Paper Airplane
Gig Seeker Pro

Paper Airplane

Columbus, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | INDIE

Columbus, Ohio, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Rock Pop

Calendar

Music

Press


"Radio614 names 'OTHELLO' Top Columbus Album Release of 2019"

“My favorite local album in 2019, far and away, is 'Othello' by Paper Airplane. I find this album endlessly interesting. There are 17 tracks packed with hook-laden songs and experimental flourishes, that surprise and delight me every time I listen. I have a hard time picking a favorite because a new one grabs me every time. For today, let’s go with this: Burn too Bright,” @Radio614, To and from Columbus. - To and From Columbus


"Paper Airplane perseveres"

Ryan Horns pushes through setbacks to make anger-fueled double album “Othello”

Ever since high school, Ryan Horns has written songs. It’s the way he processes the world around him. This week, in fact, he may write three or four songs.

But in order to do so, he had to teach himself how to play guitar, and then he had to teach himself how to record the songs. Still, that wasn’t the hardest part. He could learn those things on his own. The tough part was meeting other people, convincing them he was a capable singer, songwriter and guitarist, and then getting onstage in front of an audience.

“I remember the first show I ever did was at the Treehouse, and there was sort of a buzz because I had put some songs out. People were going to show up, and I was terrified of that,” Horns said. “So I go there, and it’s packed in that tree room, and everybody’s like three feet away from me, right at the same level. And I wanted to hide the fact that my hands were shaking. So my hands are shaking, but I needed to pick up something to drink, and then you realize everybody can see your hands shake while you’re spilling your [drink].”

As a kid, Horns’ social anxiety was written off as a harmless byproduct of shyness. “Over the years you realize ‘shy’ isn’t putting yourself in a room for days on end because you don’t want to deal with people,” he said. “It wasn’t until the ’90s that I realized, ‘Oh, I have a pretty bad problem.’ Overcoming it took a long time.”

Horns, a former journalist who now works at Ohio State, faced his fear head on, taking public speaking classes and performing routinely with his bands, the Last Hotel and Paper Airplane, a power-pop project he put on hold several years ago but was inspired to resurrect in late 2016, channeling the rage resulting from current events into a new batch of songs.

“Once the election happened, I looked around and I was like, ‘I don’t have any hope for this place anymore. I’ve lost faith in a lot of people around me. I don’t know where they’re coming from anymore,’” Horns said. “The funny thing is that I found hope in not having any hope. ... You find some sort of resolve in that.”

Armed with at least two albums of material, Horns initially thought he’d release a pair of records, one as the Last Hotel and one as Paper Airplane. Recording began in 2018 at Musicol and 3 Elliott Studio down in Athens, but each time a lineup solidified, bandmates would move away or bow out and Horns would have to start from scratch.

Eventually the Paper Airplane lineup came together with Horns on vocals and guitar, band co-founder Antonio Garza on drums, John Fitzgerald on bass, Keith Jenkins on lead guitar and Rob Cave on keys. The bandmates will perform at Rumba Cafe on Friday, Oct. 11, to celebrate the release of their excellent new double album, Othello.

“You and I had a falling out/We’re both full of rage and colorful shouts/It’s been so many years now I don’t even know/What I was mad at so long ago,” Horns sings on the standout title track.

“That song was the hardest song to write,” said Horns, who had trouble finishing the track, which was partially written before the other Othello songs. “Then I realized, ’Oh, that song is actually about dealing with anger, like all these others. ... I was reading more about [Shakespeare’s] ‘Othello,’ and I was like, ‘This is a whole play about dealing with anger and manipulation. That pretty much nails it.’ That song, I think, defines the whole album.”

When Othello was finally finished and submitted to online retailers, Horns faced yet another hurdle: the album art, which depicts Horn pointing a toy ray gun at the camera, was rejected. “It’s supposed to be a commentary on how ridiculous the gun culture is,” said Horns, who revised and resubmitted the artwork, which is awaiting approval.

“This album started out about being pissed off, and it turned more into perseverance, like, ‘How do you get through all this?’” he said. “So you’re trying to overcome anger, but then you realize maybe perseverance is the only thing that can help to overcome anger.” - Columbus Alive


"Local Music Limelight: Paper Airplane"

When most of the members of Paper Airplane moved out of state after the Great Recession, Ryan Horns became a one-man band.
He still wrote regularly, filling his voice recorder with hundreds of songs.
“I was like, ‘What the hell’s the point of writing all this when I don’t have a band? No one’s going to hear it,’” said Horns, 44. “I became kind of depressed. You feel like you don’t have a voice anymore.”
In 2015, drummer (and original member) Antonio Garza moved back to Columbus, and he and Horns resurrected the project.
Not until the 2016 presidential election, though, did Horns feel a burst of angry inspiration that he channeled into a cohesive album idea.
After writing and recording 25 songs in a year, several of which will make their way onto the upcoming album “Othello,” Paper Airplane — which also includes Brian Larcey (guitar), Jamarr Mays (bass), Claire Pollard (keys, vocals) and Garza and Matt Whitslar (both on drums) — will debut a single Saturday at Rumba Cafe.

Q: How can musicians write political music well?

A: There’s several people that have done it well. John Lennon did it well, and Jimmy Cliff. Bands like the Clash did it well. They don’t go specific on people. You have to choose why you’re feeling this way, and for me, it was, “I’m angry and sort of embarrassed by everything, and how do I get over that?” It’s not a sense of trying to change the world or anything around you. It’s “How do I deal with it?”

Q: You used to take song inspiration from stories you wrote as a journalist. Where do you find song ideas now?

A: The election was really eye-opening, especially from a journalistic viewpoint for me. I saw this happening and was like, “This is unfathomable.” Especially when Trump won, I looked around, and my brother voted for him, and my dad voted for him, too, and you start to question, and I got angry. I think that anger fueled the songs I wrote in 2017.

Q: How does your interest in literature intersect with your songs?

A: Every word has a purpose. It’s a lot like journalism. The whole idea is to remove everything that doesn’t matter.

Q: How has your sound changed since the last album?

A: I’ve got a friend who was super into hair metal, and I hated hair metal. I thought it was the most ridiculous joke music I’d ever heard. I was into ’40s blues and thought that’s what music was. Now I see the importance of what hair metal was trying to do, and that’s celebrating rock ‘n’ roll. That’s what this album is, celebrating rock ‘n’ roll — screaming and guitars and feedback.

— Julia Oller

joller@dispatch.com

@juliaoller - Columbus Dispatch


"Ohio State Alumnus Channels Writing Passion in Work and Play"

When Ryan Horns, 2000 Ohio State alumnus, began his undergraduate career, he was certain he loved music and writing, but uncertain of what his future would look like. Since then, Horns has created one in which he could do both.
By day, Horns is the communications specialist at the Ohio State Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and by night he writes and performs shows with his band, Paper Airplane.
“From an early age, I spent most of my time writing stories and songs in my room, thinking I wouldn’t do anything with creative writing,” Horns said.
The beginning of Horn’s career was focused on journalism, writing stories for notable media outlets such as MTV, Columbus Alive and the Marysville Journal-Tribune. He became fascinated with the mixed media aspects of communication, and writing stories transitioned into writing songs and creating videos, Horns said.
“Everybody needs writers and artists to turn the story of their work into something the reader can understand,” Horns said.
In 1997, he formed his first band, The Last Hotel, which allowed Horns the freedom and opportunity to intermix music and writing as a vocalist. Horns said being in the group taught him how to juggle multiple projects while managing a band.
The Last Hotel changed its name to Paper Airplane in 2008. The group took a break from performing music and recorded two albums, “Who You Know” and “Othello,” Horn said. They performed at festivals and filmed two self-made videos, most recently releasing a music video for their single “Too Many Words” in August 2018.
Antonio Garza, drummer of Paper Airplane, describes the band as melody-driven indie rock.
“One thing about Ryan is he is always, always writing music, at least since the time I’ve known him,” Garza said. “I don’t think you could ever stop Ryan from writing new songs, that’s just kind of what he does.”
When he’s not writing music, Horns manages the online content for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His role is to turn the stories and work of current students and faculty into articles and multimedia pieces.
In 2018, Horns was awarded the Outstanding Service “Above and Beyond Award” by the Engineering Staff Advisory Committee.
Betty Anderson, associate chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said Horns has brought great and positive change to the public relations of the department.
“All of a sudden as soon as Ryan arrived, we started seeing our department featured in articles everywhere, all the time,” Anderson said. “I learned more about the department from reading Ryan’s articles than I learned from being in the department.”
As an undergraduate student, Horns feared the possible reality of being a broke artist or writer, but asked himself, “Why don’t I do what I love and write?” So, he declared a major in creative writing.
“It took understanding that what I was doing is what I enjoyed, and at some point, you have to look at yourself and say, ‘This is what I want to do,’” Horns said.
Paper Airplane’s music, as well as its newest single, “Sidewalks Falling from My Feet” can be streamed via Spotify. - The Lantern


"Locals: Paper Airplane at Rumba Café"

After throat surgery, singer/songwriter Ryan Horns uncovers ‘Too Many Words’

Following a seven-year hiatus, power-pop band Paper Airplane is again ready for liftoff.

The group has a new album, Othello, arriving later this year, and will tease the recording with a single release and accompanying concert at Rumba Cafe on Saturday, Aug. 25. (A second album, In a Great Big Field, is expected to follow in 2019.)

Despite the lengthy absence, primary singer and songwriter Ryan Horns never stopped making music, writing and recording full demos both at home and in a practice space he shares with the Japanese B-Sides, a cover band in which he sings and plays guitar, and which has been his primary live outlet the last six years.

The hiatus coincided with a procedure Horns underwent in 2011 to deal with his uvulitis, a swelling of the uvula in the back of the throat (Horns described the uvula as “that punching bag thing”), a condition that often caused him to feel as though he was gagging while he performed.

“I went skiing in Colorado, and I was dealing with the swollen throat and the high altitude, and I remember lying in bed feeling like I was suffocating,” Horns said of the moment that drove him to pursue surgery. ”[The doctors] knew I was a singer, and they told me, ‘There’s a chance you could sound like Fran Drescher after the surgery if we do it wrong.’ Really? You’re telling me that now? But there was really no option when it feels like someone constantly has their thumb jammed down your throat.”

During the recovery — Horns started performing with Japanese B-Sides almost immediately but said years passed before he regained full confidence in his voice — the musician wrote and recorded relentlessly, filling digital recorders and iPads with fully formed demos, many of which centered on issues of anger and learning to let go.

Previously, Horns, a onetime journalist, approached songwriting as a narrative form, building songs that unfolded like dark, true-crime dramas — shadowy tales that often ran counter to the sunny, pop-oriented delivery.

“There was always that sense in Paper Airplane where it was laid-back music, very melodic, but the songs were about a guy getting murdered, or a guy getting in a car crash and going over an overpass,” Horns said. “When you’re a crime reporter, or that’s part of your beat, you’re just fascinated by what people get away with, or what they don’t get away with.”

Othello, which includes songs like “Too Many Words,” a rowdy earworm that will be released with an accompanying video this weekend at Rumba, however, is more personal, shaped by social and political ills Horn witnessed working as a journalist, as well as the difficulties he experienced transitioning from a profession that long offered identity as much as a paycheck.

“I didn’t have a voice anymore, and then I stopped being a journalist and you’re feeling like, ‘What am I doing all this for?’” Horns said. ”‘Too Many Words’ is about a lot of things. There are aspects of being overloaded and wanting people to hear you, but do I have anything to say? And is it even worth it?” - Columbus Alive


"Headliners: Paper Airplane"

On weekdays at The Marysville Journal-Tribune, Ryan Horns has a direct line to Main Street, USA. Plunked next to a radio scanner that feeds his police beat, he listens to a wash of success and failure, the ethos of regular people trying to doing extraordinary things. He takes notes. He follows up.

Walk the streets of any small town in America, and the stories will almost write themselves.

For the most part, the drama is subtle and odd in ways you’d never expect. It unfolds in tiny houses and humble settings. Hidden among elm trees and behind garage doors are characters trying to survive, trying to make sense of a life that passes by them in a blur.

On weekdays at The Marysville Journal-Tribune, Ryan Horns has a direct line to Main Street, USA. Plunked next to a radio scanner that feeds his police beat, he listens to a wash of success and failure, the ethos of regular people trying to doing extraordinary things. He takes notes. He follows up.

These curiosities provide the backbone of White Elephants, the excellent second album from local power-pop band Paper Airplane. They’ll release it Friday, Aug. 21, at Ruby Tuesday with support from Super Desserts and Winter Makes Sailors.

“Some of the characters are made up, but a lot of them are people I meet in Marysville,” said Horns, the band’s lead singer, guitarist and songwriter. “Some dude will get arrested and it’s funny or poignant, so I’ll transfer that into a lyric or even an entire song. There’s a lot of good people trying to do stuff.”

Characters on the album wander the streets in horror and learn how to dance beyond white-picket fences. They lie naked and look for answers. They’re are linked only by their flawed yet relatable humanity.

Each song is a snapshot, and the band will have you peering into a life you’ve never wondered about otherwise.

“He doesn’t give us a lyric sheet or anything,” drummer Antonio Garza said. “We’ll play a song after a while and then you’ll catch something that he said.”

In some ways, this album plays like a second edition of Middlemarch!, a stellar 2007 debut of sunny pop that borrowed heavily from Cat Stevens, The Shins, Wilco and Ram-era Paul McCartney. The lovely vocal layers, delicate keys and general pleasantness are largely intact throughout 16 new songs.

Yet, in important ways, the band took risks, toeing the boundaries of what can be enjoyed immediately.

“It was all about trying to push the elements of pop music,” Horns said. “There’s elements of the first CD in there with a few songs, then elements of us throwing in the kitchen sink and then elements of us trying something totally new.”

Individual tracks bear influences from the outside - the narcotic drone of The Velvet Underground on “Spring Vultures” or the saccharine punch of Big Star on “Time Is Full of Photographs.” Still, everything comes back to the clear, gentle sound the band has made its own.

That sound is the result of breathing room and a lack of pressure. Paper Airplane’s not really looking to make it - only to make records they like. If they wanted to get serious, band members joke, they should’ve bought a van five years ago.

“I was in a band before where that was all they were worried about,” Garza explained. “We never played any shows. We just practiced and practiced and recorded but never did anything with the recordings.”

Even the collapse earlier this year of local label All Hail Records didn’t really faze them. This time around, members had heard a sound they liked, worked with Cincinnati producer Brian Niesz to get it and fleshed everything out at a relaxed pace.

“It sounds like it could’ve been made in the ’60s, or it sounds like it could’ve been made today,” Horns said. “You could hear everybody situated in the room. The sound is very warm.”

For much more local music coverage, check the Sensory Overload blog. - Columbus Alive


"CD Review: Paper Airplane’s “Middlemarch”"

Paper Airplane are a Cinci/Columbus quartet that deliver a sound that is a good portion of 60’s nostalgia, a bit of 80’s pop and 90’s alt folk, and maybe even a touch of Electric Light Orchestra. Mixed together, it’s a sound that is surprisingly modern and decidedly appealing. The Beatles influence is evident, but the songs and sound aren’t copycat nostalgia -- instead, Paper Airplane takes it and uses it to their own purposes.

On their All Hail Records release Middlemarch, the music is beautifully layered, allowing the listener to discover new sounds with each visit. The smooth voice of lead singer Ryan Horns adds another layer to the music, blending effortlessly into the notes beneath it. Paper Airplane succeed in taking music and creating audial poetry. That being said, it’s also damn fun.

The lyrics echo the poetic nature of the music, finishing the art without making it look paint-by-number. They wax philosophic, but with Horn’s voice, the songs still sound light and somehow happy, regardless of the depth or darkness of the content.

Among the many standout tracks are the the opener “Keeping Things Whole,” because it sets the stage so well for the whole of the CD, and “Four Trucks Sitting in the Snow,” due to its exceptional lyrics and its fun, bouncy notes (well, as bouncy as Paper Airplane gets anyway). “Fire Escape” is another that sets itself apart as it allows the listener to unravel the story the lyrics tell, discovering meaning as it pertains more perhaps to themselves than the songwriter himself. The storytelling of “Mighty Resilient,” with Elliot as its main character, is brilliant -- sad, yet somehow uplifting at the same time.

“Rooftop” -- a mercifully short song -- is one that doesn’t work. The musical backdrop is surprisingly dull, especially given the quality of the other tracks, and the falsetto vocals are tough to get through without hitting your iPod’s ">>|" button. The lyrics aren’t interesting enough to work past the poor musical content and the song creates a sudden stop in the flow of the album.

The CD’s title Middlemarch is shared with George Eliot’s 1871 book of the same name, a story that is considered one of history’s greatest novels. If Eliot’s closing passage were translated to the music of Paper Airplane, it would fit: “For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

Personally, I hope this CD stays neither hidden nor unvisited. - Life on the C-Bus


"Praise for Analog-iness"

Paper Airplane, a Columbus-by-way-of-Marysville band, isn’t part of any distinct musical trend or genre.

The band played the Toledo’s “Indie Pop” festival, so there’s that. But if you’re looking for off-kilter vocals to go with your catchy choruses, you won’t find them here. (Don’t look for a basic verse/chorus/verse structure, either.)

Singer Ryan Horns is a vocal acrobat, and his clever melodies and impressive pipes take center stage on every Paper Airplane song. Like most frontmen who unabashedly embrace their inner pop, he makes no bones about sitting below the dais of Lennon and McCartney, though it’s hard to say whom he favors more.

The band’s new CD, White Elephants, is presented like a cassette tape—with two theoretical sides, complete with the sound effect of a tape being inserted at the beginning and flipped halfway through.

It’s a more visceral record than 2007’s Middlemarch. Formerly polished guitars have been excoriated a bit, and you may be able to tell that much of the album was recorded onto analog tape (by Cincinnati’s Brian Niesz and Columbus Discount Recording’s Adam Smith). There’s also more synthesizer; the synth riffs on “Until It’s Gone” and “Car Crash” are surprisingly Times New Viking-ish.

But I have a feeling all of those sonic divergences are more subtle than the band realizes. If you’ve heard Middlemarch, there’s not much here that’ll shock your pants off.

White Elephants is, however, more thematically cohesive. The album is based around its title track, which Horns wrote at the request of his uncle, who wanted a song written about his two-year battle with cancer. (Horns’s uncle, unfortunately, died two weeks before he had the chance to hear the song performed live.) It’s a song about death’s emotional impact (“All we have is family/And all we have is one another”) as much as the tough-to-swallow practicalities that contribute to that final sendoff (“You’re caught between life and the cost of your health”).

The other songs follow in the vein of “White Elephants,” some reminiscing, some looking forward, some both. The strongest ones (“It’s Almost Over,” “Until It’s Gone”) are devoid of insouciance, filled instead with an incensed passion that Horns couldn’t hide if he tried.

And while not every song on White Elephants is as memorable as it could be, there’s enough of that passion to further cement Paper Airplane’s place in Columbus’s pop pantheon.

Paper Airplane will hold a CD release show beginning at 10 p.m. Friday at Ruby Tuesday, 1978 Summit St. Also on the bill are Winter Makes Sailors and Super Desserts. – The Other Paper - The Other Paper


"Local music limelight | Paper Airplane: Being in bands helped Ryan Horns conquer social anxiety"

Ever since his high school days, Ryan Horns has written songs. It’s the way he processes the world around him.

But in order to do so, he had to teach himself how to play guitar, and then he had to teach himself how to record songs. He could learn those things on his own. The tough part was meeting other people, convincing them he was a capable singer, songwriter and guitarist, and then getting onstage in front of an audience.

“I remember the first show I ever did was at the Treehouse, and there was sort of a buzz because I had put some songs out. People were going to show up, and I was terrified of that,” Horns said. “So I go there, and it’s packed in that tree room, and everybody’s like 3 feet away from me, right at the same level. And I wanted to hide the fact that my hands were shaking.”

As a kid, Horns’ social anxiety was written off as a harmless byproduct of shyness.

“Over the years, you realize ‘shy’ isn’t putting yourself in a room for days on end because you don’t want to deal with people,” he said. “It wasn’t until the ’90s that I realized, ‘Oh, I have a pretty bad problem.’ Overcoming it took a long time.”

Horns, a former journalist who now works at Ohio State, faced his fear by taking public-speaking classes and performing with his bands, the Last Hotel and Paper Airplane, a power-pop project he put on hold several years ago but was inspired to resurrect in late 2016, channeling the rage of current events into a new batch of songs.

“Once the election happened, I looked around and I was like, ‘I don’t have any hope for this place anymore. I’ve lost faith in a lot of people around me. I don’t know where they’re coming from anymore,’” Horns said. “The funny thing is that I found hope in not having any hope.”

Armed with at least two albums’ worth of material, Horns initially thought he’d release a pair of records, one as the Last Hotel and one as Paper Airplane. Recording began in 2018 at Musicol in Columbus and at 3 Elliott Studio in Athens. But each time a band lineup solidified, bandmates would move away or bow out.

Eventually, the Paper Airplane lineup came together, with Horns on vocals and guitar, band co-founder Antonio Garza on drums, John Fitzgerald on bass, Keith Jenkins on lead guitar and Rob Cave on keys. The bandmates will perform at Rumba Cafe on Friday to celebrate the release of their excellent new double album, Othello.

“You and I had a falling out / We’re both full of rage and colorful shouts / It’s been so many years now I don’t even know / What I was mad at so long ago,” Horns sings on the standout title track.

“That song was the hardest song to write,” said Horns, who had trouble finishing the track, which was partially written before the other Othello songs. “Then I realized, ’Oh, that song is actually about dealing with anger, like all these others. ... I was reading more about (Shakespeare’s) ‘Othello’ and I was like, ‘This is a whole play about dealing with anger and manipulation. That pretty much nails it.’ That song, I think, defines the whole album.”

joliphint@columbusalive.com - Columbus Dispatch


Discography

2007 - Middlemarch (LP), All Hail Records

2009 - White Elephants (LP), Middlemarch Music

2011 - Who You Know (LP), We Want Action

2019 - Othello, Scioto Records

2020 - In a Great Big Field (LP), TBD

Photos

Bio

Ohio garage pop band PAPER AIRPLANE was on the rise in the early 2000s, until the Great Recession put everything on hold for almost a decade. However, veteran singer-songwriter Ryan Horns (Paper Airplane/The Last Hotel/Japanese B-sides) returned in 2018 better than ever with new shows and new albums set for 2019 and 2020. For fans of Thin Lizzy, Beatles, Guided by Voices, Walkmen, ELO, Kinks, The National, Zombies, Nilsson...

With soaring vocals, charming performances, and diverse arrangements, the band modernizes the melodic mod-rock culture of the 1960s into something all its own.

Paper Airplane has supported such national artists as The Walkmen, Rogue Wave, The National, Richard Swift, The Black Crowes, the legendary Dick Dale, and more. The band frequented festivals such as Forecastle, Midpoint Music, NXNW, CMJ New York, NAMM New York, Midwest Music Summit Nashville and many more.

There’s a saying in Ohio: If you don’t like the weather just wait a couple minutes and it’ll change. Likewise, PAPER AIRPLANE set its path on creating powerfully melodic, lyrical and vocal-based rock 'n roll that never went where you think it might. Gentle indie pop often turns into something more experimental and rough – sometimes within the same song. The point is the craft of song-writing. 

A longtime breaking news, community and crime journalist, Horns opens up a lyrical world of suburban intrigue, often based upon experiences and stories profiled over his award-winning career.

"Characters ... wander the streets in horror and learn how to dance beyond white-picket fences. They lie naked and look for answers. They are linked only by their flawed yet relatable humanity," Columbus Alive writes. "Each song is a snapshot, and the band will have you peering into a life you’ve never wondered about otherwise."

Paper Airplane has released four LPs, including critic’s favorite “Middlemarch” (All Hail Records, 2007), “White Elephants” (Self-released, 2009) and "Who You Know" (We Want Action, 2010) before the Great Recession hit Ohio hard and band members dispersed. The band returned in 2018 and released its double-album "OTHELLO" in 2019 (Scioto Records).

Once topping the college radio charts across the United States and Canada, Paper Airplane was a featured band on the influential Nic Harcourt’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and other KCRW shows. The group’s music was often used by clothing companies and appeared on MTV shows. 

“They are quirky and hard to pin down,” Cincinnati critic Kari Wethington wrote. “Too sweet to be punk rock, too earnest to be indie rock, too loud to be folk.” 

Band Members