During the summer, I heard about this band called, Death of Paris, from a friend. Soon after watching all of their videos on YouTube, I contacted the lead singer, Jayna Doyle. We talked about the band name, line-up changes and how the we both like to sit in the car to talk on the phone. The car was the only quiet place that either one of us could find that day. Doyle is usually surrounded by her bandmates: Blake Arambula - keyboards, rhythm guitar, bass, bad puns; Patrick Beardsley - lead guitar, noisemaker; and Johnny Gornati - drums, comic relief.
I was in the midst of transcribing the interview when the attacks on Paris occurred on November 13, 2015. So I contacted Doyle a few days later to see if the band had any comment on the situation. The previous interview was scrapped.
It had to be odd for the band to proceed with a name that meant something entirely different before November 13. I really wanted to know what were they going to do about their name? It is interesting to think that even an Indie band from South Carolina can be affected by events happening around the world.
I would like to share the band's statement about the terrorist attacks and their name, as well as the answer to two questions.
1. Did you watch the concert with U2 and the Eagles of Death Metal? Do you have any thoughts on that or about getting back on stage after a tragedy.
I did watch the concert. I found it very powerful, not only that U2 pushed forward with rescheduling the show, but that Eagles of Death Metal joined them onstage so soon after what happened. Choosing to have them join in for the song "People Have the Power," was also a bold statement, in the wake of just one month ago in Paris. Getting back on stage, not only for Eagles of Death Metal or U2 post-Paris attacks but for any band is not only commendable - it's vital now in standing up to terrorism. When you listen to the lyrics of Patti Smith's "People Have the Power" it couldn't come at a more pivotal time for music: "I believe everything we dream can come to pass through our union / We can turn the world around...We have the power, people have the power."
I think in the face of fear, of tragedy, of any kind of social injustice - we have the power in how we choose to react. Musicians can refrain from playing shows if they feel so compelled but choosing to push on in the face of terrorism, to not let terrorism win, we have to continue to play, to continue to celebrate life, to continue to offer music as an escape and a chance to heal ourselves from the bad in this world - that's the strongest step towards change that we'll ever make. We want to be a part of helping that cause - to continue providing a safe space for people to express themselves and to hopefully help people heal from their personal struggles as well. I appreciate and applaud Eagles of Death Metal and U2 for coming together and using their platform to take a stand against terrorism through the union of music.
2. Where were you when the attacks happened or when you first heard about them?
On the night of the Paris attacks, our band had gotten together to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of our EP, "GOSSIP." It was a moment we had been looking forward to because we were excited to share a recap video of our time in the studio and all the amazing places that the EP took us over the past few years. We learned about the attacks on Facebook while we were uploading our video, but then immediately paused our band work to start watching the news unfold live on tv. The news of these attacks was unreal to grasp at first and when we learned that it was a sold out show in Paris that was attacked, it felt... personal. Our lives revolve around our band, and while we are no where near the success of Eagles of Death Metal we couldn't help but ask ourselves and each other - What if that had been us? What would we do if that happened to our fans? Can you imagine enjoying your favorite band one minute and then running from gunfire the next? Or worse? - None of these questions are questions any band of any level of success should EVER have to ask themselves. At that moment, our announcement seemed trivial and petty in the scope of what's happening in the world and we blacked out all of our social media that week out of respect to the victims and those affected and are sincerely apologetic for the distress and offensiveness that our band name "Death of Paris" may have since caused.
The following section is a statement from the band.
"When we named our band in 2010, the world was a completely different place. Words like 'music' and 'terrorism' never saw each other in the same sentence, and you could go to a show without having any kind of fear in the back of your mind. We chose the moniker "Death of Paris" because it was a play on the phrase "death of romance" - with Paris being universally known as the city of love, lights, romance... the death of that would mean the attempt to darken that light, destroy that love, diminish that idea of romance... and we wrote songs to combat that.
With an overly-ambitious DIY heart, we've managed to self-book 10 national tours, land multiple festival spots, release both a full length album and an EP, and have worked day and night to establish ourselves as an independent band on the rise. Along the way, our fans have associated us and our name with iconic French images, like the Eiffel Tower - often making fan art and bringing us Parisian-inspired trinkets at shows. Our message has always been about love and the importance of standing up for it.
Fast forward to November 2015, and our name would take on a horrifying irony and an unnecessary reminder of the tragic terrorist attacks that occurred at Le Bataclan. We are still the same band with the same intentions, writing the same songs about love, lust and the chase - but we can't ignore the elephant in the room anymore. We've been robbed of the poetic meaning behind our name "Death of Paris," but it doesn't matter when so many innocent concert-goers were robbed of their lives by simply supporting live music. This terrorist attack targeted the music industry directly, and we need to fight back by encouraging live music more than ever and ensuring the safety of fans and freedom of expression. We are fighting back by refusing to let our name be a reminder for tragedy and terrorism.
Starting in January 2016, we will be effectively known as "GLASS MANSIONS." Why that name? In the wake of any tragedy, we are made soberingly aware that we are not invincible. This humility is the beauty of being human - we are immense but fragile. Powerful but vulnerable. We are all Glass Mansions. "