Gig Seeker Pro


Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band EDM Soul




"Top 25 EPs of Austin of 2011"

#19 - On the Ghost Dance EP, you’ll hear horns layered over electronic blips, harmonized vocals over dark cello tones, vibraphone melodies over distorted bass lines and more. [paperthreat] have a penchant for experimentation but they never alienate the listener and on this, their second EP, they guide us through their explorations of both ambient tones and tasty melodies. Ghost Dance was one of those EPs that leave us wanting more, despite it being a lengthy EP at six songs. -

"Top 50 Austin Songs of 2011"

#26 - [paperthreat] are one of the most inventive bands in Austin right now. These four guys use drums, bass, guitars, trombones, trumpets, glockenspiels, vibraphones and computers to create an incomparable sound. They’re all quite accomplished musicians and their music is infused with the jazz and funk that they’ve clearly trained in. “Focus” is a perfect example of what they’re capable of: odd harmonies and chord progressions augmenting a beautiful, catchy melody. It’s typically the opening song in their live set and sets the mood wonderfully for everything else you end up hearing from them. It’s challenging, thrilling and accessible. What more could you ask for? -

"Electronic Rock and more with Austin's Paperthreat"

By janetkjay on Mar 2, 2011 at 2:02pm in Interviews
Electronic Rock and more with Austin's Paperthreat

You don’t often see an electro-pop band featuring a horn section, but Austin’s Paperthreat tends to challenge the expected. Their recent show at Beauty Bar showcased their unique combination of electronic elements, distinctive instrumentation and intricately layered rock that runs the gamut from silky smooth to authentically gritty. Each member of this four-man band plays multiple instruments and lead vocals are shared - an unusual setup that somehow manages to produce music that’s both original and widely accessible. Although they’re still working on their first full-length album, you can pick up their Hello EP for free, and their local radio play and various concerts around town have earned them quite the underground following. In December Paperthreat participated in Republic of Austin’s unique “Voyeur” music video series, where they were filmed playing live outside an old pipe factory at sunset. And that setting was an excellent backdrop for their sound: the music itself is industrial in emotion and sometimes seems filled with a sense of nostalgic urgency. I spoke with the band about how the development of their distinctive sound and what makes them stand out from Austin’s many other electro-pop acts.

How did the current lineup come together? Tell me about the history of the band and its members.

Originally, Paperthreat was a project that Rene Rodriguez (computers, bass, guitars, trumpet, vocals) started with Vincent Durcan and Garry Franklin (drums). Eventually, Garry had to bow out of the original project to work on his own album, so Rene's brother Carlos was drafted to replace him. At this point, the band was conceived of as a two-drummer live electronica group. However, after Rene recruited Niko (guitar, vocals, trombone) and Arius (vocals, bells, vibes) via craigslist, the band began shaping the sound with which we persist today. Along the way we shed one of the drummers, establishing the more conventional line-up that we favor now. Later, Vincent left to pursue other projects and Garry was invited back with open arms.

Rene and Garry are mainstays of the Austin music scene, working extensively on live and studio projects including (but not limited to) Humble Bums, .::liquidstereoproject, Suzanna Choffel, Ciccialina, OHN, Bruce James, and others. Niko is a transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City and a former member of the inimitable Hungry March Band of New York and the classic ska revival outfit The Scorchers, among others. Arius is a Texas native with a history of fronting bands in a variety of genres, including Red Element, Blizt, and his own electronic projects.

What does each member contribute to the sound? What is the effect of your unique combo of instruments and influences?

The most important thing that each member brings to the group is their personal musical history. While we all have a common goal (i.e., good music), the way we try to achieve it is greatly informed by the experiences and training that have brought us to this point. The band members have roots in a wide variety of genres, including metal, electronica, jazz, classical, hip hop and pop. Each of these brings with it a way of creating and performing music that has influenced our creative process, even if that influence isn't immediately obvious. Obviously, since we're writing two- to four-minute songs that focus on the interaction between vocal and instrumental performance, some of our influences are going to show more than others. Would we like to say that there's a bit of The Deftones, Charles Mingus, and A Tribe Called Quest in every one of our songs? Yes, yes we would. However, would that be true? Would it matter? We're not sure, but the important thing is that we want our music to be enjoyable, intelligent and unique. The route we take there, via Stravinsky and Sonic Youth, Sam Cooke and Bjork, Roni Size and The Meters, is hopefully less interesting than the destination.

How would you describe Paperthreat’s music to your friend’s grandmother?

Paperthreat is a band that plays the kind of music you would hear on the radio, but with more substance to it. For example, they play real instruments like trumpets and trombones, but they also use some of the latest technology to try and expand the limited range of sound a small group of people can make. They're a combination between the format of rock and roll and the sensibility of modern music, but without forgetting that the most memorable melodies are always sung by people. Depending on how old Nanna is, we sound like the Chariots of Fire/Blade Runner soundtracks mixed with every John Hughes movie soundtrack mixed with a little Herbie Hancock.

How would you describe it to somebody that’s really knowledgeable about music?

Paperthreat is like TV on the Radio meets Stereolab at a party thrown by Prefuse 73 that Curtis Mayfield was invited to but couldn't make.

If you had to, what bands would you compare yourself to? How do you feel that past trends or styles of music have influenced or affected your sound?

While it's difficult to compare our group to others simply because we are way too close to the subject, a few artists do come to mind. First of all, the aforementioned TV on the Radio is a good place to start because of their expert blending of electronics and live instruments. The blend between our pre-tracked electronics and live instrumentation is one of our most obvious features, and in TV on the Radio there is a ready-built model for success. Another group that is a good point of comparison for us is Sonic Youth. Specifically, the way that they have three different people singing lead on different songs is a perfect example of the way that we want to use our multiple singers to achieve a broader spectrum of styles in our music. Some other honorable mentions would be Aphex Twin, Savath and Savalas, Mice Parade and Dosh.

While we could probably write a lot about the ways specific styles have affected our sound, it would probably be best to focus on two: electronic music and radio-friendly pop. Electronic music greatly influences the way we use rhythm and structure to create, maintain, and release tension. We're not using sweeping lo pass filters or dropping the bass drum out, but we try to use the transitions in our music to create the same obvious tension and release that you find in the best electronic music.

Pop music is most influential on us in terms of our song structure. We find that we can usually get our message across most clearly using forms that are already familiar to us and our audience. That's why the majority of our songs have traditional choruses, bridges, verses, etc. A conventional song structure is not only a stable foundation upon which we can build our own creation, but an effective and entertaining way to deliver that creation to our audience.

What is your live show like? Tell me what I should expect if I go to one of your gigs.

You should expect a lot of instrument changes. Seriously. Rene, Arius, and Niko are changing instruments between nearly every song, which we hope helps give the audience something new every time. You should also expect a lot of material in a short period of time. We joke that if the audience doesn't like a song, they should just hang out for two minutes or so and a completely different one will be starting up. The short songs are probably a result of the restless intellectual eclecticism that characterizes our group.

What distinguishes you from other bands?

The most obvious things that distinguish us from other bands are our unusual instrumentation and the eclectic nature of our music. We could move from a jazzy drum n' bass number directly to a pop-ish number with horns and a second-line funk beat. Or from an uptempo post-rock number to an exposed, electronically-based anti-pop ballad.

Where do you want go in the short term, and what do you want to accomplish down the road? What future do you want or see for the band?

In the short term, we would love to finish and print our current full length album. We have nearly all the material ready and we're just waiting for a few things to click into place, but once they do we'll be delighted to get it all finished and have a physical copy in our hands. With the physical materials in our hands we'll be ready to make a push for more and better opportunities to share our music with people. That push will hopefully result in gigs, collaborations, radio play and a greater presence on the internet.

Long term, it's tough to really dream about a major record label contract what with the collapse of the traditional music industry and all, so we'll settle for the role of "the best band you've never heard.” With all the rights to our music reserved and distribution done mostly online or through independent retailers, we will become darlings among critics and cults alike without scoring a hit on the major charts and hopefully inspire a generation of like-minded musical bedroom tinkerers and garage bands. -

"Paperthreat Vintage Walls and Conveyor"

Today, I want to share some music with you from one of Austin’s hottest up-and-coming bands: paperthreat. Their buzz has steadily been growing over the last several months, culminating in airplay on both 90.5 KUT and 91.7 KOOP in the last week. In hopes of keeping the good vibes going for this awesome band, here’s some of their music to get you hooked.

The band features: Rene Rodriguez, Garry (whose last name I can’t find anywhere), Arius Holifield, and Niko Bakulich. They’ve only been writing as a band since August 2009, though Rene and Garry are at least 10-year veterans of the Austin scene, having been in bands like Liquid Stereo Project and Humble Bums. They all play at least three different instruments, and both Arius and Niko share lead vocal duties.
Paperthreat - Vintage Walls
Paperthreat - Conveyor

I first saw them opening for the Scabs on December 30th at Antone’s and was immediately struck by their sound – even though it didn’t quite match the crowd’s expectations. Many factors contribute to a smooth, silky feel for their music, including Arius’ classic voice and the deft combination of live horns with electronic programming. Of course, none of it would work if the songs weren’t fantastic. Single “Vintage Walls” sounded right at home on the radio with its circular melody and laid-back beat.

You can check them out live next on Thursday, March 3rd at ND at 501 Studios, and we’ll keep you posted about their first full-length release, due out in the next couple of months.

–Carter -

"Austin electronic-indie band paperthreat sings ‘Conveyor’ outside an old pipe factory at sunset. [VOYEUR MUSIC VIDEO]"

When I first heard paperthreat’s “Conveyor” this summer, I instantly felt strong colors of burnt orange. Something in the music reminded me of an antiquated, worn down machine from the Industrial Age. Despite being rust covered and old, the machine is constantly being used. Similarly, the lyrics discuss a man going to work. Forced into an antiquated, sterile world of clocks, he expresses a certain despondency. Like the machine, he’s worn down and beaten by the daily grind–but some how he goes on....

And while I’m always in love with electronic music, it’s the band’s fusion of digital loops with analog instruments like a crisp snare, garage guitar or muddy trombone that really stand out to me. The vocals add another layer that almost seems to thread its way through all the sounds, resulting in a beautifully woven, decaying tapestry. -

"Ghost Dance - Red Leaves, paperthreat - Ghost Room, 11/3"

As for the unusual, cerebral paperthreat, I could go on for some time about what makes them excel and I will. But Anna C. got right to the main idea as we were walking back to our car at the end of the show: "If they got their songs a little tighter, they could be famous." I agree. The Threat's coalition of electronic dance beats; jazzy chords, horns, and guitar tone; and pop vocals will inevitably draw some lofty comparisons. I hear Tortoise, TV On the Radio, and (that universally acclaimed five-piece British band that no critic can mention by name without immediately losing their credibility). But as always it's not the band's influences that matter but what they choose to do with them, and what you need to know most about paperthreat as a live band is that at certain points during their show Wednesday night people ran, not walked, to the dance floor. They bring a ton of instruments on stage and they can play all of them really well, but at no point does it seem like any of the musicians are showing off. I really like the divide between their main singer's more traditionally pretty lead vocals and the gruff, quirky ones delivered by their guitar player. They also present different approaches lyrically, with more political, universal stories sharing time with quite personal ones. The paperthreat drummer keeps together with the looped elements of their songs without ever seeming enslaved to a click, and their bassist easily switches to keys, laptop, trumpet, and guitar without losing his cool or the timing of his dance moves.

There are a lot of exquisitely trained, technically adept players in Austin, but often as they gain the ability to play more difficult material they lose the ability to form a primal connection with an audience. What sticks out most about paperthreat isn't their jazz chops or their mastery of multiple instruments or their ability to use computer technology correctly. It's that their songs make people dance and they have warm, obvious hooks you can keep returning to. Bassist Rene tells me that clubs in town have a hard time figuring out what other acts they should book with paperthreat. That's a great sign! That's what you should want clubs telling you, lest you end up playing with the same two other bands every three weeks for the rest of your foreshortened career. Venues usually end up letting Rene pick the other bands himself, and he simply selects musicians he wants to see. Yes! Exactly! That's how I want to see more bands operating. -

"Dance into the 4th of July weekend with new stuff from 4 of Austin’s best dance-electronic bands."

These guys just popped up on our radar about two weeks ago. Their vocalist kinda reminds me of Antony from Hercules and Love Affair with a strong early 80's New York Noise/Post-Punk type sound. Love it. -

"Austin A2W: Paperthreat"

Over the last week or so I’ve found myself giving some heavy spins to the tunes created by Austin electronic-pop group Paperthreat. The band is fronted by veteran to the Austin music scene Rene Rodriguez who has been actively involved over the years in bands like Great Nostalgic, AM Syndicate, HumbleBums, and a few others. After Rene tired of his previous groups, he struck out on his own and began Paperthreat with drummer and former bandmate Vincent Durcan. The two then enlisted the help of Arius Holifield and guitar player Niko Bakulich to round out a live band. In the short time the band has been in existence, Paperthreat have only one EP which you can download for free over their Bandcamp site. I’ve been jamming that EP for a couple weeks now and I’ve yet to come up with a comparison I feel confident about. That’s a good thing thought right? -

"Demo sweat #16"

Paper Threat are a band I've already seen live -- maybe the only local band I caught and liked all year that I neglected to write about, since it was at the very tail end of that March thing and my brain was fried. When I discovered them at the Cherrywood Coffeehouse it was their versatility that stood out. Their bassist doubles as the controller for their prominent electronic element, and their guitar player is also a slick trombonist! The first two songs on their demo have good lyrics and strike the balance well between beats and live instruments, but they're undone by very similar main vocal melodies. "North," which edges over into full-blown livetronica, is stronger, with great-sounding drums. The combination of the very human singing and the booming, assembly-line clank of the percussion sells the band's message very plainly. "Arrows," with its New Orleans jazz trombone and big breakin' drums, is the last song and the best. -


Ghosts EP November 2011
01 Focus
02 Hourglass
03 Pompeii
04 Grey
05 My Heart
06 You Turn To Me

Vintage Walls?+?PLUS?+?MORE Jan 2011
01 Vintage Walls
02 Vintage Walls (Install Vs. paperthreat)
03 Vintage Walls (Closing In Mix)
04 Vintage Walls (Shazbot Mix)
05 Vintage Walls (Chill Winston Mix)
06 Vintage Walls (Pickles Mix)

Hello EP - June 2010
01 Conveyor - Streaming on Jango and
02 Vintage Walls - Streaming on Jango and
03 North - Streaming on
04 Arrows - Streaming on