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While Dominique Durand and Andy Chase were putting the finishing touches on Ivy's third album, Long Distance, and preparing themselves for parenthood, they launched Paco with composer Michael Hampton and engineer Gary Maurer. Hampton, a former Dischord D.C. punk, had been doing his own score and soundtrack work, while Maurer had engineered albums by the likes of Hem, GrooveLily, and Ivy's sister band, Fountains of Wayne. The latter also frequented the same New York City neighborhoods as Ivy, so bumping into one another was natural. Chase was on his way to his Stratosphere Studio one day in early 2001 when he heard this magnificent sound coming from a window. It was Hampton and Maurer. From there, a design was cast: Chase's teenage adoration for the new romantic era slightly filtered through the influential electronic tweaking from Maurer and Hampton. Durand's '60s pop-flavored vocals added a playful flair unlike Ivy's icy cool sophistication.
Durand, who was pregnant with her and Chase's first child when the project came to be, took the band's name from a childhood crush, an architect friend of her parents named Paco. It was also suspected that their first unborn was to be a boy, so they nicknamed him Paco. Durand and Chase ended up having a girl and they couldn't possibly christen her with such a name, so they gave it to the band instead. Paco's moody pop storm was underway and a self-titled, self-released EP was quietly issued before 2001 came to a close. Ivy released the all-covers album Guestroom the following year, but Paco was still a priority. The quirky pop foursome gathered ten songs for what would be their debut album. This Is Where We Live, issued on Chase's Unfiltered label, appeared in May 2004.