SPOTLIGHT SERIES | Fold Paper on Festival Season, Making Himself at Home, and Refusing to Conform

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Chell Osuntade / Fold Paper

Welcome to Spotlight Series, a regular feature shining a light on emerging local music makers in the stellar music community in Manitoba. 

By Zoë Mills 

This time last year, all that existed of Chell Osuntade’s post-punk project Fold Paper was a handful of demos. Now, the American-raised musician is in the middle of a fully-booked festival season playing the most vulnerable music of his career. 

Osuntade moved from Berrien Springs, Michigan (population 1,776) to Winnipeg in the spring of 2016. 

“I was just thrown into a new place,” says Osuntade. “I knew nobody, except my parents’ friends, and knew no one in the music scene at all.” 

Before moving to Canada, Osuntade would spend hours in the attic of his Michigan home practicing bass and perfecting covers of popular indie rock songs. Once settled in Winnipeg, he decided to move beyond solo jam sessions and finally pursue his dream of being in a band.  

“Fold Paper is not afraid to be dissonant. It's not afraid to have crazy awkward pauses and starts. It's not afraid to be weird.” - Chell Osuntade

Osuntade played with the odd local group after connecting through, but it wasn’t until he joined Arenas (now Toronto-based) that he really found a sense of belonging in Winnipeg’s music scene.

Osuntade would go on to tour across Canada, the US, and Europe with JayWood and Super Duty Tough Work, as well as create local alt-rock ensemble Julien’s Daughter with Emma Murphy. 

When the pandemic pulled him away from his other musical ventures, Osuntade spent his time in isolation developing demos with a wildly different sound from anything he’d played before. 

“It was just my head and my guitar and my bass and my GarageBand.” 

Left to his own devices, Osuntade broke almost every rule he had spent most of his life learning.

“Fold Paper is not afraid to be dissonant. It's not afraid to have crazy awkward pauses and starts. It's not afraid to be weird.”

By the time Fold Paper played their debut show, the project had already earned a fair share of attention, including a mention by Exclaim! as one of 8 Emerging Canadian Artists You Need to Hear in November 2022.

Argyle Studio captured the band’s intensely experimental sound, including debut single ‘Medical Jargon’ and a batch of unreleased tunes, for its From The Attic video series. 

“That video was such a gift to Fold Paper,” says Osuntade. “So many applications have asked for a live video; so many people say they go to that video to listen to more Fold Paper songs—I really appreciate Argyle for that.”

While Fold Paper is branded as post-punk, Osuntade admits that navigating the vast and vague genre has been a tricky part of the project. In Fold Paper’s case, the music aligns with the purposeful resistance of punk—even if he, seemingly, does not. 

“I feel like evolving will always go hand-in-hand with collaborating. We’ve really come a long way.”


“I follow every rule,” Osuntade admits. “Except for when it comes to the music I’m writing.” 

Fold Paper’s jagged and conflicting songs are often bookended by the artist addressing the audience with excited puppy dog energy. 

“It’s like…something isn't adding up,” he says, laughing it off. “I would love to try keeping a mean mug, I'd love to try not talking between songs. I'd love to try all that stuff. But there are no rules to post-punk.”   

Last month, Fold Paper played Calgary’s Sled Island—the band’s first show outside Manitoba. 

“Sled Island was like a big hug. When you’re in another city, seeing people you don't know bobbing their heads and just loving the music, it’s such a liberating experience.” 

In the next few weeks, the band will take on three Manitoba-based festivals: Real Love Summer Fest, Big Sun, and Rainbow Trout Music Festival. Osuntade also hints that new music is imminent.   

Fold Paper’s music has evolved massively since its demo phases and even more since the project’s debut last November. Bandmates Alex Kohut (bass), Brendyn Funk (guitar), and Rob Gardiner (drums) have all built upon Osuntade’s original songs.  

“There was a song we started with, ‘Come Down Awkward,’ that I wrote by myself. Now, every member of the band has written something new for that song. And I think it's my favorite song of our set.”

Fold Paper is Osuntade’s “baby.” He’s protective of this work he’s poured so much of himself into. Still, he’s learning as he goes to care for what he’s created without sheltering it from growth. Learning that celebrating what he’s made is not possible or worth doing alone. 

“I feel like evolving will always go hand-in-hand with collaborating. We’ve really come a long way.”

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