An Interview With Art Papas

Q: What inspirations came to you while creating the ” Where’s Gladys ” EP?

A: Alex and I started Where’s Gladys in January 2020, and a couple of months later, the world went into lockdown. That period of time was so intense and emotionally powerful for both of us. At first, it was almost too much to process creatively. Neither of us could really focus on writing. But, after a few months passed, we started to find ways to express how we felt about that time in our lives. As far as musical inspiration, Alex and I both grew up listening to the Beatles as young kids. They were incredible at creating powerful melodies and harmonies. We also loved the music from the 90’s and 2000’s – Nirvana, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, etc. But harmonies really went out of style during that era, and the vocals from those bands were much rawer – almost primal. So, we both wanted to try to bring harmonies into our music – simple vocal melodies that weave together to put the person in our shoes and feel what we felt when we wrote the songs.

Q: If you could choose, which song on your new EP means the most to you, and why?

A: That’s always a hard question, but if we had to pick one, it’s “Out of Air.” We chose it for the lead track kicking off the EP because it was the first song that we wrote together that we both felt was truly great and worthy of sharing with the world. It was written during the pandemic when the news each day was just awful. It felt like there was no end in sight either – how the hell are we going to get out of this? It felt suffocating – “out of air.” We were collaborating remotely at the time because of the lockdowns, and we hadn’t seen each other in over 6 months and that was really tough. But, I remember that I wrote the acoustic guitar intro and the main melody of the song and sent it to Alex. He came up with this fantastic, compressed drum groove and sent it back to me. I completely transformed the entire feel of the song.

Q: Hey, how would you describe your sound to someone who’s not heard your music before?

A: Our early songs didn’t feel particularly original initially. Our friends said that we had a very distinctly 90’s grunge sound, which they liked in a nostalgic sense, but we both really wanted to make music that people would feel a connection to today. So, we worked really hard over the course of the last few years to evolve our songwriting and our sound. The feedback we hear now is really different. People say that it feels modern to them, but they hear all sorts of different influences of bands that they like: Dave Bowie, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, the Stones, the Beatles, Wilco… – I mean, it’s really all over the place. So, I guess the way we’d describe that is that it’s modern rock heavily influenced by the 70s and 90s. We skipped the 80’s influences, though. No, “Mr. Roboto.”

Q: When did you realize that you wanted to become a musician?

A: I was 12 years old, and I had been taking piano lessons for years, but I had never really even thought about doing anything with it. I didn’t see myself as a pianist. But, one day, my uncle came over to our house and gave me an electric guitar as a gift – a sunburst strat replica made by Hondo. That completely changed everything, and I knew I wanted to be a guitarist.

Q: What inspires you the most to write your songs?

A: Music has such a powerful impact on my mood and my feelings. It’s always played such a big role in my life and there are so many songs that have become the “soundtrack” for my life at various points. When I’m down, there are songs that pick me up. If I want to relax, there are songs for that. And there are songs that energize me when I’m riding high. I want to write songs that can play that role in someone else’s life.

Q: Who would be your ultimate dream collaboration with, and why?

A: It would be incredible to collaborate with Paul McCartney. I mean, he has to be the greatest rock songwriter of all time. I’ve heard so many musicians talk about their collaborations with him and how transformative they were. I would absolutely love that.

Q: If there’s one song from your catalog that you wish everyone in the world could listen to, which one would it be?

A: Since this is our debut album, I would give the same answer as above – “Out of Air”

Q: What do you have planned for the year ahead?

We’re already working on our 2nd album. We have a couple of tracks that we think could be really promising, but it’s early – the point where the songs are really raw. The melodies are good, but the lyrics don’t quite all hang together and the structure of the songs is going to evolve as we play them. Hopefully, we can put out a single or two soon.

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