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The Eighth Note: Paperghost

‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.
A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music. Up next is Sonorous Circle artist Paperghost.

Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
Hey, my name is Zach, I play music under the name Paperghost and release music with the Wellington label/collective Sonorous Circle. The music is really varied in terms of genre but often contains collaged sample material along with acoustic and synthesised instrumentation. I’m really fascinated by texture and like to put disparate elements together to create complex sonic spaces, but then I also enjoy pop music so often try to marry these elements.

What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
I have just released an album of instrumental music inspired by West Coast synthesis and hippy cult documentaries, of which I’ve been watching too many, called This Is a Miracle Village. I’m also slowly releasing music in a kind of incremental album that will grow a track every now and then when one is ready. Beyond that I’m starting to do a little soundtrack work on some independent film. And on top of this I’m going to release a music video soon with my music set to a terrible horror movie my brother and I made when we were really young.

Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
Sonorous Circle (label), Bandcamp, Spotify & Facebook.

What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
Firstly, maybe a bit obvious but Kid A by Radiohead was really important to me. It was one of the albums that actually got me interested in music, coming out when I was about 15 I think and I was totally blown away and obsessed with it. I’m still looking for albums that tread that line between incredible pop and genuinely interesting art music so well so I guess I never really got over it.

Another one soon after was Portishead’s self titled album. It was dark and spooky and also a gateway into hip-hop and sampling for me. It also taught me that if you actually embrace production as a creative part of music it’s no less important or less expressive than melody, harmony or any other factor.
Quite a bit later but right before I starting releasing Paperghost stuff I was making music sampling from an old turntable, room recording piano, and singing along with a very untrained voice. I loved making the music but it didn’t sound like anything I listened to, which should have been cool but when you’re first making music it just kind of feels like you’re doing something wrong. When I heard Ether Teeth by Fog I heard someone with a shaky voice, a room recorded piano and cut up samples making some of best music I’d ever heard. And what’s more, all the things I thought I was doing wrong this album had embraced and made them a feature. Not only did I love this album, it taught me to trust my creative voice more in the future.

Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
I’m incredibly lucky. I’m terrible at networking but somehow I get to work with the most amazing musicians. Right now Motte is going to record me some violin and if you haven’t seen her play she’s really incredible, easily one of the most exciting artists in New Zealand. And other amazing musicians have always been really generous, I’ve had massively talented Wellington musicians such as Grayson Gilmour, Thomas Lambert (Thomas Arbour/I.Ryoko) and Reece McNaughten (Big Flip) contribute recordings and talent and the list goes on. Almost all Wellington musicians I’ve met have been cool and generous. There are still more I hope to work with but right now I’m still buzzing that Anita (Motte) is recording some material for me.

What’s your favorite Wellington venue to play in?
Probably Pyramid club, an awesome bunch of people running it that seem to really love music and you never feel like you’re an inconvenient side hustle like you sometimes feel at a bar.

In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
Really in a variety of ways, at times I build music around samples or field recordings, at other times I build things up from harmony or melodies written on a piano or other instrument.

Where/when is your next gig?
Actually nothing planned, my partner and I are going to have a baby soon so gigging may have to wait a little!

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