Paper Route’s new album ‘The Peace Of Wild Things‘ debuted September 11th. The album isn’t just filled with good melodies driven by strong beats, it’s filled with powerful songs. Since the band has already done a lot of good interviews like the one with Relevant, this one with Artist Direct, or this one on Hypebot I thought a behind the scenes look at each song would be the best way to get to know these powerful songs even more. Like a DVD commentary though, it helps if you actually have the record. You can find the digital version on iTunes and the physical copy on the band’s site. Next to each song title is the name of who’s talking about the song.
Love Letters – (JT) This was a Chad demo that demanded my attention. Loved the beat placement and the drive to the entire track. It was one of the first songs we tried finishing but we kept on getting tripped up with the verse melody. Finally towards the end of our Joy Mansion recordings I was so angry at this song that I didn’t care anymore. I think I had this very specific vision for the track (that was clearly not working). I vaguely recall recording about 4 brand new ideas. I’m pretty sure 3 of them were just awful. But the 4th was piercingly vulnerable and matched the energy that Chad had originally captured. Love Letters became our opening track.
Two Hearts – (Chad) This song went through quite a metamorphosis like many of our songs do. The pre-chorus melody popped into my head while I was grocery shopping so I quickly recorded it on my phone. I did a demo and presented it to the guys. One of the problems, though, was that it was WAY too slow. We speed it up and it changed the urgency of the song, so JT wrote lyrics accordingly. We finally found a melody to come after the pre-chorus and then we just chipped away at it for months until we nailed the arrangement.
Better Life – (JT) One of our first sit downs with Robert Marvin was the night he played for us the beginning to this track. It sounded like a sad dream to me. It made me pace, made me reflect, made me feel the need to sing. I woke up at 6am the next morning and sang the entire verse through the chorus melody into my phone. When revisiting most things recorded on my phone at 6 in the morning, it quickly goes from “great idea” to “comedy” .. but this was different. It still worked. That day I went to the studio and tracked it. We even kept the original chorus lyrics that I sang into my phone. So I guess it came to me in a dream, … a sad dream.
Glass Heart Hymn – (JT) Chad and I like to give each other challenges. This song was born from a challenge. I loved his track so much I was legitimately afraid to sing on it. I felt like I was going to ruin it. So I tiptoed around it for a month or so. Always put it aside, telling the guys “yah i’m working on it, it sounds amazing!” .. But I knew I couldn’t sing on it, write to it, change anything, touch it, unless i was flooded with at least the same amount of inspiration that Chad had. We were wrapping up the recordings and I knew it was time. I had sort of hit a stride of writing and felt like i could stare this song in the eyes. I poured some bourbon and went on a long walk. (first verse done). Poured some more bourbon and went on another walk. (second verse done). It came to me like a dark hymn. I sat down at the out of tune piano at Grantland and worked on a choir part. Chad called from Joy Mansion (he and Gavin were doing drums) and I read him the lines and gave him my pitch for the song. We got together the next day and combined ideas. Then in one day texted all of our friends and tracked them as our choir. Our hymn was complete.
Sugar – (Chad) This song was actually quite difficult to write. There were many incarnations and interpretations, but the three of us felt like it was an important song so we kept fighting to finish it. This is one of the few songs where JT left some of my lyrics in the verses, which takes a lot of security on his part. I was writing about the girl who would eventually become my wife, because we were in love but scared of committing to each other for life (at least I was). Everyone loved the verses but we didn’t know where to take it from there. JT kept coming back to the lyric, “you are where I belong”. I swear he tried to put it into a few different songs! When JT wants to say something, he’ll find a way to say it! It made perfect sense with the verse lyrics. Then we also took a chorus from a demo JT did called “Honeycomb” and it just tied everything together.
You And I – (JT) Chad started this track but didn’t think it could be finished and brought into our world. It still is the most pop thing we’ve ever done, but I knew we could connect the dots. (This was also the first track we had started with Robert Marvin. We brought him in knowing it would be the first time Paper Route, as a band, would all be on the -listening couch- .. at the same time). It freed either Chad or me up from being behind the computer. We turned everything up and i had a mic in the tracking room.
Letting You Let Go – (JT) Was the thorn in our side. I don’t even know where to start on this one. Let’s just say – we all survived it.
Tamed – (Chad) Sometimes being in Paper Route means knowing when to get out of the way. I heard JT’s track for “Tamed” and loved it immediately. To be honest, we never even really tried to alter it. The best thing I could do for this song was nothing, so what you hear is JT’s original demo.
Rabbit Holes – (Chad) the first time we recorded drums at Joy Mansion, it was to this track. At the time it was called something else, and we really just wanted to experiment with microphones and different rooms for drums. I pulled up this track and Gavin played to a beat I had programmed and it took on a new life! He then expounded on it and I was blown away by what he was doing. We gave it to JT a few days later and some time went by. One day JT said he tried some things on the song and it was either the best thing he had ever done or the worst thing. After Gavin and I heard it, we decided it was the best thing. We kept taking the song in different directions all the way up until the last minute. Actually, the last times we ever recorded drums at Joy Mansion was also for Rabbit Holes (the part in the bridge).
(JT) I would also like to add that when I opened up my Rabbit Holes folder, I counted 27 versions on my computer alone.
Calm My Soul – (Chad) This was a song that has an origin from before the Absence release, actually. We always had the chorus with the choir, but could never land on any verses. We put the song in the graveyard category and moved on. Years passed, and eventually somehow MTV used the demo version of this song on one of their shows. Much to our surprise, people all over the internet started freaking out, trying to find out what song it was and what band it was. That was enough of a spark for us to give the song another shot. We finally found the missing parts of the songs, and JT wrote some very personal lyrics, which are some of my favorite.