Music

Paper Route: Laugh About It

Early in the autumn of 2014, Paper Route’s JT Daly, Chad Howat, and Nick Aranda moved into a cabin deep in the hills of Middle Tennessee, set up a makeshift studio, and spent a month dreaming up material for their third album and first for Kemosabe Records. Just as they did for the making of The Peace Of Wild Things (a 2012 release created in a creaky plantation house called Joy Mansion), the Nashville-based trio purposely chose a remote and ramshackle space that promised retreat from the rest of the world. “We like to work within the limitations that come with being far away from everything,” says Daly, Paper Route’s singer and main lyricist. “It keeps us uncomfortable in a way that ends up being really inspiring.” Called the North House, Paper Route’s temporary home brought contact solely with non-human life forms: bats whizzing past their heads during band meetings, snakes slithering into the house in the middle of the night, a tarantula-sized spider creeping into their piano — only to be coaxed out by Howat’s 1930s-horror-flick-inspired improv on the keys.

Paper Route: Laugh About It

Paper Route first conjured up their melody-driven take on electronic-leaning alt-rock back in 2004, when Howat began using music as a means of battling insomnia. “When I couldn’t sleep I’d make tracks on my laptop, and after a while I showed those tracks to JT and asked if he wanted to start a project together,” says Howat. An old friend from college and former bandmate, Daly was then working as a painter and graphic designer (an ongoing endeavor that includes creating artwork for Paper Route as well as artists like Sufjan Stevens and Wilco Building off their powerful chemistry, Daly and Howat put out their first two EPs in 2006: a self-titled release and the three-song Thrill of Hope, whose closing track “The Music” later appeared in 500 Days of Summer. Over the next few years, Paper Route split their time between touring with arena-filling acts like Paramore and sharing smaller stages with the likes of Thurston Moore and Mark Kozelek (their fellow performers at SXSW 2008’s Lou Reed tribute show). Releasing their full-length debut Absence in 2009, the band continued to straddle the pop and indie worlds, heading out on the road with Imagine Dragons in 2013 and embarking on their own headlining tour in 2014. When it came time for the follow-up to The Peace Of Wild Things, Paper Route shook up their process with an experiment they named Band Camp.

Paper Route: Laugh About It

“We’d just come off the road and we were exhausted but starving to create again, so we made up a series of exercises to try to kickstart everything,” says Daly. For one week, Paper Route invited various musician-friends into their Nashville studio to try out those exercises (example: “Play the heaviest song you can, as quietly as possible”). While the band ended up scrapping most of the material born from Band Camp, they found themselves re-energized and refreshed by the time they headed to the North House. And though the album marks Daly and Howat’s first time writing with Aranda, the longtime touring guitarist gelled instantly with his new full-time bandmates. “The three of us being in the same space, where there’s this wide-open soundboard and anyone can sing a melody as soon as it comes to them — it created something fully collaborative and just felt really great,” Aranda says. One factor that fostered that collaboration: Paper Route’s unified vision of tapping into a deep-seated need for connection and transformation. “We love the idea of being a voice someone else might cling to, the same way we did when we found those bands that changed our lives, who made us want to lock ourselves in our rooms and play their records over and over,” says Howat. At the same time, Paper Route aspire to protect and preserve what Daly refers to as “the sacredness of the musical language. “With music, you can make people feel like they’re having a better day than they are, you can make them remember that they’re in love or not in love, you can make them mourn or make them celebrate,” he says. “It’s a very powerful thing, and I’m pretty positive that we’ve served that sacredness with much honesty.”

Paper Route: Laugh About It Lyrics:
Jealous that I could never have it
I’m not afraid to admit, I’m just jealous

Lately I’m thinking you would agree
You’ve got it way too easy
I’ll be honest

I wear my heart on my sleeve
I don’t know any other way
I’ve got a blue collar on
And I’m wearing it to my grave
Laugh about it

Cloud nine and silver spoons were never meant for me
Laugh about it
Feels like I play to lose
And if the joke’s on me I’ll laugh about it
Laugh about it

Anxious the doc has got me drugged up
She says I’m not a screw-up
I’m just anxious
I know my mother’s gotta worry
Because my vision is getting blurry
But the heart can only go so far
Handcuffed I guess the jig’s up
Laugh about it

Cloud nine and silver spoons were never meant for me
Laugh about it
Feels like I play to lose
And if the joke’s on me I’ll laugh about it
Laugh about it

I wear my heart on my sleeve
I don’t know any other way
I’ve got a blue collar on
And I’m wearing it to my grave

Cloud nine and silver spoons were never meant for me
Laugh about it
Feels like I play to lose
And if the joke’s on me I’ll laugh about it
Laugh about it

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