Flyer Profile: John Congleton of The Paper Chase

Editor’s note: The Paper Chase have already been named three times on yesterday’s post as being one of the best shows of all time in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

They’ll be back in town next month in support of their new album “Someday this could all be yours: Vol. 1”, just released on Kill Rock Stars. “Someday” features 10 songs about people dealing with natural disasters and their aftermath. If you haven’t seen them live, here’s your chance.

Roger Barrett, a local writer and musician, was kind enough to contribute the following interview he conducted with lead singer John Congleton to us here the Flyer. Thanks, Roger!

Roger Barrett: First off, you are the only Clunk Music Hall regular that still plays Fayetteville. How does if feel to grow old with a town?

John Congleton: It feels great to grow old with a town. We are growing old with all the towns we play. I can pick out all the good restaurants in towns. Good bathrooms. Good tour knowledge.

RB: The songs on your new record deal with natural disasters and the way they are handled. You write a lot about how people deal with the unknown. Why does this interest you?

JC: Because we don’t know anything about the unknown. Thats why it’s the unknown. I’d like to see if I can make it known. (laughing) Sometimes that’s what art is about.

RB: “I’m going to heaven with or without you” and “this is a rape” is some of the poppiest music you’ve written, a stark contrast to the lyrics about forest fires and flood. Do you develop the story of a song before or after the music?

JC: It all comes at once. Pretty much always. I love singing terrible lyrics of consonant melodies. That’s so much fun to me.

RB: “I’m going to heaven with or without you” sounds to me like John Carpenter scoring The Wizard of Oz. It could almost be a love song until you end with “god damn you all”.

JC: It certainly is not a love song. I dont think I’ve ever written a love song. They are so rarely done well it seems. But I do love Wizard of Oz. That’s one of the most creepiest movies ever.

RB: “The Common cold” and “The laying of hands the speaking in tongues” are not familiar Paper Chase songs. “The laying of hands…” could be described as a rollicking barnburner. Is this a comment on absurdity of religion? Or maybe it’s just your new drummer? Do you want to answer this?

JC: Well, it’s prolly me and the new drummer. Jason has added more stuff than I probably even notice myself. The beat was my idea but I can assure you that my old drummer would have taken issue with it.

RB: I remember hearing “What should we do with your body” at your last Fayetteville show in 2008. How long have you been working on vol. 1 and vol. 2? Did the songs start because of the concept, or did you realize that during the process?

JC: It’s been in the works as a concept since before “Now you are one of us” or at least around that time. The idea came first then the songs completely backwards for me. We recorded most of part two at the same time as part one. There are still more things to get done on part twobefore it can come out though.

the pAper chAse by Logan Youree

RB: This is your first record without segueways, or recurring themes. There are also fewer samples. Was this a conscious effort to abandon any non-traditional song?

JC: Yeah, it was intentional to not do it. But not because I wanted to avoid it. I didn’t feel like this work asked for it.

RB: Was vol. 2 planned? When can we expect it?

JC: sometime next year if all goes well.

RB: Will we hear songs from vol. 2 at the show on July 6?

JC: We will be lucky to just be able to pull off our other songs.

RB: Do you want to say anything else?

JC: I was kidding about the last comment.

The Paper Chase will be at George’s Majestic Lounge on Monday July 6 with Mount Vicious, The Counterlife and Perpetual Werewolf.

Live photo by Chrontourage via Flickr and Creative Commons 2.0