Paper Route recently completed their full length U.S. tour in support of their latest release, The Peace of Wild Things. Playing alongside Switchfoot, the band was out on the road for over a month before wrapping things up on October 28th in Anaheim, CA.
The Peace of Wild Things appears to be a fitting name for Paper Route’s newest album. Self-produced at the historic Joy Mansion in East Nashville, the group took about a year and a half to make the record during a time period where the band found themselves “going through hell in multiple ways,” said singer, J.T. Daly. While some issues were personal and other matters concerned turmoil within the group’s inner circle, it was only inside the house that the band could truly find peace and distance themselves from the outside world. “The house was a refuge of sorts so I think it kind of saved us going there and working that long on the record…we were burnt out; we had just spent about two years straight on the road. You come home and your friends have moved and the world keeps spinning while you were doing something else entirely. So I think we just started putting the pieces back together. We just went through a lot; we lost a band member, our label went under, we then signed another major label deal but that became weird, we got our album back, and we fired our manager so there was just a lot going on.”
Not only did the house provide a safe haven of sorts for the group, but it also enabled the band to channel their creative energy and focus solely on music. Working in a new and healthier environment, J.T., Chad, and Gavin began to challenge each other bringing out the best in each musician; as a result, the band enjoyed themselves like never before while creating the album. “Inside of that house I experienced some of the greatest moments in my entire life. Obviously, outside of it we all had to kind of deal with the reality of what was happening in all of our individual lives but the house itself just felt really safe. I think only once did a label person stop by and I think things got so dark for us that we realized there was basically no reason for us to feel so low as a band so it helped us let go of a lot of things. It became this creative energy and there was definitely a healthy amount of competition going on too. For instance, my studio was on the second floor and Chad’s was on the first, and I would sort of lean over the stairs and listen to what he was working on knowing that I had to out do him because we’d be sharing tracks later on in the day.”
For the writing of the record, the band brought in Daly’s longtime friend, singer/songwriter Nate Anthony. Dating back to their days growing up in Ohio, the two musicians played shows together before Daly moved on to form Paper Route with Chad Howat and Andy Smith (who has since left the group and founded the band, Brother Leather). Specifically, Paper Route co-wrote the songs “Two Hearts” and “Letting You Let Go” with Anthony, both of which made their way onto the final track list for The Peace of Wild Things. “It was the first time we ever trusted someone else (Anthony) to write with. I used to play shows back in the day with this guy and he’s just an incredible musician. We brought him in a couple of times and treated him like he was a member of the band. It was good to have an extra set of ears because when we are producing and engineering it ourselves, it’s effective to have someone else at the computer so that all of us are band members again…he’s just an all around incredible songwriter, a fresh pair of ears, and a great melody guy.”
It’s clear Paper Route hasn’t exactly had the smoothest road to get to where they are now. But in many ways that seems to be the status quo of the music industry today; more and more bands are being let go from labels and furthermore, there are even some groups that are making efforts to move away from controlling record companies. Money always seems to be an issue, album sales are down for the most part unless you’re Taylor Swift, and tours can be quite difficult to schedule. Regardless, Paper Route as well as many other groups have pushed on through these tough times, and Daly expressed gratitude for the band’s ability to still be making music for a living. “It’s very different for us now; we’re completely independent and doing everything ourselves. We fired our team one by one and now we’ve made our dream team. There’s a lot of pressure and it’s just a really hard job, but I think we’re just thankful to still be doing it. We’re still getting tour offers and people are still buying the music…we’re growing but I don’t know if I’ve seen any monumental change either. I feel like we’ve never trusted any other people to give us momentum or relied on the press or radio. We just kind of always come back and ask ourselves do we still want to be a band and do we still have something to say? And if we still have something to say then we’ll make another album.”
The band’s music video for “You and I” is available to view both on YouTube and the band’s website, http://paperrouteonline.com/. In addition, the band’s song, “Two Hearts,” currently holds the number one spot on AA’s singles chart.