Having tapped into a tropical and hazy synthed sound blooming with sincerity, Brooklyn/LA based duo comprised of Ben and Katie Marshall, Paperwhite, quickly garnered attention from all of us here at Kick Kick Snare. Recently they spoke about their original beginnings, this beautiful middle, and how making music isn't going to end any time soon.
Kick Kick Snare: Working as a brother and sister duo, and HAIM makes it look easy with a band full of sisters, how did you two come to decide that you wanted to do music together?
Katie: We’ve actually just been kind of doing this forever. We have an older brother, who’s also a musician, so music has just kind of always been around, always in the family. Both Ben and our other brother are older than me, so I’ve always been really inspired by what they’re doing. For me, I kind of started writing music on my own and came to Ben as a drummer and a producer. Over the years we just got closer and closer with our music. Eventually it turned into more of a 50/50 relationship with writing and producing which is now what we call Paperwhite- where we feel like we’re a complete team on music.
Ben: Yeah, it’s always something that we’ve collaborated on and it was something I used to treat as however I could I wanted to help with Katie’s music. It was a lot more singer/songwriter focused. And then it came to a point where I was…I just sort of laid it out like, “These are the things that I can do in a bedroom studio and, if we go in this direction, we can do it all ourselves instead of having to hire studio and hire musicians “ and all that stuff. Paperwhite is just one incarnation of us working together.
B: We actually don’t have a plan to do an EP yet. We’re writing as much as possible, but our really short term plan is to just keep releasing a couple more singles just to keep making a splash, to have as much content sort of stock piled and released. That way there’s always something exciting every month or every two months. We’re getting to that point where we’re starting to have a collection of music that makes sense as an EP or as a short LP. Maybe by the summer we’ll have something that we’re going to release as a package, but in the next couple months we’ll be releasing more songs.
KKS: In the best way though!
K: (laughs) Yes, definitely!
KKS: Do you plan to focus more on remixes now or are there plans to release another single soon? “got me goin” is absolutely fantastic.
B: Yeah, we’re going to be releasing more original music. We’re not quite totally sure yet, but I think because we’re just as excited to release some stuff as hopefully everybody else is, so we might do another single and a B-side. Hopefully two more songs at the end of March or the beginning of April.
KKS: I’m curious, and I know this is such a tired question, but where did you get the name Paperwhite? Was there a story behind it?
B: We definitely had that sort of panic where for, like, three or four weeks every name that we came up with we liked we’d Google and it was already taken by three other bands.
K: Hours of phone calls of just saying random names and trying to figure it out –
B: And actually Katie had written a song called “Paperwhites” about the flower and sent it to somebody. They thought that was the band name and said they loved the band name. So then it just kind of was stuck in our heads for a while and after going through so many names that had already been taken we did a Google for that and it was available. And thought “Oh, we kind of like it- is it weird to name a band after one of our songs?” Who knows if we’ll ever even release the song, you know? But, definitely kind of a funny story.
KKS: As far as the creation of a song goes- is there someone who does more of the producing vs someone who does more of the songwriting? Or is it just something that kind of happens like a beautiful sonic word vomit? In the most eloquent way, of course.
B: (laughs) Katie does definitely more of the songwriter and I’m more of the producer, but we both sort of influence each other.
K: And we keep learning from each other.
KKS: Katie, what was the inspiration behind “got me goin”?
K: I feel like most of my songs kind of come out of nowhere. The lyrics might not necessarily have meaning to me, at least in the first line or two because sometimes I’ll just be playing piano, randomly saying different words that just pop into my head and then from there – Well, I think I wrote some lyrics to the verse first just kind of randomly. Then from there I try to fine-tune it to express an emotion or something I've felt in the past. For me “got me goin” is really about being stuck and that need to get going, but (laughs) in the poetic way. Someone releasing you and really opening up- the whole movement of love.
You can catch Paperwhite Sunday, March 9, 2014 at the Brooklyn Bowl- RSVP here.