Paper Planes Competing to Perform at Vans Warped Tour

Over the last two years, Collin Page, Jack Wenstrup, Anthony Gomez, Connor Page and Austin Gannon have turned their shared dream into a reality and all on Illinois State University’s campus. Since forming Paper Planes, the five-piece pop punk band performed on campus and at a multiplicity of venues, released their first EP, designed and sold merchandise and have gained a sizable following on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Now, Paper Planes is putting their talent to the test as they compete to perform at this year’s Vans Warped Tour. After having just wrapped shooting for their upcoming music video for their newest single “Sleeping with the Lights On”, the guys of Paper Planes took the time to sit down with me to discuss their latest endeavors, how the band came to be, their growth over the last year and what’s next.

Her Campus Illinois State: Okay, let’s start off with a little background. What’s Paper Planes’ history?

Anthony Gomez: Jack and I were roommates freshman year, and Jack is part of the Acafellaz along with Collin. Collin, Austin, and Connor have known each other for forever.

Collin Page: And Austin, Jack and I decided to form a band after going to a concert for The Wonder Years.

 

HC ISU: As a group and individually, who/what has inspired you to do music?

Austin Gannon: I really liked old pop/punk bands like Blink–182 and Green Day when I was younger. That was the basis for the type of music I listen to now like The Wonder Years and The Story So Far.

Collin: I got really into music in high school. I was in choir and band and I’ve played in bands for a really long time. My dad started showing me classic rock bands when I was younger so I got into that music.

Anthony: A lot of inspiration for my parts in the band has come from listening to Linkin Park, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Foo Fighters.

Jack Wenstrup: I’ve always been inspired by older pop-punk bands like Good Charlotte and Green Day as well as newer ones like All Time Low and The Maine.

 

HC ISU: You guys have recently released a new song called “Sleeping with the Lights On.” How do you guys go about songwriting?

Jack: Most of the time I end up writing the base of the song, the chord progression and a melody, and show it to the rest of the guys so they can all add their own parts to it.

 

HC ISU: Besides the ones you play on stage, what other instruments do you all play?

Collin: Because I was a music education major for 3 semesters, I had to learn a lot of instruments in all the families of instruments.

Anthony: I’ve been in other groups before so I’ve learned to play keyboard, guitar, and bass guitar.

Connor Page: I was taught to play trumpet, French horn and violin. I used to be able to play piano but it’s been a very long time since I practiced or played.

 

HC ISU: Besides Paper Planes, are there any other organizations/activities you guys are members of/take part in? If so, what are they and why did you join?

Jack: Collin and I have been a part of the male a cappella group, The Acafellaz, since our freshman year. I auditioned because I was never in a cappella before college and was really interested just to see what it was like.

Collin: I joined the Acafellaz because my choir director in high school was a part of the group when he attended ISU. I thought it was super cool so I decided to audition when I got here and it worked out.

Austin: I play drum set in the jazz band. I’ve been in jazz bands since middle school, so I decided to keep going with it through college. It was also a way for me to continue playing drum set while at school and practice different genres of music.

Connor: Well, I work full time so I don’t really have time for anything else. I play hockey on the weekends. I’m also a member of the Illinois Army National Guard so I have one weekend a month that I am dedicated to.

 

HC ISU: Paper Planes is really active on social media! How do you guys go about managing these accounts and creating content while also making time for school, work and/or rehearsal?

Jack: It is definitely a lot of work to do so much on social media with school and everything else going on, but we just try our best to remain relevant on social media because that’s a huge part of being in a successful band today.

Collin: I spend more time being active on social media than I do for homework. It’s a lot of work, but it’s something that I enjoy doing and it’s awesome to literally see the band progress with numbers.

Connor: We have all of the social media apps on our phone as well as a GroupMe that we communicate through if we don’t know how to answer questions or what to post.

 

HC ISU: Since formation, how has Paper Planes evolved and what have you all learned in the process?

Anthony: There has been so much we have done and learned in just the past year. We’ve learned how to market the band well, make a website, be part of a music video, but most importantly we’ve learned about each other’s strengths and weaknesses so that we can work well as a unit.

Jack: It’s been kind of crazy how much support we’ve gotten in just the past year and half. It’s kind of funny how when you start a band it can be really difficult to play shows and make yourself busy, but then all of a sudden everything picks up and you get insanely busy really quickly.

Connor: I technically wasn’t even in the band when it was formed. I was in Oklahoma on Ft. Sill when they decided to make this band a thing. So once I came back, they asked me if this it was something I wanted to be involved in.

 

HC ISU: What has been the best part about being in Paper Planes?

Collin: I enjoy seeing the transformation of being in a real band that is just starting out into a very present local band. Also, performing is the most fun thing in the world.

Austin: For me, the best part about being in Paper Planes is playing/writing music I enjoy and trying to write creative drum parts that make me a better drummer while enhancing the song at the same time.

Connor: It’s very nice to play music that people actually enjoy. Playing shows and seeing people rock out is amazing!

Jack: It has just been really awesome to have a project that other people are just as excited about as I am. Sometimes being in a local band can be hard because people don’t take you very seriously for a while, but that hasn’t been the case for us and we’re extremely lucky for that.

 

HC ISU: You guys are like a little family! So who’s who?

Collin: I’m definitely the dad of the group. I’m the most stern in practices and stay focused the easiest (for the most part).

Austin: I’m definitely the most sarcastic in the band. If I say anything, chances are it is not a comment that should be taken seriously at all. But when it comes down to it I know when things are important and I know how to switch from sarcasm to seriousness.

Connor: I’m like the step brother that you never get to see. I’m fun to be around but my visits are few and far between.

Jack: I think it depends. Most of the time I’m pretty laid back and I’m not really bothered by much, but I know when it’s time to work.

Anthony: It’s funny, but I know that I’m the annoying little brother, but you’ll learn to love me.

 

HC ISU: So what’s next for Paper Planes?

Jack: We’ve got a lot coming up for us in the near future. We just finished filming our music video for our latest single, “Sleeping with the Lights On”, and that has been a really awesome experience. Our buddy Alex Zarek produced it, so if you’re looking to make a video look him up. We’re also in a competition to play at the Vans Warped Tour, which is really awesome. We’re currently ranked second nationally and that is incredible. If you would like to help us out then you can go to the link of our channel at: warped.amplifiertv.com/channel/PaperPlanesBand and share, comment and watch our videos. We get points for every view so anything helps!

Anthony: We also have a lot of shows coming up. We are playing some Relay for Life shows at Illinois Wesleyan, Normal Community West High School and here at ISU. We also have a house show coming up as well as a show in Milwaukee.