Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Seemingly from out of nowhere (well, OK, from Staten Island), six-man space-disco band Paragraph has unleashed a dance-floor carpet bomb with their new track, “Powernap,” a fuzzy, wuzzy, scuzzy headbanger that drunkenly staggers a fine line between Daft Punk and actual punk. Part of their brand new, just self-released EP, sublimely titled Chic Punk, Paragraph uses the same hand to wipe their nose as they do to give high-fives to locals like Escort, Sleigh Bells, or Avan Lava. On “Powernap,” the band uses a boisterous, blown-out sound to explore cosmic grooves. It’s six guys but magically has the static pulse of a nu-electro DJ turning knobs into the red. From the song’s opening smooshbang, its got the groove of our old pals Justice married to classic chunka-chunka guitars and a honey-smooth melody line.
Paragraph on “Powernap”:
What is “Powernap” about?
We like to tell stories. “Powernap” is about a man with a secret. He’s basically an OK guy. He’s a priest and his own wife doesn’t even know it. Lyrically, it’s inspired by a teacher we knew from high school who left the priesthood. The story was necessarily dramatized. The song itself is meant to be contradictory. It feels good upon first listen, but as you get into it you pick up on the dark stuff.
Tell me about the phrase “chic punk.”
Hmmm… I guess chic punk is an attitude. We’ve always had a hard time labeling ourselves, so chic punk is a self-invented genre, if you will.
So you guys are musicians with a drummer and everything, but you sound like a DJ…
Around the time our original drummer left the band, we began experimenting with drum machines. That really shaped our sound. When we play live, we use three forms of drums: electronic drums and two percussionists. It’s been working out for us as far as dance music is concerned, and we still feel like we have freedom to play with our dynamics. It’s been nice. As far as recording goes, we feel like we’ve only just begun to take advantage of technology.
Have you been known to take powernaps?
We once dared Mikey to fall asleep while sitting in front of us and he did. He is a powerful napper.
Whats the most memorable show you’ve played in New York?
We once played at the now-closed Mo Pitkins, which Jimmy Fallon had bought. The place was set up like a dining room but everyone moved the tables out of the way to form a temporary dance floor. The place was overcrowded and the staff was concerned because the audience literally almost broke the floor. No joke.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Staten Island?
Marie’s Gourmet. The “Amici pie” blows our mind. The owners and staff are amazing and they even let us play shows there. Although we’re fortunate to live where we do, there’s a lot of great food here. The taco place, the pizza place…
Paragraph play Newsonic on June 4th and the Trash Bar at June 18th.