PAPA

papa-mTHE DANCER AND THE LION TAMER

Known for being light on their feet, having a big sound and an EP that left one salivating for more, a search for “Papa (band)” on Wikipedia turned up blank. BeatRoute got on the phone with Darren Weiss, drummer and frontman for the band, to get the lowdown on this up-and-coming LA duo.

The group is officially on the first leg of a two-month tour in support of their new full-length album, Tender Madness, released October 8. The album has been a long time coming for the duo, comprised of Weiss and bassist Daniel Present.  An EP of five songs has been in circulation since 2011, but with the release of this first LP, the public has access to material the band have been playing live for quite some time.

“We had the EP out for a long time. We’re happy to release the full album, it’s music that we’ve made and are proud of and we’ve wanted to get it out for a long time! I think it took about a year longer than we expected, more than anything I think we’re relieved to have the full-length album out, it’ll be nice to travel with the whole thing!” says Weiss excitedly.

The band’s single “I Am the Lion King” is a fitting introduction to the album’s uplifting indie vibe that makes you want to dance, or at least bob your head.  Taking inspiration from life in general, the band draws on the past and incorporates elements from the more obscure bands they grew up listening to.

“Danny and I, musically and otherwise, grew up idolizing underground music.  The basis of all the things we do come from punk and underground,” claims Weiss.

Growing up with one another in California, best friends seemed like an appropriate term for Weiss and Present. “I haven’t used that word in a long time,” Weiss laughs. “We spend a whole lot of time together and I’ve known him since we were little kids.” Weiss and Present have always shared a similar love for music, attending the shows trickling through LA’s music scene since teenage years. Weiss has learned a lot about what is really important when creating music. “From the time I was a teenager and going to shows, the landscape has changed so much and the lines have become much more blurry about what’s what, so the important thing for me is to not give a shit about those classifying things and just write the most beautiful songs I can write.”

Although the album is fairly non-aggressive, Weiss discusses the new music he is currently writing and how the times may be a-changin’ for the band.

“It might totally change completely by the time we get ready to make the next record, but right now for some reason I’ve been feeling a little bit more aggressive musically. I don’t want to put out anything that sounds nice or cute, I want to put out things that are forceful!”

With the downtime during years of touring with Papa and previously as drummer for the indie darlings Girls, Weiss funneled his creative energy into writing and drawing. Weiss recently had his first book published by the bands label Hit City USA, a compilation of poems and illustrations from the road entitled The Only Thing Worse Than A Woman Is A Man.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m very good or anything but what I will say is that before music came into my life the thing I dreamed of being as a child was an artist.”

Wrapping things up, Weiss shared some interesting facts that people might want to know. “I’m a lion tamer and Danny is a ballet dancer.” Perhaps this information could be used for their Wikipedia page when someone decides to make one for the band.

Catch Papa at the Electric Owl on November 18th

By Chrystal MacLeod

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