Papercuts Band from left to right: Leo Fibino, Austin Lighthill, Dominic Marandola, and Esteban Chavez. Photo courtesy of Eric Olmstead.

“My whole existence is for your amusement. And that is why I’m here with you.” : An Interview with Maryland’s Papercuts

For a year now, Papercuts have been making waves in the West Virginia and Maryland local underground music circles for their gritty and intense self-described “scumpunk” sound. Talking with founding members guitarist Dominic Marandola and drummer Austin Lighthill, they offered insight into the very beginnings of the band and what they have planned for the future.

            Founded by Marandola and Lighthill, the two have been playing music together for over three years. “My drummer and I met in our last band, which I won’t name, but I was the bass player, he was the drummer, we got together and after a while we wanted to part ways with our singer. So, we started Papercuts.” Marandola then goes on to recall how they found their bassist. “Esteban, our bassist, Austin has known for a while.” Lighthill then chimed in and said “I’ve known [Esteban] since middle school. We did jazz together, I was a drummer, he was a bassist, we locked in since day one. So, I knew we had to have him.” As for meeting their vocalist Leo Fibino, they met them at a few different local rap shows in the Maryland area.

            Regarding bands that have influenced their sound, one band in particular sticks out. “One big reference of all of us honestly, we don’t like talking about it, but we got our name from a Nirvana song. Nirvana is probably our biggest influence of all time. Even though we try get away from it a lot, it’s still kind of there.” Marandola explained. “Honestly before we started writing our own music, we did just a bunch of Bleach [(the 1989 Nirvana album)] covers and Destroy boys, Mom Jeans, but we started writing our own music and we have our own stuff now.” With the group now reaching a point where they can depend more on their own material, it will be interesting to see how all their influences come together in their music.

            Regarding their plans for putting out their music, those interested in hearing what the band sounds like won’t have to wait long.  “We plan to have a few singles out by the end of the month, this month. We’ve been working on music for a while we just never really had a singer to sing our stuff.”

In the year since their inception, the band has played their fair share of shows. Among them, Marandola and Lighthill both agree which one has been their favorite. “We played a show at this tiny little garage in someone’s house. It was like a little DIY punk venue. That’s probably my favorite.” Marandola recalled.

Rounding out the conversation, regarding the music scene that the band has found themselves involved in, Marandola offered a very thorough answer. “We’re trying to play more out near Frederick area, D.C., Baltimore kind of area. That’s kind of more where the scene is, more people are at, so that’s kind of what we’re aiming for. As far as communities go, we started playing at rap shows because we had a buddy who was able to hook us up and start getting us shows. From there we started playing a couple different rock venues and a couple other rap shows and stuff.”

Marandola explains that in everyone’s time together as a band. They have established good relations with local communities of different music genres. “We kind of have decent relations with the rap community as well as the rock and punk community out here as well. In the past couple of months, we definitely got more involved in the punk scene around D.C. and Baltimore. We’re definitely trying to push into that direction.”

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