Review Fix chats with 2 Paper Dolls, Frida Farrell (vocals/piano) and Isabel Latz (guitar/backing vocals), who discuss their origin in music, as well as their new single, “Not Alright.”
About 2 Paper Dolls:
Their debut single, “Not Alright,” was born from the untimely demise of a relationship. Full of longing and the torment of feelings left unsaid; there’s an unexpected sonic frustration that echoes throughout the track. Doused in a sheen rhythmic arrangement and percussive melodies, you can hear the smatterings of influences from bands like Haim and even 90’s Alanis Morissette at her best. Emotively raw and lyrically aching, “Not Alright” is a vulnerable reflection of what it feels like to be cast aside without a second thought. Layers of vocals create a wistful, almost ethereal, listening experience that pulls listeners into the folds of the emotional journey with ease.
Review Fix: How did the band get together?
We met on the internet on a music site and had our first meeting in a cafe in West Hollywood. I remember Isabel saying to me “TG you’re a woman” she probably thought it was a con and didn’t know who was gonna turn up to meet her.
Frida Farrell: We quickly realized we had a similar taste in music and wanted to do the same things, music, play live, record, etc and we both loved lots of cups of tea. Perfect match.
Isabel Latz: We found each other on the internet (very twenty-first century); we started collaborating by sending each other songs, lyrics, and melodies and we realized that there wasn’t much we’d rather do in our free time than make music Over the years, we were joined by a bass player and a drummer/percussionist in LA who recorded and performed with us – and we are always open to collaborating with other musicians – but for this EP, it was just the two of us and our fantastic producer James Nagel.
Review Fix: What makes you different now than when you first got involved in music?
Farrell: My sound was a lot more acoustic when I started doing music, much more simple, like just a guitar or just a piano.
I still write that way but I like that our sound has changed and evolved. And it happened organically.
We added more people to the band, a base player and then a precussonist. And one day we had a live gig and they both cancelled so Isabel swiftly programmed an old school beat machine and we used him on stage. Boom. There was our new sound.
Latz: Ha! When I first got involved in making music at 14, it had to be punk-rock. I was almost exclusively listening to bands like Green Day, Blink 182, Millencolin, and various German punk bands; over time my musical horizon has expanded and I enjoy a range of styles – from Salsa, to Electro-pop, to Opera. For me it’s more about the quality of the song and whether I can connect with the melody, lyrics, rhythm… a good song is a good song
Review Fix: What was your creative process like for this EP?
Farrell: I tend to write all the lyrics and Isabel sends me ideas with melodies. Then we rehearse and rehearse and rehearse, and we add and change and take away stuff until we’re both happy. For the EP I was traveling so Isabel and James (our producer) would record and prep the tracks and send them to me then I recorded all the vocals in a great studio in Sweden.
Latz: We wrote most of the songs for this EP a little while ago. For all the songs, Frida came up with the lyrics and sent them to me. Sometimes I would think of a melody almost instantly. Other times I had to mull over the words for a while and try some things with the guitar or drum machine. We generally complete songs over rehearsals with strong cups of tea (or something stronger…).
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Farrell: Musically? Listening to other great songwriters or musicians. Sometimes one word or one sentence in a song can inspire me to write an entire song. This is probably super cliche but feeling sad inspires me to write. It’s a bit like telling your best girlfriend about how you feel, but instead I write it down. I feel that I can be incredibly honest about my feelings when I write which sometimes can be hard when you talk face to face to someone.
Latz: Artists who use their platform to speak out about injustices, who talk about issues we should all be talking about (climate change, for starters) and who stand up for communities whose rights and well-being are under attack. Also, anyone who does anything they love (IL)
Review Fix: What’s the standout track on this new EP?
Farrell: I agree with Isabel here. It depends on the time of day. Although I tend to like sad songs more than happy songs. So I would probably put on When You Leave or Followed My Heart instead of Not Up To Me even if it’s first thing in the morning. But this is where Isabel and I are a good match. I write sad lyrics and Isabel comes up with happy melodies to counter my sadness. Coz if you listen to the lyrics none of the songs on our EP are particularly happy.
Latz: Don’t ask me that! Just kidding, but I really couldn’t say. When I just had my espresso in the morning, I would feel like a song like “not alright” or “not up to me”. When I am sentimental or reminiscing, “when you leave” is a better fit. And when it’s 3am and I am wondering what on earth I am doing with my life, “i followed my heart” would be the winner.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Farrell: Singer songwriter / electronic pop. I think…..
Latz: I would describe it as a combination of singer-songwriter, melodic pop, rock, folk, electronic, and sometimes acoustic – type – sound. Which would probably frustrate people because I am not being specific enough.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Farrell: We do mistakes when we’re Iive. Lol. And we talk a bunch of crap in between the songs.
And then, yeah, the obvious, since we’re only 2 people we can only play so many instruments. I play synth + sing. Isabel plays guitar + sings backing vocals + presses the button on our old school beat machine.
Latz: I think our live shows have a more intimate feel. It’s usually just the two of us and there is only so many instruments we can play at once… we also like to chat a little bit between songs; we like to make the audience feel included and want them to have a good time.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2019?
Farrell: To release another EP and hopefully a few more singles and music videos.
And play live in a few cool venues here in LA.
Latz: At the risk of giving the most cliché answer ever, it is quite simple: Perform live, write more songs, and record another EP or album.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Farrell: Shooting a music video for our next single.
Latz: See answer to previous question (if all goes well). It’s true, I think we mostly want to get out more, write more songs, and reach a bigger audience.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Farrell: Eat less meatballs and more edamame beans.
Latz: Keep yourself alive!