more accomplished.  “Call Home” is The PTS hitting a pinnacle of creativity – A recording of sheer beauty, confidence,craftsmanship and surprisingly, the album is totally free to download; in my eyes it’s priceless.

I asked the duo to talk us through each of the tracks on the new album and here’s what they had to say.

‘Call Home’

Kerstin: The opening track, ‘Call Home’, was actually the last track added to the album, I think. Some of Dan’s vocals and guitar were taken directly from ‘Over The Fields’ and then I added some more keyboard/synth layers. It came about because I really loved the vocals Dan added to the last section of ‘Over The Fields” and I wanted to hear what it would be like stripped down, and a bit more dreamy. We decided to include the song to provide a nice bookend effect.

‘Fin’

Kerstin: Basically, I just restructured the song a bit, added some vocals, and did some tweaking and production.

Dan: I wrote the bones of this one when I was staying with Kerstin in Canada last April. Lyrically, it’s me picking myself off the ground after getting a good kicking at school. Then just trying to hold it all in, retreating into a shell. I’ve no idea why I was moved to write about bullying, I guess it’s quite cathartic.

‘Safe Inside’

Kerstin: Similarly to ‘Fin’ but more so, I did a lot of structuring (I kind of feel like I produced this one!) Oh, and I wrote and added some vocals.  After Dan added his vocals, I wanted to add vocals that had a choral, ethereal feel about them (reminiscent of Bjork’s Vespertine album — only without the choir). I wanted it to be a response to the verse, to say, ‘you’re not alone’. The are some secrets that need to be unburdened and someone is there to listen.

Dan:  I think we’d been guilty in the past of releasing unfinished music by letting our enthusiasm get the better of us. So this time we were determined to spend as long as needed to get the sounds in our heads out. We’re always pushing each other to do better. But you know, there’s no egos to be bruised, so it’s all good. I probably spent more time on this song than any of the others, night after night just tweaking beats and reverbs.

‘Something Good’

Kerstin: I wanted to write an electronic song that was rhythm focused and minimalistic in some ways. After I recorded the first demo and sent it to Dan, he almost immediately added some vocal melody ideas. That’s when I knew the song was really going somewhere. I think it’s our most hopeful, ‘cheery’ (word choice?) song in terms of the message, but at the same time it’s pretty haunting.

Dan: If you put me and Kerstin in the same room with a bunch of instruments, we’d get nothing done. You’d find us listening to records and talking endlessly. But If you stick the Atlantic Ocean between us, it all seems to come together ! Ha ! Well, maybe I’m exaggerating to make a point. Early last year we started using Propellerhead’s ‘Record’ software, and it made a real difference to how we develop our songs as there weren’t so many files zipping around. It used to be horrible and confusing to the point when getting a song recorded was like a little victory. This song’s about not taking for granted the things that are important to you, whether it’s ambition or a person. An easy thing to do i think.

‘Winterlove’

Kerstin: Really, apart from adding bass and backing vocals, this one is all yours!

Dan: I’d always been a bit obsessed by Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘Killing Moon’, and wanted to write something similar, a big song with a big chorus. And for a while Winterlove was just an acoustic song which i’d play to myself occasionally. It’s about wasting emotional energy on things you can’t change, or rather going back into the past and change, if that makes sense at all. It’s quite a positive and brave song really.

‘Postcard From Home’

Kerstin: This is a song that went through a few transformations. Dan sent me a piano song with the same title ages ago. I then added a few vocal lines. But since then, I changed the piano melody, chord structure, added drums and synth and only kept one vocal line. It’s a completely different song really, but I think the original feeling is still there — or at least I hope so!

Dan: I think the original will surface at some point. It’s really beautiful.

‘Over The Fields’

Kerstin: Another song that is nothing like the original demo. Which I think speaks to our recording process. A lot of ideas are recorded and sent back and forth until we settle on something we’re both happy with, and then we go from there. An average song will have three, four or more versions.

Dan: We’ve always been pleased with how our vocals just seem to click together, and I think this song really shows that. I wrote it after waking up one morning with the whole song pretty much in my head. I just sat there in bed surrounded by wires, keyboards and guitars and just did the beat and guitars and a rough vocal. I used half of a bass line from another song we’d been working on which really didn’t go anywhere. It’s funny y’know, just when you think a song has run itself into a dead end, you can find a way to make it great

http://papertigersound.com/

 

 

 

 

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“Adulthood is ok, apart from the bills! “

30 Aug

The Papertiger Sound are by far the best band I have heard this year. They make music for dark Autumn nights and cold sunny Winter mornings.

Acoustic electronica is one way to describe this transatlantic duo but that just wouldn’t go deep enough. The band has the ability to make you yearn for things past but they also make you appreciate what you once held dear but thought you had lost forever.

TPS are the musical equivalent of opening an old photo album that plays palpable songs as each memory comes vividly back to life.

Perfect.

Dan from the band took some time out to answer some questions from us.

Ok, let us start at the beginning. For those readers that are not familiar with the band tell us more.

Kerstin and I met in Leeds in late 2006, and we formed Papertiger Sound shortly after. Kerstin now lives back home in Nova Scotia, Canada and I live in Norfolk, England. We make music over the Internet by sending files to each other and talking on Skype, and release our music through the Auteur Recordings label. Occasionally Kerstin will come to England, or I’ll go to Canada, and we’ll play a show or do a session for the BBC.

Who are you biggest musical influences?

 Kerstin and I share similar influences, like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Bjork, Fourtet, Sparklehorse. But I think we influence each other as much as other bands, which is probably why it works so well.

What are your influences outside of music?

Landscape has always affected how I write. The bit of Norfolk where I’m from, right on the edge of the Fens, in particular. It’s all flat endless fields and big skies. We’re both into David Hockney’s photography too, though I don’t know if that has any real influence on our writing.

What was the first record you ever bought?

It was ‘I started something i couldn’t finish’ by The Smiths, on 7″ vinyl. That video of Morrissey cycling around Salford with his lookalikes is genius. I’m still a big Smiths fan today.

And the last?

I honestly can’t say when i last bought anything new. I’ve recently been ripping all my CD’s to hard drive, so it’s been nice rediscovering music I’d forgotten about, like Ride, Lush, The Cardiacs and The House of Love. It’s a bit like buying it all over again.

I think I would describe TPS as Autumnal acoustic Electronica, similar in feel to bands like Hood, Epic 45 and July Skies. Do you agree with this? And are you a fan of any of these bands.

Yeah, that’s a nice description. Everyone seems to pick up on something different when they hear us, though funnily they all seem to include the words ‘Winter’ and ‘Autumn’ . It’s music for wearing big coats and gloves too I guess !

I’ve seen Hood a few times, and I think we share similar influences, like Bark Psychosis. I was also fan of the 555 label, with bands such as Empress. I’ve never heard of Epic 45 or July Skies, I’ll have to have a listen.

If you had to choose one TPS song to introduce people to the band, which one would you choose?

 ‘Words Escape Me’ maybe. In fact I’d say the whole of the ‘Tiny Robot Love’ EP, which is free to download.

Which current bands do you listen to the most?

I’ve been listening to Friendly Fires and Everything Everything in the car this week. The new Bearsuit album is good too.

I get a feeling that a lot of your music is influenced by feelings of a lost childhood. I don’t mean in a negative sense but a deep yearning for days gone by. Do you miss childhood and what are your fondest memories of that time? Is adulthood all it was cracked up to be?

I like the fuzzy memories I have of childhood, but I don’t really miss being a kid. I remember I used to sit in fields all night with my telescope quite a bit, getting dizzy looking at the stars. And making dens with my friends and running around like a lunatic most of the day! It was all a bit Swallows and Amazons at times. But yeah, I do have that sort of nostalgic melancholy for childhood and it affects our sound. Adulthood is ok, apart from the bills!

Have you got any plans for any live shows or new releases?

We do have new music, but no plans to release anything at the moment. Maybe around Christmas time we’ll release something, we’ll see. As far as playing live, I may do something on my own nearer December, but not as Papertiger Sound.

Right, you are stranded on a desert island. You can have one book, one album, one meal and one drink dropped from a plane to you. Pick them!

 Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman, Souvlaki by Slowdive, something Indian for the meal, and Lager.

Ok, I will say a big thank you for taking the time to speak to us and leave you with the final words…

Hello, we’re Papertiger Sound, and it’s been nice to meet you.

http://papertigersound.com/