Scottish 3-piece PAWS have earned a long and loyal list of fans with their mix of punk, pop and grunge. Their live shows are raucous and since their initial EP release, PAWS have opened a slew of shows for the likes of Bleached, Dum Dum Girls, Black Lips, No Age and Male Bonding, to name but a few. It became difficult to see why PAWS were supporting and not the stars of the show, as murmurs of the tantalising effect they were having on the punters turned admirers would fill the bleary after show corners. With their debut album out in October and a headline tour to follow, the name PAWS will be on the tip of music fans’ and press tongues alike. We grabbed a moment with the band to get them to introduce themselves.
Watch their exclusive video for ‘Bloodline’ from the first instalment of the FatCat Records Sessions.
Where did the name PAWS come from? What’s the significance?
I guess we all really like animals a lot. I’ve also seen that video “peek a boo kitten” on YouTube and thought that its paws looked particularly awesome.
How did you meet?
Myself and Josh met at school in the Tain (Highlands of Scotland). He moved there from Edinburgh when his Mum became a languages teacher at the school I was at. We were introduced to Matt a few years later by our close friend Nick who lives in Glasgow.
How did you form?
Josh and I eventually started hanging out after realising that we had really similar interests in art and music. We started jamming in my small bedroom in my Mum’s house. Josh moved to Glasgow to start studying art and I intended to follow, I guess. We had already started to chat to Nick about starting a band together as we had written a couple of songs each. Nick convinced Matt to fill the role of bass player at a party one night; Matt had never met me and Josh.
Nick suggested we find somewhere secluded and out of the way to hang out, listen to records and maybe jam a couple of ideas. Josh found a log cabin near his Mum’s house in the Highlands. On a wintery December day just after Boxing Day 2008, Matt drove to the Highlands with Nick, Josh (who he just met en route) with his recording gear and bass. We hired a generator, went to the cabin and A Copenhagen Hope was born.
I moved to Glasgow and we made a small series of recordings from the flat I lived in with Nick. The music at the time was kind of folky, passionate and sloppy. Like the Violent Femmes or something. We played a handful of rowdy shows and then Nick decided to move on to work on new projects. The remaining three of us kept jamming and with an acoustic guitar down, PAWS was born.
Why did you pick the songs you did for your first singles from the album?
I guess we thought they were a nice fit together. Two pop songs. Quick and to the point! ‘Bloodline’ is an important song and ‘Jellyfish’ is just fun to play and we wanted more people to hear it!
Is there any significance to those two songs?
‘Bloodline’ is about accepting and dealing with a loved one being diagnosed with terminal illness.
The sentiments on this album are strong and hit the listener hard, even in the more musically melancholic and less pacey numbers. To what do you attribute that?
I just write about the things that have shaped me as a person. If something particularly bad happens to me, I’ll end up writing about it. Same goes for the good things. I try to write in an optimistic manner when addressing crap situations/scenarios. Maybe someone experiencing the same thing can take something from it.
What were the inspirations for the songs/album? Anything in particular?
A whole load of things. Illness, family, death, love, heartbreak, paranoia, alienation.
How was the writing and recording?
Really natural. We just went into the studio with Rory, having never really been in a studio before and told him what we would like it to sound like. He was really amazing to work with as we were freaked out about having a producer, but he was so chilled and understood exactly what we wanted to achieve. Being in the studio on the boat was just fun more than anything, everyone was cutting jokes and laughing all the time. Best time ever.
Songwriting wise, I usually have a chord structure and lyrics that I will take to rehearsal. We just jam on it and take it apart then put it all back together until it makes the most sense for everyone. Other times we just jam and see where the wind takes us.