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  • Interview: Paper Tongues

    Mon, 28 Dec 2009 09:58:32

    Interview: Paper Tongues - Paper Tongues keyboardist Cody Blackler chats with ARTISTdirect.com editor and <i>Dolor</i> author Rick Florino about taking a "Ride to California," living the dream on his band's debut album and taking a cue from Ray Charles

    Paper Tongues want to take you on a ride.

    There's something propulsively moving about each and every song on the Charlotte North Carolina band's A&M/Octone debut, due out this winter. First single, "Ride to California," is a sparkplug of an anthem that'll make you shake, but it'll also make you think. That's the beauty of Paper Tongues—they're just as thought-provoking as they are catchy. That's also the mark of a truly great band…

    Paper Tongues have the kind of boundlessness that made acts in the '70s so fearless, and these seven friends aren't afraid to rattle the future of pop culture.

    Keyboardist Cody Blackler sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to discuss the band's first single, upcoming album and so much more in this exclusive interview.

    Would you say that "anything goes" in terms of your sound—like a classic rock band?

    Yeah, because there are seven of us in the band and we all come from such crazy, different backgrounds, that element exists in the music. Some of us are more into folk. Some of us are really into the classics and others are into hip hop. I think it brings a wide array of flavors into the mix. That's probably how it was back in the day too.

    You can do a song like "Ride to California" or "Trinity."

    You go through the whole album, and every song has a different flavor. Every song is a piece of the full picture. You have to hear each song to get the full picture of what we're bringing forward.

    Do you feel like you're telling stories sonically?

    Definitely! Even before I joined Aswan in this project, I saw him write a bunch of these songs about four years ago. Over the last four years, we've been telling our story. We're crazy kids going after this dream—writing songs and wanting to bring music to tons of people to inspire them. I think the inspiration and passion to do what we love to do comes out in the music. Each song definitely does tell a story about all of us, where we come from and what we're going out there to do.

    Specifically, what's the story behind "Ride to California?"

    Aswan was in a car driving from one city to another when he wrote that. He was getting ready to record. We were just a bunch of poor kids from North Carolina, and it takes a lot of money to make a record and actually make an impact with it. He basically wrote the song from a place of wanting to make this record, not having money and not having the things you needed. Basically, the community around us just started chipping in dollars here and there, and it was out of that place of wanting to follow a dream, believing in it and going after it. Even though it's an upbeat, lively song, it really does have a lot of meaning. It's basically about the story of some country kids going after a dream.

    What's up with "Trinity?"

    It's definitely a different flavor from "Ride to California." I remember being in the studio in LA when that song evolved. It actually came out of this love song that Aswan had written, probably five years ago. He wrote it on an acoustic guitar. We were sitting around listening to him play. We heard the hooks in it and melodies. We just started to piece it together, and it turned into this really catchy song that tells a bunch of different stories. We've heard so many different interpretations of what it might mean when people call in. That's the beauty of it. People can hear it and associate it with whatever they're going through, whether it's a relationship, life or tough times. I think it's cool when you have a song that's relatable to so many different situations and people.

    If this record were a movie, what would it be?

    I love movies too much! It's so hard to pin down a perfect movie [Laughs]. It has to be a movie that takes you through all of the different emotions with the drama, the happiness, the sadness, the crying, the laughing and the action. There's one movie that comes to mind first. It's probably my top movie—Life Is Beautiful. It's this Italian film, and it taps on everything that you could've ever felt in life. That's what we're doing.

    Has this album already opened the door to more music?

    Definitely! It takes awhile to get a record out there. We've been together for two years working on this record. In the mean time, we've been writing like crazy. We probably have another three full records ready in the music we've been writing. That's what's exciting about having seven members. It creates a new sound.

    Do you have a lot of fun coming to LA?

    We're a bunch of small town country kids so the thought of coming to LA to record an album is like living a dream. Getting to work with such amazing producers like Brian West and meeting people that believe in us and our music is living a dream. It's inspiring to be able to do this.

    You're really a soul band.

    Me being the Rhodes player, I'd like to think that [Laughs]. The Fender Rhodes is one of my favorite instruments. Ray Charles is one of my biggest inspirations. I'd like to think that we can be soulful and bring people into that with us. We can also let them have something to dance and sing to as well!

    Rick Florino

    Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here

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