Today comes the first in a series related to Paper + Plastick, featuring And We Danced from Minnesota. Covering rock, emo and punk in their music, we spoke to the band about their experiences starting up the band, their local scene, and Jaq Zrust (vocals/guitar) and Jeremy Tappero (guitar/vocals)’s experiences with former Fueled by Ramen bands (Cadillac Blindside and The Stereo).
How did you guys start out?
Honestly, this band wasn’t really started the traditional way. Jeremy and I have known each other since we were teenagers, playing in other bands in the same scene. Over the years we’ve played around with the idea of doing something together, but the timing was just never right, as one of us was always busy doing another project or living in another part of the country. In the winter of 2012 I had been writing some songs for an acoustic show I was asked to do, and one of them just kind of stood out to me. So I called Jeremy (who has his own studio) and said “hey man, I have this song that I think would be fun to put down, we should get together and collaborate on it.” A week later or so I went to the studio, he did all the drums and bass, while I did guitars and vocals and in the end, we had this great song called “Way Back Home”. Doing what guys do, we sent it to some friends to get some feedback and just to show it off a bit, and our old friends in Motion City Soundtrack loved it and offered us a short midwest tour here in the US. The problem being, we didn’t really HAVE a band, it was just the two of us [laughter]. So, I scrambled a bit, found a couple other great guys to take over the rhythm section, with Jeremy and I on guitars and vocal duties. Then all I had to do was write a set’s worth of songs (in like 3 weeks), which basically became our first EP, Back to the Middle. That record is just the set we wrote for that first batch of shows.
What’s your local scene and what’s it like?
We’re from the frozen tundra that is the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St Paul) in Minnesota. Besides it being cold and shitty half the year, we’re better known for everything from The Replacements, Prince and Husker Du to Dillinger Four, Off with Their Heads, Banner Pilot and Motion City Soundtrack. The scene is pretty diverse with a lot of brutal hardcore to poppy indie stuff and everything in-between. What’s great is while we have awesome venues like First Avenue and the Triple Rock Social Club (now legendary punk club owned by Erik from D4, NoFX video “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock” obviously filmed there) but we also have an emerging basement and house show scene again, which seemed to have gone cold for awhile.
How would you describe your sound?
This is always a tough question for us, because we’re still REALLY finding and evolving it. Growing up and playing in the emo/punk/indie scene in the midwest during the 90s obviously has its influence in our work. While many bands today seem to be trying to recapture that sound and vibe, for us, that’s just what we do and have done for a long time. Jeremy and I played and toured with most of the influential bands from that time period, and we all grew up with similar influences so it makes sense. We saw The Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World in basements and tiny venues. Jeremy played in The Gloria Record after Mineral split. However, we still all really enjoy bands like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and The Gaslight Anthem etc, stuff thats very roots rock and roll. So we like to try to find a place somewhere in the middle of all that.
What’s the experience been like working with Paper+ Plastick? For Zaq and Jeremy, is it a big shift from a label like Fueled by Ramen?
To answer both questions at once here, we have a long history and friendship with Vinnie, so its kind of just getting back together with an ex-girlfriend you really have been missing. Very familiar and comfortable. Honestly the shift isn’t SUPER dramatic, seeing as when we were on FBR, the label was still fairly small and indie, much like P&P is now. Vinnie has a lot of great ideas and is SUPER into doing cool artwork and packaging, as are we, so its a great match. He gets where we are in our lives, and has known us in some fashion or another since before we could legally have a beer, so like I said, its just very comfortable.
Do you think your previous bands have given you a nice starting place with this project – or is it like starting fresh entirely?
Personally it FEELS like starting from scratch [laughter]. The music world has changed a bit, and while our past experience has given us an edge on things like knowing what NOT to do, how to write, how to make a record etc, it hasn’t really given any advantages as far as a built in fan base goes or anything like that. We’re absolutely starting from scratch in that aspect. Seeing as we started this thing as essentially just a little recording project between Jeremy and I, the rest of all this has just been a huge bonus. We’re stoked that people have been liking the record, and hope to be able to get it released over in the UK, EU and Japan to we can come over and make some noise with you all.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Next month we’ll be doing a tour kick off show with Into It. Over it., and then off to do some east coast dates with Less Than Jake and The Interrupters before arriving in Gainesville Florida for FEST 13 (which is awesome and scary considering Jeremy and I played the first FEST forever ago in our other bands). After that, we’ll return to Minneapolis to continue working on writing and recording the next record with P+P (not sure if it will be another EP or a LP). We’ve got quite a few tracks already coming together that we’re really excited about, so we want to get those happening. We also will be recording and releasing a 7″ on Secret Voice Records (which is a cool label owned by Jeremy from Touche Amore) sometime, I believe, early next year. He reached out and expressed how much he loved the EP, and really wanted to do something/anything with us. After a hang while Touche Amore was here in on tour with Rise Against, we agreed doing a 7 inch would be a lot of fun. So look for that as well.