Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Sam Miller and Lucas Zimmerman from the band Paradise Fears, which is a group of 6 young guys from South Dakota. We met up at a local coffee house in New Jersey, on a cold Winter’s evening, where we grabbed some coffee and headed over to a quiet area of the shop for our conversation.
This was my first time meeting up with these guys so our conversation started from the top. We spoke about how and when the band formed. It wasn’t too long ago. It was back in 2006/07 when the guys were all around 16/17 years old that the band formed. Although, it wasn’t until 2010/11 that things started getting serious. Sam and Lucas recalled shows in their hometown where everyone would come out and support them. The room would be filled and everyone in the crowed knew the songs and would be singing along.
The guys reminisced about how they would attend concerts by some of their favorite bands such as All Time Low and thought how cool it must be to tour and play in front of hundreds or even thousands of people every night. It must be a really glamorous lifestyle. They recalled their first show outside of their hometown area. They went to play in La Crosse Wisconsin, carried their equipment up 3 flights of stairs and played to an empty room. They described it as depressing and sad. Although, it did get better over time and as Lucas described it best as being “Wild”. They ended up touring with All Time Low and The Ready Set and fans would approach the guys in Paradise Fears saying how much they love their music. This is something that continues to be a daily occurrence at shows.These guys are really hard workers. They spend lots of time trying to get the vibe right when writing new songs. Most of the time this involves them taking writing trips where they can go off and find a creative environment to work in. They start off by listening to music from artists they enjoy such a John Mayer, Coldplay, Adele and even Drake. They find that cool vibe and then shoot for that with creative input from everyone in the band. They will then create a demo which they will listen to either at home or on the road and then work it out more from there.
Sam also spoke about how he got his musical background from his father who is a Pastor but wrote music while in a band during college. And while some of the Paradise Fears songs take on a religious tone, they are not a Christian Rock band, but what Sam would describe as being a “Love” Rock band, influenced by his mother who was somewhat of a hippy growing up.
The guys in Paradise Fears like to take a break from recording original music and play around with cover songs. They are big on creating distinction rather than trying to cover in a Karaoke way. Their explanation is that they are not trying to out sing the original artists but instead create an entirely new song using their own strengths. Not only are they using covers to showcase their own musical strengths, but they are using music to take a stand for issues they believe in. Sam spoke about their recent cover of the song “Same Love” by Macklemore and how they are in favor of and speaking out for Same Sex Marriage. While “it might be unconventional for a Pastor to support same-sex marriage” said Sam, my father who is a Pastor is very supportive of our views. And Sam further added that his father would tell him “if you’re not saying something, then you’re saying nothing.” This lead Sam and the others to stand up for what they believe in. In addition to speaking out on this topic, the band is going to donate all of the proceeds they make from the sale of their “Same Love” cover to Music for Marriage Equality.
As our conversation went on, we touched on the subject of Christmas Traditions, since it is the holiday season. Lucas tells stories about a specific tree farm that him and his family visit every years where they pick out and chop down the family Christmas Tree. And Sam told me how Santa arrives while everyone is sleeping and that him and his siblings must wait downstairs in the morning until each is awake before heading to see their gifts. He also mentioned how his family enjoys Orange Julius on Christmas and because it is such a huge Christmas tradition, he can’t drink it any other time of the year.
Speaking of traditional holiday drinks and how we are sitting in a coffee house, Sam mentioned his love of Starbucks Peppermint Mocha coffee. Not only did he mention it, but he became extremely happy to be talking about it and indicated that while it is only on the menu boards during the holiday, they serve it all year long. He even showed off his Personalized Gold Starbucks card to us.
Another favorite thing which the guys shared was their love of soft pretzels. Lucas really enjoys the Auntie Anne’s Pretzel’s while Sam described some amazing pretzels such as the cream cheese and jalapeno filled one’s he gets at a local family owned shop called Oh Baby O’s in Watertown South Dakota. Sadly, he told me that this shop is going out of business. Looks like their last day will be December 29th. Go support this local shop before they close and tell them Sam from Paradise Fears sent you!
Paradise Fears is getting ready to head out on The Resolution Tour beginning on January 4th in Boston. Check out a list of Tour Dates on their website at www.paradisefears.com, where you can also purchase their music and merchandise. And you can help get them radio air play by calling your local radio station and requesting their songs.