Sydney’s own genre melting pot, Papaya Tree, have just released new single ‘Covered In Weeds’, their first release for the year and a sign of new music to come in early 2020.

The track – inspired by vocalist Lee McDermott’s struggle between corporate and artistic life – was recorded at The Parliament Studios in Sydney with Phan Sjarif (Middle Kids) and mastered by Darren Ziesing (RÜFÜS DU SOL).

Blending reggae, funk, R&B and jazz, Papaya Tree have been feeding Australia a fine diet of bangers like ‘Bamboo Schnooer’, ‘Radar’ and ‘Youth’ since 2017, and selling out shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Tone Deaf thought it was about time you got to know the six members of Papaya Tree a little better; check out our chat below.

Get To Know Papaya Tree

How did your artist name come about?

I was studying corporation law at the time we were forming and we were struggling to come up with a name. As I was yarning about what I was studying I kept stumbling on the word “Propriety” and kept saying papaya tree… we agreed that it created a funny enough origin story whilst being a bit wanky for an indie rock band.

How would you describe your music to your grandma?

To Grandma, it’s indie jazz

To my Nanny, it’s that funny band that does the gross video clips, (she says she likes the music but thinks the videos are a bit too much for her taste).

Papaya Tree
Papaya Tree

Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?

‘Bamboo Schooner’ is about the facade of drug abuse as an excuse for personality, ‘Radar’ is about the homeless people outside the Sydney Downing Centre Courts.

‘Youth’ is about turning into your parents and inheriting the flaws that you swore you would never pick up from them and our latest track ‘Covered in Weeds’ is about my experiences in a corporate job and how it almost tore the band apart.

Looking forward to writing a love song someday…

Stream Papaya Tree – ‘Covered in Weeds’

What do you love about your hometown?

When you can retreat to the sleepy rural streets of Kenthurst after a night in the city, breathe in that fresh country air, sometimes you think to yourself, “this might be worth the $100 Uber back”.

Also Lleyton Hewitt lives round here, served him meat at the butcher shop once. Kinda cool.

Watch Papaya Tree’s clip for ‘Youth’

Career highlight so far?

Staying together.

Fave non-music hobby?

Contributing to the Reschs appreciation society Facebook group and playing werewolves and villagers post-gigs.

What’s on your dream rider?

Zac: Four-person massage team for each limb.

Ali: Fruit and soft cheese, I would be chuffed.

Jack: Queen-sized bed for pre/post-show.

Joe: Case of Emu Export and a comfy pillow for my dog Mocha.

Jordan: No less than a bottle each of 2016 award-winning Cumulus Estate shiraz “Climbing”

Lee: Chilled rose, tzatziki dip and for my friends to be happy with their rider.

Dream music collaboration?

Cat Empire so people can stop telling us that we sound like Cat Empire and get on with our lives.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Still writing questions for Tone Deaf but hopefully with a bottle of 2016 award-winning Cumulus Estate shiraz “Climbing” in our hand.

Hope to finally finish that EP, but we will see!

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

If I’m sober:  ‘Do You See What I See’ by Hunters and Collectors.

If I’m pissed: ‘Battery Farm’ by Ha the Unclear.

If I’m super pissed: ‘Do You See What I See’ by Hunters and Collectors, but better.