I had the chance to sit down at Java House in Toronto and chat with singer-songwriter Dean Marino from Toronto-based Indie band Papermaps. Check it out below!
Elysha Haun: So I’m sure you get asked this all the time but where does the name Papermaps come from?
Dean Marino: There’s nothing really special about it. I liked Papermaps as a word, as one word, usually it’s two words but I think it’s kind of evocative of the way I like to make music, which is analog. So Papermaps are the analog antiquated technology of how people use to get around and I find that interesting. I don’t think they’ll ever truly ever go away actually, but who knows, everybody has phones now. I mean, when’s the last time you actually looked at a road map, you know?
E: Never (laughing). Do you use papermaps?
D: I do actually, I still have a map book in my car of the golden horseshoe and when we’re on tour I don’t like to rely on GPS alone because they’re unreliable. I think for some people they [papermaps] will always be useful and it’s the same with analog recording. I don’t think there’s anything that really replaces it yet… I mean digital does a pretty good job, but it just has a different feel.
E: What has the band been up to lately?
D: Right now we’ve kind of got our live show back together for the festivals so we can play during music week and we’re going to play a show during North by NorthEast. But we’ve just been writing new material because we feel [although] the album might be new to most people, to us it’s actually old.
E: So can we anticipate a new album coming out in the next X amount of time?
D: I think it’s gunna take some time. The thing I vowed this time around was I wasn’t going to rush it because I feel the last three albums, I wouldn’t say they were rushed, but we put an album out every year for the last three years in a row. So I’m not putting an album out in 2014, but I’m going to spend 2014 writing the next album so we can release it in 2015.
E: On the note of songwriting, regarding the creative process behind that- is it solely you or is it a group collaboration?
D: I definitely write the main structure of the song; like the words and the chorus and all the main ideas come from me and then the band helps with the texture and the arrangement. So it becomes collaborative after a certain point.
E: What has it been like going from being a solo artist to working in a band?
D: It hasn’t really changed much. I mean I’m trying to open the floor up a bit more on this next album, so that’s a big change, but really the last three albums have almost felt like solo projects to me because the lineups have been changing from album to album and I’ve been supplying all the songs. So we define it now as Papermaps [which] is me and whoever else I choose to have around me to help me make it.
E: What does the band mean to you and what does music mean to you?
D: Well, music is like my personal form of therapy I guess… so without it I think I’d be completely insane. Maybe I am completely insane for doing it, but I think I’d be even more insane if I wasn’t doing music. It’s really important, it’s a big part of my life and I think I’ll always do music whether within the framework of being a recording artist or not.
E: So it seems that all of Papermaps’ album covers have similar artistic themes. Tell me about that?
D: The first album cover was a painting by a painter named Miyoshi Kondo who I just discovered on a thing called the Art Crawl here in Toronto. I just saw her painting for sale and I fell in love with it and I didn’t buy it cause I couldn’t afford it but I contacted her subsequently and said ‘hey can we use your painting as your album cover’ because it seemed to resonate with me. The last album, Darker Lights, I actually commissioned a great artist named David Kleiser to do that artwork and that was more of a collaborative process. It’s funny that you can see a parallel between the three because they’ve come from different sources, but it all comes down to me choosing it.
E: Have there been any memorable reactions from fans that really resonated with you?
D: Yeah! There’s this one couple, I’ll call them a rock and roll couple, living here in Toronto and they fell in love and my first album became the sound track to their love story.
E: That’s poetic!
D: Yeah, so they’ve come up to me at shows and told me they get emotional at my shows because some of the songs are part of their experiences. That’s one of the greatest achievements I feel as an artist you can have.
E: How does it feel having seeing X amount of YouTube views and having a Wikipedia page?
D: I try not to get caught up in all that stuff because when you start to see interest wane in your band. It can affect you on a personal level and I don’t want that to happen. I understand that interest in a band will come in waves.
E: My last question, I have to ask, is what are you a BestFan of?
D: Uh…So what am I the biggest fan of?
E: Yeah. What are you the best fan of?
D: Well man, it changes from week so week! It depends what kind of mood I’m in. If I’m in a literary mood I’m the biggest fan of H.P. Lovecraft. If I’m in the film mood, I’m the biggest fan of David Lynch, the filmmaker. Music wise, it’s all over the place.
Papermaps have a show on June 18 at The Painted Lady and have a new single, “I’ve Closed A Door.” Check it out below!