“Challenging. Long. Exciting. Fun. Passionate.”
That’s how Paper Kites drummer Josh Bentley would describe the process of creating the indie-folk band’s debut album States, due for release late August.
Arriving off the back of two successful EP releases in the last two years, Bentley – the younger cousin of lead singer Sam and self-confessed Peppermint Crisp lover – enjoyed the challenging process of creating a full-length album.
“It was harder, An EP is only four or five tracks and our album will be 13 so it was definitely longer, but a good longer”, Bentley says.
The past year has been a huge one for the Paper Kites. They’ve had their single ‘Featherstone’ featured on Grey’s Anatomy, supported Bombay Bicycle Club on their Australian tour and released the upcoming album’s lead single ‘St Clarity’, the video for which has clocked up over 100,000 YouTube views in less than a month. It’s enough to make anyone bigheaded, but the Melbourne quintet have their feet planted firmly on the ground.
Despite their rapid rise to fame, the band is careful not to give up their day jobs too soon. “Individually we all do our own thing away from the band”, Josh says.
Ever humble, he’s studying to become a PE teacher, and the band’s sole female member Christina Lacy is a qualified nurse.
“We’ve all got passions and careers away from the band but we’re at a stage now where this could be it. Next year we could be making enough money to live off, we could be overseas, but we have to put it into perspective. It’s nice to have something to fall back on because you know, the band won’t be forever.”
[do action=”pullquote”]“We’ve all got passions and careers away from the band but we’re at a stage now where this could be it.”[/do]
With such a unique, mellow sound, it’s hard to imagine the Paper Kites will become anything but world-renowned in the future. Their distinctive soft, dreamy aesthetic is a result of inspiration from a vast range of musical tastes within the band.
For Bentley himself, Australian music is proving a firm favourite – with Vance Joy, Cloud Control, and Tame Impala amongst his current picks.
Ever humble, he maintains, however that the band’s success and huge following is simply a matter of good luck.
The Paper Kites’ latest release St Clarity is the lead single from the upcoming album. The soothing track is accompanied by a gorgeous film clip featuring a talented bubble artist who flew from France to film the video.
“To be honest I’m really shattered, we personally didn’t get to make it to the filming to see Sylvain (Letuvée, the French bubble artist in the clip), I was shattered we didn’t get to muck around with the bubbles!” Bentley laughs.
Despite not having been present at the making of the video, the band has a surprising amount of creative control over their clips.
“We have pretty much all the say in how the videos look and what they sort of end up like. Our first three videos, ‘Bloom’, ‘Featherstone’ and ‘Maker Of My Time’, we came up with the concept ourselves.
“This time we decided to get (director Natasha Pincus) in to assist with production, directing and stuff, but Sam came up with the bubble idea and did a lot of research on YouTube, sort of just seeking out these bubble dudes, which was kind of crazy and bizarre, but yeah it worked out well – we hope!”
[do action=”pullquote-2″]“We write and create music that we love and don’t tend to be dictated by what’s ‘cool’ or ‘in’. “[/do]
There’s a modest and humble tone to the 24 year-old’s voice; a sense of disbelief at the acclaim their music has received. “We write and create music that we love and don’t tend to be dictated by what’s ‘cool’ or ‘in’. We’ve been fortunate in that people have loved what we have created so far and we’re very grateful for that,” Bentley says earnestly.
Considering how loved their songs are, is their signature style likely to ever change? Not likely.
Members of the band used to play in pop/punk bands before The Paper Kites came to be, and Bentley explains that the new band was “a chance to get away from the whole pop/punk scene.
“I don’t think you’ll be seeing any heavy guitar distortion or thumping double kick pedals anytime soon” he assures.
As for any collaboration dreams? “I’m currently re-discovering the Fleet Foxes at the moment so a collaboration with those guys would be unreal.” Here’s hoping!
With the band’s highly anticipated album States will come a tour; the biggest they’ve ever done. They’re playing ten dates around the country in August and September to coincide with their release, with impressively large venues such as Melbourne’s Forum Theatre and The Metro in Sydney – as well as Jive in Adelaide.
“For us to go into a venue like the Forum we sort of really have to think about what we’re playing, how we’re playing it, the whole production of the show rather than just the songs themselves.
“We’re just sort of mulling over it now, just thinking about stage design, sound, lighting and all that production stuff that we sort of need to amp up. We’re really looking forward to bringing, I guess, a different sort of show to a theatre vibe. We think our music is really tailored to those bigger sort of theatre shows, so we’re really excited to get into some of those venues and play them.”
As if a tour of Australia wasn’t enough, a mere four days after their last show Down Under, the band is heading to the USA. Supporting American singer-songwriter City and Colour before embarking on their own North American tour, The Paper Kites are ready to crack the international market.
But the perpetually prepared quintet is always planning ahead. “Sam is always thinking about the next step in writing new stuff” Bentley says, “Hopefully in twelve months we’ll be thinking about another album…which is kind of scary considering the first one hasn’t even been released yet!”
If you consider the success from The Paper Kites’ first releases and the anticipation for album, the notion of multiple best-selling records doesn’t really seem so scary at all.
States will be released in late August 30th through Wonderlick Recording Company/Sony Music.
The Paper Kites Australian Tour 2013 Dates & Tickets
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Friday 30th August – NEWCASTLE – The Small Ballroom
Saturday 31st August – SYDNEY – Metro Theatre (All Ages)
Thursday 5th September – GOLD COAST – The Soundlounge Theatre
Friday 6th September – BRISBANE – The Hi-Fi
Saturday 7th September – BYRON BAY – The Northern
Sunday 15th September – MELBOURNE – The Hi-Fi (U18 Matinee)
Friday 20th September – ADELAIDE – Jive Bar
Saturday 21st September – FREMANTLE – Fly By Night
Friday 27th September – HOBART – The Waratah Hotel
Saturday 28th September – MELBOURNE – The Forum