Brooklyn songwriters Amber Rubarth and Alex Wong are behind the band The Paper Raincoat. Even though they are a young band, their debut EP was released in July 2008, Alex and Amber already have many supportive fans. Their music was even placed on the film "The Last Song", based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. With tradeyourtalent Amber and Alex speak about curiosity and discovery.
On your website you write that your are an imaginative collaboration. What do you mean by that?
ALEX: The idea of exploration and imagination is central to the concept of this band. The whole idea for the project was born out of a creative improv exercise we decided to try one day. We started describing a world filled with certain characters and the beginnings of a storyline, and let those elements guide a lot of the song ideas.
Has it been a difficult path?
ALEX: We started the project at the beginning of 2008 and played our first band show June 2008. Honestly I think we've been really lucky with people wanting to help us and opportunities coming our way. All independent music is "difficult" at any level but I've definitely had it rougher in other projects, than we have with this project - so thanks everyone!!!
What was the best thing a fan ever said about your music?
ALEX: There was a couple in Colorado that told me they got engaged to our song "sympathetic vibrations" in their kitchen - which i thought was pretty awesome... but i think the time i remember the most was a lady in Kansas who said "your music makes me want to like myself more."
What does creativity and inspiration mean to you? What inspires your music?
ALEX: i'm sure Amber has her own take on this, but for me, it means asking questions. Curiosity is the key to creativity for me. It's much less about needing to supply an answer than just asking good questions. As far as song ideas, i think they always come from things i'm wondering, things i don't know.
AMBER: I feel like in this project especially, the inspiration has come a little differently - it's not as much self-reflection or coming up with an idea and playing it out, but more exploration into stream-of-consciousness activities of writing our story-line and then feeding that into the music. It's a lot of fun and feels like a discovery more so than a creation in many ways.
You are still a young band, but you've got many fans already. Are you sometimes overwhelmed by that?
AMBER: We've been really fortunate to be able to tour with artists we really love who've introduced us to their fans. We opened early on for Vienna Teng quite a bit and that's been amazing, she has really helped us be able to do a lot of the live shows in front of fantastic audiences.
What have you planned for your spring tour?
AMBER: Not exactly sure yet, we're mostly writing right now and working a bit on individual solo projects as well.... we want to have some new recordings to share before hitting the road again, so finishing that up first. We do have a NYC show Feb. 25th @ Highline Ballroom, and a show in Ann Arbor on April 22nd @ The Ark.
For more on Amber and Alex