Q&A with Colin Buchanan of Paper Lions

Nothing is off limits on Paper Lions' new album, Full Colour. For their new release, the quartet broadened their sound, tried new things and ultimately, walked away with one of their best releases to date, learning that sometimes, it's best not to follow the rules. With Full Colour out now, Paper Lions are gearing up to hit the road on their Canadian tour for the rest of the year, and with another new album already in the works, it's safe to say they're not going anywhere anytime soon. 

Interview by Dom Vigil

Can you tell us a little bit about Paper Lions for any readers who may not be familiar?

Paper Lions started in the small community of Belfast, Price Edward Island (on the east coast of Canada). Rob and John are brothers and I grew up next door to them. The three of us have been playing music together since we were 12. We met Dave in High School and started playing in different bands and in 2008 we settled into what would become Paper Lions. 


You guys just released your new album, Full Colour! What on the album are you most excited for listeners to hear?

I think I’m most excited for people to listen to the album as a whole. We’ve already released a few singles, so I think our fans have an idea of what the record might sound like, but I think they will be surprised when they hear the entire album.


Were there any goals you had in mind when working on Full Colour?

I remember having a discussion after our previous album was released, about what we wanted moving forward and how we wanted to approach songwriting. I think when we were younger, we created a lot of arbitrary rules for ourselves as songwriters. There were places we wouldn’t go, because it didn’t fall in line with these vague ideas about what sort of band we thought we were or weren’t. I think if we had a ‘goal’ this time around, it was to push beyond those fears and try to create something that felt like new territory. 


How do you feel you’ve grown or evolved with these songs?

The writing process for Full Colour was completely different than any other record we’d done before. Our previous albums were mostly put together in the jam space, tested out on the road and eventually recorded as a four piece. This time around we worked in the studio, writing and recording in tandem. Making many different versions of the same song, revisiting and revising until it was at a place we all felt was exciting. Creatively, I think we’ve grown more on this album than other other record before. 


What would you like listeners to take away from Full Colour?

I hope the record just makes people happy. Gives them that elated feeling that you get when you discover a song or an album you love, when all you want to do is keep listening to it on repeat. That feeling is the reason I started playing music and is the reason I continue to love listening to music.  


Before the album dropped, you released a few songs from Full Colour, including “End Of July.” What makes this song special to you?

"End Of July" is probably the first real ‘ballad’ we’ve even put on an album. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do, but have shied away from (one of those arbitrary rules I guess). We’ve had slow songs before, but never a true ballad. Our drummer Dave’s sister in law is a great Saxaphone player and we wanted to get her on the album but didn’t exactly know where. I think we initially had a guitar solo at the end of the song, but it just wasn’t the right instrument for the part. We traded in the guitar for Sax and the song felt finished. 


On top of the album release, you are also hitting the road later this month for your Canadian tour - what are you looking forward to on these upcoming tour dates?

We are really looking forward to getting back on the road. Writing the album in the very intensive way we did, kept us very close to home for the last 2 years. I think what we are most looking forward too is trying out some new venues on this tour. We’ve been working hard on creating our most ambitious stage show to date and are need to move to some larger venues to pull it off. It’s an exciting transition to larger rooms.  


Do you have any other big plans before the end of 2016? Anything already in the works for next year?

We’ve already started writing for the next record actually. Once we finished Full Colour, we just continued coming into the studio and writing. It’s just become a natural routine for us. 


Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Drink Milk, Love Life!

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