PAPER TIGER SPOTLIGHTS
by Garrett Frierson photo by Sarah Jacobs
ON SOLID ENGINEERING: “IF IT CATCHES THEIR EAR, THEY’LL LISTEN MORE TO THE SUBTLETIES.”
HOMETOWN: Asheville, NC
Molly Kummerle and Dave Mathes have been through a lot the last few years. The duo form Asheville’s rising trip-hop act Paper Tiger, and in the three years since the release of their first record they’ve garnered acclaim, toured with major artists, lost a third of the band, and did an overhaul of their sound and show. It was time well spent. With a spat of tour dates and a new record on the horizon, the band is ready to move on in a big way. Paper Tiger’s critically-acclaimed first record, Me Have Fun, is defined by layers and layers of vinyl samples - a groovy, gritty backing orchestra for Kummerle’s sultry vocals. This foundation was provided by the band’s third member, crate miner Isaac Gottfried. After the release he left Paper Tiger amicably,
ARTISTIC APPROACH: Fusing experimentation and professionalism.
but his departure forced Kummerle and Mathes to rethink and redesign every aspect of the band. Instead of starting with Gottfried’s carefully constructed vinyl creations, Kummerle decided to write most of the material for the new record at home, layering her vocals with synthesizers to explore a darker new direction for the band. For Mathes, it’s important to think about the production and engineering process to get unique sounds. He says, “If it catches their ear, they’ll listen more to the subtleties.” Together they fleshed out demos into arrangements that captured the magic the vinyl provided before. “I was looking for ways to grunge the sounds up; I wanted to match the rawness of the records,” Mathes says of his goals during recording. He
ran tracks through long chains of analogue gear before sending it to the computer: “[It] smears the transients, which can sound cloudy but can also sound very classy.” The result is a record suspended in time, cuts of a synthesized history not dissimilar to our own that collect thoughts that exist beyond consciousness and distill them into flavors that will delight and amaze.
FEBRUARY-MARCH 2014 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 15