The Paper Kites

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The Paper Kites

Turn the clock back a year and freeze-frame over the early hours of the morning, just as the bar workers are heading home for the night and the public transport is ceasing to exist, and somewhere in Melbourne Sam Bentley is lucidly piecing together The Paper Kites next concept album.
Twelvefour is much more than just the title of the new release, it’s also the time frame in which it was created. The idea was first sparked by a discussion Sam had with a screenwriter friend on the concept that an artists most creative point is between those hours.
Sam then set to work for the next two months working in between these hours, alternating between writing content and “falling asleep on the floor and falling asleep at the keyboard”. While the concept paid off, the album recently clocked the top 10 list, was the theory proved correct?
“Even so I’m still not sure whether it is true. I think for me I wrote better than I have before, whether that’s a placebo affect or whether it’s just that time of night that you feel like it’s better and more moody, but I found that it was certainly different to anything that I’ve done before,” he says.
It’s precisely those moodier and less lucid states that enabled a newer sound for the band to evolve. While mistakes are often associated with lack of sleep, it isn’t the case when it comes to creating music.
“I think creating music as opposed to writing a story and using words is kind of a different thing when you make a mistake,” he says.
“A mistake in a song could actually be a cool thing, it’s not like a grammar mistake or something that is just a case of you spelling a word wrong. Dare I say it, there’s not really any mistakes when you’re making music – especially when you are a little bit delirious and tired.
“I really thrived off that sort of state I was in; feeling that I was really tired. Instead of looking at it the next day and thinking, ‘Oh that’s awful’, generally it was all pretty cool. There were a few songs where I was like, ‘That’s not really cool’, but for the most part it was fresh and exciting.”
While this concept album is a rather daring idea, it’s not the first time the band have worked to a storyline of sorts or theme when creating a release. Woodland [EP 2011] was one that transported listeners to an enchanted forest.
“It’s really cool to wrap a group of songs up in a specific idea and to push that same idea onto other people,” he says.
“I would like to think when people listen to this album they do think of those hours and the late night theme; because that’s how it was written. The same with Woodland, because when people listen to that EP I think it totally transports them to that whole forest folk thing because that’s what we were pushing with that EP.
“It’s great to give people a visual that they can associate with the music, and that’s what I really love about concept records because if you really know the story behind it, I think it changes the way that you listen to it and that was the idea behind this record.”
With the album art inspired by a painting by Josh Bentley’s father and then made into a neon dream by a shop in Melbourne, imagery is of huge importance for the band. Following on with the ‘twelvefour’ concept are the video clips to each song, a trilogy of sorts that look at the goings on of those hours of the night, the most recent of which ‘Revelator Eyes’.
While the band have whole heartedly thrown themselves into this concept, there’s still a huge important to not desert their original sound. At times, the excitement over the project had Sam reaching to sounds the band had never even contemplated, but in a true tale of working as a team, the rest of the band (Christina Lacy Dave Powys Sam Rasmussen and Josh Bentley) helped deliver it as The Paper Kites sound.
“You’ve got to have respect for where you’ve come from but also be able to move as a musician and be able to grow and try new things. Sometimes people go along with that and sometimes people don’t,” he says.
Written by Amanda Sherring
When & Where: Theatre Royal, Castlemaine – October 22, 170 Russell, Melbourne – October 23 & Workers Club, Geelong – October 24