The Paperhead: Interview
As teens, The Paperhead members were Sixties British psychedelia obsessives. And their music shows an understanding of the Floyd/Barrett legacy, mingling lysergic pop with oblique jams.
However recent years have seen the trio expanding their sound to take in country rock, AM radio broadcasts, jazz, Zappa-inflected prog-rock and folk. Hailing from Nashville, the band attributes their song-writing abilities to the deluge of music now at their millennial fingertips thanks to the internet.
Announcing UK live dates to support their latest album ‘Chew,’ we caught up with the band to chat about their love for their record label, genre rock’s missing ingredient, and their connections at Jack White’s Third Man Records.
Q. Psychedelia has seen a meteoric rise in relevance over the past few years, becoming a full scale revival. How do The Paperhead stand out from the rest?
A. I think that Paperhead was formed in our minds before there was any notion of a "psych revival," honestly, (besides one of our biggest influences, Dungen.) It was just important to us to collect records and find clues ourselves that led us to a singular sound that we were envisioning. I'm actually very glad we didn't have an established scene to try to fit in, and I think that's what hopefully makes this band stand out a little in the modern scene.
Q. Your label Trouble In Mind Records have been churning out some of the most interesting acts in this scene. How important do you think they are to the revival and what importance have they played to the shaping of The Paperhead?
A. Trouble in Mind are the best, they definitely are to be credited as a guiding force that kept us together and wanting to record/release music. Their friendliness and also being continually interested by the other bands they find and release has been great. As for psych scene, I think they are also a great input because that's not really their main goal, meaning they open the door to many more kinds of music that can be related; better in many ways, and more unique.
Q. Your new album ‘Chew’ was released in February, a modern retrospective take on elements of Psych, Prog and Jazz. What have been prominent influences for this album and how have you taken it further than your past work?
A. ‘Chew’ is for us a step in a new direction, trying to fuse all of our influences into something more modern. We have been working on mixing some comedy and light-heartedness into the mix; something that is sorely missing from overly serious and apathetic generic rock/pop/indie music in my opinion.
Q. You recorded a version of ‘Africa’ for Third Man Records, the eclectic label of Jack [White] based in your hometown of Nashville. How did this come around and what was the experience like of recording there?
A. We are great friends with everyone at Third Man, and have done some other shows with them, including a live soundtrack to some Hans Richter silent films. They record live shows direct to acetate/2" tape for pressing, and we did a live single when we played with Ultimate Painting a year or so ago. They are a great source for cool local live shows - they throw great parties.
Q. How has Nashville played a part in the way you make music?
Nashville is the definition of music history. Learning about country music and studio history is on the same level as making music, to me at least. But really it's a magic feeling knowing Neil Young or Dylan were recording their best right down the block.
Q. The re-emergence of Psych has seen some amazing names pop up from the framework, including yourselves. Who are some of your favourite bands around in the scene at the moment?
A. Dungen, Ariel Pink, Savoy Motel, Bitchin' Bajas, Ryley Walker, William Tyler - it's all "psych" to me.
Q. What does the future hold for The Paperhead?
A. Heading to Europe, and already started recording a new record! So - more music, more music, more music.
The Paperhead’s new album ‘Chew’ is out now.
Saturday 25th March - Urban Spree, Berlin, Germany
Sunday 26th March - Hühnermanhattan, Halle, Germany
Monday 27th March - River Promotions - Prague, Czech Republic
Tuesday 28th March - Graf Hugo, Feldkirch, Austria
Wednesday 29th March - Il Casotto, Lugano, Switzerland
Thursday 30th March - Spinnerei, Bern, Switzerland
Friday 31st March - LA Cave Des Pas Sages, Avignon, France
Saturday 1st April - Barcelona Psych Fest, Barcelona, Spain
Sunday 2nd April - Wurlitzer Ballroom, Madrid, Spain
Monday 3rd April - Sala X, Seville, Spain
Tuesday 4th April - Sabotage Club, Lisbon, Portugal
Thursday 6th April - Cafe & Pop Torgal, Ourense, Spain
Sunday 9th April - Le Twist Komintern, Rennes, France
Monday 10th April - Espace B, Paris, France
Wednesday 12th April - Cafe Video, Ghent, Belgium
Thursday 13th April - Night N Day Cafe, Manchester, UK
Friday 14th April - The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow, UK
Saturday 15th April - Shacklewell Arms, London, UK
Photo by Eve Neuhart.