Tim Crabtree's Paper Beat Scissors reveals much of his Canadaphile side
Tim Crabtree is a romantic, it’s official. Canadians might interpret his Paper Beat Scissors moniker as a play on the rock, paper, scissors game also known as spud, but this Paper Beat Scissors is actually all about imagery – deep, dark, emotional imagery – and his debut self-titled LP aptly showcases his ability to craft such sentiment within layers of instrumental warmth.
"Lately people have been asking about the name," says Crabtree. "I don’t remember when it popped into my head, but I had the phrase ‘paper beat scissors’ in my mind for a while and just liked the idea that it evoked. You can look at it different ways, like hopeless battles, or overcoming adversity in some way perhaps. There’s a bit of romantic in me, which probably comes from being the supporter of a shitty football team that always loses."
A native of Burnley, Lancashire, U.K., Crabtree arrived in Halifax in 2004 to begin working on a master’s in international development. The steps he made into the local music scene certainly demonstrated an aptitude for this major of study, as the Englishman quickly began to get bookings in Halifax before recording a critically appreciated EP that took him across the country on not one, but two national tours, which then dovetailed into a 2011 tour of Europe.
"I had been playing music in England before, but was kind of sidetracked by doing my master’s in Halifax," explains Crabtree. "After I had been there for a year or so, I became enmeshed in the local music scene. I was very inspired by what was going on there, and it was easy enough to flip back and forth from academics to music via bedroom demos. It was never really my intention to break in [to the Halifax scene], but after a couple shows I became quite welcomed in by the musicians."
Co-produced by Snailhouse’s Mike Feuerstack, mixed by Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara, engineered by Chilean audio guru Diego Medina and featuring collaborations with Tanya Davis, Rose Cousins, Pietro Amato (The Luyas, Bell Orchestre) and Sebastien Chow (Islands), Crabtree’s new album balloons with a pool of Canadian indie talent culled from across the country.
"I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of performance environments where people are open to listening to new things," says Crabtree. "I find people give music a chance and listen here. I think the openness of the music community that I’ve engaged enabled this album to happen. There is a really supportive and open music community in Halifax, and I find it the same in Montreal. The pool of talent in Canada that musicians have access to is immense."
Paper Beat Scissors
w/ David Simard, Caroline Keating
At Casa del Popolo