Saturday, 23 June 2012

Interview: Paper Lions @ Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2012

Paper Lions @ Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2012
Last night marked the beginning of this year's increasingly popular Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2012, and I popped by Mooney's Bay to soak in the evening sun and catch some of this year's bands. What's even better is that these events are free all weekend, which means people of all walks of life can witness some great Canadian bands in action - from families to die-hard fans.

I was most excited to see Prince Edward Islanders Paper Lions, as their ever-growing catalogue of great music captures the spirit of what Canadian indie is all about. After releasing their acclaimed full-length debut Trophies in 2012, their recent EP release At Long Creek has been turning heads and was the #1 most listened to stream on Bringing enthusiasm and on-stage character, these guys rocked the diverse crowd into the night as the warm sun set over the festivities. Plus, seeing kids dancing like no one's business up front is an excellent indicator of a great sounding band... it brought a little warmth to my heart knowing they may be the inheritors of this great Canadian sound in the future. After a fun set in which the crowd was involved with singing a few refrain melodies, I was able to meet Colin, David, Rob and John of Paper Lions backstage and get a few words from a couple of the guys:

Matias: You guys just released you new EP on June 16th, and you have a full length coming out September as well?
That’s right, it’s actually completely finished. September is a very tentative date though, as far as the new release… we’re basically keeping the record in our back pocket for now. Just working out a few logistical things in terms of how we’re going to release it, but yeah hopefully the fall but chances are it won’t be too long from now.
It’s hard to say, you never really know even when you’re not releasing another record in the meantime, I mean we’re coming out with stuff in the meantime to push and get out there so we can play that material for people. In the best of circumstances, records never get released when we think they’re going to anyway, so it’s often up in the air.

Matias: What’s the writing process been like with the new album compared to previous releases?
Well the latest bunch of songs? One thing we’ve done differently this time around has been lyrically we kind of went back to our childhood. We grew up together, John and Rob are brothers and I lived across the street from them in the rural countryside of P.E.I… so we never really struggled with lyrics but we always want them to be really good, and I guess the best way that we’ve found to do that is to go back to our childhood and dig into some funny stories… it turned out to be a really natural process to sit around and shoot the shit about when we were kids.

Matias: You guys have been touring a lot and playing a lot of shows, what band has been the most fun to hang out with – or do you mostly keep to yourselves?
We did a tour with Cake in 2008 and undoubtedly that was the most fun… sold out crowds every night, accommodations we were provided with prior to the show, early evening shows were really nice because we’d finish and be like ‘oh wow, it’s still only 10 o’clock’… so it kind of gave us a taste of what touring might be like as a really successful band - really delightful, that’s definitely my personal favourite.
I would totally agree with that. 

Matias: Coming from a small town (Belfast P.E.I.), what advice do you have for musicians or bands form rural or sparsely populated areas?
I would just say keep doing it. Whenever we started we kind of had these grand ideas that we were going to be the hugest band on the planet in a couple months time, giving ourselves all these deadlines of band dates like ‘if it doesn’t happen by this time next year, then that’ll be it!’… but we’ve found that little successes every few months was enough to keep us going. So it’s best not to have a set mandate of success and to just be happy where you’re at.

Matias: In your mind, what has been your greatest success as a band?
You know, we’ve won some awards and they are nice and all but I think the thing we are all most proud of us this record we haven’t released yet. At Long Creek was a really fun and spontaneous project and we are really happy with the end result, but what we are really excited for is pushing forward the record we worked on in the month of May with our friend Howard Redekopp in Vancouver.  ---

Much thanks to the guys from Paper Lions for their time, hopefully we see them back in Ottawa soon!

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