I know that I am sucker for indie-folk bands, but I do still love my rock, in fact the scuzzier the better. One such band that have been exciting me a lot over the past six months are Glasgow three-piece PAWS. It was the fuzzed up pop joy of “Violent Vicky Violet” that first brought the band to my attention. Released as a free download on Wise Blood Industries, the song set the bar of expectation pretty damn high. Thankfully they’ve lived up their high standards and have gone on to record sessions for both 6Music and Radio One. With a new EP due out next month it felt the the right time to rope them in for some Scots Way-Hay action, so without further ado, ladies and gents I give you the awesome PAWS…
Would you care to introduce yourself?
Bonjour! We are PAWS.
PAWS consists of a small red panda cub; a polar bear cub and a grizzly bear cub.
Phillip Taylor (Guitar + Vox), Matthew Scott (Bass + Vox) and Joshua Swinney (Drums)
How would you describe the music you make?
I guess it’s kind of a blend between the audio dynamics of that of a kitten and a grizzly bear…or something like that haha.
Simple alternative pop songs in kittenBEARkitten structure.
How did you come together as a band?
Well myself (Phillip) and Josh met in high school in the Highlands in a place called Tain which is just north of Inverness. We never really spoke at school. But he did used to draw these things on his hand and show them to me in between classes if we passed in the hall. The one I remember was a crude drawing of a boy that was blatantly me that said “I’m socially inept” next to it haha. Then he disappeared to France when school got out. When he got back he turned on my doorstep and we hung out and sort of began to bond over music. Especially punk rock.
So we jammed in my tiny bedroom for a while in my Mum’s house and then he moved to Glasgow. I was kind of back and forth visiting and I made a friend called Nick who I instantly felt I needed to make music with. He joined the mix with myself and Josh and we planned to go on a trip up north to somewhere secluded without distraction to write and record for a few days and see what we could do with it. We found this ridiculous log cabin near where Josh’s parents live that has this skate ramp next to it. It was perfect. So at Christmas time like 3 years ago Nick and Josh drove up with this guy Matt that Nick knew who was game for playing bass. I had never met him and neither had Josh until they got in the car together. When we met, everything just made sense really. We shared an enthusiam for Sonic Youth and Sebadoh. After a while that band slowly burned out and Nick went on to focus on other things. Then there were three. Then there was PAWS. ha-ha
How did you start out making music?
In terms of all of us starting out making music together. In Bedrooms and log cabins I guess… ha-ha
What process goes into the way you write songs?
Well usually I’ll bring a vague song structure to the practice space and then we’ll just rip it apart and try and glue it back together with everybodys ideas thrown in. Matt does this thing that myself and Josh just refer to now as “The Thing”. He’ll just totally make a song come to life when he adds his bassline. It’s always such a simple part that he’ll add, but it always changes the directions and tone of the song. It’s hillarious.
Who are your big musical influences?
It’s hard to list people that have influenced you without people immediately trying to look for those influences in your music.
It’s mostly the ethic of the artists we like that fuels us the most. To just like, make music and have a good time doing it.
But obviously there are going to be some things that seep through to music.
We like a varied pallet but some folk we like are: Sebadoh, Breeders, Big Black, Jim O Rourke, Built To Spill, Raincoats, Lilys, The Sonics,
Captain Beefheart, Pavement, Teenage Fanclub, Wilco, Shellac, Polvo,Harvey Danger, Television, Sonic Youth, The Fastbacks, Melvins, Coffin Break, Gray Matter, Vaselines…all that sort of shit ha-ha.
What kind of influence do you feel that where you come from has had on the music you create?
I think it just makes us super confident to just do it. Scotland is pretty boring. If we wern’t doing this I can’t really think what else we’d do? So I think it’s been a big influence to have fun, hang out with friends and play music. Especially if you are from the north. There really is not that much to do if you’re an angry teenager. Skate, listen to music, play music…..
Winners Don’t Bleed – PAWS
Correct me if I’m wrong (I normally am), but your new EP is being mastered by Bob Weston of Shellac-fame, how did that all come about?
Correctamundo! It certainly is. I dunno really ha-ha. We just emailed him and he said yes. He has a mastering suite over in Chicago so
we are just gonna fire our mixes over to him and let him do his thing. That should be fun.
You give the impression that you’d be willing to play gigs anywhere folk would let you, what’s the more obscure place you’ve played? And is there anywhere that you wouldn’t be willing to try?
Totally! We love a challenge! We will litterally play anywhere if it is possible. Last week we played in our friend Seans Bathroom during the day and then our friends bedroom at night. That was a super fun day. See our myspace for a list of spaces that we would be more than happy to inhabit with our noise…
PAWS or Paws?
What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond? Do you have any new releases planned for any time soon?
Well we have just been focusing on getting this frickin’ E.P out and trying to spread the PAWS gospel. We will be doing a couple of splits with some bands we are rather fond of as well. A couple more cassette tapes etc. For summer we are just going to try and absolute hammer it with everything we’ve got. It would be great to do some festivals and a bit of a bigger tour. We plan to start working on recording our debut L.P aswell by that point. We get fairly itchy with writing and recording as we feel we are constantly writing. Every rehearsal there’s at least 2 new songs. Matt is our captain engineer. He has all the things we need to record ourselves and he’s a dab hand behind pro tools. That’s what we’ve done thus far and that’s what we intended to keep doing.
So I guess we’ll just be trying to keep up the rate of creativity that we’ve had the past year. I feel fairly confident that that’s going to happen regardless to any concious thought or plan anyway!
PAWS launch their new EP with a very special gig at the Captains Rest on the 4th of March, it’s only a measly £3 to get in. Plus they’ve lined up an array of awesome guests to join them for the evening, including Male Pattern Band, Mondegreen and Lady North.
More from Lloyd at Peenko