It’s been a longtime coming, but the sophomore album of one of our favorite indie synth-rock bands is finally ready for a September release. The Nashville trio of Chad Howat, J.T. Daly and Gavin McDonald, collectively known as Paper Route, has endured a challenging season personally and professionally. But based on what we’ve listened to, we are the beneficiaries of their struggles.
We caught up with Chad Howat (bass, piano, programming) to talk more about their upcoming album, The Peace of Wild Things.
What can fans expect with this new album?
“We really tried to hone in on what it is we have to offer the world of music, if anything. JT’s voice and lyrics are front and center, and the beats hit harder. The album was written and recorded among the most insane time in our lives as individuals and as a band. It is fairly apparent all over the album. Overall, I would say it is more immediate.”
What was your artistic process for creating this project?
“We recorded this ourselves at a massive 19th-century house in East Nashville. Many of the songs started with music. We brought dozens of song ideas to the table and just finished the ones that seemed the most inspired. There were plenty of all-night sessions, recording outside in the dead of winter, inviting friends over to be a choir…and we have a massive graveyard of songs that did not make the cut.”
What were the influences for any new direction or themes?
“Thematically, we had an abundance to draw from. A marriage beginning, a marriage ending, losing a band member, cutting ties with our first manager, fighting with our record label…it’s a survival story, but we came out on the other side as better men, I hope. Musically, I’m sure we were listening to Bjork, Phil Collins, Johnny Cash, Peter Gabriel, Portishead, The Knife, Tears For Fears, watching documentaries and reading a wide selection of poetry and books. And a healthy dose of trip hop/hip hop.”
Who is a Southern inspiration?
“Wendell Berry is one of our favorite authors, and his writing encapsulates the South in a lot of ways. The South has a way of making anyone sentimental, even if a person has never visited there before, which is what we try to do with our songs, in a way. It’s a place that holds countless stories. Also, Flannery O’Connor is another favorite author of ours, and she is the mother of Southern gothic writing to us.”
How have you seen Nashville change since you guys formed as a band?
“A few more bands from Nashville have broken on a global scale, which means people pay more attention to the music in Nashville. There are a lot more coffee shops. Some venues have closed. Some new ones have opened. The food is much better now, and there is much more concern about eating local foods. And there are all of a sudden 100 food trucks on the streets.”
Do you have a favorite venue to play in the South?
“We love The Tabernacle in Atlanta. Also, we’ve had a few memorable shows at The Masquerade. We played the Ryman once, which has to be our favorite. The people who have graced that stage over the years are amazing: Johnny Cash, Sigur Ros and everyone in between.”