Interview: Papermaps

Papermaps @ Horseshoe Tavern, 05-31-11

When I spoke with Dean Marino of Papermaps, the band was gearing up for CMJ Music Marathon in New York and Halifax Pop Explosion.

Papermaps was originally called EX~PO. “Not to be confused with The Expos, which is a completely different band,” Marino clarifies.

“EX-PO was always more of a solo project of mine. I recorded an album, which I released on vinyl only, called Central Meaner Street, and I played all the instruments on it. And then I had to sort of put a band together and teach them all the parts to make this record come to life in a live show. But I found that the band members weren’t playing exactly the way I would all the parts on the record and it started to become its own thing. And so when I started writing new songs for when we did the next EX~PO record, I really let the band collaborate on it and come up with their own parts, so I really felt it changed the sound radically that way because now it’s more of a collaborative effort. So I thought a band name change was in order. Plus EX~PO was kind of a weird name and promoters never got it right, people would confuse us with The Expos, so we thought we should change the name and we did. We did around the time we signed our record deal.”

The name change didn’t come easily. Marino says the band debated for months, but there are many reasons why Papermaps was a good option for him. “I liked Papermaps because I’m into recording on analogue tape, which is a medium that’s kind of going obsolete now, being phased out by computers and I also feel that papermaps are also a medium that’s being phased out by things like GPS, iPhones and Google Maps. So I thought it was kind of fitting. Since we like working in the analogue world, why not give ourselves some analogue name. And Papermaps is good too because I’ve always loved maps. I was one of those kids that would stare at a map of the world for hours and just imagine what all the little rivers would look like if you were there, so it has that sort of nostalgic aspect to it as well.”

The band changed a little in the fall, with a new member being added to the band. Marino explains, “The reason why we added a new person to the band is because our member Todd Harrison, who usually is on bass and Korg, he enrolled in teacher’s college, so his schedule isn’t going to be such that we could do really big tours with him, so we felt it would be good to get a new member in. And coincidentally our new member, Betty Dimo, is related to Todd – it’s Todd’s sister-in-law. And they played in bands together for many years, so the mental telepathy between Todd and Betty was already there, so it’s easy for her to pick up what Todd was doing and learn it really quickly, so it worked out perfectly.”

That doesn’t mean that Todd has left the band, though. Marino says, “Now when we do play shows with Todd, he’s going to play a different role in the band. He’s going to play mostly extra guitars and extra synths and extra percussion. We didn’t lose any members. Actually what we did is we gained a new member so that one of the members could once in a while take a break from the touring.”

“Like a lot of other Canadian bands these days, we have a lot of members and the members kind of switch around,” Marino adds.

With their self-titled out, Marino says that the band has started to work on a new record. The songwriting process begins with Marino. “Generally what happens is I go away for a long time, sit down with my notebook and I write these songs which are comprised of chord progressions, lyrics and melody… the meat and potatoes of a song, if you will. And then I bring it to the band and we arrange it together as a live band.”

But Marino doesn’t give too much direction in the ways of what he envisions for a song. He says, “It’s better to leave some things a little open-ended, a little enigma-like, so that there’s room for people to add their creative input. And I find that the end product is way superior to what you couldn’t done on your own. This is how we’re doing it now, but I’ve done it the other way around where I’ve come up with every single part. Although I’m proud of my work as a solo artist, I feel that Papermaps has stronger output as a result of this collaboration.”

In the fall, Papermaps released a music video for “Reunion”. Marino describes the video. “We asked fans to send us video clips on a cue card relating a message that they would like to send back to their 16-year-old self. If you could go back in time and give your 16-year-old self some advice, what would you say? And we were lucky. We did get a lot of people that submitted ideas.”

He admits that he was surprised at how many ideas were thrown out there, but that many were too shy to actually make a video. “One thing that we didn’t factor in was the bashfulness factor… I wanna commend the people who actually did a video.”

Now Papermaps have a new video out for “Complicate Things”, which is professionally done and very different from their DIY “Reunion” video.

With a new video out and new material being worked on for a record the band hopes to put out in the early fall of this year, Papermaps are certainly keeping themselves busy.

As for a drinking story, Marino doesn’t reveal a whole lot. “I’m not going to name a band member, that way he won’t get made at me. One time one of the band members drank so much that when he was puking in the alley at the end of the night, he actually burst blood vessels in his eyes. And for months he has these really crazy looking red marks in his eyes. It was the demonic thing ever and we teased him about it forever. It took months for them to go away.”

He then adds, “That’s kinda gross. I can’t think of any non-gross drinking stories.”

The band tends to stay away from shots. Marino says that he’s more of a Jameson on the rocks guy, while Wendy’s a gin and tonic type and Todd and Bobby are both more beer guys.”

He then laughs, “And I’m not sure what Betty drinks yet.” Well, now that she’s been with the band a little while, Marino might have a better idea of her preference.

Stay tuned for what Papermaps have coming up next. This fall, look out for a new album. And, being regulars in the Toronto music scene, hopefully a whole slew of shows along the way.


Categories: Interviews


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: