PAPER LIGHTS
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PAPER LIGHTS

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Pop Rock

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When the day comes that we (hopefully) go to the heavens, I hope we get all the answers to the universe. One of the questions I want answered is "why does Cabbagetown attract so much musical talent?" Case in point: Paper Lights.

Paper Lights was founded by Dan Snyder who lives right here in little ol' Cabbagetown. At first, "the band" was just Dan and his computer. Now, it is six members strong. It's newest addition, Melanie Annabelle describes the sound as "a unique mix of a large cinematic sound coupled with intriguing lyrical content. It holds a sense of hopefulness without shying away from the darker themes." I'd describe them as a powerful blend of Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, and The Antlers. But you should draw your own conclusions and you should go see and hear them! They will play at Vinyl at Center Stage, Saturday night, November 23rd. Tickets are only $10. This is a must-see show and a slice of sonic heaven.

- Kyle F. Bidlack - Cabbagetown Neighbor


On a cool summer or fall night, somewhere in the world, there is a small candle being placed into a paper lantern, a match is struck and lights the candle. Almost magically, the power of such a small flame lifts the comparatively massive lantern up into the sky. That feeling the atmosphere around it has always been indescribable to me. You are probably wondering what the world lanterns have to do with music, right? For Atlanta based band Paper Lights, that sublime awe is what inspired their name and is also what has been captured in their soon to be released album Caverns.

Atmospherically electrifying from start to finish, Paper Lights has crafted a sound that’s synonymous with the power of nature.

-Manjot Jawa - Way Too Indie


Whoa... These last few weeks have been an asbolute blur.. Not only have I been going nuts with new music from a collection of amazing artists that have been sending me their work (keep it up!). I've also been snowed under with copious amounts of craziness at my (boring) day job.. And to top it off, I've been attending the weddings of what seems to be just about every single living, breathing person that I know over the last month.. To say that things have been a little wild as of late would be a huge understatement.. But I wouldn't have it any other way! So I must apologize for my abscense last week, but I just couldn't get a chance to get an article up in amongst everything else that was going on last week!

Anyway, now that's out of the way, I have the pleasure of introducing you all to a great band that I came across a couple of weeks ago on Twitter.. That band is Paper Lights, a collective of very talented artists that come together to weave soundscapes that are quite frankly wonderful.. The bands new album Caverns is due out this November, so do yourself a huge favour and check it out! Enjoy.

First of all, for those people out there that haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Paper Lights before.. Who are you, and what role do you play in the band?

I'm Melanie Annabelle. I do vocals, a little glockenspiel, some songwriting, and most of the cooking. We, collectively as Paper Lights, are a tribe of artists, dreamers, best friends, & life enthusiasts.

How would you describe Paper Lights sound to someone that’s never heard your music before?

I think it's a unique mix of a large cinematic sound coupled with intriguing lyrical content. It holds a sense of hopefulness without shying away from darker themes.

I’ve read around the place that Paper Lights is somewhat of a collective of different musicians.. How does this work in creating music? And how and when did Paper Lights form?

Paper Lights is comprised of 6 members, but when we call ourselves a collective, it is primarily because we function first and foremost as a family. It began mostly as a side project a few years back with a rotating cast of fellow musicians, and has turned into something a lot more consistent for those involved. Most bands I have worked with in the past have typically been run by one person, but Paper Lights is really intentional about drawing out the strengths in all it's members, be it with our artwork, or throughout the songwriting process.

I understand that the name of your band also serves as a metaphor for life.. Care to explain the meaning behind Paper Lights?

There is something crude and fragile about a paper lantern. It doesn’t seem right that a flame could be enclosed by thin paper, yet when lit something beautiful is born. To see one float isn’t something you can just take one glance at and look away. It’s an experience, especially if there are many of them together. We are a lot like these lanterns, frail beings with a divine spark. We are strange creatures made of dirt but somehow house an other worldly flame. We hope our art is an illustration of this indecent paradox.

Can you tell us a little about your own personal musical upbringing? When did you get your start in music, and when and why did you decide to start creating music professionally? Also.. Who are some of your main influences?

My grandpa is a professional musician, and when my dad was old enough, he would take him on tour across the country. Because of that, I was raised celebrating music of all types, but never really thought anything of it for myself, mostly because I thought my voice sounded funny. But one thing led to another about four years ago and I got convinced to play a small coffee shop show. That night sang out my secrets and stories, and haven't stopped since. My main influences are Johnny Cash for his raw and uncompromising connection with the marginalized and Explosions in the Sky for their all around dreamy audibles.

You guys have a brand new full length release coming real soon called Caverns.. Can you tell us a little about the album and what went into recording it?

This album was a blast to create. Dan and I had these Monday weekly co-writing sessions and originally didn't have intentions of releasing a concept album, which relinquished a lot of pressure to create something specific. We'd just write about things that were inspiring us, honest questions we were wrestling with, and all of a sudden... We realized the concept was within the questioning. We created these demos with the band, took them to a trusted friend and producer, Loyd Rieves and the rest is history.


Whoa... These last few weeks have been an asbolute blur.. Not only have I been going nuts with new music from a collection of amazing artists that have been sending me their work (keep it up!). I've also been snowed under w - Taken By Sound


Paper Lights Facebook
A little over two years ago, independent Atlanta based band Paper Lights was nothing more than a side project – with all the band members playing gigs both separately and sometimes together. It was initially about playing for fun with friends and a break from their usual work. It has grown from Dan Snyder (vocals/keys) recording alone in his room with a keyboard and computer to a group of fully committed musicians - this after a period whereby the gigs played was never with the same crew. Recently the band picked up Melanie Annabelle (vocals/glock) from folk band Low Tree Grow Tall whom alongside Jonathan Kimsey (live drums/percussion), Josh Stuart (auxiliary drums/keys), Jacob McCarthy (guitar) and Tim Friesen (bass) helps to create a dynamic sound.

There is definitely a sense of family in amongst the band members of Paper Lights and this understandably makes them unique. The members have spent time travelling and writing music together, as well as working closely with one another for many years now. Snyder adds “these are some of my favourite people, so getting to create something we enjoy playing together is just a bonus”. The music created is in part influenced by Snyder’s penchant for movie soundtracks alongside artists such as Ryan Adams and Snow Patrol. In fact, most artists can inspire Snyder’s own creativity.

The new release from Paper Lights is called Caverns, which will be released in November. It speaks to the theme of truth seeking and seeks to portray a sense of hope without avoiding dark subject matter. One track called On Your Way is about asking the hard questions and getting to the core of the truth whilst another called The Cave is about the difference in the shadows of what is real versus the true reality. It differs to their past release, as Caverns is has much more of a focus on portraying what they wanted to say and developing an experience for the listener compared to a more ambient record previously. The songs are inspired by films – scenes that show landscapes and cities, “...anything that shows how expansive and living the world is” says Snyder. The feeling conjured up when you witness scenes such as these in films, naturally translates to music.

It isn’t every day that an independent artist plays a sold out show – for Snyder has already achieved this. It was alongside fellow musician and friend Sam Hunt at the historic Georgia Theater. It is his most memorable moment so far and something he hopes Paper Lights can experience one day altogether.

Prior to forming Paper Lights in its current form, the musicians on their own tasted varying degrees of success in working for other artists. Whilst it’s a rewarding experience to help others achieve their goals, for the same thing to happen for Paper Lights would be the next step in their careers.

After the release of Caverns in November, Paper Lights will immediately begin writing and recording songs for the next record. This summer has allowed the band to find a work flow that they hope to continue on with in the future. Next year Paper Lights plan to tour their new music.

- Maggie Sapet - Australian Music Network


Cinematic soundscapes run rampant through this band's music. Founded in Atlanta, GA in late 2011, they are completely independent but have been picked up by DMX Inc., a music placement and branding group. Honing their unique post-rock sound, Paper Lights decided to approach their writing in a slightly different way. By writing songs as if they were tailored to film, they've created an EP that sounds, indeed, like a soundtrack. - Indie Magazine


Atlanta-based record label Autumn + Colour Records (Sleepy Turtles, Austin Archer, Sick/Sea) will be releasing its first of many compilation albums entitled ‘A Beautiful Change’ featuring some of the best indie bands around the world. The first volume is set to release August 28th. It will be available for free through NoiseTrade and the label is pressing 1,000 CD’s to give to each of the artists featured on the compilation to give away for free at their merch tables at shows.

The band plans to line up sponsors for future volumes, release them digitally and donate 10% of profits to the label’s charity partners.

A Beautiful Change: Album Tracklist:

1. Clemency – Boy’s Choir

2. Sleep Dance – Spiders

3. Sleepy Turtles – A Reason to Hope

4. Threadbare, Brother – Half-Love

5. Anna Nelson – Before You

6. Sick/Sea – Talking Doormat

7. Jungol – Fast Asleep

8. Cloudeater – Hardly Wait

9. The Armory – Burn the City Down

10. Austin Archer – Doubtful as they Come

11. Paper Lights – The Reveal

12. The Walla Recovery – The Spoils of Warring Hearts - The Rising Hollywood


Who’s Paper Lights? How you guys all met?

Well more than less Cory Estes (guitars) and myself (Dan Snyder, keys, vox) had met a few years ago through mutual friends. The Atlanta music scene is small enough that everyone knows each other. Both of us were working a lot of contract jobs for other artists in studio and traveling. There was just no outlet for our own creativity. So we started this project that was originally post rock and borrowed from the great pool of professional musicians in our community to get it done. Later Zac Brooks (drums) joined us in our endeavors.





What’s the story behind the band’s name?

For Cory’s bachelor party a bunch of us went to see a movie. At the end there was a wedding scene and everyone went out on the beach to light paper lanterns and watch them float off in the dark. We all thought they looked awesome and the name wasn’t taken, so that’s it. It means nothing.



What are your music influences?

As far as bands, I listen to a lot of Sigur Ros, Jonsi and Copeland. There’s a soundtrack Danny Eflman scored for a movie called “The Kingdom’ that I can’t put down. A modern arranger/composer named Nico Muhly really challenges me too, but there are so many. I’m sure the other guys would have a different list.



How was it to open for acts such as Mutemath, Pillar, Switchfoot, The Afters, Kris Allen, Cool Hand Luke, Skillet, Fireflight, Toby Mac, Red, Family Force 5, Matt Kearney, Matthew West, and Down Here.?

Haha, so this list was added to our EPK against better judgement. Each of them is true for Cory and I at one point or another. They were each great learning experiences but I hate that you have to build legitimacy as an artist this way. We should probably take it down.



So you are working on the score for a documentary? Can you give us an insight about that?

We have been asked to help score a couple different documentaries as well as several promotional videos for organizations. We have a friend working on one about the widely untelevised genocide going on in Burma. He has a great story and heart to see those people rescued. It feels great to be asked to help with something you really believe in.



Also, we just found out our song “Have it All” will be featured by Bert Marcus Productions in a boxing Documentary called “Champs” starring Mario Lopez.



Are there any more plans for the near future?

We plan to continue writing music geared for film. It’s what we like to do anyway and it lends itself to more placements in the future. We will probably start tracking another record in the late fall with some very talented friends here in Atlanta.



What’s the message you guys are looking to spread with your music?

I think we would like to make music with impressionist style. Art that screams ‘there is hope’ straight to your heart without us necessarily having to sing a word. I’ve always appreciated impressionism in painting and thought that it was a good model for points you want to convey in music.



What has been the funniest moment you guys have been or took part while touring?

Cory. Everything that guy says in his ultra-southern accent is hilarious. We did take him on a real safari once where you get to feed the animals. Somewhere between the giraffe and buffalo’s eating out of his hand he blurted out the phrase ‘It’s like a damn fantasy!’ That was a good day.



Do you guys feel you are moving on the right direction?

We feel really good about it. We could try to do the whole band thing and just play venues all the time but with the economy killing the music industry it would never be sustainable. I think by shooting for more placements and scoring film we’ve definitely latched on to something that fits our niche.



Also, technology has made it possible for anyone with a moderate budget to pick up a camera and make a movie now. So with independent film flourishing we’re seeing more opportunities for music. - Vents Magazine


Adding ‘The Reveal’ by Atlanta GA-based Paper Lights to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One. We’re all looking for the perfect soundtrack for our own particular dances with the devil out on the road and Paper Lights has crafted a wickedly good piece of cinematmospheric music. Commune with your ghosts or just watch the sunrise out of the windshield of your rig. This tune is made to order. - Big Medicine


Paper Lights is a promising Atlanta DIY ambient duo who create cinematic, atmospheric indie music.

The duo is made up of Dan Snyder (vox,keys) and Cory Estes (guitars,vox), and regularly get help from various talented musicians from the Atlanta music scene.

This is the duo’s web debut, so don’t be surprised if they start popping up on other sites in the weeks to follow.

IRC has a long history, as some of you know, of breaking out new bands and artists that have not been featured on a major music site previously.

Previously, they have opened for Carl Dylan, and list their top influences as Jonsi, Copeland, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Thrice, and Mute Math.

We don’t know much about the next band, Grand and Noble, but we wanted to include their new single from their self-titled debut album. - Indie Rock Cafe


Discography

Never Let You Go (Single) - 2014
Caverns - 2013
Paper Lights EP - 2012

Photos

Bio

Paper Lights is an indie/pop/rock band comprised of 6 members from Atlanta, GA and the sense of family amongst the band members understandably makes them unique. They have spent time traveling and writing music together, as well as working closely with one another for many years now. They have cultivated a highly collaborative spirit among the band which translates into a unique and large cinematic soundscape found within their music. Paper Lights highly anticipated album named Caverns released in November 2013 which featured new and exciting additions to the band like multiple percussive elements as well as a female vocals. Their single off the album, The Cave has gained worldwide attention which has included film and commercial placements including ESPN, Chick-fil-a and Outdoor Magazine. 

Band Members