The Paper Kites Are Taking The Roadhouse On The Road: ‘It's Always Beautiful Playing Back Home’

23 May 2024 | 3:21 pm | Ellie Robinson
In Partnership With Frontier Touring

An exclusive chat with the Naarm/Melbourne rockers ahead of their biggest-ever tour on home soil.

The Paper Kites

The Paper Kites (Credit: Nick McKinlay)

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As anyone who’s ever seen them live will attest, the stage is where The Paper Kites truly shine the brightest. From their humble origins 2009 – when they’d dart across Melbourne (Naarm) playing any pub they could squeeze their gear into – to their present-day role as one of the hardest-working bands on the international touring circuit, armed with a stack of amps and a tub of cables, they’ve always been a five-piece force to be reckoned with.

In just a couple of weeks, The Paper Kites will embark on their biggest-ever tour on home soil, taking to some of the most prestigious theatres in Fremantle (Boorloo), Brisbane (Meanjin), Sydney (Eora), Melbourne and Castlemaine (Dja Dja Wurrung). The two-week trek comes in support of their career-defining sixth album, At The Roadhouse – which arrived last September via Wonderlick/Sony – and will see The Paper Kites adopt their most grandiose form to date: an eight-piece rounded out by Hannah Cameron on piano and percussion, Chris Panousakis on guitar and percussion, and Matt Dixon on guitar and pedal steel.

Speaking with, the group say they’ve felt “so honoured to share the stage” with the trio (who they’ve dubbed The Roadhouse Band), praising them all as “incredibly talented and established musicians in their own right”, who have “added so much depth and creativity to the set”. The band added: “They, along with our amazing crew, have really become a part of our big tour family after all these months on the road...

“We had a lot of fun in the rehearsals for these shows, being able to play with the arrangements of our earlier songs with the addition of The Roadhouse Band. Playing with extra guitar and vocal parts and adding pedal steel into older tracks has really brought new life to some old favourites.”

In addition to her spot in The Roadhouse Band, Cameron will also open all five shows with sets of her own, spotlighting her phenomenal third album, Holding Pattern (which also arrived last September). “Crowds are in for such a treat,” The Paper Kites said of her solo performance, (rightfully) swearing she’s “not to be missed”.

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Thus far, The Paper Kites have toured in their current incarnation across North America, Europe and the UK. They say those runs have delivered “some of the most unique and special shows that we've played as a band”. It’s been a very special era for the band, as they gushed: “We've had the privilege of playing some really beautiful theatres across the world and have played to some of our biggest crowds yet. We are so grateful to everyone that has come out to a show over the last few months. We've had the loveliest reception everywhere we've been.”

As the last major leg of the world tour, this run feels particularly significant for the band as “a sweet full-circle moment” – especially since At The Roadhouse was brought to life in the rural Victorian town of Campbells Creek, just a stone’s throw (3.7 kilometres, to be exact) from the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine, where the tour will wrap up on Saturday June 22.

They say of their excitement for the run as a whole: “It's always beautiful playing back home, and it’s extra special when we know there are friends and family in the crowd, and a lot of people who have seen us grow as a band or helped us along the way. Those little things always make Australian shows special. It also feels like a big event when we finally get to bring our music home, as we do spend so much time overseas these days.”

As for what fans can expect with The Paper Kites take to the stage, the band say they’ve spent the last nine months on the road working to “craft the set into something that feels and flows really well”. They continue: “It’s been surprisingly easy to find where our older stuff fits in with the new songs. We're all having a lot of fun performing some of the bigger, heavier tracks from [At The Roadhouse] and showing crowds a slightly different side of the band, compared to our softer and more acoustic songs.”

The new album feels perfectly attuned to The Paper Kites’ live show, thanks in large part to its origin story: the band spent a month in Campbells Creek, working out of an old supply store for gold miners they’d converted into a makeshift live venue, writing songs there during the weeks and then performing them for the locals every weekend. Their reception would shape the songs we hear immortalised on tape today – and in a bid to capture that spirit as authentically as possible, they even tracked the album live.

“It was an exciting challenge for us,” they say of the process. “Playing the songs on the weekends at The Roadhouse – the venue we created for the project – meant that when we sat down in the studio together, we tried to bring that same energy and life to the songs that we were enjoying with the crowds. Most tracks involved all eight of us sitting around a room together, which we actually found so much more enjoyable than tracking individually. It took the nerves away and let us just lean in and play the songs together, like we had been for months.”

After they wrap up their Australian tour, The Paper Kites will shift their focus on to album #7. At The Roadhouse was their most ambitious project yet, but they’re certainly not looking to replicate it for its follow-up. They say of their future plans: “We've always been really intentional about not wanting to put ourselves in a box or feel like we just have to keep making the same kind of music. But in saying that, you can't help but learn and develop through every new project and consequently there will be elements of it that we’re sure will continue to seep through into our sound in the future.”




Saturday June 8 – Boorloo/Fremantle, Freo.Social
Friday June 14 – Meanjin/Brisbane, The Tivoli
Saturday June 15 – Eora/Sydney, Enmore Theatre
Friday June 21 – Naarm/Melbourne, The Forum
Saturday June 22 – Dja Dja Wurrung/Castlemaine, Theatre Royal