In 1933, oil heiress Daisy Canfield was on her way home from a party when her car veered off a Mulholland Drive
cliff, plummeting 300 feet and instantly killing the wife of silent movie star Antonio Moreno. In the decades that followed, the couple's 14-bedroom Hollywood Hills estate would see time as a school for girls, then a convent before falling into disrepair, later being devastated by a 1987 earthquake. Born again more than a decade later, the renovated mansion has served as a recording studio for the likes of H.I.M.
and Gwen Stefani
, and recently hosted television's "Rock Star
" reality series.
It was between seasons of "Rock Star" that Papa Roach
were tenants of the historic property, writing and recording the songs that comprise The Paramour Sessions
. "We chose to move into the Paramour so we could focus on music and not have to deal with and be affected by the outside world," says Papa Roach drummer Dave Buckner. Little did the band realize the impact that the house would actually have.
"We went in to the house with the intention of writing the most savage, bad-ass record we could write," adds frontman Jacoby Shaddix, "but when we got there, the house had a spirit about it that was bigger than us. We knew we were onto something the second we went into our jam sessions, because we'd never stepped into a room and played for six or seven hours straight, just being creative."
The results of that creative energy - whether channeled by the band, or the product of a mysterious, more elusive energy - are The Paramour Sessions, the fifth full-length Papa Roach release of the past decade, and second for Geffen Records. "Living in the house together was the best thing we could have done for ourselves," says guitarist Jerry Horton. "It brought new life to our writing process and helped us reconnect musically and spiritually. The Paramour brought another level to our creative flow and that had a major influence on the songs, as well as how we'll write music in the future." Details Shaddix: "There was something about the ballroom we recorded in that made us want to write bigger, with more open chords. Something happened there that we wanted everyone to experience with us, and we wanted the songs to feel as grand and over-the-top as our experience there was."
The first single "...To Be Loved" opens the album with a down-tuned litany that harkens back to Papa Roach's genre-jumping roots, but quickly explodes into a rock and roll maelstrom more in line with their previous release, the critically acclaimed and platinum-selling Getting Away With Murder
. Arena rock crashes head-on with punk attitude and contagious, sing-along choruses, setting the bar early for the most infectious P-Roach album to date: No small statement, considering that Papa Roach have already sold more than 10 million albums, establishing themselves as one of the most successful rock bands in the world.
"We approach every record with no rules, no boundaries," says Tobin Esperance, who played a lot of guitar on the record, in addition to his full-time bass duties. "We do what comes naturally to us, and I think that shows in all of our recordings. We are a rock and roll band with many different influences." "First and foremost, we want to write songs - lyrically and melodically - that you can sing along with," adds Shaddix. "We're a band that tries to walk that line between metal, hardcore, punk rock and pop music, and we do our best at trying to make it all tasteful. Not heavy shit just for the sake of having heavy sh*t, but heavy sh*t that you can sing along with because it's got a pop sensibility."
Don't get too focused on the allusion of a pop mindset, as The Paramour Sessions proved a dark and haunting chapter in Papa Roach history. "We were in a pretty volatile state when we made this record, because a lot of us were going through a lot of personal sh*t," says Shaddix. "There's love on this album, there's fucking violence on the record, there's sex, drugs and rock and roll, there's fear, there's fucking strength... Every experience we could experience as a group of people, we experienced in that house. We cried, we fought, there were sleepless nights, and we kind of got scared of who we were for a while there. But crazy as it was, coming out on the other side of making the record, I think getting lost in ourselves was the best thing that we could have done. Towards the end of it, we knew we had to get out of that place or we'd go f*cking crazy."
Make no mistake, there were no shortage of crazy moments captured at Paramour. From the four-to-the-floor, full frontal assault of "Alive" and the fast and furious frenzy of "Crash," to the ambient undertow of "Forever" and the lush landscape and colossal choruses of "The World Around You," and through the epic orchestration of closing track "Roses On My Grave," the 13 tracks flow with an inspired energy and linger with a haunting aftertaste.
"Every album we've made is a reflection of our states, both personally and musically, and this album is no different," explains Buckner. "The whole property was completely f*cking haunted, and I saw it as a sanctioned opportunity for me to lose my mind-And I did exactly that. I was visited by inter-dimensional beings, had out-of-body sex with spirits from old Hollywood, learned how to see specters, and now know what it feels like to have a ghost walk through me. It's a very enlightening and inspiring experience, and something to check off the list."
"There were times that I was just lyrically stuck, and I would go down to Daisy's grave - she was buried on the property - and just write whatever came to me," recalls Shaddix. "I wrote 'Forever' down there, and also 'My Heart Is A Fist.' I'd just walk around the property and find the lyrics - I'd look under rocks, I'd trip out, I'd meditate.
"Ultimately, we all needed to face whatever our fears were on this record," the singer continues. "We also need to be able to face the fans, face the world, and be able to be proud of who we are and what we do. After making this record, we couldn't ask for anything more than what we accomplished." "It was a pretty crazy, intense time, and you can hear it throughout the record," sums Esperance. "It's a very honest and direct record, which is the same thing that Papa Roach strive to be as a band."
"In the early days, I would obsess and worry about making our mark on rock music, but not anymore," concludes Buckner. "In fact, I'm not sure that's even a worthy concern… We rock today, and that's what's cool."
More on Papa Roach HERE