Words With The Paper Kites

The hours after midnight seem the perfect time to write songs. Wild-eyed and close to dreaming, surely the melody and lyrics flow best to a songwriter under the unhinged influence of the dark? During the crafting of second album twelvefour, The Paper Kites’ Sam Bentley put this theory, and his sanity, admirably to the test.

“Yes, it did start to drive me insane after two months”, he confesses straight up. “But I wanted to put myself into a different writing headspace than normal, just to see what would happen. You kind of need to do that as an artist, the more comfortable you get, the more your art can sometimes suffer for it. The more uncomfortable you can make yourself, the better.”

Midnight writing aside, WildnFree’s editor had undertaken impeccable research before the interview. Her younger brother, a good mate of Sam’s, had helpfully suggested she query the musical influence of mystery side-project ‘The Denim Blues Explosion’ on the making of twelvefour. “It’s very subtle,” laughs Sam. “The influence is definitely there, there’s definitely some dirty blues moments. But, I was told by the rest of the band to tone it down, especially in (last track) Too Late. My blues angst will just have to wait”.

With that critical issue sorted, questions are raised about first single Electric Indigo, the exquisite opening track on twelvefour. “That song really stood out as feeling like the whole album, with the late night vibe. The video is the first part of a trilogy, all set between 12-4am, with different stories. We’re now working on the next one in the set”. Pressed to offer a scoop on exactly which track features in video number two, Sam kindly reveals heavy 80s vibing Revelator Eyes, a track both himself and Christina Lacy battled it out to sing the lead on.

This begs the question: why no lead vocals for the sweet voiced lady of The Paper Kites on twelvefour? “It’s really because of the way the album was written” explains Sam. “No one could stay up with me to write, so I wrote them all myself, with the intention of Christina singing on some.” When it came to recording the album in Seattle, brutally honest producer Phil Ek put a stop to that idea. “He said, ‘Christina, it sounds like you’re singing someone else’s song, you’re not comfortable with it,’ ” explains Sam. “So we made the decision, if we’re going to sing songs together, maybe we need to write together. It was annoying, since she’s got such a great voice, but she just didn’t have enough time with the songs.”

Sam himself was not spared some brutal honesty from Mr Ek. “Usually, I’ll just sing vocal takes until I get it, but if I wasn’t getting it, he’d just shut the session down” says Sam. “He’d say ‘I’m not feeling it, I can’t believe what you’re singing, let’s move on to something else.’”(No pressure Sam, no pressure at all.) “So that was weird, to work through your own songs to try and sing them more convincingly, but when we got them, we knew we really got them. I think the vocals are much bigger on the album as a result.”

Those bigger vocals will be getting a workout pretty soon on The Paper Kites upcoming national tour. “We’re doing lots of regional dates, all the big cities and playing at 170 Russell for the first time in Melbourne,” says Sam.” Have you been there?” he asks. After confirming ‘yes’, Sam asks for a rundown on the feel. “Umm, it’s got a bit of a skanky ex-nightclub vibe; so, you know, very suitable for The Paper Kites,” replies WildnFree’s editor, tongue-in-cheek. “Well, that’s what we aim for!” bullshits Sam in reply.

Melburnians, get your skank on with The Paper Kites live at 170 Russell. Everyone else, please request a dirty blues encore at your local show, dates below.

Pre-order twelvefour and receive an instant copy of the single, Electric Indigo. Out on August 28 through Wonderlick Entertainment/Sony.

In the meantime, enjoy Part 1 of the trilogy:

THE PAPER KITES NATIONAL twelvefour ALBUM TOUR

THU 15 OCT | THE GOV, ADELAIDE SA (ALL AGES)

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 FRI 16 OCT | AMPLIFIER, PERTH WA

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 SAT 17 OCT | SETTLERS TAVERN, MARGARET RIVER WA

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 THU 22 OCT | THEATRE ROYAL, CASTLEMAINE VIC (ALL AGES)

Tickets available from www.theroyalc.com.au

 FRI 23 OCT | 170 RUSSELL, MELBOURNE VIC

Tickets available from www.170russell.com | 1300 724 867

 SAT 24 OCT | THE WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG VIC

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 THU 29 OCT | SOLBAR, MAROOCHYDORE QLD

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 FRI 30 OCT | THE SOUNDLOUNGE, GOLD COAST QLD

Tickets available from www.soundlounge.com.au

 SAT 31 OCT | WOOLLY MAMMOTH, BRISBANE QLD

Tickets available from www.mammothmanestage.com.au | 1300 724 867

 THU 05 NOV | LIZOTTES, NEWCASTLE NSW (ALL AGES)

Tickets available from www.lizottes.com.au | 02 4956 2066 | From the venue direct

 FRI 06 NOV | THE METRO, SYDNEY NSW (ALL AGES)

Tickets available from www.ticketek.com.au | 132 849 | All Ticketek Outlets

 SAT 07 NOV | ANU BAR, CANBERRA ACT

Tickets available from www.ticketek.com.au | 132 849 | All Ticketek Outlets 

SUN 08 NOV | ANITA’S THEATRE, THIRROUL NSW (ALL AGES)

Tickets available from www.ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100 | All Ticketmaster Outlets

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