Paper Lady on Boston Calling, influences on dream pop & rock sound, and working on debut album

by BellaJoli Gedeon

Paper Lady on Boston Calling, influences on dream pop & rock sound, and working on debut album

Local band Paper Lady wrecked havoc on Boston during Day 2 of Boston Calling. The self-described indie-rock collaborative project is a product of the Northeast DIY scene, consisting of members Alli Raina, Will Davilla, Rowan Martin, Kenzo Divid Castille, and Brady Dallas Jones. Most recently, they dropped their latest single, Five of Swords. WRBB's BellaJoli Gedeon grabbed a quick interview with the band before their set!

Pictured Left to Right: Brady Jones, Will Davila, Alli Raina, Alex Castile, Rowan Martin, Kenzo Divic

BellaJoli Gedeon: I’ve had the pleasure to watch you perform at a couple venues like The Tourist Trap and The Crystal Ballroom at NICE, a fest. Do you consider playing Boston Calling a stepping stone in your band’s success?

B.J.: Absolutely. It feels that way. It’s definitely the biggest thing we’ve played. At least from what I’ve seen in my life when I’m going around telling people about the things that I do, you talk about you’re a musician and that you play shows and stuff. They’re like “Oh yeah, cool!” and they roll their eyes. Now, when I say “We’ve played The Crystal Ballroom” and “We’ve just played Paradise Rock Club. “Now, we’re playing Boston Calling.” People start reacting to how you’re a musician a little bit differently. That has been the biggest aspect of it feeling like a step up. People are taking what I do and what we do a little more seriously which is cool.

That’s awesome. Are there any bands or artists that are here at Boston Calling that you’re excited to share the spotlight with?

A.R: We’re so excited to see Alvvays. They were the bands that we bonded over so much as a group. We saw them live altogether when they played with Alex G in Boston. It was a dream show to see for us. When they got added to the lineup, it was so crazy. It was so surreal that that happened.

B.J: I’m a big Khruangbin fan. I just like listening to them. I feel like they really influenced how I played guitar, especially when the first song I played on recording I was listening to a ton of Khruangbin. It feels really special, especially because we’re not on the same stage, but we’re playing right before them. I’m hoping that we can make their set. I’m just so honored and touched. Yeah, I’m really excited for that one.

As a band you’re obviously influenced by Alvvays, are you also influenced by Alex G or any other bands and artists in particular?

A.R. Oh, yeah. We used to cover “Bobby.” “Bobby” would go so hard, especially at The Tourist Trap and basement shows. I would play bass and Will would be holding the microphone and walking around the stage. And, I would just be singing it as a duet and he would just be going up to each of us and just kind of like putting his hand on our shoulders and stuff.

All.: Haha, yeah.

A.R.: Yeah, Alex G is huge for us. Yeah. Big Thief. Alvvays. Alex G. Some older influences like The Sundays, Broadcast, and Mazzy Star. Rowan’s really into The Smashing Pumpkins. Just that kind of dream pop and dream rock from like the 90s. More recently, we’re also inspired by Wednesday. That kind of countrygaze genre is having such a moment.

R.M.: Dari Bay.
R.M.: Countrywestern.

A.R.: Yeah, countrywestern.
R.M.: Feeble Little Horse.
I really like Wednesday. I like the alt country vibe. I also got to see Big Thief at Roadrunner and Alex G at Paradise Rock Club, so that’s really cool.
B.J: They were at that show, yeah.

A.R.: We got to like meeting him afterwards because our boss at the time was like friends with him. We shook his hand and we told him about Paper Lady. He was like “Paper Lady, that’s a great name. It was also a full moon. We were crying and jumping up and down and screaming.

W.D: Shout out to JJ Gonson for that. She’s like the best.

From listening to your recent EP, Traveling Exploding Star, it seems that you embrace noise rock mixed with a dream pop sound. The concluding track “Violet” transitions from a calm, ethereal sound to a raw, heavy sound. It’s dynamic. Are there any particular inspirations behind this unique blend of genres? Haha, I guess you answered this question.

R.M: I don’t remember if there were any specific influences, but over time when I started playing in Paper Lady it was me and Alli and two of our friends on the violin and cello. “Violet” was such a delicate song. Then, we adapted it together and it stayed delicate. There was all this energy on the drums and I think it all came from playing together. Alli used do this scream all the time in jams, so we started messing around with that. And, I think it just came from this. I don’t know if I came from this specific energy. I felt so good to just have this explosion at the end. I started messing around. I really like Sonic Youth and how Thurston Moore plays guitar. I started messing with my slide and making these weird sounds or running my guitar against an amplifier. Yeah, I think it came from Alli first doing this crazy sound that she makes and all of us following along intuitively which I think has become a big theme in how we write. It’s like following along to a specific energy that of us puts out.

K.D.: I think the cool thing about that is that it’s always similarly chaotic at the end, but it also always feels very different. It never sounds the same. It’s part of the set that we can kind of forget where we are if we haven’t already done that. We completely lose ourselves in the music. It’s a great experience.

B.J: I think it’s a very raw expression. I remember playing it at least in my brain. I like to think of it as therapy time where I get to explode. There’s this awesome Miles Davis video that it makes me think of in the 80s where in the end he stops playing his trumpet and he’s laying on the ground and screaming into his trumpet microphone. I think it’s such a great feeling of transitioning from a really beautiful song to a primal release of all these emotions.

Since the EP is nearing its one-year anniversary, are there any new plans for new material?

All: Yes!

B.J.: We’re making an album and we’re recording it ourselves. We’re mixing it yourselves.

K.D.: We’re almost done.
B.J.: We’re almost done with it. We don’t know when specifically when it will be out, but we’re super excited about it. We’re going to perform a song from it today.

That’s awesome, so it’s going to be your debut.

A.R.: Yeah, debut album. Full-length release.

B.G.: That’s amazing.

A.R.: Yeah, it feels good.

So, I’ll be checking out your show. I’m really excited to hear your guys perform and it was great interviewing you. I really appreciate the time you took to talk with me today.

All: Thank you!