Paper Kites have been busy at promoting their latest album Twelvefour, an album with a dreamy sound and interesting concept. Joe Wilson spoke with Christina Lacy about creating the album, the upcoming tour and how the three music videos are connected.
Lost: Twelvefour reached #8 in the ARIA charts and #1 in the Australian album charts. What do you believe made your album so popular amongst listeners?
CL: I’m not too sure really. Hopefully people were excited about our new music. We were really focused on the fact we had done this concept album which was being written between the hours of twelve and four. I think that created a bit of interest between people that they wanted to see what came out of this weird experiment we did; which is something which we spoke about a lot in interviews in the press leading up to the release.
Maybe people were drawn in by that and because we had been around for a while and we had been waiting for the album to come. On release day and even that whole week you don’t go in expecting anything really. Just for us it was just a relief that finally had and what we had been working so hard on was finally being released, so other people could hear. It’s really encouraging to know that people want to buy the album and people were waiting for it so it’s really exciting.
Lost: So was the entire album written between the hours of 12am and 4am?
CL: It was written between the hours of twelve and four. The actual production was done in regular hours – thank goodness – because I don’t know how we would have gone convincing a producer to stay up with us from 12am to 4am every morning. The actual writing process all happened between the hours of twelve and four.
Our lead singer Sam (Rasmussen) does the majority of the writing, he wrote all the songs between those hours then he sort of brought them to us. Thankfully it wasn’t all of us doing that experiment. It kind of would have been fun, but the rest of us were working and doing other things. He delved into this experiment and brought the songs to us and then as a band we developed and turned them into what they are now on the recordings.
Lost: So was this a departure from the usual way you guys write songs?
CL: Sam will usually start working on some songs. In previous albums there has been probably a little bit more collaboration at the early stages with myself and Dave bringing the songs to the band and sort of workshopping them. This time it was more of an isolated time for Sam, he just wrote them all independently and then brought them to us and then we workshopped, then things chopped and changed and we worked on stuff together.
It was definitely a different experience to what we have done before and we didn’t see him for however long it was he was writing, maybe a month or something. Then all of sudden he came out of hiding and we were presented with the starts of these songs we then worked on together.
Lost: The sound of Twelvefour is a slight departure from the more folky sound of previous albums, feeling less acoustic and a little more neo-80s. What made the band go down this route?
CL: There are a few elements. I think that you can contribute it to the change in sound and part of it is just a natural sort of progression that every band goes through. Some elements are just the fact that where we have been playing for a long time. We have played an X amount of shows and when we were writing and recording States. I think as a musician you’re developing and now I guess as a person as well, you’re hearing new things, new music and being inspired by music that is being released.
I think it’s pretty natural that you are always going to be developing and wanting to incorporate new sounds. I personally think if we weren’t developing or growing then we would feel a little bit stuck and not going anywhere. I think part of it is natural, but also a lot of it came from mixed feelings about the album being written between these hours and Sam being influenced by that kind of vibe.
Maybe you can’t sleep or stay up, or can’t stop thinking or are doing something around your room; its quiet everybody is asleep. It’s got that certain feeling about it, things you might do between the hours of twelve and four. Being out and about, this kind of romantic feeling of the whole city being asleep but we are awake kind of thing. I think the sound was definitely influenced by that and reflects in that sort of eighties, dreamy vibe that some of the songs have. So it’s definitely a kind of natural progression, a bit of intentional change of sound.
Lost: Are there any themes in the album?
CL: I guess it’s probably come out of our writing and it’s something we’ve tried to express through our videos. I think that whole idea of twelve to four and that whole midnight romance vibe has kind of seeped into a lot of different areas of the album.
So obviously with the sound but particularly as well with the videos and the storylines of the videos we’ve made. Any of the places the characters are going through in the videos are similar to the vibe which the videos have. It’s definitely found its way into lots of different aspects I think.
Lost: Did you wish to thematically link the tracks together musically and visually?
CL: Yes, a little bit. It’s been one of those ideas when we talk about videos where we thought “oh that would be cool to do”; doing an album release with three videos; where they aren’t necessarily related but quite obviously linked together.
They all do hold that feeling we hope that the album portrays. In each of the three videos we created a fictional venue that the video was set in. Each of those venues has this kind of midnight romantic feeling to it. It was always intended that those three videos would be together and really encompass that twelvefour vibe.
Lost: A lot of effort has been put into the production of the music videos, and of course the music; and they set up a unique atmosphere. Is this something you guys wish to recreate in your live sets when touring?
CL: It’s something for the tour we’ve just done, or that we finished up around in February, we did an Australian National Tour and then headed over to North America and in Europe earlier this year. To the best that we could, we really wanted to create and even with just the flow of the set we wanted to create those same kinds of feelings.
This tour that we have got coming up at the end of June, we are going to the next level and trying to really incorporate some visual aspects that will take people on a journey through these midnight hours and our songs we will be creating soundtrack to that.
There will be quite a lot of visual content so not only the audience will be listening to the music but also watching the visual content which is happening in front of them. We hope that it does kind of create that midnight kind of feeling. With the audience being drawn into being a part of those midnight hours; with us; playing the sounds behind us.
Lost: Would you say the tour is more theatrical than previous tours?
CL: Not in the way that you know we are in character, we are still the paper kites. We are still going to be playing our songs. But I think definitely we are going to have more of a theatrical element in that. There is going to be more of a focus on that individual aspect, rather than just standing on stage with people watching us. There will be a focus on the visual side as well and the content happening on stage.
You can find tour dates and ticket information for Paper Kites here.