Paper Bird guitarist Paul DeHaven talks band’s origins, sound before Breckenridge show
if you go
What: Paper Birds concert
When: 7 p.m. Friday, June 19
Opening performance by The Raven and The Writing Desk is 4:30 p.m.
Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Avenue. Breckenridge
More information: Visit www.BreckCreate.org
It’s fitting that a band that first came together while performing on Main Street Breckenridge 15 years ago is returning for the Kingdom Days celebration. Tonight at the Riverwalk Center, Paper Bird will perform a free concert to kick off the weekend-long events.
Before the band takes the stage, the Summit Daily took a few minutes to chat with Paper Bird guitarist Paul DeHaven about the band’s origins and where its sound is headed.
Summit Daily: What’s your history with Breckenridge?
Paul DeHaven: The band actually started there. It was an accident; a bunch of friends went camping to Hoosier Pass, up by Blue River, and we ended up writing a bunch of songs and taking them down to Main Street and busking, and that’s how Paper Bird was formed. So the band definitely has a history there.
… We didn’t even know we were going to start a band. We were just hanging out (but) … it ended up working out. I always wanted to play music. That’s what I studied in school, that’s what I’ve always been attracted to, so I definitely wanted to make music a career. It’s amazing we’ve been doing it this long.
SD: Now for the question everybody asks — where does your name come from and what does it represent?
PDH: Nothing really, it doesn’t really come from anywhere or mean anything. (Laughs) We were sitting around a table and trying to find something. It was a little free association and that was what came up. It was good.
For me it really has symbolism. I figure, you name things and sometimes it starts to mean something to you, but actually it’s just a name, but I think it’s a memorable name, I think it’s a good name, and there’s still time for symbolism to come into my life.
It’s a title. It doesn’t define what we are, but it’s stayed with us through all of our changes and all of our growing up, so it is what we are now, even though it’s not what we are. … It doesn’t define us but it’s part of us.
SD: How would you describe your sound?
PDH: Everything’s a lot more drum and bass and electric guitar-driven than we have been in the past. We’re becoming something of a rock-and-roll band, (with) a little soul in there, a little folk. … It’s what feels right, and that’s what’s feeling right, right now.
SD: I’ve heard that everyone in the band contributes to songwriting and song creation. What are some challenges associated with that?
PDH: One thing that’s definitely a challenge about it is getting that cohesive sound out of six songwriters. I think it, you know, it lends a lot of different perspectives, which is more populist and I think people can relate to that, even though (sometimes) it’s easier to see one person’s perspective. … We’ve got many voices. Everybody in the band writes, everybody in the band sings, so all of that put together makes for something that’s unique.
SD: So what’s your collaborative process like when it comes to new songs?
PDH: It varies from song to song. Sometimes you sit down, a song comes to you and you write the whole thing. … Everybody brings their own flavor to that and we work on the arrangement together. And sometimes a song is slower than that, and it just has an idea, just a riff, just a chorus or something and then that gets brought to the band and we workshop that, and we really write it. But a big part of writing as a band is coming up with not just our individual parts but with a vibe and a feel and what makes a song a song. Certainly, the chords and the lyrics, those are certainly a big part of it, (but) it’s not just that, it’s not what you say but how you say it.
SD: What can people expect at the Breckenridge concert? Old songs, new songs?
PDH: Mostly new material. We’ll play some stuff off our last album, “Rooms,” but they can expect a kickass show — or whatever you can put into print. (Laughs)
It’s going to be fun. We’ve been working really hard on our live show and working really hard on our new material. (We’ll) probably play over 10 brand-new songs that haven’t gotten into the world yet.
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