It’s been almost two years since we last spoke with Glasgow-based group PAWS. Back in 2012, the trio (comprised of Phillip Taylor, Josh Swinney, and Matthew Scott) released their debut album Cokefloat!. Now, they’re set to release their sophomore record Youth Culture Forever and are currently on tour with We Are Scientists. Before playing Toronto’s Lee’s Palace tonight, I gave Phillip a call to catch up and discuss recording in a studio in the woods, the inspiration of cartoons, skate shops, and being dorks for geography. Read the interview below:
AMBY: It’s been a while since we last spoke, so welcome back to AMBY! Give us a little update: how’s the band doing?
PAWS: Fine, just been touring pretty much constantly for… Well, the whole time we’ve been a band [laughs]. But it’s all going good.
AMBY: I’m glad to hear that. I wanted to start things off by discussing your forthcoming second album Youth Culture Forever. We seriously can’t wait for this release. Tell us a little bit about the record – what was the experience like creating it?
PAWS: It was really good; we recorded it in upstate New York and the guy that runs our record label has a studio in the woods, so we just went up there and recorded.
AMBY: What was that like?
PAWS: We stayed with him for two weeks. It was a really nice place to record since it’s out of the way and there were no distractions out in the woods. It was a good experience.
AMBY: When it comes to the title, why did you call the record Youth Culture Forever?
PAWS: Well, two years ago we were watching this cartoon called Adventure Time, and there was a bit in that cartoon where a character screams that phase. It was this strangely positive message and when he said that, we thought it was bizarre for a children’s cartoon to have such a strong and positive message. Cartoons are probably mind-numbingly bad for children and rotting kids’ brains all of the time [laughs], but Adventure Time seems to have good stuff.
AMBY: That’s such an awesome story behind an album title.
PAWS: It was just a really cool phrase about how youth is always regenerating the arts and music. It was a cool idea.
AMBY: Adventure Time [laughs]. You’re also currently on a North American tour, playing dates with We Are Scientists. What have been some of the highlights so far? We’re been following your Facebook posts!
PAWS: Oh, cool. This is actually only day two of this tour, so we’ve only played two gigs which were both in Philadelphia and were both sold out. We really love Philly so it was cool to spend two days there rather than just one. It was really nice to hang out there for a day and see the friends we have there. We just try to do as much as we can in every place we go to on tour because we really like to soak in all of the different places we get to go to. We love traveling and meeting new people and seeing what life’s like in different places. We’re in Washington, DC right now and will try and find a skate shop so I can buy a new board. Also, Ryan wants to see The White House because he hasn’t been here before.
AMBY and PAWS: [laughs]
PAWS: It might be the second day, but we were in Europe for three weeks with We Are Scientists before we came here.
AMBY: I thought so.
PAWS: It feels like the same tour as the European one since we only had three days off between the two tours. It’s been good, going really well.
AMBY: Something else I came across was a shot of the band in front of the LOVE sign there. You mentioned skateboarding in the photo you posted. What does the band do for fun while touring?
PAWS: We love seeing as many kind of cultural points of interest. We’re all dorks for geography so I really want to see historic places.
AMBY: Like The White House, right? [laughs]
PAWS: Yes, definitely that. But I guess it’s more-so seeing underground culture and places; whenever we go somewhere, we’ll go out of our way to drive into a place while listening to a whole bunch of bands from that place. We always want to find out the musical history of the places we go to. It’s always interesting to find out weird and dorky reference points for each spot with music and art. We also like looking up the best places to eat and sample the best of the local cuisine. Or you’re hear there’s a certain place to get a sandwich or a local delicacy or specialty, and we hunt them down and eat what we can! We like skate shops, record stores, and comic book shops.
AMBY: That’s awesome.
PAWS: And fun! We like doing fun stuff like that.
AMBY: Very cool. Moving onto the less serious questions: who would your dream jam session be with?
PAWS: Maybe Patti Smith. That would be pretty fun.
AMBY: Who would be in your ultimate concert line-up?
PAWS: How many bands are allowed to be on the bill?
AMBY: However many you want.
PAWS: Can the bands be alive or dead? Although they probably wouldn’t be that good if they’re dead.
AMBY and PAWS: [laughs]
PAWS: I don’t know, actually! I have no idea. I always see old posters for gigs that have happened, and then I wish that I’ve seen that. I distinctly remember seeing a flyer for a gig that was in Seattle and the line-up was, I think it was The Breeders, Wu-Tang Clan, and Nirvana.
AMBY: What a weird mix.
PAWS: The most bizarre gig line-up I’ve ever heard of. But that would probably be pretty good to go back to and see.
AMBY: Pretty good, yea [laughs]. For the last question of the interview, what’s the best part of being in PAWS?
PAWS: I think the best part of being in the band is travelling the world with my best friends.
Thank you PAWS, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout