PAPA (Interview)

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PAPA will release their sophomore album, Kick at the Dust, on September 16th via Hit City U.S.A. The album continues the duo’s epic, heartland-channeling indie rock but this time comes with a more riveting, spunkier edge. Here, we ask vocalist/drummer Darren Weiss some questions about the new album.

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What’s the biggest difference between your debut album, Tender Madness, and your new album Kick At The Dust?

Kick At The Dust is way more savage all the way around. We wanted it to sound and feel more like the live experience while at the same time experimenting with a completely new soundscape and textural palette. It’s raw as hell but still classy and highly sexual. Like a wolf in a tuxedo during mating season.”

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How about lyrically?

“Between the release of the last album and now, the band has gone through a lot. We’ve been all over the world, been in and out of relationships, and all of that has added up to a firmer sense of where we want to stand artistically and in relation to many of the things that don’t represent us within in our culture. It’s not a concept album, but these songs seem to hover around self-empowerment. [And] about immersing yourself in yourself and coming out of your beliefs and experiences to shape your culture and standing behind the codes you build.”

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What’s the story behind the album’s title?

“The album title is a little chip off of a poem from a collection of my poetry that was published around the time of our last album. The poem goes:

Swing high
Old hammer
Kick at the dust, wildly

That opening line is a little reference to ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,’ because in our time, in our line of work, nobody is ‘coming for to carry me home.’ It’s about making the world you want your art. Or your breath to live in. And pushing through barriers and restrictions. Often enough, letting the dust settle on your work or your vision is the greatest barrier of all.”

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How did you recruit the album’s producer Shawn Everett?

“I’ve actually known Shawn since high school when he was more or less beginning his work as an engineer. We’d worked on several projects since then and he even mixed a handful of tracks on our last album. I don’t use this term often, or lightly, but that man is a musical genius. He doesn’t care about anything but the artistic and creative merit of a sound recording. There are so many layers to this new album that people will probably never even recognize, but without which, would leave the album sounding so completely different. He’s a cultural archaeologist and [he] helped us push harder and dig deeper to find a more realized version of our vision.”

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What can you tell us about your live band?

“The live band has a tendency to shift and sway often with our band. We are lucky that we have so many talented and willing friends to help us share our work and our message to the people.”

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PAPA will continue their September residency at The Bootleg Theater on September 9th and soon after go on tour.

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