Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Paper Tigers

Photo courtesy of Paper Tigers Facebook page.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

What a charmer.

Paper Tigers recently dropped their debut album ‘Charmer’ and have captured audiences with a concoction of hook-laden choruses, craftily baked with a flexible sound that’s too indie to be just rock, yet too rock to be just indie.

They’ll play the album in its entirety on Nov. 3, 2023 at a highly anticipated show in their hometown of Boston at O’Brien’s Pub alongside Gold Hoax and Trailer Swift.

The Music Bugle had the chance to catch up with the band – comprised of vocalist Michael Medlock, guitarist Bjarki Guðmundsson, bassist Matthew Hughes and drummer Ben “Cutty” Cuthbert – and asked them about their name origin, thoughts on social media and much more, which you can check out below.

Music Bugle – How did you decide on the name “Paper Tigers”?

Michael Medlock – The origin story of our band name is a deeply held secret, the details of which are locked away in the PT archives forever. Turns out it was fitting, as our music is loud and dynamic, but we’re really all just sweethearts.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?

Matthew Hughes – We’re excited about our style because it is dynamic and allows us to express our passion for playing. When we write music, we’re looking for something about the song that excites us. We just wanted to create something that we all enjoyed. This is on display most when we perform live. The four of us are working together as a cohesive unit to pour every ounce of energy and passion into the experience. It’s cathartic and provides an escape from the world around us. 

Music Bugle – How would you describe Boston to someone who has never been there before? 

Bjarki Guðmundsson – Boston is a big, little city. It is tough to adjust to at first, but once you find it’s charm, you fall in love with it. Also, if you can make friends in Boston, you can make friends anywhere. 

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?

Ben Cuthbert – The socials are both a blessing and a necessary evil. On the one hand, it provides instant marketing, advertisement, development and connection to a fan base. On the flip side of the coin, there’s so much pressure to “have a presence” and produce content, that it can feel like a full-time job to manage. A band’s perceived value is often assessed by the number of likes, follows and subscribers they’ve amassed. This ultimately impacts which tier they fall into in their respective music scenes. These days, it’s not enough to be a great musician or band, you’ve also got to know how to sell it on “The Socials.”

Music Bugle – How were you initially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Michael Medlock – We were pretty lucky. None of us had been out of work during the pandemic. We used the time to write music, produce digital content and perform several virtual shows. Our first two EPs were released during lockdown as well. More than anything, how we responded was proof of our resilience, ability to overcome challenges and dedication to the band.

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?

Ben Cuthbert – This band is our passion and basically a second full-time job, so we haven’t had much time to take a break, so far. We wouldn’t have it any other way!

Music Bugle – What’s something people might be surprised to know about the band?

Michael Medlock – We are four very different people with often dissimilar musical tastes and approaches to being in a band. We all play music in Paper Tigers for different reasons and are motivated by sometimes contrasting reasons — we’re not always kindred spirits. It can be challenging at times to align on an idea or direction, but we believe that our differences make us better — our strength is in this diversity.

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