10 Questions With… Papaya Sunset

10 Questions With… A series that delves into the musical careers of some of our favourite artists, local and afar. With a particular focus on our Melodic Distraction friends and wider community, this lil natter gives us an insight into their musical escapades when they’re in their studio, not ours. 

This week we sit down with Papaya Sunset to talk about their writing process, their favourite records, and creative dynamics. Since forming in the autumn of last year whilst studying at UoL, they’ve quickly found themselves playing some of Liverpool’s smaller institutions. We sit down with them to find out their thoughts on the Liverpool music scene, how they’ve managed to merge their musical influences, and what might be next for the soul soaked collective.


Hey Papaya Sunset, could you tell us how the name came about?

Patrick: Well, we went through a bunch of ideas back and forth, my favourite of the earlier options being ‘The The The’s’ but the others weren’t sold!

Carlota: After that we decided, as we’re of different nationalities, that we’d find an exotic fruit that you can find anywhere!

Isabelle: We originally thought of mango, but thought papaya sounded better, we liked the colours and put the two together!


How would you describe your sound to someone who hadn’t heard you before?

Isabelle: Soulful, chilled, R&B!

Carlota: We’re all from different musical backgrounds, so as described by Isabelle, this is the area of music where our mutual tastes overlap!


What influences, musical or not, are inspiring your current process?

Isabelle: I think for us our influences as a collective would be Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott, like the soulful side of R&B.

Lewis: I feel like we combine genres a fair bit, the melodies and the guitar parts take influence from neo-soul, there’s certainly funk from the bass too.

Patrick: Even a bit of Bossa Nova manages to find its way in at times. We’ve always tended to write our own things and present it to the band, and it tends turn it something completely different with our varying styles.

Carlota: It’s a very colourful sound overall, and recently as we’re finding our dynamic, we’re figuring out how to write together in the same room and create something right there and then in the studio.


On that note, what have been your most spun records as of recent?

Patrick: I love Call My Name by Prince, tune that. Plus, the new Slowthai album.

Carlota: I’ve been listening to Can I Call You Rose by Thee Sacred Souls on repeat.

Isabelle: Honestly, it’s always the same answer, Baduizm, the whole album by Erykah Badu.

Lewis: Black Velvet by Alannah Myles.

(Nominated record for the drummer Alex in his absence): Escapism by Raye.


What has being an artist in this day and age taught you about the music industry?

Lewis: It’s easier to get into now but harder to make it. It’s not too difficult to put together a gig, there’s five of us so we’d fill the room with our friends, but it feels like now to grow past that is difficult as it requires a lot more time and effort.

Isabelle: I feel grateful that we know that as a band, so we support each other to be brave enough to try out different things to see if they work to try and hopefully progress within and outside of Liverpool.


What’s your take on the Liverpool music scene?

Isabelle: I think it’s great, I’m from down south and there are so many people that want to do music, but you don’t see them gigging. You come here and it feels like the musicians are doing something about it gigging all over the city!

Patrick: I feel like there’s a lot of people making stuff happen, like making the effort to put Liverpool musically back on the map.

Lewis: There are quite a lot of smaller venues so there’s always something going on, and because it’s quite a tight city centre where those venues are, it feels like as a result, those in the music community are close and well connected.

Carlota: Growing up in Barcelona, it really opened my eyes coming to Liverpool because most weeks there is always a band or an artist that I want to see so it’s mad to think how many other gigs are going at the same time in the city! Feels like the city has something to offer for everyone, it’s really refreshing.


What would be your go to record to cover as a band?

Patrick: We did think about this, and we decided on literally anything Stevie Wonder, we’ve gotta cover him at some point!

What has been your favourite gig together so far?

Carlota: A few weeks ago, we played The Jacaranda with BONK! supporting BOOK5 for their debut single launch, and I think I can speak for everyone, I had the time of my life! It was so much fun, we just clicked.

Patrick: Yeah, it was this gig for sure, this was the gig that made it feel for us like ‘this is happening, this is real’, and we’re only just tapping into it, it’s exciting!

Isabelle: Not only that, but the show was sold out, so it really did feel like an important moment for us as a band.


Which venue can we find you next?

Lewis: We’re at the Melodic Distraction bar on Wednesday 8th March!

Isabelle: We feel like it’s a massive compliment to be asked by The Girl’s Crib to play on International Women’s Day alongside an all-female DJ line-up! It makes us feel proud to represent.

Given that, what would you consider your ideal movements for 2023?

Carlota: We’re still refining who we are as a band, so I think I’d say focusing on carving out what ‘Papaya Sunset’ is, is a goal of ours.

Lewis: I think we just need to play and see where we fit with what everyone else in the band is bringing to the table.

Patrick: Yeah, the journey of figuring where to step next, and where we fit in the music scene is what I’m looking forward to this year. It’s the first time I’ve been in something that feels like it’s really moving somewhere.

Isabelle: My biggest goal for us is to get a single out by the end of this year, it’ll take a lot for us to pull together and really be happy with the end product. But I feel like because that single release will be quite defining and decisive of our sound, that will mean we’ve figured out what we want to sound like!

Catch Papaya Sunset (@papsunset) at Melodic Distraction on Wednesday 8th March for their live performance!

Photographer – Charlie Stevens