Über die Liebe zur Musik…

„The pen is mightier
than a sword“ – Im Gespräch mit den Paper Arms

Vor 3 Jahren gepostet,von Eileen

Am 30. Mai tingelten wir nach Bremen zum Campusfestival, wo sich Vierkanttretlager, Adam Angst und die australischen Paper Arms die Bühne teilten. Letztere baten wir um eine kleine Frage-Antwort Runde. Josh über (Lieblings-)Musik, Tourneen und das allgemeine Leben eines Bandmitgliedes jetzt im Folgetext:


Josh: Hi. I’m Josh from Paper Arms. I sing and play guitar.


LT: Today is your last show of the great mistakes European tour. How does it feel to play shows around the world and 1000s of miles away from home?

Josh: It feels amazing. It’s so strange to go to little German towns we never heard of and have people that know our songs and stuff like that.


LT: Did you hear of Bremen before?

Josh: I’ve heard of Bremen but we played in Ulm the other day and I’d never heard of Ulm and the people there were singing along, they knew our songs. I don’t think that that ever gets old.


LT: What was the best show so far?

Josh: Heidelberg were pretty crazy because we were the first band to play Villa Nachttanz. The first show we ever played in Germany was in Heidelberg at Villa Nachttanz. It was like a squatted house, like this crazy house and we played there.
It was really smoky, crazy shit going on in every room, so we have fun memories of that place and they just opened a new venue which is the thing but much bigger and more professional. So we played the opening to that, 300 people, sold out. It was awesome!
It was our first place we’ve played here, first venue. So it was cool. What else was good? Cologne was very good, we’ve played the Sonic Ballroom there and last night in Berlin you missed out but that was very cool. We played with Timeshares from New York and Astpai and Resolutions.
We’ve done three shows with those bands so far and it’s just nice to be able to get to meet some good bands and new people in Berlin… Some new friends.


LT: Did you also meet Flo from the Ramones Museum? He’s a friend.

Josh: No Way. That’s cool. Yeah yeah, I know Flo.



LT: How did you like it at the Ramones Museum? Was it your first acoustic show?

Josh: That was my third. We played there the first time when we came out with Nathan from Boysetsfire and I went backpacking afterwards for like two and a half month to actually see some of Europe. Like Bremen now but I’ve only seen this area.


LT: Where did you go?

Josh: Everywhere pretty much. I went from Amsterdam all the way down to Spain across to Italy and Greece and up to Prague as well. So everywhere in between. I did a solo-show in the Ramones Museum when I was backpacking as well.

LT: Why did I miss that?!

Josh: Yeah, we’ve had like a day to notice. I talked to Flo and said „Maybe I should do another one“ and he was like „Jip. Tomorrow. Let’s do this.“ That’s cool. I love that guy. He’s a really good guy.


LT: Your new album is called „Great Mistakes“. What was your greatest mistakes so far?

Josh: Well, that’s a long story. But the title just comes from a song on the record about partying hard and I guess sometimes you feel like you know when you have too many drinks: „This is a mistake but I’m having fun“. It’s not really an overly philosophical title it’s just us having fun.


LT: What’s the difference between „Great Mistakes“ and „The Smoke Will Clear“?

Josh: We have a new member now. He comes from more an Indie-Background and we come from a punk background. He brought some different elements into the mix. A lot of the stuff that you hear comes from him.


LT: So the record would sound differently if he wasn’t in your band?

Josh: Definitely. But I guess it’s all a collaboration. It’s interesting: If you just put one more person into a situation it changes the situation. New ideas that we can build on and things we wouldn’t have thought of. So I think it’s a much more diverse album because of that.


LT: Can you survive only with playing music and touring around or do you have an ordinary job?

Josh: Hell no (laughs). We have jobs at home except that I quit mine to come on tour because I make great mistakes. Maybe that’s my great mistake. There is no money in this for us, we just love playing music and love to come over here and meeting new people. I guess it’s just a high-maintenance hobby.


pa2LT: There is a great quote in the song „Fader“ where you sing „no money in my pockets, no savings in my crawlspace, no stocks up in the market, I’ve got a big fat smile upon my face.“ Is that some sort of Australian attitude? Because we’ve interviewed The Smith Street Band recently and Wil Wagner was just happy to tour around the world and see people listening to his music.

Josh: Yeah. That song is pretty much about playing music and having no money. It does get hard sometimes with bills piling up, we have to pay rent or something like that. Of course it’s not easy but when I’m here and doing what I love you forget about that and this is our passion.
We can worry about the rest later (laughs). Right now, I’ve got a big fat smile upon my face.


LT: Your albums are released by Uncle M. How did you connect?

Josh: Basically when we first want to tour Europe we talked to our record label in Australia and asked if they know any booking agents over there. And he said „Oh, you should try this guy Benny, from Klownhouse.“ So we wrote to him and he said „Yeah, come up. I book you a tour.“ And then he said: „You should really get an European record label to help out as well.“, and he just put us in touch with Uncle M. It was the easiest thing in the world. That never happens. We tried to tour the US and it took me three months of booking. I tried to book a show, it all fell apart and nothing in life is very easy but this time it was easy. And it’s nice because Uncle M, he is one of the best people I know and one of the best labels I know and it’s such an honor to be able to work with him.


LT: Is there a chance that they rerelease your first record?

Josh: I don’t know how much demand there is for that.

LT: …because we can’t get it in Europe.

Josh: That’s probably okay. The two new ones are better. You can get it on Spotify but pressing vinyl is really expensive.


LT: What do you think about Spotify and those streaming services?

Josh: You know, it’s life today. I was in bands before that stuff when I was a teenager before file sharing and the internet was popular and I remember my old punk band had an ep-release and we had 450 at the show and we sold 400 EP’s and that doesn’t happen anymore. So you know, it does suck.
Like I was over here touring and my housemate asked me „Is it cool if I download your record from a torrent site?“, because the record wasn’t out in Australia yet. My housemate! I was like „Oh Jesus.“ But that’s just the world we live in now. I like to think if someone listens to your album on a torrent site they might come to a show and pay to get in, they might buy a t-shirt or support you in other ways. Maybe if they really like it, they buy a real one. So one hand you have less money but on the other hand it exposes your band and people that might not look it otherwise. It’s okay.


LT: You exist as a band for 7 years now. When you look back what were the highlights? What were the low points?

Josh: Highlights: Being able to tour with bands we love like „Strike Anywhere“ and „Bridge & Tunnel“. We did national tours with them in Australia. Coming to Europe is definitely a major highlight for us. Working with Walter Schreifels on the first record was really fun and I guess releasing music that we like is always a big highlight. Lowlights: I don’t know, there hasn’t been too many. Paying for things like recording sucks, writing recordings like writing an album is always very difficult for us. It’s always a big process, it takes a lot of time and it’s a lot of questioning yourself like „Ah, I can’t write songs any more“ and then you have an album and it’s fine but I guess that’s probably the low points.


LT: Our website is called „Lieblingstape.de“ which means favorite mixtape in English. So what would you put on your favorite mixtape?

Josh: Ouh. I really love „American Football“, I could listen to their self titled album forever. What else? Hot Water Music, Good Riddance, Propaghandi, Title Fight, Small Brown Bike, Rival Schools, Iron Chic, Strike Anywhere.


LT: Maybe your favorite Australian band?

Josh: My favorite Australian bands are broken up but I really love this band called „A Death in the Family“, they’re awesome. A band called „Arrows“ which is like some emo-band from Brisbane. They’re great. Our friends „Grenadiers“ from Adelaide. They’re really good. I guess they are my favorite ones at the moment.


LT: One last question: Why is it called Paper Arms? Is it arms for arms or arms for like guns?

Josh: The original idea was like „the pen is mightier than a sword“. So you can do more damage by writing on paper. So it was Paper Arms like a gun.


LT: Thank you Josh!

Das Interview führte Eileen Neubert
Fotos: Jan Schipper

About Eileen

"Eigentlich wollte ich ja nicht mehr über Musik reden... "