Local Music Spotlight: Yellow Paper Planes
Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes are dead. But, from their smoldering ashes, Yellow Paper Planes arose to take their place. Sipping on beer at a local tavern, Joshua P. James enlightened me on the demise of his former band and gave life to Yellow Paper Planes and their modern rock and roll sound.
Briana Henry: Who exactly is in your band and how did you all come together?
Joshua P. James: I was playing solo for about a year and then I was asked to play a New Year’s Eve show with Lydia Loveless and her band and the other local band that was on it was Evan Harris and the Driftwood Motion. Evan and I were talking about music and where I was going to go with my stuff and what they were doing. The Driftwood Motion was kinda like dying down a little bit and so he picked up the upright bass to start so he offered up his services. In February of that year, after one practice he asked if it would be cool if he brought his drummer along since he was into it too. It’s as simple as that. A three piece was born that way. It was Evan Harrison and Brandon Woods on drums, Evan has since left the band and Brandon is still the drummer.
BH: Why would you stray away from making something that you feel is good and kind of rework it?
JPJ: That’s a good question. With the old band, it was never purposefully country music, it just kind of came out that way. I don’t know if we’re completely turning away from that, but the thing that’s different now is that I actually have a band as a perspective for writing. So that allows a little bit more exploration for trying to figure out how songs are going to go.
BH: So you are the primary songwriter?
JPJ: I am, yeah. It still all starts with me with an acoustic guitar generally in my living room. This time around I’ve been thinking a lot more about where we can break things down a little a bit. We added keys so that allows some textural exploration. We didn’t really attempt to think about whenever were in the first generation of the band. Because it was like boom, you’re very straight forward… 1,2,3, let’s go, you know, no bones about it. Just the stuff that I’ve been writing a lot recently is a little more modern sounding so in being so, it is less country influenced, because I’m certainly not influenced by modern country. Since we’re kind of playing around into moving into darker corners, I think some of the country stuff got dropped in favor of moodier stuff.
BH: So define moodier. Are you guys emo…
BH: Are you guys like screaming on things?
JPJ: No, certainly not. Not vocal content, there’s just a lot more drama in the music dynamically. There are some more builds, some more break downs, some things that happen a little more unexpectedly instead of just here’s a verse full of words that I thought was important, here’s a chorus because you need one. With the band as perspective you can start to think where holes in songs exist so you don’t have to carry it by yourself on stage.
BH: So Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes is gone?
JPJ: Yes, it will be all gone. There’s a few reasons for that. One is that it’s just like too long. At the time when we made it, it fit. And it rolls off the tongue all right I think, there’s some alliteration there. But I think especially since we’re steering away from that country-Americana rootsy type stuff, that first name last name and the somethings kind of pigeon holes a band into an Americana group before anyone even hears them. I just wanted to make sure that didn’t happen with this new sound.
Although this band lies in its grave, never to be disturbed, check out some of the catchy tracks from Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes here. At Ace of Cups on August 29th, all four members of Yellow Paper Planes will perform for the second time in Columbus, with support from The Up All Nights, Ranger Danger, and I Mustache You A Question. Ace of Cups is located in Clintonville at 2619 N. High St.