The band formerly went by the name Keating. Why the name change, and what else changed when you switched names?
We definitely used the name change as sort as an excuse to change direction. Because like I said, that first EP was really just a combination of two guys, it was not really the band that is in existence now. The reason we had to change the name is because there is a band in Canada that already has the name, they had the name longer than us. They had released music on iTunes and that’s where we would have not held up in court.
We played a show in Canada when we were called Keating and a handful of people showed up thinking it was her. Her last name is actually Keating and they named the band after her last name. So people came out and word got back to the band that we were playing shows with the same name and they sent a cease and desist order, and it got really weird.
We signed the record deal under the name Keating and we even started recording the album. Then the attorneys at the label came to the conclusion that we could not keep the name anymore. So, on paper we thought that we were rivals with the other Keating because they sent us that cease and desist order, so we called ourselves Paper Rival.
Since you guys are from Tennessee, I was listening to one of your songs, ‘Alabama,’ and you used terms like white trash, rednecks and trailer suburbia. Are you making fun of these clichÃ©s or are you saying they’re true?
Both. We’re just making fun of it and we’re saying that it’s true. A lot of the lyrics that Jake sings about are kind of fun. I mean, they’re all serious, and there are a couple songs, like that song in particular is about when he was on a trip from Chattanooga, TN, to Birmingham, AL, and just all the stuff he was looking at and observing out the window while on the trip. Also, the song ‘Home Is Right Outside Your Window’ is about how strongly racism is still prevalent in the south. And we have a song on the upcoming LP called ‘Keep Us In,’ which was written about a year ago. There was an election held and one of the topics to vote on was whether or not gays should be allowed to legally get married in the state of Tennessee, and of course it lost by a landslide, so we were embarrassed of that. Just writing about where we’re from and what we feel we have to ‘deal with’ by being down here.
I saw that for your last tour, your drummer went home because he became a father. Who played the drums for the shows and how did it affect your sound?
I was drumming, because I’m actually the one who’s drumming on the recordings. Paper Rival is technically on paper a four piece band. We write with me on the drums, and I play drums in the studio, as well as playing guitar in the studio. It’s kind of complicated. Yes he stayed home for that particular tour because he had a child and I played the drums. We went out with four people instead of five, and Jake (singer) played guitar on every single song, which he normally doesn’t do, to pick up for some of the guitar slack that was missing. Then Brent, the other guitar player, sort of played a combination of my parts and his parts.
It wasn’t as full as it normally is, but it actually came together really well and people weren’t really noticing a big difference. It was cool to be able to do that, and to have band members that are talented enough to switch around. It was definitely very weird the first three or four shows, but then we sort of got into a pattern and got used to it, and it was cool. Now Dillon will be coming out with us on this tour we’re about to do. We’ll be a five piece again, like when we play at the Knitting Factory. He just wanted to be there for the birth of his kid, which is totally understood.
How was the tour that just ended? It must have been a big change from Tennessee.
That tour was a lot fun, personally for me. Some of the other guys might disagree. I had a really great time playing the drums because I usually don’t live, so it was a lot of fun for me. But I think from a business standpoint, it will be a lot better to get back to the five piece that everybody is more comfortable with. We love touring, we absolutely love it, especially the big markets like the two coasts. It’s something we hope to have the opportunity to do for a long time.
Paper Rival is playing NYC’s Knitting Factory on Dec. 16. Their self-titled EP is available now. For more info visit myspace.com/paperrival
Photo Credit: Bo Streeter