If you’ve spent much time around the DC music scene for the past five years, you’ve heard of Paperhaus. They’re a band founded by long time musical partners Alex Tebeleff and Eduardo Rivera, and over the course of two EPs and multiple national tours, they’ve worked their way up as one of the most well-known live bands in the city. Danny Bentley and Matt Dowling joined the band in 2014, adding a new edge and energy to the band as a relentless and powerful rhythm section.
In tandem, they’ve feverishly worked to host local and touring bands from around the globe at their home/practice space/DIY haven, which is called The Paperhaus as well. All the shows are packed. Yes, after years of DC music scholars sitting on the sidelines and writing about “how everything sucks so bad now” in the DC scene, there’s a DIY space that has survived and thrived in a way that has not been witnessed in quite some time. Since the emergence of The Paperhaus, there are now dozens of DIY house venues across the city, making DC the country’s most thriving and active DIY music scene.
Paperhaus, the band, and Paperhaus, the house, are called the same thing, and also share the same spirit. It’s one of commitment to building a creative community. Their self-titled debut full length album, to be released in February 2015, has multiple singers. Taking cues from psychedelic inclined bands like CAN, King Crimson, Deerhunter, and Lower Dens, mixed with pop elements from Radiohead, Talking Heads, The Smiths and Real Estate, the songs on their self titled debut album act as pieces that stride throughout a frantic room filled with sweaty, amped showgoers who just realized that music is about people in a room experiencing a common feeling. This is very important and unique in an age where entertainment consumers have been trained to believe that byte-sized and sugary and alone is best.
The album was written over a period of two years, mostly through intense improvisation sessions, and finished on stages and in basements across the country during their two month national in support of their EP “Lo Hi Lo” in the spring of 2013 . The themes of the album are discovering your place in the world, creating a better awareness of yourself and the world around you, and mind expansion via whatever means necessary. This might come across to some at first like a bunch of hippie bullshit, but Paperhaus are not a band of hippies. They’ve been much more informed by the punk ethos and the music that followed in response to the psychedelic scene of the 1960’s.
Paperhaus has shared the stage with bands like The War On Drugs, Caveman, Man Man, Here We Go Magic, Woods, The Love Language, Majical Cloudz, Moon King, Widowspeak, Those Darlins, Desert Noises, and Deleted Scenes, over the course of hundreds of shows around the country over the past 4 years.