AU ABROAD

the AU interview at FUSE: The Paper Scissors (Sydney)

Another Fuse Festival act, Sydney's The Paper Scissors, took some time out to chat with us...

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us guys! I've heard you call this current stage of your bands musical career as "version 2.0" (or something along those lines). It certainly feels like you guys have been given a new road to walk down... Using this metaphor, how do you feel you have changed between roads?

Yeah, we really have changed roads. I feel like we were in separate cars driving on a unknown road without GPS- and now we've all jumped in a van together and we are on the way.

I hope that sticks with your metaphor!

But yeah, basically we have been through lots of dramas and personal things, even from just after the release of our first album, our first drummer decided he couldn't be in the same band as Xavier, the bass player and that was really stressful, so we just decided that, if that was how it was going to be then he had to leave, and he did and that was during a tour, I was completely on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I had to lie down in the car before our Sydney album launch, I felt like everything had been fucking sabotaged and I was completely freaking out. And then a few years later when we were coming up to making our second album, things just weren't working with our guitarist, he was just on a completely different page, he was playing in a bunch of other bands and not really giving us anything creatively or commitment wise. So we decided to become a three piece.

So now this new road is working really well. Ivan who joined the band at the end of 2007 is now heavily involved in the sound, we are producing together and he has been programming and scuplting the new songs with little electronic bits and pieces, adding lots of colour. And the three of us work really well as a band now, we decided that we wanted to go for a new sound, and push things forward stylistically, try to be progressive about our sound, as in progressing rock music and making something new (not like Prog music). So yeah, it's pretty much a whole new band- TPS mark 2.0.

"Lung Sum" has been making the rounds... can you tell us a bit about the Press Hatch directed music video? How did the concept come about?

The guys from Press Hatch are really good friends of mine. They were travelling through the U.S and I gave them a disc of all our demos and half finished songs for the album. They starting thinking about colours and textures and kind of coming up with a mood board for some of the music they were listening to.

They were supposed to be away for a long time but ended up running out of money in New York and they said, 'hey here's a pitch for Lung Sum, we can make it in a few weeks when we come home'. So from there we polished it and made it happen. The whole idea is that everything not in the pool is a reflection of my sub conscious and is the reflection of making a decision whether to go under or come up from the water. So the dust and the debris and the chaos is inside my head. Originally in the pitch there was a terrarium that was supposed to fill up with water and all sorts of other visual ideas, but it ended up getting simplified a bit. It was a pretty intense clip to make, lots of chlorine in my eyes rendering my vision useless and clay dust in our faces and fans blowing shit around, it was full on. But fun. Ultimately it is always worth it. I love making clips, it kind of gives you a chance to be a film maker for a few days, and it's nice thinking visually like that.

Do you feel this track is a good representation of what we can expect from your upcoming LP In Loving Memory?

I think it's pretty good, it has hints and ideas of where it sits. When we set out to make our second album, we were talking about how we were going to streamline things and make it really quickly. But it has ended up taking us over a year to make it and it is really diverse and eclectic, so... so much for that ! I think sonically it is a pretty good representation, we have stripped things back a lot, there are lot of songs that are built around bass and drums and the guitars and other instruments are very much textural. So I think Lung Sum reflects that in some ways, but the choruses are probably the most 'rock' bits on the album, so that is about as rock as it gets. The playfulness of the backing vocals and the way there are lots of textures and things happening is quite indicative of the album though.

Who did you record the album with, and where did you record it?

We recorded it in about 10 different places. Proper studios we used were Electric Avenue, The K up at Byron SAE, a place called the Oasis in Tallebudgera, we did some at Fracas Music, our old family studio which now no longer exists (r.i.p). But that is only a small percentage of it. We have tracked a few songs up to 4 times in different ways, sometimes coming back to the original. I think in the end about 7 out of 11 songs were done in my spare room which we call Flight path Studio, and a lot at Ivan's house which is called 400 Hurts.

We have produced, engineered and done mostly everything ourselves. James Boundy has been a constant collaborator and he did some stuff with us. A guy called Tom McFall is just finishing off the mixes as we speak in London. He has worked with Stars, Bloc Party, Snow Patrol, R.E.M and so many people, mostly as an engineer, but he did a mix for us to see if we liked it and we decided to get him to finish off the album, so that's pretty exciting. And we're getting it mastered in London at The Exchange, with Mike Marsh who did Phoenix's last album as well as The Presets and heaps of amazing records. We decided to keep it O/S as we just don't really want to sound like an Australian band. We don't want to sound like we are from anywhere really.

How did the writing process of the album compare to your earlier material?

It was completely different. The first album was mostly extending demos I'd done at home, rerecording them and then a couple of songs we'd made as a band. This time, a lot of the time I'd come with an idea or a demo and we'd work it out from there. I didn't complete anything. SOmetimes I'd send Ivan session files and he'd pull out a vocal and put new music with it, and a lot of times we'd work with a loop and make some new stuff around it. A few songs I'd made a demo and we'd use that as the skeleton of the song and add live drums, bass and backing vocals and other bits and pieces.

You had a few people come along and do remixes to your last record - who would you love to see remix a track off the new album?

There are a few people around. On a hypothetical tip, maybe Dave Sitek, James Blake, Flying Lotus, James Murphy, Friendly Fires. Will see how we go!

When people see you live, what do you hope people take away from your show?

I think our live show is pretty different to our recordings. I hope that people take away the melodies, some sweat. We like people to be involved, and also a bit active. I hope they have fun. Oh and you can take some merch ha ha that would help the cause!

The obligatory "musical inspiration" question - which musicians have most inspired you?

Phoenix and their exacting attention to detail and dedication to pop songwriting and craft, Tv On The Radio, the way they make uncompromising and beautiful music, sometimes so fraught with mistakes and idiosyncrasies, Broken Social Scene and their absolute ownership of every bit of rock that they put their hearts in to, been listening to a lot of electronic music lately and enjoying the texture and repetition, stuff like Manuel Goettsching. Aphex Twin's early stuff. I think week by week there is something different, which is good. Good to be inspired. I think we are all pretty diverse about our listening habits, but we really have a good dialogue, making recommendations to each other in the band, we are all real music fans, I heard Ferran Adria (he's a Spanish chef, the guy who's credited with starting 'Molecular Gastronomy') and he said that you have to like eating more than you like cooking to be a great chef, I think that applies to music, I think we all are completely obsessed with music and the way it works and we are constantly inspired by other bands and musicians.

How would you best describe the Sydney music scene?

Getting better. I think there are a lot of bands that are quite revisionist and kind of pick up on what was happening in New York 4 years ago, lots of 'back to Africa' stuff, and there are heaps of people that get really involved in 'the scene'. I think we kind of exist outside of the scene, not so much because we think we're too cool or something, just because we are all getting a bit older and we like making dinner at home and hanging out, watching movies, listening and finding out about new music, we don't really have time for a scene anymore.

You're playing Fuse festival later this week. You meet a punter in an elevator - how do you pitch your show to get them to come along?

Come to our show on Wednesday night, I promise it will be the best show that night. We RULE!

You've sold me! What are the rest of your plans in 2011?

Mid year our album will come out, so after that it will be touring touring touring and we are planning on making an EP of really long disco jams, so we might make that later in the year. I hope we can do some really great shows and that people get into our record.

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The Paper Scissors play FUSE Festival in Adelaide tomorrow night.
They also play the Secret Garden festival next month.

More details here:
http://thepaperscissors.tumblr.com/shows