by Rish Hanco
Fold Paper is the new project from Chell Osuntade, a Michigan native who moved to Winnipeg in 2016, and has been embedded in the local music scene ever since.
Chell sat down to talk to us about Fold Paper and his journey with music. He discusses his influences, his passion for the post-punk genre, and playing music with his friends.
This interview has been edited for conciseness and clarity.
STYLUS: Do you want to talk about what you’re working on right now?
CHELL: Will and Art — they run Collector Studio, I’ve become friends with them in the last couple years. Their first band, my other band, Julien’s Daughter, recorded their album two or three years ago. I’ve been hanging around them a lot recently, so we decided to take on Fold Paper. We’re going in on Nov. 10 and we’re going to start recording. We’re working on a single first just to kick it off. That’ll be the first thing I ever worked on as Fold Paper, except for my demos.
S: So this is all music that you’ve written and now you’re gathering your friends together to play it?
C: Exactly. It usually starts with me getting an idea, I record it on my phone and then I spend a day, maybe a few hours, just sitting on GarageBand and recording the guitar, recording the bass, midi-ing the drums. It’s been a fun experience teaching myself to do that. Now it’s like flipping over the table and actually going into the studio to record. It’s nerve-racking but I’m pretty excited. It’s such a fulfilling experience to have other people there with you. I remember I got into such a rut. After I’d record on GarageBand it would just be there, and I would spend so long on it too, it’s tiring my ears out. I was like, “Is this really going to pan out to anything?” But then playing it live with other bands was like, “This is going to be so cool.” And it’s my friends, people that I know in the scene already. I have Jordan Cayer from Merin, Jordan also plays in Amos The Kid, Reed Forrest from MoyaMoya, and then I have Rob Gardiner from Conduct. I remember I saw Conduct maybe a year or two ago, and I remember watching the drummer, Rob, and I was like, “I need that.” Immediately after their show I went up and I was like, “Yo what’s good, I’m Chell, I think I’m in love with you.” He’s such a good drummer, I love watching him. We chatted that day, I think we added each other on instagram and then later in the year I was like, “My project’s coming together, do you want to drum for me?” and he was like, “Yeah.”
S: How did you get into music?
C: When I was young I used to listen to country music. I had this little radio and it would blast country music 365, for three or four years straight. That was a huge influence, for me, and that evolved into listening to other kinds of music. I went from country to indie rock. Lots of Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club. I went from listening and enjoying these bands to wanting to play their songs. My parents bought me a guitar and I started playing. I learned to play my favourite songs and I started realizing that I really liked the bass lines. I tried to learn them on my guitar and it wasn’t working really well, so then my parents bought me a bass. I didn’t really start doing it publicly until I moved to Winnipeg. When I moved here in 2016, I joined a band called Arenas. I actually met them on an app called BandMix. It was two brothers, Mike Scott and Chris Scott. That’s when I started to get into the scene, that’s when I met the Real Love [Summer Fest] guys, that’s when I met Jeremy from JayWood. After Arenas I met my friend Emma Murphy. She shot me a message on Facebook because she found my profile on BandMix. So we created Julien’s Daughter, then I started to get into a lot of harder rock, got into more alternative music, then turned to post-punk. When I found the post-punk genre, that’s when my eyes really opened and I was like, “Oh yeah, this is what I want to do.” Mike Scott gave me a lot of bands to listen to. One band that really kicked it off for me is Black Midi. [Mike] sent me this clip from one of their songs called “Talking Heads.” That really pushed me into the deep end of post-punk. Another one of my favourite post-punk bands is Unschooling. Huge influence on my post-punk and on my writing post-punk.
S: Do any of your country music favourites influence your writing now?
C: I don’t think directly but I think it taught me so much. Country is a genre that is so rooted in the basics of musics. It’s such a basic genre where there’s all these general chord shapes and these general chord progressions. I think one thing it really taught me was to write music that draws a certain kind of feeling from the listener. I think that does influence what I do now, like I said not directly, but I feel like I know how to get what I want to get from what I’m making.
S: When you’re writing now is that a goal that you have? Are you like, “I’m going to write this song because I want someone to feel sad when they listen to it?”
C: Sometimes, yes. But most of the time with what I’ve done so far, what I’ve created so far, it happens mostly in the shower when I can’t get out and do anything with it. I’ve taught myself to kind of keep it in my head until I get out, then I can get on my guitar, put it down. Most of the time that’s how I create what I create, and then I find that I can turn it into what I want. I’ll be like, “Okay now I have this random idea, what do I want to associate with it? What do I want to make people feel? Do I want to make people dance? What do I want to turn this into?”
S: When you’re writing music are you considering how this is going to sound live or what the experience is going to be of a live audience?
C: That is exactly what’s always in my head. I’ll never picture recording this in-studio or putting the song out. I’ll always picture myself on stage playing. I always picture what the audience will be doing while I’m playing so that pushes a lot of it, a lot of what I write. If there was a way that I didn’t ever have to go into a studio I would do it, but it doesn’t make any sense to not record your shit because people would want to listen to it other than just seeing you live. That is usually the goal, to get on stage and play. It’s not like I hate recording, but that’s the second thing.
S: What is one of your best or worst live show experiences?
C: I think my favourite show to date would be the JayWood album release show we just played a couple weeks ago, that was a really fun show. A lot of people came out. The audience almost made us cry on stage. JayWood has a song called “Thank You,” and it was one of the last songs we played. When we started the song all of a sudden all these pieces of paper went up in the audience and they all said “thank you.” It was very heartfelt, and it was very moving. And the worst show experience… I don’t know. There’s never really a show you hate, I love being on stage, I love playing. Julien’s Daughter had kind of a weird show a few months ago, it was at the Handsome Daughter. It was our first show back after a while, and we actually practiced a lot for it too, so I don’t know why it went so rough. We were forgetting parts. I’ve learned now that we’re harder on ourselves than anyone else is, and something it also taught me is, whatever’s happening on stage, you should never call yourself out. I kind of did that while we were on stage there, which I really regret, but again it’s a learning experience. Everyone was really cool about it, everyone was really sweet. It was almost like they didn’t notice anything, which I realize now that they didn’t. It’s still a show, they’re still having fun.
S: What is it about the Winnipeg music scene that got you into performing and trying to do it professionally?
C: I love the scene. That might be because I haven’t really experienced any other music scene, but I love the Winnipeg music scene and I feel like I’ve gotten so many opportunities. I feel like a lot of that goes back to making connections. That’s something I’m pretty good at, is connecting with people. That’s definitely helped me to get to where I am now. Just be nice to people and always be open, just whatever level you’re at be fucking cool, be a nice person and that’ll get you far.