For the unfortunate few who are unfamiliar, PAPA’s music is the auditory manifestation of flirtation, and there’s no denying the infectious party nature of the band’s tone. After the release of their debut EP, A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, the band cultivated a devoted, dance-ready fan base that fueled the anticipation for the release of their full-length, Tender Madness.

PAPA’s catalogue thus far has proven their mastery at finding a party-friendly balance between sexy beats and knee-buckling one-liners. After taking some time off from touring, they went back to the writing table, and we’re now enjoying a new wave of music from the LA duo via a new single, “Hold On.”

The track is a pleasant progression from what we’ve learned to love of PAPA. It’s a pointed jab at the concept of conformity and blind acceptance to trends and unoriginal thought, and it’s fucking brilliant.

Congrats on the new single. Is it a preview of a new EP or full-length?

Darren Weiss: Thanks. It’s actually the first of a full-length.

You guys have taken some time off since Tender Madness, about a year, right?

Yeah, we’ve been doing little one-offs and fly-ins, but we haven’t really been hitting the road very hard. We’ve mainly been writing and recording this album.

Since your release of “Hold On,” I’ve seen a lot of commentary that you guys have reinvented yourselves. Is that what you intended to do with your new music? Reinvent yourselves?

It’s hard because I don’t feel like we ever had a self to reinvent, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense; I just think that we always sort of moved, you know? I think that there’s a progression from the A Good Woman Is Hard To Find EP to our full-length, Tender Madness, and from there to here.

One of the things that I like about Tender Madness and what might be a little more challenging about that record is that it has a lot of different styles on it — from more punk-inspired tracks to more folk-inspired ones — so I don’t know that I can easily say we’ve reinvented ourselves. I think we’ve taken the next step in what I think will forever be our continual evolution.

I don’t ever plan on resting on any stepping stone of a musical style. I’m in love with so many different styles of music that I always want to explore ways to express the things that we’re trying to get out. I do think this album is very different from anything we’ve done before, though, so having said what I just said, there is an evolution. That is true. I just don’t like idea of a reinvention.

I think the way our album is turning out, there’s a lot more rhythm, a lot more sense of urgency and hunger. There’s an aggression there. It feels more sexual and pompous than violent, but that sort of heat, there’s a lot of that heat on this record. We felt it throughout the writing and the recording process, and it had to be present.

That heat that we were feeling, that dissatisfaction and aggression that we were feeling — towards the industry and what’s on the radio and what people are sort of resigned to accept as modern day culture, things of that nature — that definitely plays a big part in the sound of this new batch of material.

Are you guys going to be showcasing a lot of that new material on your upcoming tour?

Well, we haven’t written out the setlist just yet, but we definitely want to be trying out a handful of new songs. Also, we haven’t played in LA in a while. I want to be able to, to… Ah fuck it. You know what’s going to happen? We’ll decide the day of, to be perfectly honest. But I imagine we’ll play new songs if we want to play new songs, and we do.

I know you guys do a lot of covers during your shows. Do you have a favorite to perform?

I’m such an obsessive fan of Patti Smith. We’ve done “Because The Night” on the road before, and it’s such a powerful song. I love feeling like we’re taking Patti along with us for the ride.

We do different kinds of songs when we have backup singers. We’ve done Aretha Franklin songs before when we’ve had female vocalists, and that is such a fun departure. My voice doesn’t necessarily lend itself to all the different styles of music that I love so much, so it’s nice to be able to get other people involved and have fun with it.

When you’re writing music for PAPA, do you find yourself constantly writing and bringing songs to the group or do you all hash it out together?

There’s an element of both. It’s very rare that I write a song from beginning to end in one sitting. There’s actually going to be one song on the new album that was in my head when I woke up in the middle of the night, and all I had to do was grab a guitar and find the chords because it was already written in my subconscious.

Other than that, though, it’s a pretty slow process. We don’t love to strum the chords and sing along all the time, but as with “Hold On” and a lot of other things that will be coming out on the new album, the rhythm of the parts and the arrangement took quite a while.

Everything had to be really exciting for us to want to record it, and that came from being on the road for about a year promoting our last record. Certain things sort of got old for us to play more quickly and what things remained exciting to us really had a part in how we wanted to arrange our songs this time around, so the touring experience definitely had a lot to do with us thinking about what it’s going to be like to play these songs live and how exciting it’s going to be for us knowing that we’re going to be playing them night after night.

Between writing, recording, and playing live, do you find performing to be the most rewarding part of PAPA?

I wouldn’t say most rewarding because I love being in the studio. I love exploring different sounds and different arrangements, and writing is a very, very necessary part to keeping my sanity. It’s almost like when you have a plant, and you have to prune the tree to make sure it keeps growing and doesn’t wilt and fall apart.

But I will say that when PAPA is performing live, something happens where an aspect of who I am as a person comes out that doesn’t come out in any other facet of my life, so it’s definitely rewarding in a different way. When we don’t play a show for a long time, it feels like there’s something missing, like an aspect of myself is missing. It’s almost like a very close friend has gone away, and I have that urgent desire to go see that friend because he brings something out in me.

Touching back on that creative release that you need, do you have any other artistic outlets outside of PAPA?

Yeah, actually around the same time that Tender Madness came out, my first collection of drawings and poems was published, and that’s called The Only Thing Worse Than A Woman Is A Man. But I’m always writing short stories, abstract meanderings and poems, and I paint and draw. I’ve always felt a compulsion to release these things, almost as if I can rid myself of the agitation that inspires me to create it in the first place if I could only get it down. I’m working on a new batch of poems now.

You guys tend to do really eccentric, fun music videos. Do you already have a vision for “Hold On”?

I don’t want to give too much away, but we already filmed it. There’s a lot of weirdness in both my mind and in Danny’s mind. Sometimes it’s fun and exciting, and sometimes it’s rather dark and menacing, and that’s what inspires the songwriting process.

We always feel like we want that same spark to come through in our videos. We much prefer abstraction with visual representation of the inspiration rather than a treatment where someone tries to tell a linear story to the lyrics of the song. That comes across as sort of off-putting to me, so you have another set of abstract and bizarre visuals coming your way.


PAPA will be playing a post-Thanksgiving hometown show at The Echoplex on Friday, November 27th, and you can be thankful that tickets are still available as of this writing.

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