First, it’s NXNE week here in Toronto so we will be appearing at the venerable Rancho Relaxo, Saturday June 15 at 1AM. NXNE passes will get you in and cover is TBA which means relatively cheap compared to other venues. It’s one of TO’s best kept secrets that Rancho is the place to be in the wee hours of NXNE week, especially during the closing weekend. It’s usually packed with REAL MUSIC FANS - all nicely tipsy.
Second, it’s been radio static here at pmaps dot net and that can only mean one thing: we’ve been hard at work in the studio. In fact, we took a break this week for NXNE and will be returning to the studio – in this case, Nassau 6 in Kensington – this coming Monday to resume and complete our work. Why the studio change, you might ask? Well that’s because we are in the final mixing stage now. 90% of the recording part of the record was completed at our own Echo Valley studios but we’ve taken the tracks to another studio to get our hands on even more vintage gear and to get another perspective, etc., etc. Both our good friend, Nathan Vanderwielen and myself are doing all the mixing.
So what’s the new album going to be like? Well, to sum it up this is one for the freaks and geeks. Prom queens and star quarterbacks need not apply, although you’re welcome to try. In past blog entries I dropped some song titles. Here’s another tidbit: The name of the album, due out this fall, is DARKER LIGHTS.
more vintage gear ...
Dean and Nathan mixing ...
Andy at the Grand Piano
Dean and Andy add additional guitars and bicycle to the tracks...
It’s been a while. As you probably know we’ve been working in our studio on new songs and this past Monday, with some help from Nathan, we finally laid down the foundation for three new songs: “Nothing/The Memory Song,” “One by One” and “Vanauley Walk.” It was a fun-filled and zany marathon session (!) but we felt these three songs were ready for capture. The next couple of weeks will be spent choosing takes and recording the overdubs for these songs – things like guitar, synth and vocals, etc. We’ve already started that, in fact. There are two other songs in the works, but I’ll write about them another time.
As of this writing, there are not many live shows on the horizon for PAPERMAPS (check the shows page). We will be appearing at this year’s NXNE Festival here in Toronto. Our showcase time is Saturday, June 15 at the venerable Rancho Relaxo (300 College St.)- 1AM sharp! Other bands on the bill include PKEW PKEW PKEW (gunshots), The Quiet Company and 2 Live Drew.
As promised, here are some studio pictures (all taken by Andy):
Here’s our typical bed track session set up…not much different than a rehearsal except the baffling the the extra microphones.
“What a mess!” Nathan V does his thing. Bobby’s behind the drums.
“ARG! This is hard!” Me working out a challenging bass part for “One by One,” a song penned by Betty where I play the bass. Everyone else looks on…
Betty deciding which amp sounds best…Alas there are no photos of our photographer, Andy. Next time!
It’s been radio silence for an unprecedented time here at Pmaps dot net, but that’s because we’ve actually been very busy. We’ve been busy writing and honing in on new material, we’ve been busy re-arranging the studio for more functional recording sessions, and then re-arranging it back for more practical rehearsal/writing sessions and then back again … yesterday, Nathan moved most of the guitar amps against one wall and all the guitars (there’s close to 20 of them) against another – all the amps won’t fit on one wall it seems. It can get quite messy. I’ve been experimenting with the 2-Track Studer A-80 tape machine (best echo device ever). Bobby’s been coming in on his own just to do his fundamentals – it staves off the boredom between rehearsals and bed tracking. I finally put all my favourite gizmo’s onto one pedal board / flight case. Andy (Lord of Noise) built this pedal he simply calls UGLYFACE, ”the oscillating 8-bit fuzz,” which I liken to a grounded flying saucer – I recorded a new guitar solo in “The Hedonist” with it. It sounds…AWESOME. He’s going to build some custom pedals for Betty’s bass. There’s a bunch of new and old synths hanging around too – we might use them. We re-convene on Monday… with luck you can add one more song to the list: “Poor City.”
Things are going slowly but are getting more and more exciting. Take (for instance) the fact that we have a new member joining the band. Andy Soto is a good friend of mine. In 2008 I produced a record called Doubleplusgood for his Paris, France-based band, Utopium. In 2010 Andy came to visit Toronto again and helped out with the making of our debut full length, papermaps, contributing some piano, insights and additional engineering. He fell in love with our city and pledged to return, for good. Well, Andy is back!
We are still perfecting those same three songs … recording the final lead vocals and working on the textures that Andy will be adding to the mix. You can witness the early genesis of these new textures at our Canadian Music Week showcase (Hosted by Two way Monologues and GreenShades) at Rancho Relaxo, Saturday March 23 at 11pm sharp! Andy will be joining us on stage for the very first time!!!! So please come out and help us welcome Andy to the Toronto indie music scene! Also, we will not be returning until June for NXNE…(unless something very special compels us to do otherwise).
Astute link followers will also notice that I will also be appearing solo at Shanghai Cowgirl, Thursday March 21 11:30pm as part of CMW.
We’re coming out of the woodwork, out of the woodwork, out of the woodwork, outa’ the woodwork, like a reluctant gargoyle …
Hello. We’ve been in studio-land head-space for a few weeks now and we are knee deep into that esoteric art form known as album making and I would prefer to stay there, exclusively if possible, if it were not that we have been called to duty by our very good friends, THE CHEAP SPEAKERS to help launch theirbaby into the world and so on Saturday Night, upon a very late announcement and with little or no rehearsal (and even less sleep), the PAPERMAPS trio will be hitting the stage at the stroke of half-past midnight inside the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern after said very good friends. It should be an evening to remember! I have no idea how much it costs of the top of my head. Maybe, like $8. Look it up here: http://showgopher.com/#!Toronto/2013-03-02/HorseshoeTavern We are “special guest.”
Another place to catch us live in the middle of album making season will be during this year’s Canadian Music Week (Fest) on Saturday March 23 at the Rancho Relaxo, 11pm sharp! Come to that show and you are sure to hear way, way more new material from our next record and there’s sure to be a surprise or two regarding band line up changes and sounds…
As for this dark and (at times) chilly studio – I’ve been laying down the guitar tracks (again and again) and doing a some keeper vocal takes for songs with titles like, “The Edge of China Town” and others (i.e., the same 3 songs mentioned last week). We work slowly. No photographic evidence this week, I’m afraid. Check back soon…
This is the first of what I hope to be a series of blog posts documenting the making of our forthcoming album. This week we recorded some bed tracks for three songs. We did this in our new studio, Echo Valley. Here’s the photographic proof:
I went into the studio on my own for a few hours last Wednesday to lay down some guide tracks (voice, guitar and metronome) for Bobby and Betty to play along to. On Monday night we all got together, along with engineer Nathan Vanderweilen, and discovered that I got the tempos all wrong – so we ditched those guide tracks and the three of us ended up just playing together which worked out splendidly. We worked until around midnight, about 7 hours, and got the drums and baritone guitar tracked for three songs. We are hoping to have this new album finished in time for a late Summer or early Autumn release. The working titles of these three songs are “Shadow Theatre,” “Edge of Chinatown” and “The Hedonist (Feels Right).” Those of you who came out to our last show at the Horseshoe Tavern got to hear all three songs. We’ll be sure to play them again at our next show.
Here’s more photographic evidence from Bobby’s phone:
Bobby's drums are mic'ed and ready...
More drum set-up photos…This is as much a reference for us than it is entertainment for you… The Drummer’s Perspective …
One last ingredient to a good bed-tracks session is the ever-watching eye who tells you when you’ve screwed up …
Some of you may have already noticed – we are not that band any more. In my opinion, this is a good thing. Bobby, Betty and myself have been working on new material as a three-piece for a few months now. It’s been a slow, and at times awkward, but very rewarding process. I know this sounds funny coming from the main songwriter but I finally feel like we are making the music I’ve always wanted to make – it’s just much more focused. That doesn’t mean we won’t be expanding our ranks - in fact we have plans to add a new member very soon but meanwhile we have established a great vibe that we want to continue nurturing.
Way back in June 2012, while I was finishing up the final mixes for Inferior Ghost, we moved all our stuff out of what was once Chemical Sound and into a new space. At first the space was an empty white-washed shell with no electrical outlets, harsh lighting and a big chaotic mountain of gear in the centre – a quite daunting scene actually – but eventually with the help of some friends (namely Cameron Harding and Owen Norquay of Mesa Mesa, Jay Sad and Nathan Vanderwielen) we began building our new headquarters and named the studio/workspace, Echo Valley. Unlike Chemical Sound, Echo Valley is not a commercial studio but rather a shared facility where cool producers work and cool bands rehearse and record. Now that the studio is fully functional I am cheerfully looking forward to committing our new songs and vibe to tape. I intend to document the process here at papermaps.net, so look for more updates about the new album – things like pictures, video clips, lyric scans, etc.
The upcoming show at the Horseshoe Tavern (Thursday Feb 7) will be the three of us and we are going to play at least three (maybe four) new songs that we plan to record shortly after that show. The rest of the set will be comprised of back catalogue songs that we still enjoy playing and work best in our new configuration. One song we will not play is “Reunion.”
What else??? Oh, we’ve moved our mailing list to a new mail service. If you want to subscribe to our mailing list just look for the form in the top right corner of this blog called, Email Love.
I want to thank everyone who supported these past 3 years, especially those who continue to support us – and all you newcomers!
We are breaking our Holiday Hiatus with a hometown show at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, Thursday February 7! Joining us will be Toronto’s Alright Alright as well as our studio-matesMESA MESA who are a fantastic sounding band and the amazing VISTAVISION will also be making a rare live appearance! Deets:
It’s the Holiday Season and while most bands work feverishly during these weeks, we here in PAPERMAPS have decided to take a 3-week sabbatical. We’ll be reconvening in January and plan to play our hometown February 7 at one of our favorite venues in town (hint, it has the word “shoe” in its name – more details and to come). Since distilling the lineup down to Betty, Bobby and myself, we’ve been working on new material with hopes of a summertime 2013 release and tour(s). Our secondary hope is to preview much of that new material at our February 7 show. Let’s keep the fingers crossed…
Every year I do a little “year end” list of vinyl albums that I purchased that year – not counting records from previous years, oldies or classic albums, etc., which I shamefully buy a lot of…As always, some of these records were the soundtrack of my year, while others collected dust…but something convinced me to buy them…Here they are in no particular order:
Tender New Signs – Tamaryn Crayon Wars – Wendy Versus (ok, I played on this album, but it did come out on vinyl) Self-Titled – Paper Beat Scissors Clear Moon – Mount Eerie Lowbanks – From East to Exit (ok, I produced this…but it came out on vinyl) The Only Place – Best Coast Worship - A Place to Bury Strangers Wild Peace – Echo Lake Self-Titled – Metz Self-Titled – VISTAVISON (I also produced this one, but it’s out on vinyl now and one of my faves)
And there you have it…the 4th annual “Dean’s Year End List.”
Not counted here, but given honorable mention is the seminal post-rock/neo-jazz band, Talk Talk and their 2012 reissued/remastered Spirit of Eden.
Since Monday (six days ago) our latest music video for “Nobody Gets It,” has been available for stream on Exclaim.ca. The video is now available on YOUTUBE for the rest of the world to see:
This video was envisioned and directed by the very talented photographer Kerry Shaw. We here in the PAPERMAPS camp love it! It’s hard to describe. Perhaps Kerry’s own words sum it up best:
“Nobody’s perfect. A notion we tend to forget when we look at our partner, our colleagues, our family, ourselves. We are creatures of expectation and with that comes the tendency to overlook just how amazing the people truly are around us. Papermaps have compiled a song that explores the anger in desiring perfection, the frustration of someone not living up to our idea of who we think they should be. Perfect. I contradict these lyrics with a montage of appreciation. Specifically, images of women. The female form, movement and overall imperfections and actions of women. All kinds of women…This is not an in-your-face, socio-political “oh, look at how women are being over-sexuallised/distorted in media/over-beautied” kind of dialogue. Rather, this is a study of the female face, body, hair, movement, etc. A slightly dark celebration.”
For us in the group it was a fun and simple video to make. We each only had to be there a few hours or so. The bulk of the video was done over several days in Kerry’s studio with the many lovely models. We are thankful to all the ladies who volunteered their time and image for this video – you are the real stars! This clip features all the members of PAPERMAPS lip syncing the song, including Wendy and Todd who had officially left the group before filming but gracefully agreed to participate. This video is not only a celebration of beauty in diversity but is also, on a more personal level, a celebration of PAPERMAPS’ former lineup.