The words ‘young’ and ‘north’ name two things, age and place. Combine them together and they make up the title of the latest EP from Melbourne indie-folk band The Paper Kites, and age and place are exactly what Young North is all about.
Frontman Sam Bentley says that although the title came about by combining two song names together, it ended up representing exactly what the EP stood for.
“It’s a coming of age EP,” says the singer, “we wanted it to represent stepping out into new territory and new fresh ideas that are unexplored for us.”
Young North, the five-piece’s second EP (which gets the Tone Deaf verdict here), has just been released and will see them off on their biggest headlining tour yet this October/November. After scoring support slots for the likes of Boy & Bear and Josh Pyke, The Paper Kites are well and truly ready to take charge.
“We’re totally overwhelmed but at the same time we’ve done a lot of hard work to get where we are. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be on some of the supporting spots that we’ve done, but now it definitely feels like it’s time to get out on the road with the new EP,” enthuses Bentley.
Being over a year since the release of their debut recording, Woodland, the folky frontman describes how the band has had its share of changes over the past year, highlighting the importance of keeping fans up to speed with exactly where The Paper Kites are at.
“I think when you only put out five or six songs at a time everyone had their idea of what the band sounds like, and we‘d sort of moved on from that. Now Young North is finally out we can bring everyone up to speed with what we’re sounding like and where we’re at and where we’re heading,” he says.
Despite the changes from one EP to the next, Bentley ensures The Paper Kites will always be The Paper Kites, “we’ll always be a folk band; we just like twisting new elements in.”
He continues, “We’ve always been really aware of not boxing ourselves into one idea, so we wanted to be open to playing with our sound and reinventing our vibes. Young North differs in the sense that there’s a bit of a move away from the earthy sound we were going for, there’s a lot more electric guitar now.”
“That’s not to say that we’re turning into an indie rock band, we just love the freedom to be able to move around within the genre and challenge people’s ideas of what they think we’re about – but not to the point that we put out obscure music,” he laughs.
When it comes to their music videos however, being obscure is totally okay according to Bentley. The Paper Kites latest clip for featured single ‘Maker Of My Time’, was co-directed by the band and Jefferton James (Boy & Bear, Avalanche City), and was constructed to “make people think ‘what the heck was that’,” says the enthusiastic vocalist.
“We wanted it to be interesting and really unusual. I came to the band and said ‘I have this crazy idea’ so we just went out and found a location by getting lost on Google maps.”
The video, which has scored a heap of attention since its release, depicts a Zimbabwean man dancing down a desert road for the entirety of the song.
“It was very risky,” says Bentley, “we hadn’t met the actor before, we just found him… he had no dance background whatsoever. Luckily he got into character and it turned into something really special.”
Pushing the actor to the limit, in shots that involved dancing further than a kilometre at a time, is what created such a raw, ridiculous and amazing clip, raves Bentley of the “gentleman from Zimbabwe.”
“You either get it or you don’t. I guess it depends on what people view as artistic or ridiculous. Even some of us in the band think it’s more ridiculous than artistic, but it worked and we’re really happy with it,” he says.
Unfortunately for punters, Bentley warns he’s not talented in the dance department, so no such re-enactments will appear within their upcoming shows, however, he adds “I’m really hoping someone will do a YouTube cover of it. I’d really love to see that!” Paper Kites enthusiasts, now’s your time to shine!
Since being experimental and trying new things seems to be the go for the indie-folk fivesome, Young North embraces that notion, seeing the band through their first experience of working with a producer, an experience they were certainly hesitant to undergo.
Bentley explains, “I was sceptical about working with producers because we like to have control of our music. So when Wayne (Connolly) came in we were expecting it to be full on, since he’s worked with amazing artists like Sarah Blasko and Josh Pyke. But he’s actually a kind and gentle man, and he didn’t want to change the songs, he just wanted to bring out the best in them. So we’re very thankful we could experience that in the end.”
From a group that “never made a conscious decision to start a band” came an EP that “wasn’t even supposed to happen,” but luckily the next few ventures for The Paper Kites are well and truly mapped out.
They’ll cross the country very soon on their headlining tour with Young North in tow, and – brace yourselves – there’s an album on the way!
“We were working towards making and album and we were sort of talked into doing an EP because we had so many songs, and it seemed like a good idea to not rush into an album… But it’s in the workshop at the moment. Dates haven’t been organised yet but we’re definitely working towards it. I’d imagine sometime next year,” enthuses the singer.
With so much goodness from The Paper Kites headed our way, fans have a lot to forward to.
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