INTERVIEW: The Paper Kites

We interviewed Australian band The Paper Kites’ Christina and Dave, just before their sold out show in Oslo, Hackney!


Have you hit the UK before?


Dave: We played in London February last year right at the end of the tour, just in Lexington.


So this is a huge step up capacity wise!  You just finished a Europe tour, What’s been the best moment in Europe? Favourite city, best moment?


Dave: The best city usually depends on where we get a day off, because usually we just drive through, play a show go to a hotel and leave the next morning. We had a good time in Munich, we were there during Oktoberfest, had a day off went to the Opera House. We had a really good show in Langham in Germany too.


And you played Reeperbahn in Germany too, which must have been a really big deal, a lot of the UK flock to Hamburg for that every year! For an emerging band, you’ve so much world experience, being Australian, done a Europe and UK tour and then you’re going to USA next. How do you find different receptions in each city? Do you find it easier in Australia because that’s where you’re from?


Dave: Yeah mainly because we’re Australian we understand how the Australian crowds work.


What’s the difference in the crowds?


Christina: There’s quite a big difference.


Dave: Actually there are polarising differences between even different towns in Germany. We’ve experienced that a lot, more than I would have expected. Some places are quite really quiet. Even if they enjoy the shows, they’re very quiet about it. But there are places in Australia, playing up in Northern Queensland, sometimes you think people don’t even want to hear you play they’re just talking and yelling all the time.


Christina: Its funny, obviously it's so lovely when crowds are really respectful, they’ll clap and then it's silent, but at the same time it's hard for us to gauge whether they are really enjoying it or not!


Do you tend to have big Australian audiences even when you play outside of Australia? Usually that happens with US bands!


Dave: Depends on the city. In Amsterdam we met a few Aussies, in London last time we had some Aussies, but not always.


Have you ever done an Asia tour? Because you’ve hit pretty much every other continent now!


Christina: We did a festival in the Philippines in Manila, but that’s the only Asian show, and that was just a one day festival so that was quick in and out. But we'd love to do Asia properly at some point.


So when you are touring how does it work? Do you make sure you have a following before you go and then go there, or do you go perform in order to get a following?


Dave: A lot of it depends on the groundwork that’s been done before, if radio has picked up one of our songs or our song has been on a TV show, then we have a much bigger market. And then if we do have a market, it all depends on venues and agents and promoters.

If our managers have good connections with promoters in that region then we know we can have a successful tour. We don’t really subscribe to the formula of breaking a new band from the ground, just turning up and hoping for the best. We chose our avenues and our regions pretty carefully, so we know we’re at least gonna get 50-100 people guaranteed, and that’s worked pretty well so far.


And away from the touring, how does the actual song writing for you guys work? Is it one person writing and the band learns it, or does the band write together?


Christina: For this album it was predominantly Sam, who’s our lead singer, who wrote the album, and it’s a situation where he wrote it over a couple of months then recorded a lot of demos and passed them on to us, then we spent a while just listening to them at our leisure and deciding which ones we thought would work well as a collective album, and then it’s the fun job of getting together discussing which songs people like, which songs we think didn’t work, then it’s a case of rehearsing for a long time and work-shopping the songs. Some of them probably changed more than others from the original demos. So yeah that initial process is Sam and then that becomes a bit more of a group project once the songs are chosen.


How is it co-ordinating the emotions and feelings? Especially in the song ‘Revelator Eyes’ all the instruments emotively sound in line with the vocals. Especially if it's one person writing it, how does Sam get those emotions across to you guys? Do you just pick it up?


Dave: Sam’s a pretty emotive writer, not only in his lyrics but the emotion of the sound and he’s pretty clear with us in how he wants the song to be and how he wants the listener to feel and hear the song. So that’s usually what we focus on when he brings the song to us, and when we arrange them, we're always thinking about every guitar sound every rhythm depending on how the emotion of the song is carried with the music.


And its quite a big sound for five people in the band, is everyone a multi-instrumentalist?


Dave: Yeah we all play different instruments and even if we need to learn a new instrument for one song then we do!


Christina: Haha that has been done!


So you don’t have an extra touring band or sessions bands?


Dave: We had a touring band in Australia once and in the states tour on our last album where we had a string section for three shows and that was really fun.

Christina: We’d really love to on this tour but the logistics of it aren’t easy, having to hire a musician in each city!


Your music videos as well are really interesting, I feel it makes your band ‘art’ more than just music? It seems to be you don’t have videos for the sake of videos, would you agree?


Christina: Definitely. Most bands hand a song over to a music producer director and they create something for them, but with us, I think from the very start we’ve tried to be very intentional with the videos and very involved, particular Sam when he’s writing a song at some point in the production process of a song he will often have inspiration for some kind of visual which he feels like relates to the song, so I feel like we’ve always been quite intentional in that. 


The Paper Kites are about to embark on a AUS and US tour supporting Passenger, get all the info you need on their page HERE