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GENRE: Indie Electro Piano Rock
HOMETOWN: Springfield, MO
ARTISTIC APPROACH: To demonstrate creativity and let computers unlock endless possibilities.
To liken the music of Midwest female alt-pop duo Paper Anchors to a common sports cliché – they don’t throw like girls. Mallory Bailey (vocals and guitar) and Summer Trottier (vocals, guitar, drums, bass and programming) set out to bring something different to the indie world they not only find void of soul and newness, but talented female musicians. “I think there’s a shortage of girl musicians out there who actually know how to play their instruments,” Trottier says. “So, I think it’s a big advantage for us because people are like, ‘Chicks with guitars? I don’t know if they know how to play.’ But we actually know how to play.”
“We can make it sound like a gigantic orchestra behind us when it’s really just the two of us”
They proved this with the January release of their first EP, Mirrors Facing Mirrors, which is a testament to Paper Anchors’ “chick band” influences like VersaEmerge and Hayley Williams-esque vocal stylings. Though the songwriting usually starts with a simple melody or a killer riff, Bailey says they’re very focused on orchestration and the textures they can create using Logic and MainStage.
“The way we can write, it’s pretty endless with the possibilities that we can use with the programs and everything,” she explains. “There’s so much we can do with the luxury of using the computer to make things sound more full,” Trottier adds. “We can make it sound like there’s a gigantic orchestra behind us when it’s really just the two of us. We have a lot of fun arranging stuff. With our use of technology, we can really come up with some unique sounds and some unique elements to bring something totally different to what we’re writing.”
Much of the recording for the EP was done in Trottier’s home, followed by a 24-hour studio marathon to nail down polished guitars and vocals. With a mix of emotional, guitar-driven songs and those with more electronic elements, Trottier says this release really shows off the duo’s versatility. “I think it was a good representation of the different styles that we write,” she says. “We didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into [being] two chicks with an acoustic guitar or anything like that. That’s not us.”
Taking the Paper Anchors show on the road requires a lot of equipment, and the use of backing tracks to fill in for what they’ve recorded, but wouldn’t be possible to recreate live. “There seems to be this connotation with people using backing tracks or whatever, but it’s all us,” Trottier says. “We play as many instruments as we can possibly hold in our hands to make it as real as possible.”