An Interview with The Paper Kites

We recently had a brief moment to chat with Dave Powys, a member of The Paper Kites. Based out of Melbourne, Australia, the band was founded in 2010 and released their debut album, States, in 2013. Their sophomore effort, twelvefour, was released in 2015 to critical acclaim. In this interview, we spoke with Dave for a few minutes about the songwriting process, the band's artistic journey, and some of their favorite bands.

When writing music, do you find that you, as a group, have a set creative process or methodology, or do you prefer something more spontaneous?

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A lot of Sam's ideas come from a very specific place. He wrote this last album with a concept in mind and we shaped all the arrangements with that theme in mind.

Twelvefour was written almost exclusively between the hours between midnight and 4 a.m., for the reason that you theorized that one’s creativity peaks during that time. Listeners loved the resulting album, but were the sessions as fruitful as you anticipated?

The sessions were great. Sam wrote upwards of 30 songs which we cut down to 15 and rehearsed them for weeks before heading to Seattle to record with Phil Ek. These session were within normal hours during the day!

Were there any unexpected complications that arose as a result of this unusual timing?

I believe Sam's family (whom he was living with at the time) weren't too happy with the concept as they were woken up at strange hours a few times!

Twelvefour’s sound was markedly different from your first full-length outing. It’s a bit soon to ask, but do you have any thoughts on what direction you will pursue next?

It's too early to say, I think. Right now our focus is on performing this album and doing it justice at our live shows.

Some say it’s impossible for artists to harbor favorites among the pieces of art which they create. However, from your new record or overall, do you have any songs which have specifically endeared themselves to you?

I think “Turns Within Me” is up there for me. The instrumental at the end of the song was something that happened in the studio very organically. So I hear it with a smile on my face now.

In a similar vein, are you often excited by a song you are developing, or ever realize that a song you are recording is unusual or special in some way while recording it? If so, for which song did you experience this sensation the greatest?

“Electric Indigo” came together really well in the studio. It sounded so much better than all our demos and our rehearsals. It was exciting to hear the song how we all imagined it to sound!

We’re always interested to hear about a band’s artistic growth—as a band that has been established for a few years, could you talk a bit about your overall journey? Is there any advice you have received that has made an impact on your career?

I think getting the right people around us has made a big impact on the trajectory of our career. We've always had a clear idea of where we're headed, but to partner with people who catch that vision and run with it is really great. We began playing and planning specific shows and events. We organized headline shows and released film clips early on and built a name for ourselves. Our videos have always been a huge part of what we do and have played a big part in our online promotion.

Are there any groups that have notably inspired you over the years? Any groups, too, which you have been bingeing lately and can recommend to us?

Ryan Adams is a big influence for me personally, although recently I've been listening to heaps of Plants and Animals.

Lastly, a rather unusual question—the song “Revelator Eyes” from your new album was one of our favorites of 2015. Do you have anything you could say about its history, or the feelings behind it?

The song has to do with someone who reveals something through their eyes. It is one of the more energetic songs in our set, and has a nice guitar solo added in for our live show.

Interview conducted by Kat Neis & Nathan Lewis. Photo credit @ The Paper Kites. We’re revisiting our archives today. This interview originally appeared on our site in June 2016.