Paper Tigers burst onto the Northern Irish music scene in 2018, quickly garnering a reputation in particular for lively early single ‘Gucci Smiles’, which won a nomination for the Northern Irish music prize best single category. The co-ed punk rockers powered into the pandemic, with a rapid-fire gigging schedule set aside by force in early 2020.
To get their music out there, Paper Tigers have created a loose association with Blowtorch, a record label that’s done a great deal to get rock bands into the public eye across Ireland. It’s very much in the spirit of the punk community. Their broader ethos has been similarly hodge-podge at times, and better for it.
“When we were releasing ‘Ghosts’, I just started reaching out to a lot of different people, labels, blogs, promoters, just trying to get the name out there and raise awareness of the band,” singer Michael Smyth says. “Richard (from Blowtorch) hit me back and we started talking, he seemed cool and we just started working together. We aren’t signed as such, but Richard is a cool guy and it’s good to work with him. It’s led to us being included on the Blowtorch vinyl compilation ‘A Plan For Something’ with a bunch of great other bands.”
Since being forced off the stage, it’s been radioplay and, in particular, a couple of impressive videos that have helped Paper Tigers remain in the public eye.
“When we were getting ready to release ‘Gucci Smiles’, we had already played a few shows together and to us it seemed like for this song it should be a live video, the energy, the way the crowd reacts to that song, bringing a narrative into it didn’t make any sense so we decided to get our good friend Bob Logan to come shoot live footage and patch it altogether from a few shows,” Smyth says of the video.