After checking out Faded Paper Figures’s upcoming album, Relics (which you can check out our review of here), we had the lovely opportunity of catching up with them to ask few questions about their new release, and how life in a band is different when working full time jobs and across America.
Hey guys – we gave your new record, Relics, a listen and loved it; could you tell those who haven’t heard it about it a bit?
Who/what has influenced the track musically and lyrically?
We really enjoy a lot of what the contemporary music scene has to offer (we’re big fans of Pinback, Phantogram, and a million others), but on this album we went back into the archive and tried to connect a bit more with our musical roots. The late 1980s and early 1990s were really an amazing time for indie music, and we have a special fondness for British pop. Depeche Mode, New Order, the Stone Roses, the Smiths (and always Morrissey), The Cure, James, Peter Murphy—and on and on. These were a lot of what we were listening to while crafting this new album, so it may have a bit of a retro feel to it. But it’s fair to say these bands were important lyrical references too, at least in terms of demonstrating how sophisticated and interesting indie pop music could be (in contrast, that is, to the saccharine top-40 pop we heard most of the time on the radio growing up).
I’m sure you hear this a lot, but third track off your album, Not the End of the World, holds a lot of similarity to R.E.M’s It’s the End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). Was this intentional when writing the song (if so, why?), or just a pure accident?
Definitely intentional. Along with the Pixies, we think REM is one of the most important American bands of the last 3 decades, and the song is certainly an homage to them. But we also thought it was time to “update” the irony a bit, and try to reflect a bit more immediately our political landscape.
This is your fourth studio album – how do you feel you’ve changed and developed since your debut record, Dynamo, in 2008?
The band has grown in several directions, and we feel very lucky to have come as far as we have. When we started writing songs in Kael’s apartment bedroom 7 years ago, we knew we loved the songs we were writing, but we had no idea that this process would become such an important part of our lives. With each new album we’ve tried to develop our sound in ways that allow the music to feel exciting and different, but still familiar. We want our songs to seem well crafted, intelligent, and interesting, so it’s been a challenge to maintain those goals for as many albums as we have. Certainly we’ve all grown as people in that time, and the songs are a record of that as well.
Regards conditions for writing, you’ve had to bear more than the usual band – how is the writing and recording process impeded by family life and day jobs?
We don’t think of our day jobs and family lives as “impeding” the writing and recording process at all. If anything, it makes the music possible in ways that it would not otherwise. We feel like if we’re not learning new things as people, really stretching to understand the world around us, creating new experiences, and so on, then the music would just start repeating itself. Having challenging, interesting lives along the way means that our fans can feel the intellectual backbone of the songs as they develop. Of course, it has certainly impeded the degree to which we can play shows and tour. That’s one thing that we wish we could do more of, but it also makes those moments when we actually do get to play a show all the more exciting and special.
Do you envisage a day where you’ll give up your day jobs to focus entirely on the music, or will there always be a split?
It’s hard to know what that would look like for each of us. We’re sceptical that the whole band-in-a-van, endless touring, etc., is really the most fulfilling life that music can provide for people interested in crafting good songs. Anything is possible, of course, but we’re committed enough to our careers and lives that we like the idea of pursuing music as one of our passions–not the only one. Still, we’re always curious about what the next stage brings, so we will have to wait and see.
And finally, what does the immediate future hold for Faded Paper Figures?
After the release of Relics in August, we’ll be releasing some new videos, and an EP with a few remixes and B-sides. In October we’re playing some shows in New York and the surrounding area for the CMJ festival, and maybe even LA later that month. We hope to announce more specific dates soon.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, all the best for the new record!
Thank you for listening!