How each song string of The Paper Kites has braided together to make the bands body

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How each song string of The Paper Kites has braided together to make the bands body

Words by Tammy Walters

Paint, featherstone, and roses in hues of neon crimson and electric indigo make up the living colour threads of The Paper Kites.

The Melbourne five-piece band have been wrapping us up in cosy comforters since their debut EP Woodland, cornering listeners with their soft harmonies and soothing sounds. 

It’s no wonder then that they have been doubling up their winters for live touring, sinking into the wonderland haze and sleepy sways of the darker nights. Having just returned from a giant touring trek across the United States, The Paper Kites return to Australia for another winter wander. 

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“We have been known to tour during winter around the world, weirdly, but it will be the first time I think we’re going to Europe in the warmer months, which will be nice,” acknowledges multi-instrumentalist member David Powys.

“It’s terrible for the suitcases though; the winter jackets take up half of the suitcase,” laughs singer Sam Bentley.

“But we’re conditioned to Victorian winter’s because we actually recorded and did the whole Roadhouse project in Castlemaine in the middle of winter,” explains Powys.

The At The Roadhouse project is an experimental album construct, seeing the band venture into Campbell’s Creek and deck out an abandoned heritage venue into a rehearsal space and pop-up live music venue. With the adopted album name, The Roundhouse built their sixth album. 

“We rehearsed for that record at a brussel sprout farm that our friends own and there’s no heating, there’s no cooling and it was through winter. Any memories of making that record is all this associated with very, very cold weather,” laughs Bentley.

“Out in that part of the country it’s pretty flat and it means that the sunsets are really slow so you get this golden hour that lasts more like an hour and a half,” Powys says.

“And then at night the fog sets in around the town around then and it’s kind of weird and dreamy and really beautiful,” Bentley finishes, describing the landscape with the same enchantment as one of his songs.

As quickly as the Roadhouse transformed into a charming cabin of communal creativity for the band, it then opened its doors to the Castlemaine community; an invitation for locals to sample the namesake album before its release.

“The whole idea was to play all the tracks from the album from start to finish,” says Powys.

“It was an experiment, just to play the songs to people that we didn’t know, who weren’t really expecting anything, and playing completely new material just to see how the music connected with people straight off the bat without recognizing who we were or knowing the material at all. It was a really honest example of how people can connect with music.”


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Whilst the unknowing guests weren’t attuned to the catalogue, At The Roadhouse builds on the threads already woven by The Paper Kites across their six bodies of work. Though twelvefour and its synth driven indie pearls, ‘Electric Indigo’, ‘Renegade’, ‘Revelator Eyes’ and ‘Too Late’, stick out in their sonic exploration, the tails braid together with the remainder of the collection to capture the essence of evening.

“All of these albums are their own worlds but they are connected – there is a vein running through them all, not just because it’s us and it’s our music, but the thing that connects them all is the feeling of searching and hope and some yearning. We’ve always been quite drawn to the evenings and placing that music in that time of day. It wasn’t intentional initially but it’s just seem to be, particularly for me, a time of day that I find feelings to be amplified when you’re sitting by yourself at that time of day. If you look at all the album covers, twelvefour in particular was the first very outwardly directional album to say…”this is music for this time of night”. That was the thing that stayed through On the Train Ride Home, On the Corner Where You Live, even Roses and especially Roadhouse because we were playing it at those times,” says Bentley.

“I have always been interested in the narrative around not just the songs but when you choose to listen to it and the feelings that appear. It’s almost a 4D experience that I’m trying to create. It’s not just about listening to a record; it’s about placing everything else that comes with it.”

“As the primary songwriter, I think of you almost more like a film director. The band has always been focused on story and narrative and also what mood the listeners are going to be in while they listen to that story. It’s a very holistic approach to making records,” agrees Powys.

Leaning into this narrative, The Paper Kites will be returning to the bitter cold town of Castlemaine on Saturday 22 June on their upcoming tour. Though the closeness and comfort of the Roadhouse is gone, the band will transform the Theatre Royal with its legacy At The Roadhouse album.   

Tickets can be purchased here.