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Flashpapr began in 1995 in Ann Arbor, MI, when Fred Thomas recruited musician friends from around Michigan to contribute to his new music project. From its humble beginnings, the music of Flashpapr was minimalist and intensely personal. Those original collaborators included Nikkie Margosian of Lovesick, Carrie Smith of the Von Bondies, and JJ Heldman of Ohio. Jacob Danzinger soon joined as Flashpapr's violinist. The band's debut, the Simple Dancing cassette, appeared in early 1996 on Thomas' Westside Audio label. The duo of Thomas and Danzinger began performing live in early 1996. Zach Wallace soon joined the fold on stand-up bass as the band continued to perform their intimate and solemn songs throughout Michigan. Their improvisational style eventually produced a regular set of songs, as the band began to play with drummer Geoff Streadwick.
As the band was producing the Pain Taped Over (Forever) album, Streadwick passed away. His untimely passing startled the band, but the remaining trio managed to release Pain Taped Over (Forever) on Westside in March 1998. Ben Bracken joined the group in late 1998, performing on guitar and electronics. The band soon began to collaborate with Warren Defever of His Name Is Alive. They recorded their next album, 1999's Do What You Must Do, at Defever's home studio. Flashpapr promoted the record by touring with His Name Is Alive, and Ida Pearle joined as second violinist. The band released the New Leaves CD to coincide with their fall 2001 tour. The disc featured live recordings from concerts and radio sessions. After the tour, the band put the finishing touches on its next album. The band's orchestral and reflective sound continued to amaze fans of experimental indie rock.