As you lower the top on your Mini Coop Convertible, a song on the radio slowly builds with a fuzzed out keyboard that causes you to immediately turn up the volume. Just as it approaches 11, the band drops out and back in so quickly you almost feign a neck injury and the drums pack a punch harder than Nick Bruiser. Then you hear the vocals. The melodic, easy on the ears lyrical riffs sung by Jayna Doyle. You assume that you are hearing a breaking band out of LA with close ties to industry insiders and rising up the pop charts faster than your mini coop can make it out of a Toby Keith concert. But in what you can only assume must be a mistake by a part-time weekend DJ, he tells you it’s the latest from Columbia’s own Death of Paris. Make no mistake, they are for real. And they are from South Carolina.
Death of Paris has just finished recording their latest EP Gossip with the highly acclaimed production team of Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, otherwise known as ZK Productions. Formally of the famous Tree Sound Studio, ZK Productions has opened their own spot called Vintage Song in the swanky Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek. Sitting down to chat with Janya and keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Blake Arambula it was clear that working with ZK has enabled them to better focus their creative potential and allowed them to develop more as studio artists. The studio is a different animal. Any band that has cut its teeth on the stage will tell you that the first few times in the studio rarely work. It takes time to realize the full potential of a studio and all it can offer. You have to be open to suggestions, to changing a chorus or adding an instrument. With only their second offering, Death of Paris has delivered six polished, well written songs that are clamoring for a spot on a syndicated television show or big city radio.
In addition to Jayna and Blake, Death of Paris includes Patrick Beardsley on guitar and Bryan Lee Bass on drums. This album marks the first one that Patrick and Bryan have been a part of, as the first one was recorded in LA by Jayna and Blake with the band forming afterwards. As a result the songs on Gossip were written more collectively. Fans should recognize an obvious progression from 3 years ago with a much more industrial pop sound with multiple layers and highly danceable electronic synth. This was a smart album that has very little filler. There was never a moment in the studio where Jayna looked at Blake and said, “Well, we’ve got a dozen or so measures here to kill. How about run off a few arpeggios or something?” That didn’t happen. Not that everything sounds calculated, but it does sound organized. Notes are in the right place and keyboard patches are carefully developed. One of the things that led to that sound was the lack of a bass player on the record. With the bass lines being played on the synth, it led to all the band members approaching the songs a little differently and maintaining a laser-like focus on what was going onto tape.
Now that the Gossip sessions are in the books, the band turns its attention to touring and is looking for this album to open some doors for them on the road. They have their sights set on a tour out west this spring and are anxious to turn this into a full-time roadshow. Fortunately, they have a number of things working in their favor. Death of Paris has a remarkably well developed and marketable sound for a band so early in their career. They possess an energy and an innate talent for songwriting that’s the envy of their peers and the ambition to make a serious run at a music career. Their time in the studio only helped to fuel that ambition. Gossip has the potential to launch them into the company of such electro-pop dance bands as The Wombats and Metric. One thing is for certain, Death of Paris is going to be bigger than they are now. They will be playing large clubs on Friday nights late into the evening sending listeners into a fist pumping frenzy and walking around days later with the melodies still stuck in their heads. If you want to call yourself one of those true early fans, if you want to go and see the “it” band right now, or if you just want to go and see some damn good music then be one of the many in attendance this Friday, November 15 at Jillian’s for the Gossip CD Release Party. Also on the bill are Charlotte alt-rockers Flagship, Seattle’s HARPS, and Beth Dickerson. I’m not giving away all their secrets, but there will be a photo booth there and an overall killer production. South Carolina needs bands like Death of Paris that buck the trend of our special pipeline of musicians because they keep others guessing and asking questions like “I wonder what else is down there in the Independent Republic of South Carolina?” This is a big city band that will not be here forever so do your due diligence and come catch Death of Paris this Friday at Jillian’s. A portion of the proceeds will go to support Girls Rock Columbia, a week-long camp to empower girls through music education so not only will you be thoroughly entertained but you can also call yourself a philanthropist, so there’s that. Get a ticket, grab a CD, and enjoy. Cheers.