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Viva Phx Q&A: PAPA


Darren Weiss, Papa interview

Darren Weiss and Danny Presant are Papa, a Los Angeles rock band that formed in 2008 in New York City. Since then, the pair has released 2011’s A Good Woman Is Hard to Find EP and its debut full-length Tender Madness in October 2013. The band has played shows around the country, including Arizona, in support of these releases and will return to the Valley this month. See Papa live on March 14 at Viva PhxCrescent Ballroom (21+) at 9 P.M..

Read an interview with Weiss below and purchase Viva Phx tickets here
*For more interviews with Viva Phx 2015 performers, visit here.*

Very first concert you attended and a memory from it.
I remember the first real show I went to at a club without my parents was at The Troubadour, when I was 13. In retrospect, the line up was pretty strange. It was Bluebird, The Start, John Frusciante, and De Facto. I still have the ticket stub. At the time, I wasn’t really a fan of any of those bands, but I used to be so excited about the prospect of going to a show, and being surrounded by like-minded people that I wouldn’t even bother to look at the line up. I just wanted to be out there, where the action was. As long as people were onstage, expressing something different from my every day suburban childhood, I was thrilled to be there.

If you could have any musician (dead or alive) as a mentor, who would it be?
That’s a great question. I’ve always longed for a sort of musical mentor, and been jealous of the player/coach dynamic in basketball. I’ve had a couple of drum teachers who were really influential on me, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve felt that kind of kinship. I would say either Ian Mackaye to keep my mind sharp and focused on what I’m doing here. Or maybe David Bowie, to make sure my work never gets too familiar.

Very first concert you played and a memory from it.
I very sadly don’t remember the first one. One of my earliest memories is playing The Roxy as a young teenager in my friend’s band, and wearing turquoise and black striped bell bottoms. They were a big hit.

Artist you would most like to collaborate with or have produce your music?
Maybe Nick Cave for preproduction and writing, and Questlove could produce the sessions.

Personal truth that fans would be surprised to know about you.
I’ve never been drunk or high in my life.

How do you spend a typical day when you’re not touring or busy recording?
I feel like I live a pretty quiet and monastic life when I’m not involved with the band. I meditate, I read, I drink tea, I play drums, and I write. I usually stay home at nights with my romantic associate, listening to records and drawing. I also like to cook a lot.

One artist or album you could never get tired of listening to?
Plastic Ono BandJohn Lennon‘s first solo album was a shocking revelation to me when I first heard it. I’d always been a fan of the Beatles, but when I heard how raw and brutal the lyrics and production were on the album, it opened up a whole other side of songwriting and artistry for me. I still feel like it’s probably the most underrated album of all time.

Earliest music-related memory you have?
I don’t know when this was, but I just remember being really young, and going out to dinner with my parents (this happened several times) and any time there was a band playing in the restaurant or venue, wherever we were, I would become completely transfixed on the drummer. I could never take my eyes off of the drummer, ever since I was probably 4 or 5. I could feel the crack of the snare resonate throughout my entire body. Something about the drum groove was just so hypnotic, and it wasn’t even a moment of realization where I felt I knew what I wanted to be, it was just that everything else ceased to exist. I still get that feeling every time I see a drummer I like.

Nicest thing a fan has ever said, or given, to you?
We have a fan in San Diego who paints us little interpretations of different lyrics every time we come in to town. We really appreciate that. Any time our work can push another artist to want to create something, we’re extremely happy. It makes me feel like we’re part of the cycle that got us started in the first place.

Interesting fact about your newest release.
It is MEAN.

Xperience you will never forget.
Well, it’s hard to pick one, because every time we tour, new and interested things happen. New connections and interactions are made constantly through this medium. But, I will definitely always remember flying to Iceland to play a packed show, and to all of our complete surprise, people knew us and knew our words, and knew our message. It’s pretty incredible when your work can precede you in that way and affect people you could never dream up.

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*Winner will be contacted the morning of Thursday, March 12 and must respond promptly with a valid mailing address where physical tickets can be mailed.

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