Melbourne's indie folk band, The Paper Kites will embark on a long-awaited tour of Australia this winter celebrating the release of their newest studio album, 'Roses'.
Released in March, the first collaborative record from the band features a powerhouse of female accompanists in Lucy Rose, Julie Stone, Nadia Reid, Maro, Aoife O’Donovan, Rosie Carney, Ainslie Wills, Amanda Bergman, Lydia Cole and Gena Rose Bruce.
"It's an album of collaborations with ten different artists from around the world," the group's lead vocalist/ guitarist Sam Bentley says.
"So yeah, ten duets. Some of them we knew and we really loved; people like Lucy Rose from the UK and Nadia Reid from New Zealand – I was a huge fan and was just genuinely really honoured to work with them and super nervous as well.
"There were a lot [of songs] where I had a particular voice in my head and we had to go searching to find the voices. And that's how we met people like Aoife Donovan who's a bluegrass singer from Boston, and Amanda Bergman who's from Sweden."
Given the shutdown of the world the past year or so, creating an album with collaborative partners around the world allowed the band to remain active, with Sam marvelling at the results achieved.
"All these different lines of connection and creativity happening during a time where we weren't able to work together, physically seeing each other.
"That was just a really beautiful collection and connection through music with these artists; it actually made it all the more easy to do this record because everyone was just so keen to be involved in something, to use their skills."
With so many new voices entering The Paper Kites soundscape, were there concerns the overall style achieved would be a marked difference from previous Paper Kites albums?
"There's definitely a risk that you'd run into when you're working with ten different artists in that the album would not sound together and like one continuous thing," Sam admits.
"With any album we do, we're always really intentional about trying to make it feel a certain way. . . so we wrote the songs first.
"We wanted to write them and choose the singers in a way that would complement what they already do, so they would fit really nicely with the album. And I think we did.
"Stylistically, it's not really that different from things we've done before," Sam adds. "We essentially wanted to make a folk-based record.
"And there's a few songs like 'Without Your Love' with Julia Stone and 'Steal My Heart Away' with Ainslie Wills, they're a bit different.
"It was great (collaborating with so many artists). This is an idea that I've been wanting to try and explore for a while. It was originally supposed to be just one artist that we would maybe do a whole record with, but we just kept thinking of artists that we really loved. So we extended to ten artists."
When it comes time to start writing new material for The Paper Kites, Sam almost always ends up in the same place each time just in a different location.
"Almost every album we've ever done, I can trace back to a different suburban house in Melbourne. I'm in my garage at the moment, that's kind of where I've got my studio setup. And I surround myself with things that I find that make me feel creative.
"I have a lot of books and a lot of music and light and candles and neon signs. . . a giant stuffed alligator my Grandpa gave me sitting on top of my piano; and every instrument that I could ever need to make something. I think you could make any space creative if you had inspiring things around you."
With a national tour planned for August, the band will be playing a host of the country's best theatre venues including the grand re-opening of the historic Princess Theatre in Brisbane (Queensland's oldest-standing theatre).
"They've recently done an amazing refurb of the whole venue and I'm told that we're the first band playing the reopening of the theatre," Sam says. "I love old theatres and I'm passionate about preserving them and using them for live music, so I'm super excited to play that show."
As for what audiences can expect from this run of shows (their first in almost two years), Sam says the band are working on new creative directions.
"We're currently in the midst of working out how it's going to look. We've got some really cool new creative people on board. . . We're setup at a brussels sprouts farm trying to plan out the show.
"It's the first time the five of us have been together in a long time. I think it's been two years since we played any shows in Australia, so yeah, we're really, really looking forward to finally getting back on stage and performing for people."
'Roses' is available now.
The Paper Kites 2021 Tour Dates
Fri 13 Aug - State Theatre (Sydney)
Fri 20 Aug - His Majesty's Theatre (Perth)
Sat 21 Aug - Norwood Concert Hall (Adelaide)
Fri 27 Aug - Princess Theatre (Brisbane)
Sat 28 Aug - Odeon Theatre (Hobart)
Thu 2 Sep - Palais Theatre (Melbourne)