With a unique band name like Paper Tongues, you would expect an eclectic sound from band members with diverse personalities and an energetic stage presence like no other. American Idol judge Randy Jackson thought that the seven guys from Charlotte, North Carolina had something unique to offer the industry and he helped them land a deal. Incorporating various music genres into their sound and presenting positive messages in their lyrics is what sets Aswan North, Devin Forbes, Cody Blackler, Joey Signa, Clayton Simon, Jordan Hardee and Danny Santell apart from other bands.
Danity had the chance to chat with Cody Blackler (Rhode Keys) on their music, how they got hooked up with Randy “Dawg” Jackson and their current tour. Check out the Paper Tongues interview in full after the jump.
Danity: Seven sexy guys all coming from different mamas and very different musical backgrounds, how did you hook up and decide to rock out together?
Cody: All seven of us are definitely from very different mamas, backgrounds, influences, etc., but somehow all trickled in to Charlotte throughout the last 10 years. We all have a love for music and had been involved in our own musical endeavors. Some of the guys had taken breaks from the music scene to go to college, some of us had full-time jobs…Aswan was wanting to compile a group of musicians that would be just as passionate as him to go to California, record an album, and go after the dream. He called us all at different times and somehow convinced us to either quit school or quit our jobs to join up with him in California. So about three years ago, we did just that. We all felt an excitement and buzz on working together, and haven’t been let down since.
Danity: The American Idol judge and very talented producer and musician Randy Jackson is your manager. How did that come about? And does he call you “dawg”?
Cody: About three years ago, we were in L.A. recording. A friend of our had booked a cheaptickets hotel at the Mondrian (which is normally way too expensive for us). Aswan, him, and another friend were eating dinner, discussing the album. As they were leaving, Aswan noticed Randy (in pimped-out clothes and a top-hat) and a friend eating dinner. Aswan says to his friend as they were leaving ” Hey, that’s Randy Jackson from American Idol…I gotta go talk to him…It’s not a coincidence we’re here at the same time” (something like that- Aswan talks a lot more than that, but I’m improvising). So he went over to Randy, slid his plate of food over, and set down a napkin with our Myspace info on it and basically told him to check out our music and consider working with us. Aswan’s a bit of a hustler and Randy is into discovering new talent, so 2 hours later, Randy called back and the rest is history. Randy’s response was “Dawg, Get Higher’s my song”. So, yes to the dawg question.
Danity: I must say Paper Tongues is a very interesting name for a band. What is the story behind the name?
Cody: Our producer Nicolas Balachandran was in a band called Papertongues which we all loved. We were struggling to come up with good band names, and liked the name of his old band. He agreed to let us use the name.
Danity: Your debut album was released in March of this year. How would you describe your band’s sound?
Cody: Our sound is an eclectic mix of genres. The music is influenced by 7 members’ different musical backgrounds and influences which results in a fusion of Rock n Roll, Hip hop, jazz, classical, funk, techno, folk. There’s a little something for everyone on the album.
Danity: You’ve already done quite a bit of touring, opening for Switchfoot, Parachute and Muse. And now you are basically on tour all summer. What has been the most memorable tour experience so far for you?
Cody: We played a show a couple months ago at Gramercy Theatre in New York. Every show we bring people into an interactive live experience and proceed to the merch booth to meet them afterwards. This particular meet n greet, a man came up to me with tears in his eyes and started telling me his life story on how he fought in Iraq, lost several of his friends, and recently returned with no hope for life. He proceeded to tell me that “Trinity” spoke to him and gave him hope to keep living.
There have been many more amazing tour experiences like Bonarroo, Bamboozle, Muse, Cage the Elephant, Neon Trees, Civil Twilight, but for me it’s about the fans. Every show a different fan will come up and tell us what our songs did for them…and everyone’s story is different, but this is why we play music. We want to inspire people and give them hope.
Danity: Wow! That’s pretty damn cool! And it certainly can’t be easy to be away from home while on tour, so what do you do to stay focused?
Cody: I eat good food, workout, and drink good coffee.
Danity: I saw that fabulous photo of you crazy kids eating some good looking chow on top of a rooftop in Manhattan. Who is the best cook of the group?
Cody: I probably like eating the most, so through the years I’ve learned a few things about cooking. They call me the band chef because I’ll often make a big meal for everyone if we have a day off. Cooking and eating is something that makes me happy, and everyone else gets to benefit from it…so everyone’s happy.
Danity: What is your favorite song to perform?
Cody: “Ride to California” – It has such a good beat and is up-tempo enough that it’s really easy to dance to and get in to.
Danity: Can you tell me who inspires you musically and who would be your dream musical collaboration?
Cody: I love classical and jazz. I’m inspired by Yann Tiersen (french composer) and Ray Charles. However, my most recent musical inspiration is a band we toured with – Civil Twilight. It would be a dream to work with U2. They are simply legendary and have made such an incredible world impact.
Best concert you’ve ever been to?
Favorite city you’ve played so far?
What cereal do you put in your bowl every morning?
Oatmeal or granola
For more on Paper Tongues check out:
Official Page: www.papertongues.ning.com
iTunes Buy Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/paper-tongues/id364197082