w/ BROOKE TUNBRIDGE
2017 HAS BEEN A MASSIVE YEAR FOR PAPER THIN, SCORING IMPRESSIVE SUPPORT SLOTS, TAKING PART IN THE POISON CITY WEEKENDER, AND RELEASING THEIR SOPHOMORE EP LIVING WITH. BEING WITHOUT. GUITARIST WILLIAM HOULCROFT SHARED HIS REFLECTIONS ON THE MEMORABLE MOMENTS SINCE THE FORMATION OF THE BAND LAST YEAR.
Just over a year after your first band practice and you’ve released two EPs, had a national tour, featured in Australian Guitar Magazine, and have supported the likes of Japandroids, the Hard Aches and Ceres. Take me back to that first band practice – what were your ideas and hopes for Paper Thin?
That feels like years ago! When we first came together to play music in April 2016, Spencer (vocals/bass) and Liam (drums/vocals) hardly knew Aidan (vocals/guitar), and I'd never played music with him. Liam and I had played together in a hardcore band and I'd engineered solo music for Spencer and occasionally performed with him. We wanted to play music with a group of people we liked, found it easy to be around and were interested in the same music as. I'm pretty sure in that first practice at RTN Studios, we talked about how we might never record or play live and this band just being for fun, but we also talked about album concepts and the kind of tours we would love to do. I think everyone saw this as a project and group of people that would let us try new ideas and test ourselves. Since then we've worked pretty relentlessly, tried to be realistic about goals and the time we invest, and I feel like it's paid off.
Is playing music something you’ve always been interested in?
I think we’ve all been playing music of some kind for 10 to 15 years. Spencer and I both played in punk bands through high school and continued that after; Aidan fronted an indie-rock band at the same age and then played bass in bands before he travelled overseas. Liam was in Spencer's and my favourite band through high school. His band, Held By Heartstrings, was one of the reasons we both first thought we could be involved in music when we were younger.
How do you all spend your time outside of the band?
Everyone works very hard, but in four really varied fields. Paper Thin has a lawyer and a barista. I'm studying youth work as well as working full-time hours, while Spencer does freelance media work and books a live music venue. Honestly, the band eats up a lot of time outside of our day-job hours. We try to remember to take breaks from it so we don't burn out. The other three have partners who love what we do, but I think wish we were home more. We try to spend time together not working on the band – it's great to see these people and their families and just enjoy their company. Those three boys and their partners are some of the most valuable people in my life.
Congrats on releasing your EP Living With. Being Without.! After listening, the evolving songwriting and sound of the band made itself clear. How did you approach it in comparison to your debut EP?
Thanks very much. I think I'm as proud of this EP as anything I've worked on so far in my life. We’ve been hearing that response from people a lot, that they have noticed a big change sonically. There were two main differences from last time that make this record sound the way it does. Firstly, we worked together on all these songs; they all represent a collaboration of different ideas, tastes and points of view. We try to work for the songs, using different ideas and skills to get the best result. Some songs were written face-to-face in the rehearsal room, others were built in sections after individuals spent time on one part or idea or melody, but in the end everything is the result of teamwork. Secondly, despite the quick turnaround from our last EP, we spent more time on every part of this process. We had time while writing to make sure all the details and focus we wanted was in each song, making sure everything from dynamics to lyrics and harmonies were what we wanted. When we recorded with Matt Taylor, we made sure every sound source was as good as it could be, and that every part was played right. This also meant that we could write what we think are stronger songs and then make a record we think has all the touches and range needed.
‘When You Call’ features the lovely voice of Grace Turner. Are there any dream collaborations in mind for the future?
We would absolutely love to work with Grace again, and hopefully we will do very soon! Ben from Safe Hands has one of the most emotive voices of anyone we know – I'd love to hear his input to one of our songs. And our old friend Bec Stevens, a solo artist based in Adelaide, is someone we mention constantly when thinking about vocal harmonies and textures in our songs.
Highlights from the Poison City Weekender?
Poison City heroes like Camp Cope and Lincoln Le Fevre and The Insiders bookended the weekend and gave stellar performances. We love those people and their songs, so it was great to spend time with them and watch them in their element. We were incredibly lucky to share the stage with Melbourne locals Lubulwa, an incredible dark pop band fronted by a member of The Immigrant Union. Everyone in the room at The Old Bar was absolutely captivated by them. The last band we all got to watch together was Safe Hands. It was a pretty incredible emotional experience for us all to see friends, people we have lived with, doing a thing we all love and making people from across the country fall in love with them.
The Cambridge will play host to your EP launch on October 15th with Melbourne-based act Self Talk, Safe Hands, and Wicking Out DJs. What can people expect?
We were incredibly lucky to tour with Melbourne's Self Talk last year. They perfectly blend power pop with the current wave of Australian alternative and punk music. Great songs, beautiful vocal harmonies and beautiful people, for fans of Weezer, Magic Dirt and Ceres. Safe Hands will always be one of our favourite bands – they’ve been around in Newcastle for 10 years and are constantly evolving and growing and are always ahead of the wave. Their new release, Disenchanted, I'm Sure, breaks my heart and is my favourite EP so far this year. Jon, who organised the Wicking Out festival, will undoubtedly make sure everyone keeps partying all night! The Warehouse at the Cambridge is my favourite venue in Newcastle, so I'm excited to be back there. Hopefully we’ll have a few special things ready for our set as well!
What’s next for Paper Thin?
We are working hard on our live set for a bunch of shows we’re really excited about between now and the end of the year. As always we’re going to take time to focus on writing new and better songs.
Thanks for your time Wil!
Thanks very much Brooke, and thanks to Newy Mirage for always supporting us and taking an interest in Paper Thin. As always, thanks to Olly from Lost Boy Records for what he does for us, Safe Hands, Self Talk and all his other artists.
Catch Paper Thin at their EP launch on October 15th at the Cambridge Hotel.