The idea of me

Paige Beller celebrates release of debut, Don’t You Dare

By Kyle Melton

Paige Beller.

Within many musicians there lies of number of creative forces that may oppose one another in terms of stylistics. In an increasingly particular marketplace, many artists struggle to refine their muse in order to best cater to finicky genre boundaries in an attempt to find a modicum of success. Others embrace their multiple musical personalities.

For Paige Beller [lead vocalist of local punk quartet Jasper the Colossal], she chose to indulge her softer side with the new album, Don’t You Dare, which will see release this weekend at South Park Tavern.

After cutting her teeth with various high school pop-punk outfits in the Cincinnati area, Beller made her way to Dayton in 2006. Upon her arrival she received encouragement from her roommate, Emmanual Cavallero, to start playing out at open mic events around town.

“When I first moved here, I started playing the open mic at South Park [Tavern],” Beller recalled. “My roommate at the time, Emmanuel Cavallero, he actually started taking me up there because he was showing me all this different stuff about playing acoustic guitar, because I only knew how to play an electric. I was scared as hell to sit up there by myself and do it, and he was the one who pushed me to get out there and do it.”

While Beller cut her teeth around Dayton as a solo acoustic act, she quickly returned to her punk roots. She began fronting local outfit Jasper the Colossal in early 2008. Beller also forged a working relationship with multi-instrumentalist Jason Gilmore, who she’d played with in Dirty White Ponies and Ed vs. Radio, and the two collaborated on Beller’s solo demo. As lead vocalist for Jasper the Colossal and a solo act, Beller finds plenty of opportunity to indulge the various sides of a restless musical personality.

“The acoustic stuff is definitely more emotional, melodramatic kind of indulgence,” admitted Beller. “I take the extra-emotional stuff and just keep that off to the side for myself. I’m constantly writing, so I always have stuff laying around, picking apart and seeing what fits with the band and what fits with me.”

During 2009, Beller began to play out more often as a solo act and continued to develop her writing and performing in that medium. By early 2010, she’d found increased confidence and developed a solid live set that she wanted to capture with Gilmore at the helm, the results of which can be heard on the new album, Don’t You Dare.

“When we went in originally, before we did anything, I told him that I wanted to experiment with a few of the songs,” said Beller. “I basically told him I wanted to kinda make it like a Feist record, but kinda not, still keep it acoustic. That’s where all the drum programming came in, because he would [suggest] to try this to give it an electronic sound and see where it goes. It definitely was a process between the two of us going back and forth and seeing what we could do with it.”

The results of their collaboration run the gamut from textured productions of “Pirates” and “Damaged” to the countrified romp of the title track to heart-on-the-sleeve confessionals “Everything You Are” and opener “Addict.” While pleased with the overall results, Beller finds particular satisfaction with the album’s closer, “Strung Up High,” which she said “came out The results of their collaboration run the gamut from textured productions of “Pirates” and “Damaged” to the countrified romp of the title track to heart-on-the-sleeve confessionals “Everything You Are” and opener “Addict.” While pleased with the overall results, Beller finds particular satisfaction with the album’s closer, “Strung Up High,” which she said “came out exactly the way it sounded in my head.” With a year having passed since beginning the recording process, Beller is excited to get the album out and keep moving forward.

“I love being in the studio and I do want to record, but I think I want to give myself some more time to develop the songs that I have,” Beller said. “I think I’m going to force myself to not record quite yet and give it a few months to develop all the songs. Even if it is open mics or whatever, just push whatever I can with it because I’m going to try to give it a run for its money. I never really promoted myself a ton, so I’m just give it a shot and see what happens.”

Paige Beller will celebrate the release of Don’t You Dare with a performance on Saturday, July 2, at South Park Tavern, 1301 Wayne Ave. Also on the bill are Henrique Couto & the Tallywacker Express and King Elk [ex-Andrew & the Prettypunchers]. Admission is $5 for all ages. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, visit paigedoesdayton.bandcamp.com.

Reach DCP music editor Kyle Melton at MusicEditor@DaytonCityPaper.com and read his blog at thebuddhaden.net.

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