Interview: Patawawa

“Artists that are trying to remake albums – to do it in a fresh way, or to try to express themselves…don’t get played on the radio.”

Read our review of Patawawa’s show here.

Sitting down with Beth, Tom and Sam, the band were palpably excited about the night ahead of them. Your Snobs, however, were keen to know what makes them tick. Patawawa’s latest single, That Guy, has hints of Chic, Hot Chip and modern disco resurgence (Jungle, Parcels, Miami Horror, et al.). Who were Patawawa’s influences, and how did the group see themselves in 2019?

“[We’re] 80s pop music, disco and funk – I’m obsessed with Kate Bush,” starts Beth, Patawawa’s lead vocalist. 

Beth joined after Sam and Rory, who were already recording together, played her some of what they were doing as the amusingly-titled Sam & Ror. Beth saw she could bring something to the table (and she can), and the boys loved it. So it was formed. A trainee solicitor by trade before sacking it all off in the name of Music, Beth exudes ideas about what Patawawa is, and could be. She continues: 

“Chic, Michael Jackson – love Franc Moody! Grace Lightman she’s a new artist with a concept album we love.”

“Parcels,” says Rory, the musical brains, responsible for coming up with most of the melody and instrumentation. “We’ve [all] known each other since we were kids. When Beth came along with the vocals, things became more serious,” he adds. That, and an appearance on Radio Nottingham, which stepped ambitions up a notch.

Original vocalist – now co-vocalist – Sam, has enthusiasm to match. During the live show later that evening, Sam readily got the audience moving with his Happy Mondays-esque MC’ing, singing and dancing. He thinks it’s all about the Disco and Funk.

“Love Shazam’ing artists!” 

Sam works as a part-time labourer but also masquerades as a Spotify wizard, and was keen to promote Patawawa’s group Spotify playlist to their fans. [Editor’s note: we’ll note that we too are in the business of playlist creation, and our Releases are better than Sam’s.]

The band’s previous EP, Bedroom, was named after studio in which it was created. Following its release, Patawawa went into a real studio for the first time. It was not an experience the group particularly loved, leading Rory to sacrifice a bedroom view for a professional home studio.

“Our whole process is very fluid and shared… songs always come together differently – sometimes, there’s a backing track and melody. Sometimes, it’s led by lyrics.” 

The group nods in agreement, as Sam continues. 

“As long as the end-result is good – and we [know we] all like the same music – it’s easy to come to an agreement.”

What else the joyous trio have in store for the rest of the year?

“2019 has been a super busy year for us – the most shows played by far.”

By no means is it the end. This October, they tour Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Paris – in fact, Patawawa decided to nominate Audio Snobbery as the blog to hear them exclusively announce their UK tour. Beginning the 4th November, dates are now available on their website. Tonight, the band are going out to celebrate. They say it doesn’t happen often, and this time they’ve pushed the boat out and got an AirBnB. Yippee kay yay.

Now writing their first album, and with a few demos done, what does an album mean to Patawawa, in 2019?

“I would love for us to do a concept album!”

“This is where the Beth’s whip force comes out!” note Sam and Rory.

“Leaning into my solo career!” She shoots, she scores, before turning more pensive.

“Ten to twelve songs. A standard album format. We have only done EPs [to-date], and you end up with four banging tracks, but only the first gets listened to, and you don’t get the same PR… [but] with an album… an algorithm didn’t make it – we did!” 

Intelligence over algorithm. Exactly

“The industry is strangling itself”

“It is a shame how things have changed. I love listening to albums. It’s lovely to listen to a whole album from somebody you love – everything is there, and it’s all from them. Artists that are trying to remake albums – to do it in a fresh way, or to try to express themselves…don’t get played on the radio. Unfortunately, to play the game, you have to get played on the radio. The industry doesn’t make it easy for people to get played off the traditional album. It’s very formulaic in its approach – a vicious cycle that is somewhat elitist.”

Rory continues, “The way to be successful now is being in the big playlists, but all this “mood” playlists are the same. Ed Sheeran, Drake – the industry is strangling itself. At some point, people will stop caring about all the new music.”

As regular readers would know, we couldn’t agree more.

“I thought about this the other day. I watch Coronation Street. Usually, in the background, they have a song on. It’s always a famous song. Why not put an emerging band on?” Sam concludes.

Which albums they would have loved to have written?

Thriller. it ticks all the boxes. Quincy is a genius,” Rory exclaims and the Snobs can’t contain their joy at his recognition of the true talent behind that album.

For Sam, there are a few. “Belle & Sebastian. I love Jungle’s first album. Fleetwood Mac is another –  Rumours.”

Interestingly, for Beth it is Alt-J’s debut album. “The way they play instruments – for a group of four – I wish could be that good. I was in awe of what they achieved.”

Having been serious for too long, and ourselves quite partial to general hijinx, we conclude with a round of musical “Would you rathers?”

Would Patawawa rather collaborate with Eiffel 65 or the Crazy Frog?

“Eiffel 65.” – it’s unanimous – “but would rather Crazy Frog did a cover of us.”

Patawawa return to London to play Colours Hoxton on 23rd November