Faded Paper Figures

26 Jun

“The challenge isn’t really coming up with ideas for songs, but rather writing songs in a way that people can relate to them on an immediate, intimate level, but then also be rewarded for digging a little deeper into the songs’ meanings.”

Energetic, upbeat, and catchy are three adjectives that could be used to describe Faded Paper Figures. Members of the band, R. John Williams, Kael Alden, and Heather Alden formed in 2007 and have released two full-length albums, their most recent being New Medium. Currently, they’re living in separate states, however they continue to write and record new music. Now that summer is here, let’s welcome it with music that will get your hands clapping and toes tapping. Find out more about Faded Paper Figures, the band that succeeds in getting the party started.

Q. You guys have such a unique band name. Is there a story behind the name?

A. Not so much a story. We liked the idea of our music being a palimpsest, but that sounded too hoity-toity. So Faded Paper Figures was a nice way of gesturing at that, and it has a nice ring to it.

Q. A lot of shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Vampire Diaries,” and “One Tree Hill” are featuring indie musicians as part of their soundtracks. Do you think doing music for these shows is helping get your name out there and your music noticed?

A. We’ve been on Grey’s Anatomy 3 times, and I’m sure it has helped get us some new listeners, but it probably hasn’t done nearly as much as online word-of-mouth has done for us. Most of our listeners find us somehow on the Internet I think.

Q. Your first album, “Dynamo,” was met with a lot of acclaim. How do you grow from there with your newest album, “New Medium?”

A. Well, the second album felt like an organic extension of the first; a little larger sound, but still recognizably FPF. We’re happy to report that it’s selling as well as the first. We can only hope that our third album does as well!

Q. Who does the primary songwriting for your albums and what is the biggest influence in your lyrics?

A. The songwriting is a very collaborative process, but it’s fair to say Kael is primarily responsible for the instrumentation and engineering, and John is primarily responsible for the lyrics and melodies. As far as inspiration for lyrics, John has a regular academic career, and his reading gives him a lot to write about. The challenge isn’t really coming up with ideas for songs, but rather writing songs in a way that people can relate to them on an immediate, intimate level, but then also be rewarded for digging a little deeper into the songs’ meanings.

Q. Do you think being from Los Angeles helps get your band more attention?

A. Hmm. I doubt it gets us a whole lot more attention. But it is convenient when we want to do a show or shoot a video, as so much of the music industry is in LA (although that’s slightly offset by the fact that John lives in New Haven, CT, so any time we want to do something like that he has to fly out).

Q. It seems as though all of you take your turns singing on your albums. How do you decide who has lead vocals for the songs?

A. We just sort of think of John and Heather as co-lead vocalists, and it seems to work out pretty well.

Q. You guys are currently in the process of recording new songs. What can we expect from the new album?

A. We’re very excited about this next album. It’s already been a lot of work! We’ve posted one new song, Avida Dollars, on Youtube, and we’ve got several more in various stages of completion. Another new song we’re really excited about that no one has heard yet is called “Friday in the Universe.” It’s a nice blend of our sounds from Dynamo and New Medium. Of course, I wish I could say the third album is almost finished, but it’s just not. We’re shooting for early 2012, and that’s still possible, but only because we release our music ourselves. Most record labels will take 6-12 months (or even longer) to process a finished album and get it ready for release. Because we release music on our own label we can literally finish the album in January and have it on iTunes in February–but again, that’s assuming we can keep up the pace through the end of the year.

Q. You spend a lot of time doing shows on the west coast. Are there any plans to play in any other parts of the US?

A. Not so much “plans” as desires. We would definitely like to get out more, but touring is expensive, and we have to really know that the crowds will be there to see us when we go. So it’s still very possible, but we have to sort of play it by ear.

Q. If you had to choose one band to tour with for the rest of your career, who would it be?

A. Ooh, that’s a hard question. Let’s say “The Beatles”—mainly because you’d need a time machine to make that happen, and there are a lot of awesome things we could do with a time machine.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. Well, definitely not “The Persuaded.”  The refrain “gotta have our things” would just seem too true at that point, ha ha. 

Here is their song, North By North, which is just one of their amazing songs. Be sure to check out the rest of their music.

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