With the recent release of their brand new EP Inferior Ghost, Toronto’s Papermaps have proven themselves as one of the city’s premier up and coming acts. Personally, the 6-track album left me wanting more and should prove to be a taste of things to come when a sophomore full-length release comes to fruition. We were treated to a couple of sample tracks on their Bandcamp leading up to the August 28th release date (which were fitting precursors to what the rest of the songs offered), but for me the EP really stood out because of the final track called ‘Reaction Formation’. Marino’s vocals bust into the chorus beautifully as the band takes us on a ride that includes intervals of soft and thunderous percussion and great instrumentation. It’s a perfect ending to a successful EP, and a song that I’ve blared many times for my wonderful neighbours to enjoy (no complaints yet). I always try and gauge how I feel after listening to an album, and with Inferior Ghost the first thing that came to mind was that this band really has an identity, a true sound. Not that they didn’t before, but this album really solidified it.
Leading up to the CD release party that happened at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on August 28th, the band embarked on a 3,000 + kilometre Canadian mini-tour that was filled with excitement and some overnight stretches of highway that probably seemed never-ending. They were also one man down, as synth/guitarist Todd Harrison stayed back (partially because of personal commitments and partially because the van rental company screwed up and gave them one that was a little bit too small). However, when Papermaps hit Zaphod’s on August 17th the rest of the band filled in nicely as they played a stellar set in front of a smaller than expected crowd. This only made things more intimate, however embarrassing it may be that Ottawa folk in the Byward Market are hard-come by to walk in off the street to see a good show.
The set included some staples from their debut album, the most recognizable being ‘Reunion’ which sounded even more catchy live as well as most of the new tracks from Inferior Ghost. Despite the smaller turnout and road weariness, the band still put on an energetic show that could have easily gotten a full house riled up. They were supposed to play with Amos the Transparent the night before but had to change plans due to scheduling conflicts, which I also attended.
At the end of the night, I stuck around with the band for drinks at Zaphod’s and got to know them. All I can say is that I made some new friends that night, a great group of people were a pleasure to see perform and get to know. I actually felt really bad that the turnout hadn’t been what was expected, and almost (inexplicably) at fault. I assured them that Ottawa has a unique music culture that, if you’re a smaller band from out of town, needs to be cultivated. Although Ottawans may not walk off the street into Zaphod’s, Papermaps is a band that so many people would love seeing live. They said they’d come back, which put my worries to rest.
After a fun-filled night that ended up being a riot, we parted ways and promised to keep in touch. I had the chance to interview lead singer Dean Marino after the fact about where the band is at right now and what the new EP means to them. Here it is:
Interview: Dean Marino of Papermaps
1. In what ways is Inferior Ghost a new start for the band?
We have a new space to write and record. These songs are the last
songs to be written/recorded in our old space. I’m looking forward to
turning a new page with Papermaps.
2. What were your experiences at NXNE and CMW like, and how did they influence the band (if at all)?
Both festivals have been great in 2012. We played 2 shows for CMW and 4
shows for NXNE. I feel we got the most out of these festivals this
year than we have in past years. In terms of influence, I can’t
really say. We got to road test a few of the songs that are now on
Inferior Ghost. Like the title track and “Wait for Me,” which was the
last song to be recorded.
3. Describe the writing process with Inferior Ghost. Was it much different than that of the debut album?
This was more of a collaboration than the previous record. Everyone
wrote their own parts and I provided the lyrics, chords and melodic
structure. The band had more of a say in terms of arrangement of
parts and writing their own parts. On the previous record, I was
still demoing some of the songs before showing them to the band –
although they still managed to make the parts their own when it came
time to record. I come from a “do everything myself” sort of mentality
and it’s been in the last 4 years or so that I’ve learned to let go
and let other people contribute ideas – and you know what, it’s not
what I would have thought – it’s better!
Inferior Ghost was recorded much quicker than the self-titled as well.
Some writers are already talking about how it sounds very “perfected,” but it actually
is not. I left a lot of mistakes in there and kept performance takes
down to around 3 to 4 takes for each overdub. We didn’t do any “beat
detective” or “turd polishing” or whatever you call that either. Yes,
I edit – but I edit entire sections of takes (like whole choruses)
like you would do on tape and I comp like that too. This is our first
“fully-digital” record (although the beds for Nobody Gets It was
dumped onto 24-track tape for “treatment”) but I tend to use protools
like a tape machine, in a very minimalist way.
4. How did you come to play music in the first place?
Music is in my blood – I get it from both sides (my Mom’s dad was a
jazz player and my Father was a rock n’ roller). My first instrument
was a snare drum but eventually I started noodling on my Dad’s
guitars. I had my first band when I was 11 or 12 – we sucked.
5. Out of all the artists/bands that you’ve played with, which has been the
most fun to be around?
Hard Question. Since you’re in Ottawa, i have to mention the guys in
The Love Machine. They are a real blast – I get very positive energy
from those guys. Most of my Toronto friends are in music, so it would
be unfair to name anyone as “coolest” or “”most fun” – they’re all