Ever since the release of their debut EP ‘Woodlands’ in 2011 Australian indie-rock-folk band The Paper Kites have made quite the name for themselves overseas. The band have raked in over 149 MILLION streams on Spotify alone of their single ‘Bloom’ and have featured on TV shows like Greys Anatomy. Headlining shows in Australia, Europe and America the band have delivered some unique live experiences that have seen them play completely in the dark as well as play with an accompanying film. With the release of their vibey new single ‘Deep Burn Blue’ the band have announced that they will be releasing their fourth studio album ‘On The Corner Where You Live’ on September 21. The collection of tracks hears the band exploring a slightly groovier sound that embodies the emotional and reflective lives of the characters they represent in the songs.
I recently chatted to The Paper Kites drummer Josh Bentley about the creative process for this new record compared to their last, the importance of recording city ambient sounds for this album, and working with Grammy award winning producer Peter Katis. Check it out;
TB: When you started working on ‘On The Corner Where You Live’ how did you decide as a band how you wanted the record to sound and feel compared to your last record?
JB: Before commencing work on new music we knew that the next record would follow a similar trajectory to ‘twelvefour’. We wanted to build on the success of ‘twelvefour’, so decided to take that similar sound and approach into a new project. It felt right for us to continue that late night vibe into our next work and from that came ‘On the Corner Where You Live’.
The new album is a collection of stories about these characters all living in an apartment building. We wanted to capture moments and feelings as it’s about people and their stories. This record is best listened to from start to finish as each story seeps into the next. Although ‘On the Corner Where You Live’ could draw similarities from ‘twelvefour’, it’s a different sound and feel. It’s also designed to carry on from our earlier 2018 release of ‘On the Train Ride Home’.
TB: You’ve recorded live ambient background noise and traffic for this record. What inspired that idea? And where did you go to record the live sounds?
JB: Yeah we wanted to incorporate some late night city vibes into this album and decided to record some random street samples. Funnily enough the audio we used was actually captured on our phones. While recording in Connecticut we took advantage of the close proximity to New York City and would visit Manhattan on the weekends. Late at night we would hang our phones out the window of our hotel room to collect any interesting or random late night noises from the street below. There wasn’t much inspiration behind the idea. We thought it would be an interesting feature on the album and would gel quite nicely with the mood we were trying to create.
TB: This album was recorded in 5 weeks in Connecticut where you worked with producer Peter Katis. So what is one of your favourite memories as a band from those 5 weeks?
JB: There were many highlights from recording in Connecticut with Peter. The whole experience itself was a pretty special one for us. It was the first time we as a band had the opportunity to live and record in the same space. The studio itself was situated in an old 120-year-old Victorian era house. The gear we were able to use and the space itself was quite unique and enabled us to make the sounds and music that’s now on the record. Working with Peter was a dream come true his skill, patience and ear for music was incredible. I think its pivotal that a producer and band get along in order to craft a brilliant album and we certainly got along like a house on fire.
Some random memories which stick out aside from maybe the music side of things was getting through all the seasons of the US The Office TV series in our down time, inventing new ball games to play while waiting for Pete to mix sessions, travelling to New York on the weekends and enjoying some local Bridgeport cuisine by getting Frank Pepe’s Pizza on a regular basis.
TB: Your record ‘twelvefour’ and the following tour had a big visual concept which saw you perform the live show with a mix of film and art. Will this new record and your upcoming live shows follow it’s lead in any way?
JB: With most of our live performance we think its vital to not only perform our songs but to also give our fans the and audience a visual experience that aids the show and makes it something else. We always strive to try and mix up our shows and incorporate different elements to keep fans guessing. On previous tours we have played songs in the dark and also used film and lights to create visual pieces that go in hand with particular songs.
On our next run of live shows we plan on giving the audience some special visual displays while also bringing the heat with our live performance. We are currently in talks with our US team and we’re busy designing and getting things ready for our November tour of the US, so yes fans can expect some similar visual cues and few surprises thrown in also.
TB: You’ve had a lot of success in America and you’ve toured quite extensively there as well. So what would you say is the main difference between American and Australian crowds?
JB: The USA has always been very kind to us and has seemed to always support our music from the listening/streaming side to also coming along and supporting our live shows. As much as we love touring our home country of Australia, the USA has increasingly become our number one market. The biggest difference that we’ve come across is the culture at shows. Often in the US crowds will tend to let their hair down and not worry about screaming out and making fools of themselves. In comparison the Aussie crowds tend to be slightly more subdued when we play on home soil. Having said that we don’t really have a favourite crowd culture or vibe at shows. We loving playing to Aussie fans, its always great playing to hometown crowds or in cities that are familiar. We’ve been lucky enough to play in many parts of the world and in every city or venue crowds have been slightly different, which is one of the great things about performing live, you never know what you’re going to get.
TB: In just under 3 years you’ve nearly performed 200 shows. So what has been one of your favourite or funniest touring experiences?
JB: Touring as a band is something that we love doing. Although playing night after night in foreign venues has its downfalls, it’s definitely all worth it once you see the audiences reaction to the first song each night. We’ve had some amazing shows throughout our career already. A recent one that stands out to me was our first show in Amsterdam at the Paradiso. The venue was spectacular and sits right on one of the canals in town. Without realising it we didn’t really know that our music had hit radio in Amsterdam and we weren’t expecting a bumper crowd. To our surprise the show sold out making it one of our biggest headline shows outside of Aus to date. It was fitting that we celebrated in a local pub afterwards with some well-earned locally brewed Heinekens.
TB: Lets play a game of rapid fire questions where you just answer these questions with the first thing that comes to your mind.
TB: The emoji that best describes our band is…
JB: The cheeky smirk face
TB: If we could create a supergroup with any other band or artist it would be…
JB: Crowded House
TB: The messiest member of The Paper Kites on tour is…
TB: Our pre show pump up song is…
JB: ‘Good as Hell’ by Lizzo!
The Paper Kites new album ‘On The Corner Where You Live’ will be released on September 21.