By Emily Clingman
Since 2009, Post Paradise, a five-piece indie rock band, has evolved from an experimental group to an official representative of Fort Collins culture. The band was recently chosen to participate in SpokesBUZZ’s 2012 tour to Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival with nine other local bands. (SpokesBUZZ is an organization that handpicks local musical talent to nurture, promote, and to be a symbol of Fort Collins at national events.)
They deserve it. Post Paradise has worked hard to get to this point. Nick Duarte, guitarist and frontman for the band, attributes the group’s success to its self-sufficiency.
“We do all of our work in-house,” Duarte said. “We design our own shirts, book our own tours, program our light shows, and do pretty much everything exactly how we want to do it, which seems to be the best aspect of this new music business that we’re living in right now.”
Duarte also produces all of the band’s music, which can be described as cello-driven alternative rock. His voice is passionate and raw. Amy Morgan strings her cello around the vocals, and the other band members take the listener through melodramatic interludes and hard-rocking guitar and drum jams. Craig Babineau plays drums; Erik Babineau is on guitar, piano, and back-up vocals, with Phil Spencer on bass.
The group just released their first full-length album, The New Normal, in September. They have a lot of camaraderie and inspiration to draw from since forming, as they have been playing gigs like NewWestFest, The Fort Collins Music Experiment, The Greeley Stampede, and The Denver People’s Fair, as well as shows at Hodi’s Half Note and The Aggie Theater.
“It seems like it’s been longer than three years,” Duarte said.
As a categorized rock band, it’s not always easy to gather a following or bring in big crowds to shows.
“Different genres have very different expectations,” Duarte said. “Being a rock band is tough. A reggae or a funk band can draw big crowds. People will go even if they don’t know who the band is, because they know they can dance and it will be a good time. Those bands have a built-in following.”
Erik Babineau agreed.
“It’s harder to get into a rock show right away,” he said. “You either need to know our music or really like our genre to get that same feeling.”
Duarte continued, “You can’t go into a show feeling entitled,” he said. “We can’t be like ‘Hey, we’re playing music so you should like us.’ There is a lot of good music out there, and it’s all about getting people to listen to you. We always try to be innovative and we create everything ourselves. We try new things.”
“A lot of it is word of mouth, too,” Babineau added.
Post Paradise doesn’t have a problem drawing fans to their shows anymore.Recent shows have brought in around 200 people, and the band’s fan base keeps growing.
“We’re ‘lifers’ with music,” Duarte said. “We have more songs to write, more stories to tell. It’s like were getting sucked into a snowball that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
The band enjoys living in the moment for now, though they all love to travel and can see a possible European tour in their future.
“You don’t have to have a van to get to Europe,” said drummer, Craig Babineau, referring to a botched tour out East last summer. Just a few days into the trip, their band van broke down and they lost almost 15 gigs that they spent four months booking. Having to eventually abandon the van in Kansas, they were able to borrow a temporary rig from the Babineaus’ father, who is also a musician, and finish out the tour. In the downtime, though, they lost a lot of money, time and valuable exposure.
“Everything went wrong that could on that trip,” said cellist, Amy Morgan. “I even drew a picture about it with a van leaking gas and tears and money, and little gremlins stealing away all its parts.”
“I think I might be okay laughing about it now,” Duarte said. “Maybe.”
Erik Babineau joked that next summer they will go west instead and just drift over the Continental Divide to the coast.
The group definitely thrives off each other’s sense of humor. Duarte joked with Morgan about some of her goofy answers to interview questions.
“She’s three beers into this evening; you’ll have to bear with her,” he laughed.
Bassist, Phil Spencer – who has hair that resembles a cross between James Dean and Lyle Lovett – chimed in with a hilarious story about where his musical influences came from.
“My mom bought me Whitney Houston and Phil Collins albums when I was like eight or nine,” Spencer said. “Apparently the impact was profound. I danced around my room in my underwear…and look where I am now!”
Everyone laughed. The energy among them was contagious. Balancing out the grittier experiences with times of great success, Post Paradise has been enjoying the ride. They’re ready to show the world what they are made of.
Post Paradise’s next live show will be on January 7 at Road 34 (1213 W. Elizabeth St.). Learn more about the band by visiting postparadiserock.com.