Tell Me About That Album: Papercuts' Fading Parade

Chloe Aftel
Welcome to the inaugural edition of a new feature called Tell Me About That Album, wherein we grill an artist about one of the records in their catalog, hopefully providing some added perspective that will aid in your enjoyment of the record. We start with Portland's Papercuts, the dreamy-pop group led by Jason Quever, whose fourth LP, Fading Parade, was their first for Sub Pop, which upped the band's studio budget--and profile considerably. Here's what Quever had to say about Parade, and make sure to catch them Dec. 8th at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard.

Where did you write the album? It was written really quick. Most of it was written on acoustic in my bedroom. I have a van that we tour in, and sometimes I'll drive the van to the beach and write, which is fun--and creepy.

Were there any records you were particularly influenced by while writing it? I think what sticks in my mind is Tusk, the Fleetwood Mac record. I was listening to all the Lindsey Buckingham songs. I had never really gotten into that band before and it finally clicked. To me, [Fading Parade] is more upbeat and almost anthemic versus the one before it, which was pretty subdued. There was something I was connecting to on some of the major-chord, upbeat Lindsey Buckingham songs on Tusk.

Where did the title come from? I was thinking about what the record was about and I just liked those words together. To me, all the songs are about relationships that have come and gone--not necessarily romantic relationships. It had a literal meaning, like a foggy memory of different people coming into my mind, but it also had some kind of allusion to a dreamy sound.

Can you talk about the cover art? This was the first cover I did myself. I never had the confidence to use my own idea for cover art. I really like taking a tiny piece of an old photo and blowing it up. I like the way that looks, somewhere between a photograph and an impressionist painting. I was a photographer when I went to college and I wanted to get back into using photos. In my mind, I had thought of the record as a yellow, warm record, but when I saw that I thought it totally fit the title. I wanted to put a picture of me, or us, but I just couldn't get myself to do that. But I did want it to be something from me because I've started to feel like I should have been doing that all along.

What's your favorite song on the album? I never listen to anything I do after it's done, so I can't say I've put the record on and said, "I like this song." It tends to be the song that I can still stand after a year. I feel that way about "Chills." I like the lyrics, I think the melody is interesting. I've been enjoying playing that one in rehearsals lately.

Do you have a favorite lyric on the album? My friend Donovan wrote some of the lyrics for the verses on "Do You Really Wanna Know," so I think that's really fun. "The ghosts hang brighter than the lights." That's really cool to me because it's so outside of what I would have written.

Is there a lyric you that annoys you or nags at you? I feel like the last song, "Charades," I had a lot of hope for that song, and it never got a lyrical hook for me, and I always regretted that. But sometimes you just get stuck. You make a deadline, you record ten songs. I wanted to say something in that song that I didn't get to, but I don't know what that was.

What are your favorite albums of 2011? All my favorite records of 2011 would be records that didn't come out in 2011. I don't buy that many new records. The newer things that I've been into are Ariel Pink's record, the last Fever Ray record, the El Perro Del Mar record. The Crystal Stilts record is really good.

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