Still riding high after the release of 2013’s Little Letters full length, as well as a continually sold-out touring schedule, Paper Aeroplanes return with the Circus EP on Feb 10th, again through Navigator Records. Comprising of 5 songs, including a brand new track, ‘Ribbons’, the Circus EP also features Bristolian friends and collaborators Ersatz who here contribute a couple of great remixes. A beautiful video accompanies the track ‘Circus’. View it in full below:
Talking of the track, guitarist Richard Llewellyn says;
“Circus has become one of the fans’ favourites at our shows. It’s the song we finish our set with and has always occupied a strong place in our hearts. Lyrically, the song takes an inside look at the struggles of a musician, trying to make ends meet, and make personally satisfying music, in the face of an industry that can be unforgiving, baffling and wearisome. But, as is often the case with our music, PA fans seem to have found their own various meanings within the song. It’s those often beautiful, personal reactions and interpretations that keep us writing, performing and searching for our next favourite song.”
The EP also features a brand new song, ‘Ribbons’. It was recorded simply, in one take, with producer Greg Freeman, wanting a raw, intimate feel in contrast to some of the more produced tracks the album Little Letters.
Llewellyn goes on to say;
“We also recorded a simple piano version of our best-selling song ‘Same Mistakes’, which we’ll be playing at our forthcoming live shows. We’ve had an uber-busy couple of years, since deciding to fully embrace the crazy modern world of the DIY, self-managed musician. Our tour of the UK and Germany in Feb/March/April is shaping up really well, with audiences increasing in every city.”
The full track listing is as follows:
3) Same Mistakes (Piano Version)
4) When the Windows Shook (Ersatz remix)
5) At The Altar (Ersatz Remix)
‘Little Letters’, released on May 13th, is the third album by Paper Aeroplanes. The Welsh duo – Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn – have been making serious waves around the UK, touring constantly since getting together in 2009.
Last year alone they played over one hundred dates, selling out venues across the UK and performing at a host of prominent music festivals. The long-awaited new album is their first release on the Navigator label.
Their emotionally charged music and heartbreaking vocals have already gained Paper Aeroplanes some impressive fans in the media world. “Intimate, jaunty and confident low-key pop with great melody” is how The Guardian describes their music, while radio support has come from 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, Cerys Matthews, Chris Hawkins and Lauren Laverne and Radio 2’s Bob Harris. Radio Wales are also big supporters of the duo, helping cement their burgeoning reputation in the principality.
Musically, Sarah and Richard are inspired by the likes of Laura Veirs, Bjork, Jeff Buckley, Gillian Welch, Everything but the Girl and Lucinda Williams. ‘Little Letters’ is a step away from their previous two albums, with more of a full band feel that nevertheless maintains the duo’s talent for catchy, atmospheric, folk-tinged songs. Their compositions are picturesque stories, inspired by their rural upbringing and the emotional extremes of past loves and friendships.
“We’re constantly inspired by our home towns and the stark, coastal imagery of the wild west” says Howells. “This album is about personal experiences in relationships and the inner, mostly hidden lives of people, as opposed to what you see on the surface. My main aim when writing is to express something that I would normally find hard to put into words. It’s definitely a cathartic process.”
“Whether it’s a good or bad memory, I think it’s an important process to capture those thoughts and keep them in a song-like bubble, making room for new experiences,” she remarks. “The title ‘Little Letters’ has a few different meanings for us, but I think it generally reflects the way we communicate these days – life and love in 140 characters: Texts, status updates, tweets, post-it notes, I love yous…”
The beautiful song ‘Sleeper Train’ for instance, was written while Sarah was travelling from Xi’an to Bejiing in China. “It’s about falling for a friend in the UK via text message while travelling around China” she says. “It didn’t work out once back home, but it was a very intense and memorable time”.
‘Multiple Love’ and ‘Circus’ are the most honest songs on the album, according to Howells. ‘Circus’ is about playing and making music for a living and the frustration that comes with it. ‘Multiple Love’ is about waiting for the right person and not just ‘making do’. It’s supposed to be an anthem for single people but”, she confesses, “I think it’s maybe tinged with a little too much sadness.”
‘When The Windows Shook’ is a song that was stirred by the tragedies experienced in and around Sarah’s industrial hometown of Milford Haven, the kind of small community where everyone knows each other’s names and business. In 1994 there was an explosion at one of the local oil refineries, which caused the windows in Sarah’s family home to crack, a terrifying experience for a young child. In 1996 there was the Sea Empress oil spill disaster, which made national news, killing much of the local wildlife and ruining many local beaches. Lastly, in 2011, four people died, including a neighbor, in another explosion at the Chevron Refinery in Pembroke, across the estuary from Sarah’s family home.
Aside from the musical talents of Sarah and Richard, ‘Little Letters’ features a host of top players, such as John Parker on double bass (from Nizlopi who had a UK No.1 with “The JCB Song”) and percussionist Martin Ditcham (Everything But The Girl, Talk Talk, Sade). The album was partly produced by Phill Brown (Bob Marley, Bombay Bicycle Club, Talk Talk) at Yellow Fish studio in Lewes, with much of the additional tracking taking place at Richard’s flat in Cardiff. Brown’s ‘old school’ influence is there for all to hear – the warmth of the analogue tape and the relaxed, atmospheric rhythm section recordings giving a great backbone to these 11 stunning songs.
Paper Aeroplanes’ brilliant album provides an intimate yet far reaching soundtrack to the duo’s lives; each song a ‘little letter’ full of meaningful recollections and poignant personal moments. The result is a set of songs that are honest and raw, yet crammed with melodies that resonate in your head long after the record’s finished.
“Little Letters” is released on May 13 on Navigator Records.
Paper Aeroplanes are Richard Llewellyn and Sarah Howells – a highflying folk/pop duo who are inspired by their small West Walian town origins.
With their emotionally charged, captivating and heart breaking melodies, Paper Aeroplanes have already gained some impressive fans with prior releases. Previous radio support has come from Steve Lamacq (BBC 6 Music), Huw Stephens (Radio 1) and BBC Wales, where Adam Walton described their music as “brilliantly crafted and stoked from a bruised heart’s embers”.
The duo are now taking a step towards a much darker, more ‘grown up’ sound and are releasing their beautiful new single ‘Multiple Love’, which aches with truth and depth. The stripped back sound with its stunning vocals is a haunting yet honest introspection on love. It has such naked lyrics that are reflected in the production and accompanying music video.
Paper Aeroplanes fly in and out of many places this year. See below for their extensive list of touring dates including their headline tour and support tour for Ellen and the Escapades. The duo is also gearing up to release their new album later in 2012.