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happiness is a warm gun

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Having a tea (and a chat) with Papertiger Sound.

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Papertiger Sound 2012

About a month ago you released a wonderful mini-album called “Call Home”. Why did you decide to call it “Call Home”?

Dan: Most of the songs are about reconnecting with where you’re from or who you are. So naming it ‘Call Home’ seemed right.

If you were asked by someone who has not yet listened to the album – how would you describe it?

Kerstin: We seem to find questions like this the hardest! To me, it just sounds like us. I suppose I am too close to the songs to give a proper answer.

Your last EP “Everything Matters” was released in 2010 – what would you say how The Papertiger Sound has developed musically and even thematically concerning the topics of the songs?

Dan: I don’t think we’ve ever consciously set about writing about something in particular, but, when an ep or album is finished, we can see all the connections between the songs. So I guess something must be going on subconsciously. Musically, I think we’ve always been able to hear the sounds we wanted – it’s just that we’re a lot better at getting to them now.
Kerstin: Exactly. I think that this album, like much of our music, has a warm, nostalgic feel and is very melodic. But I think it has a clearer vision and maybe reaches a bit deeper into our sound.

When I first listened to “Call Home”, there was one song “Safe Inside” that really wouldn’t get out of my head all day long and it has become my favourite song of the album – do you actually have a favourite Papertiger Sound song or do they all mean the same to you?

Dan: There are older songs I still play to myself on guitar, like Emperor or Norfolk, so I guess they must mean something to me, though I’ve never really thought about why to be honest.
Kerstin: Certain songs stick out to me as being representative of a particular time or place. But there are many – I couldn’t pick a favourite.

As you are a ‘transatlantic duo’ – does it sometimes become difficult to make music, plan things or actually just talk to each other from two different continents? Or has it already become some sort of routine?

Dan: There’s about five hours difference between us, and it’s pretty horrible. But we just have to get on with it, y’know. And there’s no routine for when we’ll talk – we just try our best to make it happen.
Kerstin: I don’t think making music is any more challenging because of the distance. We’ve been doing it for years now, and our recording and collaborative methods seem to really work for us. I think that even if we lived in the same area, we’d still be swapping files. We’d probably just be meeting up at the pub more to talk about it instead of skyping!

Do you think there’s a chance we might see Papertiger Sound play live again like you did in Canada last year? I imagine it to be very difficult (and expensive) to plan something like a tour.

Dan: Oh, I don’t see why not. When we visit each other we always try to do something, however rushed it is. The thing is, there’s nothing more we’d love to do than to tour and play our songs to people who want to hear them. We’ve just got to be patient I guess. It’ll happen, I’m sure of it.
Kerstin: Yes, clearly this is one of the more frustrating aspects of living in two different countries. We don’t get to gig or develop a physical presence in any music scene. We do, however, plan on performing live again, whenever possible.

You have founded your own record label “Auteur Recordings” – is it a label just for the needs of Papertiger Sound? What was the reason you decided to take that step and found your own record label?

Dan: We created the labeI solely as way of protecting our music. I suppose there’s always the possibility of it developing into something in the future, but for now it’s our home.

Do you think that nowadays a musician not only has to be a musician but also some sort of manager/promoter in order to achieve something?

Dan: Yeah, I guess you do. But even before the internet came along, unsigned bands had to be good at leaving the house and talking themselves up in order generate a bit of attention. But, y’know, there’s so many online promoting tools at our disposal, I tend find it all a bit overwhelming at times. I just switch off and go pick up my guitar and write songs. Which is probably a good thing!
Kerstin: We’ll be the first to admit that we aren’t the best at making the most out of social media, which is a bit sad really, considering we rely so heavily on it! I, too, find it overwhelming, and find myself at a bit of a loss in terms of how to stand out and get people’s attention. It requires a lot more than writing good music. And, like Dan, I’d rather focus on the music.

Many musicians often say that they stopped listening to other music than their own when they started making their records – did you experience the same phenomenon?

Dan: Yeah, a bit at the beginning I suppose. But that’s changed now, apart from when I’m writing new material. I tend to go into a musical bunker, listening only to demos and Radio 4.
Kerstin: I definitely, almost obsessively, listen to our demos and not much else. When an album is finished I devour new music and rarely listen to our own stuff. It’s a bit all or nothing with me.

What are your plans for Papertiger Sound in the future?

Dan: Who knows? There’s no map or path to follow, it’s all quite exciting really. We feel so different to everything around us that I suppose anything is possible.
Kerstin: We’ll keep making music, and hopefully keep finding ways to keep you interested!


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