Nashville’s Newest: Paper Route

The house that Paper Route dwells within is made of cards. It’s seen in the delicate way they approach their craft, the organic path they follow to make decisions and the (slow) rate of speed it takes them to release new music.

But if you’re familiar with the Nashville electro-rock act, that’s precisely what you appreciate about them. Only an exacting creative ensemble could realize the fantastic musical structures of “Second Chances” or “Are We All Forgotten.” It may take longer than you’d prefer to hear new music, but it’s always worth the wait.

While the other members–Chat Howat, Gavin McDonald, Andrew Smith-were recording, Daly took a few minutes out to ponder, elaborate and self-correct so that RELEVANT magazine would have its story straight on the surest bet in the music business.

After being a part of other musical projects, does it feel like Paper Route is the one you’ve been trying for all along?

Oh, man. Yes, but with the best friends I’ve made in other bands that haven’t carried over to this, I’m a bit scared to answer that. As an artist, all of the projects we’ve been involved in have made us able to be in a band like Paper Route. Yet at the same time, we’re also trying to learn to get out of the way. Madeleine L’Engle said in her book Walking on Water that art is something we are invited to be a part of versus the other way around.

It’s been so interesting to watch the groundswell happening. Do you feel the energy as a band that you are seemingly so close to gaining so much momentum?

Some days it does. But some days it seems we’re just in a dark hole in this house, if I were to be honest. And I would go in print and say that. [Laughs] Maybe that’s a good thing. I want to be serving the art and not the energy. That can be a dangerous place to be if it becomes successful. We can just start thinking about what the next move is according to that. So we’re really just along for the ride.

A full-length and an EP are forthcoming. Do you have any tentative release dates?

Well, things can always change, depending on the final parties involved. But we just solified our management and it looks like we’ll have the EP out in April. I’m pretty sure that will stick.

It feels like to this point, you’ve really been focused on keeping the music production organic and moving at that rate–even glacially at times.

[Laughs] Yeah, we’re like plate tectonics. We’re very slow but it’s always headed somewhere. There are always some restraints or limitations to work around, even when recording, but I think that makes it “us.” We’re really excited with what the album is turning out to be.

Any transcendent moments in the studio?

Yes. There are high highs and low lows in the studio. Some of those are the limitations of recording in the house [we’re in]. We’ve spent zero dollars on recording. I don’t know if that’s something we’re totally proud of, because our industry needs people to start spending money. But I think that isn’t necessarily because it was our choice. That’s what we’ve had to work with. That creates quite an issue some days, you know?

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Let me ask the label question. Have you guys found one yet?

Not yet. We haven’t found anything. It’s definitely something we’re figuring out. We could know next week. It’s a crazy time. I don’t know what the future of this industry will look like. People don’t have to buy albums anymore. Do you want something for free or would you pay for it? I think everyone would say “free.” That’s why we’re so particular about how we present ourselves. We don’t want to give away too much. We don’t want to pull back the curtain and give away all our secrets, because once you do that, you’re worth nothing. So if there’s a reason why anyone would buy our album, that’s it.

How do you create the framework for writing a song?

Lately, we’ve tried to stay in the moment of when we start the song. We’ve played back a lot of what we’ve written in the past and we realize our songs are starting to lose something when we stretch it out over a certain amount of time. That’s a scary thing because so much of our band is based around happy accidents–deconstructing a song and ripping it apart and meshing things together. We realize there’s something to be said for that first seed of inspiration when you start a song. When you stay in that moment and try to finish it, it communicates something so much more powerful than stepping out of it and coming back to it.

So does that mean physically not taking a break until you finish the song?

Lately, that’s it exactly. Although with Paper Route, that might be different next week. [Laughs].

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