Scottish alternative rock band PAWS recently returned with their new self-titled album via Ernest Jenning Record Co. and the band’s own Wish Fulfillment Press. Released on evergreen colored vinyl, as a Deluxe LP w/ 28 page zine, CD, cassette and digitally, the band’s fifth full length record is one which almost never came to fruition. After 2019’s Your Church On My Bonfire, thee songwriting partnership of Phillip Jon Taylor and Joshua Swinney settled into new pursuits as an artist and chef respectively.
But, having missed playing together for too long, a plan was set and in October 2022 Josh travelled to Phillip’s home studio in his Crofters cottage where work began on what became the new LP. The resulting record finds the band as grounded and assured as they ever have been. Marrying the deafening assault of youthful abandon with the whispered reasoning that comes with getting older; swaying from anger and exasperation to wide eyed optimism.
We caught with Phillip to talk about the new album and why this was their self-titled record.
Hi! How’s everything going right now?
Ok thanks, you?
Can’t complain too much! What classic album cover art is your current mood?
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
Your new self-titled album is out. When and where did you write and record it?
We wrote and recorded the bones of the thing over a short period of about two weeks or so max. Then I took some extra time filling things out with the vocals and other instrumentation, all whilst trying to keep things fairly raw/minimum. Recording and mixing was done in my very DIY home studio full of entry level recording equipment.
This is your fifth album – why is this record self-titled? Do you feel it epitomizes everything you want PAWS to sound like?
In some respects, but we are definitely a band that seem to change things up with every album really, so each record always feels like what PAWS was at that particular time. Maybe that’s the whole “band’s band” thing though. I think we self titled it because Josh and I have been the core songwriters of the band since it’s beginnings so, in making an album on our own terms un-interrupted with regards to writing, tracking, recording and splitting artwork duties, it really felt like it was a good air clearer so to speak. Clean slate. Good up to bat. PAWS.
It seemed your previous album could have signaled the end of PAWS as you pursued new and different challenges. What was the spark that got you back together to record again?
Just the friendship and love for making stuff together, that’s always been the reason we’ve made anything really.
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Right now, Dragging A Dead Dear Up A Hill by Grouper?
How and when did you meet and form PAWS?
Josh and I met in high school in the highlands of Scotland. We initially were into making electronic music together and started dj-ing for a while using a shit HP laptop and a mixer. At first we only had the laptop but then after opening for Dizzee Rascal in Inverness when we were like 17 (lol) the venue gave us this piece of shit mixer as payment for the show after we had to borrow it to play. Anyway, then we started playing guitar and drums together instead. Moved to Glasgow. Started writing and recording songs. Rest is blah dee blah…
What do you wish you could go back and tell yourselves as you prepared to record your debut LP “Cokefloat!” back in 2012?
Bring more weed.
What is the one essential item you can’t do without when you’re on the road?
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Pepperoni and Pineapple – The Maxwell
What do you have planned for 2024?
PAWS is a succinct, razor wire encased documentary chronicling the pains of modern living. Delving into the dark underbelly of 90s alternative rock, painting with evocative instrumentals and revelling in celebratory indie punk, the band also embrace sordid pop and ambient electronics. And while it pays homage to where they have come from, it also signals a clean slate for the pair. Two friends united over distance. After some time apart, all they needed was a spark.
Feature Image Credit – Nicky Murray