By Dave Schutz
Since hitting the scene in 2009, Post Paradise hasn’t wasted any time getting out in front of people, gracing stages from Bohemian Nights to the Greeley Stampede. The band’s success shouldn’t be a surprise – the combination of big hooks with Amy Morgan’s prominent, melodic cello playing is accessible and often compelling. The band is following up on their From Here to Anywhere EP with a new album in May. Scene caught up with vocalist/guitarist Nick Starr Duarte following the band’s FoCoMX performance.
Scene: How was the FoCoMX gig?
Duarte: FoCoMX was fun. It’s always a busy weekend, but it’s nice to be able to run around and talk to all of our friends that we may not see on a regular basis. I do wish the green room would stay open a little longer though – I’m not sure that we got to partake as we were trying to make it to as many shows and panels as possible. Oh, and the silent disco was awesome!
Scene: What was the impetus for including cello in the rock band context?
Duarte: Why not? (laughs) You hear so many bands that just use cello on their acoustic tracks or you’ll see a cellist in an acoustic band. I thought, why not take it to another level with louder rock music? I’ve always loved the cello and I was so excited when someone responded to my message looking for a cellist. Then I realized I’d have to chart out all these ideas that I’d had for cello lines because Amy [Amy Morgan, cello] had only ever worked in that context! She’s a trooper though. She stayed really positive while reading through my charts even though I hadn’t transcribed anything in years.
Scene: Post Paradise is among a few Colorado bands that make use of cello, but in your case it’s a lot riffier and cuts through the mix more than most bands. Is it difficult for the cello to compete with the guitars and drums?
Duarte: You know, it’s been a constant struggle. I don’t want to say that our guitars are all that loud, but we are a rock band. We have dynamics for sure, but a lot of the time there are two distorted guitars playing chords at the same time the cello is doing a lead line and it needs to cut through the mix. A lot of the sound guys in town know us now, so we don’t really have to tell them that the cello is a featured instrument in the mix and not just a background sound. That said, we’re heading out on tour for three weeks in June, so we’ll be dealing with new sound guys every night. We’ve built a pedal board with all of Amy’s effects and preamps and in-ear monitors and stuff so that we can control a lot of what gets to the soundboard and what people hear and she can still hear herself onstage. That’s crucial. The next step for us would be to hire our own sound guy, which is an option, so if anyone out there is reading this and is interested I’m sure you can find our contact info.
Scene: For a lot of bands, the old model of getting signed to a label and making money off of recordings is changing, giving way to greater reliance on touring to pay the bills and using recordings to promote that end of it. I’m curious if Post Paradise has professional aspirations and if so, what your strategy is to make the band sustainable.
Duarte: Professional aspirations? Absolutely. Getting signed? Eh… There is one kind of artist that writes one kind of song that gets signed these days and that’s so that money can be made off of radio play, etc. I don’t think we’re necessarily that kind of band. We’re musicians that don’t want to have to cater the music we write for any one specific purpose. That’s not to say that already established bands aren’t still doing alright with that model, but for new bands, it’s a lot tougher since there’s no development in the record industry anymore. I’d love to find a little indie label that would support us as we make our way on the road and hook us up with other bands to tour with, etc. It’s all stuff that we do anyway, but that kind of thing just gets you a network and ‘fast tracks’ the process a bit. Another thing we’re doing to cut costs is purchasing a diesel van that’s converted to run on vegetable oil. I’m currently working on a system that will allow us to filter the waste veggie oil and fill up while on the road. I don’t know any other way we could afford to get across the country with gas prices how they are right now.
Find out more about Post Paradise at postparadiserock.com and check them out at their live show on May 28 at Road 34 (1213 West Elizabeth Street).