CS: Firstly, to satiate my own curiosity, where does Lucas Nathan end and Jerry Paper begin? When did you first discover this other dimension of yourself, or has he always existed as a part of your own character?JP: Jerry Paper started as a mask of myself that I could wear to be more freely me. I started making music alone at home as a teenager and when I turned 20 I decided to try performing live. It was EXTREMELY nerve wracking and I felt I needed some way to ritualize the experience, to make a distinction between the person on stage and the person off stage. Essentially it was a tactic to avoid stage fright, but it gradually became a way for me to express myself in freer ways than I feel I can in my daily life. Particularly as the pandemic has made it impossible to tour, I am starting to realize how much I’ve relied on this compartmentalized freedom of self. I see now how the freedom of being Jerry on stage is missing from my life. So right now I’m trying to integrate that freedom into my daily life! It is very challenging, but I think every day I get closer to melding the two beings.
CS: You have proved yourself to be an artist who is unafraid to delve into the sub-conscious and explore the idea of existentialist anxiety through your records. In this uniquely unsettling present that we now find ourselves, living through a global pandemic which is set to change the world as we know it, how have you been adapting to this perplexing new reality?
JP: I mean, it’s been nuts! Just trying to take it one day at a time. Sometimes erupting in tears, sometimes erupting in joyous dance.
CS: The silky jazz aesthetic throughout your discography topped with abstract and existential lyricism is reminiscent of the works of Haruomi Hosono or Steely Dan. Who, or what, are your inspirations for your music?
JP: Hosono and Steely Dan are definitely up there. I think Steely Dan in particular really opened my eyes to the way certain modes of storytelling and image-making can elevate music. A lot of my lyrical inspiration comes from just living life and writing down my thoughts, but a lot of it also comes from reading novels and short stories. Don DeLillo was a really big inspiration for a while. When I was writing and recording Abracadabra I was really into Joy Williams (particularly the short story book “Taking Care” and the novel “Breaking and Entering”) and rediscovering Kafka (“Amerika” is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read).