Marisa Predisik sings, writes the songs, and plays ukelele and guitar in Paper City, from Long Beach, CA. This interview is taking place right after an earthquake centered near Washington, D.C.
The band members of Paper City are:
Marisa Predisik: Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Ukulele
Ben Swenson: Bass
Shelby Prendergast: Multi-instrumentalist (not on this tour)
David Waterman: Drums
EPMS: How about that earthquake in Washington DC? Pretty impressive, eh?
Marisa Predisik: We were laughing because we were driving when it happened, and didn't even feel it, but that's all anyone could talk about once we got to Baltimore. The guy who opened for us at the Depot made a joke about how he couldn't talk about the earthquake because there were California Natives in the house, and a 5.6 is like a walk in the park--so true!
EPMS: How much do you tour a year?
Marisa Predisik: This is the first time I've toured with a full-band. Back in 2007, I toured alone as Moedog Darling, but I much prefer touring with the group. It's a lot more fun!
EPMS: Aren't there usually four members in your band?
Marisa Predisik: On this tour we just have three of our four members. We're traveling as a trio: Guitar/Uke/Vocals, Bass, and Drums.
EPMS: How did you come up with the name, Moedog Darling, which was your name as an artist before Paper City?
Marisa Predisik: Moedog was a nickname from high school, so that's where it came from.
EPMS: Why did you change it to Paper City?
Marisa Predisik: When I went from being solo to being in a full band, I changed the name to be more appropriate to what we were doing. The name Paper City just fit.
EPMS: How did you come up with that name?
Marisa Predisik: When I was still Moedog Darling, I made a video called City of the Future, which is a stop-animation music video made entirely of pages I got out of a book from Acres of Books! In this video a little paper spaceship roams through a Paper City. When I was looking for a band name, Paper City just felt (and sounded!) right.
EPMS: Are you some kind of videographer?
Marisa Predisik: I'm not a trained videographer, but I think in pictures, so I feel like I always see how I want things to look before they turn out. I'm usually pleasantly surprised! You may call me a person who thinks like a videographer.
EPMS: I can't remember where, but somewhere else on the internet, you were saying that the letters of Paper City can also be put together to spell 'Epic Party.' Did you come up with that after the name, or did that influence your name choice?
Marisa Predisik: That was a complete (and awesome!) coincidence that I just realized last weekend after an EPIC PARTY that we played in Athens, Ohio. Someone at the party pointed it out, and it made me one of the happiest people in the world, especially since we'd be rating our time on tour using a scale like this: 1. Epic (the best time you could be having) 2. Legendary (almost Epic) 3. Cool (a good time, but not quite Legendary nor Epic) 4. All the rest.
EPMS: Do you consider Paper City to be a party band?
Marisa Predisik: Paper City can be an anything-band. Party-band, art-band, coffee-band, beer-band, having a blast and enjoying yourself-band. I love to dance on stage, so I think the party comes from within the group!! Always remember: Paper City = Epic Party!
EPMS: You played a chili cook-off this past October. How was that? Did you try any really hot chili?
Marisa Predisik: Oddly enough, I didn't try the chili, which totally sucks, because I love hot chili! My drummer tried it right before we played, and we were all joking that he'd have to stop the set to run to the bathroom. Luckily that didn't happen!
EPMS: You were impressed with Mt. Rushmore when you went there, eh? What have been the most impressive things you have ever seen in your life?
Marisa Predisik: I'd say Mt. Rushmore was one of the most impressive things I've seen in person. I'm pretty impressed by large monuments because I appreciate all that went into making stuff like that. I'm also impressed by grand things that occur in nature, i.e,, large forests, big mountains, etc. Living in Southern California, I see the ocean every day, but I'm still impressed by it's vastness.
EPMS: Do you ever do solo shows?
Marisa Predisik: I play solo sometimes. It usually depends on the venue I'm playing. If it's small and calls for a more stripped-down set, I'll do it solo, but if it's big, the band usually comes with me.
EPMS: Gimme your top three or four musical influences.
Marisa Predisik: Oh gosh, this is always a hard one. Good-ol' standby's include: Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, The Smiths, and Morrissey. Some may argue that Morrissey and The Smiths are one and the same, but they aren't.
EPMS: Gimme one influence that would surprise people:
Marisa Predisik: Beethoven.EPMS: How would you describe your electric guitar playing?
Marisa Predisik: I use a lot of augmented/jazz chords, with interesting, yet fun chord changes. I play solos on the album, but not live. I actually want to start soloing live! I think that would take our stage show to the next level.
EPMS: How did you come to play the ukelele?
Marisa Predisik: A close friend of mine gave me a toy ukulele as a gift, and I started writing songs on it just to pass the time--it's been love ever since.
EPMS: How does the ukelele fit into what you do?
Marisa Predisik: Almost half of our songs are written on the ukulele, so we incorporate it throughout our live show. It adds a very sweet sound to what we're doing, and it tends to make even sad songs happy.
EPMS: What's the Acres of Books thing you talk about?
Marisa Predisik: That's an impressive question! I wrote a song called "For Me, For Us, For You", and it's about my favorite Long Beach bookstore closing. Acres of Books was this awesome library-esque used bookstore that seemed to have acres and acres of books piled from floor to ceiling in this antique building. It surely will be missed by EVERYONE in the LB (Note: i.e., Long Beach), and it certainly deserved a song!
EPMS: What have you learned by experience in writing songs?
Marisa Predisik: I've learned that sometimes, not all the time, simpler is better. Things don't have to be so complicated to make a good, lasting song.
EPMS: Where do you see yourself in music in five years?
Marisa Predisik: I see myself doing the same thing, but even more awesome in five years. By then I'll have been playing guitar for seventeen years, so I might have some crazier playing chops. I'm ready to be doing those rockin' solos with one leg in the air! LOL! So in five years I also see our stage shows exploding in large venues. Stage lights, lots of room to dance, and FUN FUN FUN!
EPMS: Great, thanks a lot for your time!
Marisa Predisik: Woo-hoo! This is going to be a really fun interview for people to read. Thanks for being awesome.