Paper Route Talks "The Peace of Wild Things"
Fri, 07 Sep 2012 11:39:11
Paper Route tread some dreamy territory on their forthcoming new album, The Peace of Wild Things, in stores September 11, 2012.
The group's ethereal alternative pop simply entrances. With a boundlessness a la Radiohead and knack for a hook, Paper Route deliver one of the year's most intriguing and inviting offerings. There's a lot going on in there, and that's why you'll want to travel their road again and again.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Paper Route mainman J.T. Daly talks The Peace of Wild Things, writing lyrics, art, movies, and more.
Did you approach The Peace of Wild Things with one vision in mind?
We actually just recorded as many songs as we possibly could. Then, we stepped back to see what sort of image we could make from that. I know that we're all massive fans of albums that flow and connect. My favorite record of all-time is probably Radiohead's Kid A. It was much more focused on the songs this time around than on any other album we've done or project even outside of Paper Route. Putting together the tracklisting and the songs that would be on The Peace of Wild Things was hard. It was slightly intense because there weren't really any extra connecting song moments. I was just song after song.
Was there a thread between the songs you picked for the album?
Lyrically, there was a strong theme on The Peace of Wild Things. Love is done. It's time to evolve or die. It's time to look at life through different eyes. I have to change. With all of the label drama we went through, the irony is I did actually start to change. It took so long that I started to believe the things I was saying. There is hope. Then, you'll sense the album changes every once in a while. It shifts into this wholly different perspective. We were figuring out how to write as a band. We realized this is how we work the best. It used to be that we'd come in with songs. I'd be like, "Chad [Howat], what do you think of this?" He'd rip it apart and put it back together again. It was deconstruction and reconstruction. That's still a huge part of our band. It had less to do with full songs and more to do with, "What do you think of this beat? Now, take it and run with it". There are basically three drummers in this band, and there was a huge shift in the songwriting approach.
Your lyrics vividly convey that feeling that love is done…
Yeah, it was a rough couple of years. It was heavy. There were a lot of constants in my life that no longer existed. The foundation of my life had shifted, and I had to construct a new life and figure out exactly what it was I believed in anymore. That complicated things as an artist. I realized this was greatly going to mold what I had to offer on the album. What am I going to say and do I actually believe it?
Those questions are important for any artist.
It was a weird time. We've never been a band that sits down and writes songs. We'll always be like, "Can you believe that seriously happened in our lives? How did we survive? Let's talk about". That's very much the path of this band.
What's the story behind "Calm My Soul"?
That was a song we started years ago. We have a Dry Erase Board in the studio, and I drew a graveyard on it. That one got moved to the graveyard. Every once in a while, a song will "Lazarus"—as well call it—up out of the graveyard. "Calm My Soul" was one of them. When the idea of finishing the album came up, I thought, "This is a time in my life where the song has to be in it". I wrote the lines and came to Chad. Because of the timeline of the song, I feel like I was outside of it watching it happen. I can't believe I'm a part of a band that has a song like that. It's brave. It makes me feel uncomfortable in the best ways.
If you were to compare The Peace of Wild Things to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Magnolia…It's the collision of life, love, death, and beauty. Maybe, if you add up all of those things, you get God. I have no idea. I think that's what we're all trying to figure out.
Creating art is a very a human thing.
Absolutely, that's the expression. It's so beautiful and primitive even in the person's DNA. It's like eating. What happens next is where you're bathing in muddy water [Laughs].
What artists shaped you?
My childhood was complicated as far as music and art go. I grew up in a very religious home so there strict guidelines on what I was allowed to bring into our camp. At the same time, my parents are incredibly relevant and appreciate incredible artistry. It was what was going in our household then though. I had to essentially go art hunting to find something that could get mounted up in our home. Bands like Starflyer 59 were something I heard and were confusing in the best way. More and more, I was allowed to bring other things in. I heard Chris Cornell's voice on Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and I thought that's pretty much the best thing I've heard in my whole life. I had like three verses in one album. It was all the staples Portishead, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, and all of these things.
Have you heard Paper Route?