A new dawn for Paper Morning

Andy Downing
Paper Morning

When Paper Morning formed in 2015, guitarist Brogan Reilly was the only member who lived in Columbus, having moved here to study trumpet at Ohio State. But over the years, bandmates Brent Skoda (guitar/vocals), Daniel Ita (bass), Reggie Bacchus (drums/keyboard) and Andrew Dwyer (drums/keyboard) have all migrated to the city from different parts of Northeast Ohio, where the five musicians once attended Medina High School, playing together in the marching band.

A similar coalescing has taken place within the group’s music, which embraced many styles early on and has gradually tightened as the players moved geographically closer — both sound and membership drawing together like the fingers of a fist.

Paper Morning’s first two albums were recorded simultaneously and reflect these more scattershot early influences, populated by songs that bounced from indie rock to jam to soul to world-leaning numbers driven by Caribbean rhythms.

“It was like, ‘We’ve got 15 songs and that’s what we’re going to record,’ rather than picking the best eight and making something with a cohesive vision,” Reilly said. “The songs were all over the place, and I don’t think we had really honed in a sound. … But even hearing the stuff back that maybe wasn’t our favorite was also helpful, because we knew not to do that again, and to write differently.”

The songs the band has tracked for a new full-length — targeted for a spring 2020 release — have been assembled more gradually, in comparison, shaped over months of practices and then labored over during a long, intensive mixing process. This was in part by design (Reilly noted the members desire to pull back to allow a clearer vision to develop) and in part out of necessity.

“Brent and his girlfriend bought a house, and then Daniel got married, and I’ve been doing a lot of freelance trumpet work playing in musicals and that kind of thing,” Reilly continued. “Everybody was transitioning from college … to full-time, career-type jobs, and it took time to find a balance between that and making an album.”

The added time and a newfound proximity — “I think even just moving to Columbus and seeing each other regularly really solidified what we’re going after,” said Reilly — helped Paper Morning home in on sound, which the musician described as synth-driven indie-rock with pronounced R&B and funk influences. This is particularly true of horn-driven first single “Mind My Business,” which the guitarist/trumpeter labeled something of a red herring. “It’s the only track on the album with horns on it,” said Reilly, who will join his bandmates for a single release show at Brothers Drake Meadery on Friday, Dec. 20. “But I figured if it was going to be the only one … I really wanted to blow it out.”

Brothers Drake

8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20

26 E. Fifth Ave., Short North


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Paper Morning single release show