Demo tapes of Los Angeles-based singer Lisa Papineau’s band, Pet, somehow made the rounds of the labels even before she and guitarist Tyler Bates and drummer Alex LoCascio played their first gig.
If only it were this easy for bands to get discovered.
“The very rough demo tapes that Tyler and I were making,” Papineau said recently, “someone was circulating them around. Then we played our first show and it was filled with A&R (artist and repertoire) people.
“It was really kind of frightening. It was way too serious for that to be happening, because we didn’t have a chance as a live band to, you know, suck. We didn’t have a chance to be horrible and stinky and sound bad. Which is really too bad, because I think it set us back a little bit. People were expecting it to be great. The music needs to develop organically. You can write the songs and work on them and record them, but there’s a whole different element when you play them live for a whole bunch of times. That needed to happen.”
Pet still won over Tori Amos’ manager, Arthur Spivak, who convinced Amos to hear them out (one listen to Papineau’s bellowing vocals is all it took). From there, Amos and Spivak formed their own label, Igloo Records (distributed by TAG/Atlantic), with the direct intent of offering Pet sounds to the rest of the world. The band’s self-titled debut album was released Sept. 3.
“I know she didn’t want to babysit anybody,” Papineau said of Amos. “She doesn’t have time, she has her own thing going on. Apart from the music, I think she and Arthur also saw that we could get the job done. They didn’t need to hold our hands.
“That was really what we were looking for, because people sometimes treat musicians like stupid idiots. To have them say ‘You know you’re job, just do it’ was a huge, huge thing. It gave us so much confidence.”
Much of Pet’s first sessions took place last winter at Amos’ studio in Ireland.
“It was amazing,” Papineau said. “I’m kind of a bumpkin. I was out of the country maybe once before that. It was in the middle of nowhere in a house. There was no sterile walls or really strange-looking carpeting. It was a real home with real ghosts and real kitchen smells. We wanted to make this as live-sounding as possible, and everything just clicked.”
More updates: Joe Henry, Marcus King, Lily Kershaw, Poliça, Sarah Brightman, Jerry Leger, Simple Minds, Grateful Dead, etc