It’s freezing downtown Kelowna, Thursday February 10th. The air is thin, and outside the walls of the Habitat everyone can see their breath in small bursts through chattering teeth. I’ve grabbed the guys from Paperboy after their set and we can hear Michael Bernard Fitzgerald‘s first song starting behind us as we talk. Cameron Lutz, the drummer, I know from the last band he was in, Poor Little Rich Girl. Luke Mortenson is familiar, Braeden Otter I’m meeting for the first time.
All three are in high spirits following their first performance at Habitat as Paperboy, opening up for MBF 5 months after forming a band isn’t too bad. Their new sound — more mature and cohesive – and look – think Newsies, but with less dancing — attracted a bit of attention tonight. I apologize to Cameron about missing almost every show PLRG played at Habitat (apologizing was to be a common theme tonight as this was my first time officially seeing MBF as well) and have to ask the damning question of how Paperboy came about.
“I’m trying to think of doing this without being mean,” he starts off, not unexpectedly. I was hoping we wouldn’t set the tone of the interview from my first question, but it was something we had to get out of the way. “I was having issues with Poor Little Rich Girl, the last band that we were in, so I was gonna quit. And when I decided to quit, Luke was like ‘I think I’m going with you.’” PLRG’s bass player had already departed for a sunny and magical world filled with cruise ships so a split felt natural. Adding Braeden, former bass player for PLRG (replaced by Luke in the past) just made sense.
They started jamming together and had to learn songs and focus any dichotomy quickly, “We had a month before our first show. We wrote eight songs, played a month later, and once we did that, Braeden started writing with us.”
They’ve been pretty busy throughout Kelowna and Vernon and, since their inception less than 6 months ago, have played a dozen or so shows already; add in the album they recorded a month after forming and you can see the main difference between this band and the last. Paperboy is a fresh slate, a chance for them to learn from mistakes made in their past and have another go at it. Aside from a developed sound, they wanted to have a lot more fun, “Right from the start we were just molding it to be, hopefully, enjoyable.”
Fun is evident, “I was even excited when we were sound checking,” Luke chips in, “it’s still just as fun to play when we’re practicing.” The band keeps it fresh, mutual friend and photographer Nathan Cail came up to me during the show and made a point of saying, ‘Cam is smiling, you didn’t see that during Poor Little Rich Girl’s sets.’
It’s inspiring to see friends & bands always coming back with more fans, but you can tell they definitely feel the weight of starting with a fresh band. It’s great to avoid certain pit falls, such as a preconceived look and sound, but re-building a fan base and getting festival buyers interested is another story. “It doesn’t seem like we’re getting a lot of positive response,” Cam reveals, “I think we really need someone to see us live, to get on some of these festivals.”
Braeden points out, “We have awesome feedback at live shows, people come up and they’re so stoked,” but they all understand the sense that our Canadian sensibilities (i.e. sharing by Word of Mouth) can sometimes get in the way of spreading the news. Luke finishes, “For me, you know, my only ambition was to record the album. So everything else after this is just fucking gravy. I’m loving it.”
Photography graciously provided by Nathan Cail/Fifth Eye Photographics
Listen to the full interview here:
Check out “Nomencalture,” a track from Paperboy’s debut album.