Darius Rucker is proud to be from Charleston, S.C., and now it looks like the love…
- Posted on Mar 10th 2011 3:30PM by Jessica Lewis
Thank You Cathy
With three nominations from Canada's East Coast Music Awards -- Group of the Year, Pop Recording of the Year (for 2010's 'Trophies') and Fans' Choice: Video of the Year -- this past January, Paper Lions are indeed hometown heroes. And it seems that's exactly how they like it.
"We're very much an East Coast band," guitarist Colin Buchanan tells Spinner. "We feel more a part of a community out here. We're definitely happy to have some notoriety around home, because in the end, you just want to impress your friends and peers. That's why we stuck around, to be around the people who we like."
Many of their friends actually play in other Charlottetown bands like Two Hours Traffic, the Danks and Boxer the Horse. Buchanan says the city's swelling scene has pushed Paper Lions to work harder.
"You're not competing; you're more driven," he says. "Everybody's pushing each other to do better and write better music, and that's what propels the quality of what we're producing and the scene for the bands we're pushing out."
Paper Lions were known as the Chucky Danger Band in their earlier years. Brothers John and Rob MacPhee, neighbor Buchanan and school friend David Cyrus MacDonald have been playing together for six years, honing their chops in the MacPhees' garage and Buchanan's basement. The revamped name and sound came in 2008 after the guys, feeling burnt out from touring, turned to collaborative jam sessions to breathe new life into the band.
"There are no bad ideas, we try everything," says Buchanan of the band's overall approach. "We're open-minded and respectful of each other's ideas. And you're never going to forget the old way you used to play it, what's the harm in trying to make it in a new direction?
"We're good island boys!" he laughs.
Paper Lions have since gained back their stamina for touring, happy to earn some new fans as well as pack out hometown bars with the regulars. And when you're being personally selected to perform at the World Expo by Cirque du Soleil, well, that's certainly an extra push to take a whirl on the ol' tour circuit.
"It was a culture shock for us, for sure, [coming] from the small community in the country," says Buchanan of their visit to Shanghai. "So it was pretty overwhelming standing there on stage, like, 'How did I get here? I'm on the other side of the world right now! This all started in my neighbor's garage!'
"It's funny in that way."
Their adventure in Alert, Nunavut (the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world) where they played for the Canadian Forces was just as surreal, their days filled with rides on army planes, weather balloon experiments with Environment Canada, and Ski-Doo trips across the tundra.
"We've never been happier for where we're at," says Buchanan. "Everything's looking up, not that things were ever looking down, but you're always wanting to progress. We're excited about the music and each other."
One can't help but wonder if the bright lights of Toronto might entice the band to abandon cozy Charlottetown (at least for a little while) since they're bound to get a first-class reception when they perform in town this week as part of CMW.
Buchanan doesn't think so. "Everybody's so supportive of us [back home], and it's a good musical community to come from. It just feels right, so we're not questioning it."
Paper Lions play Live Near Bellwoods: the CMW Daytime Living Room sessions at 4:00PM today, with additional showcases March 11 and 12.