Hailing from South Dakota, alt-rock band Paradise Fears has been on the scene since 2011 — and they’ve been busy ever since.
Currently on tour, the band not only has two full-length albums and three EPs, but they’re also dropping their new album Life in Real Time on Dec. 4. They even have a new music video for “Back to Life.”
We were lucky enough to ask Paradise Fears singer Sam Miller a few questions, including the inspiration behind “Back to Life,” what we can expect from the new album and more.
SheKnows: For those who are hearing of Paradise Fears for the first time, describe your music in three words.
Sam Miller: Authentic, lyrical, pianos.
SK: How did you come up with the concept for the “Back to Life” video?
SM: Given the context of the song, I wanted to do something post-apocalyptic, but I wanted to find a ripple in the genre, because for as popular as it has been, I felt like not enough people were capitalizing on the absurdly human, almost-humorous psychosis that someone surviving the death/freezing of all of their friends would experience. So the treatment stemmed from that.
SK: What was the best part about filming it?
SM: The dog in the video is my puppy, who I adore and was 6 months old at the time. Working with him as an actor really tested our relationship in the coolest way. I needed to get certain looks or performances out of him, so coming up with creative ways to get those was pretty thrilling.
SK: What was the inspiration behind the “Back to Life” lyrics?
SM: I wanted to write as a young adult protagonist, with the kind of youthful vitality that they always speak to each other with. So I drew upon the thrilling and inconsequential relationships of my teens.
SK: What other bands/artists have influenced your sound?
SM: All kinds of them. Lately, it has been a melding of the classic lyrical alternative, like Coldplay or the more ambient U2 stuff, and the modern world of alternative, with its drum machines and vocal samples, like St. Lucia or even as far back as Postal Service.
SK: Are there any collaborations on your new album Life in Real Time?
SM: We worked with Sierra Deaton of Alex & Sierra on one song called “Talk About It,” and her voice added an entirely new dimension.
SK: What song on Life in Real Time do you have the strongest emotional connection to and why?
SM: Probably “Reunion,” just because it was written the most immediately of my own experience, although “Talk About It” speaks pretty directly to the unraveling of every relationship I’ve ever had.
SK: What are you most excited about regarding Life in Real Time?
SM: We haven’t put out a full collection of songs in two years. I’m excited to remember the thrill of people hearing all new music.
SK: On your website, you respond to letters from your fans, which I really admire. What a great way to connect with your fans! Have any letters really moved you or impacted you? If so, how/which ones?
SM: They all do! There are heavy, emotional experiences that are described in some, and it really rocks your sense of your place in the world to know that you’re a part of that kind of journey. Then some are completely lighthearted, some make me laugh — and those are just as moving.
SK: You guys cover “Landslide” on your Battle Scars EP — and I was legitimately taken aback by the song choice (in a good way!). What is it you love about that song?
SM: Gotta be one of the best songs ever written, right? One of those songs, lyrically, that says what everyone writing songs has been trying to say. Everybody wants to last, and matter, in the eyes of the people they love — and they knew how to say it.
SK: What’s one live show that completely changed you and left a lasting impact on you?
SM: I mean, I can’t answer this question without talking about the pop rock shows that ruled my youth and got me into music: All Time Low at First Avenue in Minneapolis in 2009, Mayday Parade at The Waiting Room in Omaha in 2010. Lately, Damien Rice totally flipped my world on its head.
SK: What are a few songs you currently can’t stop listening to?
SM: “Sorry” by Justin Bieber. Not songs, just song. Just that. Totally ruling my life.
SK: What’s been the biggest challenge to getting where you are now and how did you overcome it?
SM: I should say the inherent difficulty of getting people to care about your music or the struggle of retaining creative integrity when it’s at odds with what’s happening in commercial music, but really it has been learning to pee in the van.