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INTERVIEW: Paper Idol discusses influences, future plans, and his latest single 'CNTRL'

After delighting us with his breakthrough debut single 'Sidewalk' earlier this year, fast-rising artist Paper Idol has now returned to drop his energetic new offering 'CNTRL'.

Marked as the next piece of new material lifted from his forthcoming new EP, which is set to arrive in November, 'CNTRL' makes for a brilliantly bold and vivid listen, brimming with raw and driven textures throughout.

So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background, his future plans, and what we can expect on this new EP.


Hi Paper Idol, how are you today?

I’m fantastic!

For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound and who have been your biggest influences so far?

I would describe it as “delusional pop." My bandmate Adam came up with it. I like to take people on a ride – the songs often start in one genre and switch to another, then back again… there are always surprises in paper idol songs. And the character in my songs is never satisfied, my lyrics are usually me dreaming up some fantasy world or altered state of reality. That's where the "delusional" comes in. My influences come from two different spheres of music, the indie-pop world and the dance world- I'd say my all time favorites are LCD Soundsystem, Justice, and Flume.

Do you remember what the first song was that made you want to start a career in music?

When I was 12 years old, I used my dad's macbook to record "Scream Joy," which was like 12 minutes of me screaming into the built-in microphone over a GarageBand beat. I ran my voice through an amplifier and it sounded like a guitar solo. That's when I knew.

You have just released your new single ‘CNTRL’. Can you tell us how that track came about? Is there a story behind it?

I was listening to some heavier electronic stuff at the time, like NVDES and grandson. I went to the studio one night, highly caffeinated, and just lay down that bassline – the rest of the track came together in a matter of hours. I think it's the fastest I've ever finished a song. The released version is version 1.0 from that night, no changes at all.

And was there a particular style you were looking for when you wrote it?

I wanted something that combined punk energy with electronic production - The Kills, Sleigh Bells, NVDES, Sub Urban come to mind.

You are also set to release your new EP later this year. Can you tell us what you have planned for that?

Lots! I'm putting out a few more singles ahead of the EP release. The EP is called "The Playground," and each song is about a different phase of childhood. Adam and I have been planning a bunch of playground-related games and scavenger hunts for our fans to be a part of. We're making vinyl for this release as well, which is something I've always wanted to do. Shooting some fun videos around the releases as well.

And how will it compare to your previous EPs?

The last couple EP's – Money for Flowers and Mania Days – were primarily influenced by house, nu-disco, and rock. This EP is more based on hip-hop and trap production. After writing "Sidewalk," I thought, "why don't I do a whole album in this style?" I call it "Playground Trap," which is like trap production with a playful touch. I'd say this EP is also more open and honest than the others, lyrically. It really feels like my coming of age story, each song I listen to reminds me of that period in my life, which is kind of cool.

With live shows back in full swing, can we also expect to see you on the road again soon?

Yes! We'll be touring in Utah and Colorado in August, playing Flannel Fest and Suwanee Hulaween in October. We also have a bunch of dates in California towards the end of the year, as well as a release show in LA in November.

And finally, what is the best piece of musical advice you have ever been given?

"Always throw out the first pancake" - My Dad


Paper Idol's new single 'CNTRL' is available to stream now. Check it out below.


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