The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday August 12th

Q&A with electronic musician Paper Diamond

Electronic musician Alex Botwin — better known as Paper Diamond — performed at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro on Sunday night as part of his Rain Drops North American tour. Staff writer Madison Flager spoke with Botwin about his recent performance, his custom sound system and his current tour. 

The Daily Tar Heel: You were at Cat’s Cradle around this same time last year, how was it to be back Sunday night?

Alex Botwin: It was awesome. It’s crazy because we have the most insane sound system with us that every night has just been insane — it feels crazy, literally.   

DTH: Is this your first time working with a sound system like this?

AB: We’ve brought smaller systems out before, but this is definitely the most insane touring rig we’ve had before. It’s a different feeling when you’re going to clubs and smaller towns that don’t always get music like this and you see people’s reactions — it’s what I live for. 

DTH: You designed the set for this tour, what do you want audiences to come away from it feeling or thinking?

AB: I think that people will leave having the best time. There’s so many different emotions and sections of the set and so many experiences, you can’t really pin down one emotion. It’s different for everyone. We kind of were making new styles of art and stuff, and in the Rain Drops artwork there’s a lot of different messages. It’s awesome to make it not just about the music; there’s lots of different moving pieces to it with the set and lights and clothes.

DTH: Are you still involved with your art gallery and design firm in Colorado?

AB: Yeah, I am. It was deterring me from writing a lot of music. I was spreading myself out and everything was so rushed, so I couldn’t put out as much music as I’d like to. It’s a lot of work, it’s a labor of love ... So I pretty much stepped back all of last year and focused on writing. I was working all over Europe and the States and collaborating a lot on vocal stuff. 

DTH: You’ve played in a lot of different spaces — festivals, Madison Square Garden, smaller venues like Cat’s Cradle. Do you have a favorite setting to play in? 

AB: They’re all so different, but I’m having such a good time on this tour, having my crew every night and going in knowing the sound will be perfect and the lights are working and the vibe is right. 

DTH: It looks like there’s a lot of different musicians featured throughout the tour — is there anyone in particular you’re really excited to have play? 

AB: I pretty much individually reached out to all of them, friends and people whose music I like and just thinking about how to make the show fun. This tour, we wanted to switch it up and have different people for different sections of the tour and have different vibes for different parts of the country. I’m really hands-on and always thinking about every show individually and just trying to make every show as awesome as possible. 

DTH: Any word on when in early 2015 the Rain Drops EP will be released? Can you tell me about any big influences on this new EP?

AB: Probably in the next couple weeks — we’re just finishing up some label stuff, but it’s done. I listen to all kinds of music all the time and when I was in Europe, there were sounds that were very different from what’s going on here. I sit down and write something completely different each time. This EP is (a collection of) my favorite of the tracks that got developed that are relatable to this time in my life. It’s a year’s worth of traveling and music and art and playing my instruments. Pretty much now I always want to have my mind blown with music, and that’s what I try to do in the shows for other people.

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