Tuesday, 11 February 2014

PAWS

Channeling Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr  and Archers of Loaf into an impassioned cacophony of noise, melody and lyrical sincerity; Phil, Ryan and Josh of PAWS left behind their various backwater hometowns of rural Scotland to thrash it out in Glasgow before signing to Transatlantic indie uber-label Fat Cat. Having just returned from their latest US tour - a trip that also saw them record their second album in upstate New York - I spoke to singer Phil, bassist Ryan and drummer Josh about musical epiphanies, snobbery in skateboarding, posers, existentialism and death.

Ryan, Phil and Josh. San Francisco, 2013.

You've just flown back from LA. How was America?
Phil: It was great. We flew out on the first of November to New York, so we were in this place called Highland Mills about an hour outside Manhattan, where our label boss Adam has a house out in the woods, and he has a log cabin thing in his garden that has a recording studio in it. We were there for the first two weeks recording our new album. We'd been talking about going over there to record our record for a couple of months now so it was cool to actually get it done and know that we had a tour to go straight into after we'd finished it. It was a headline tour, and we started in Philadelphia and did a run of east coast shows, then we made our way over to the west coast. We'd never been to the west coast before.

You'd been to the east coast before?

P: We'd done two other tours this year, that was our third tour of the US this year. Two east coast tours. One in March, then we went to South By South West at the same time, then in June we went back and did another east coast run. The plan was to get us out to the west coast before the end of the year, there was a bunch of people out there who hadn't seen us before that wanted to see us play. We did like 5,500 miles in three weeks. Our tour manager Brendan was like a superhero, he was just pedal to the metal every day. One day he had to drive from Seattle to San Fransisco, and that's a sixteen hour drive...


Fat Cat have got offices in Brighton and in New York. Seems like they're quite keen to push you to America. Are you more appreciated there?
Josh: Probably because America's so vast. You just have to hammer it. We've done so much in the UK that we just want to do America now.
P: Being on a label with presence in America definitely helps. I can't even think how many shows we've played in the UK in the last couple of years. Hundreds. First time we went to London there were 30 people there, but then you go back, and you build it. It was surreal, in March we went to New York and there were 80 or 90 people at our first show there. I think because we did well on our first trip there, they wanted to keep getting us back. We're getting loads of good press over there, which could be because we've played with a lot of bands from America when they've come over here. Our first ever show was opening for Sub Pop band Dum Dum Girls. Then every show we got offered seemed to be with American bands. 

You sound like an American band, but in a good way. You sound like lots of good American stuff.
P: Sometimes my voice comes out a bit American, but I think that's just from hanging about with a lot of them. And I guess it's just the music we've grown up listening to.
J: Even going back to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, they were trying to sound like American bands.

Phil skates.

You were on Gerry Loves Records weren't you? That's not actually Gerry Love's (from Teenage Fanclub) record label, is it?
J: They love Gerry Love.
P: The guys who run Gerry Loves Records, I think they became best pals in Aberdeen, listening to Teenage Fanclub, and I think the first gig they went to together was Teenage Fanclub. They're obsessed with Teenage Fanclub. They're the best guys.
J: They're like our spirit guides.
P: They came to see us one night in Edinburgh, and bought us loads of beers afterwards. They're the best dudes because they just love music and care about music and don't care about any kind of label bullshit. They just release music from their friends' bands and they really care about it. Our goal with the band at that point was to get one of our songs on a 7", then we'd have done everything we wanted to do. They offered to do that so we were just totally beyond stoked. I don't think anybody would have thought anything would have gone as far as it's gone. At that point we were content with what had gone on, but when they gave us that 7" we had something to push, and tour with. They really fueled the band in a big way. There wasn't loads of press and it wasn't on a big label, but just in giving us this thing that was ours to play shows with and tell people about. It was cool to be able to pass it on to other musicians. What's the guy from the Buzzcocks called, I always forget his name... 

Pete Shelley?
P: Yeah, I gave a copy to Pete Shelley.
Ryan: I remember that!
P: Yeah, you were there but you weren't in the band yet.
R: Just lurking around, ever hopeful.
P: That was the cool thing about that 7", they gave us a thing so that we could let people know that we were a band. They're a really great label. 

How did you go from there to Fat Cat, this big Transatlantic label?
P: With Gerry Love's we were never really 'on the label' as such. I guess we were just writing and gigging so much, we had enough stuff that could potentially be an album, and we were just like "Fuck it, let's keep going and see what happens". We never really shopped around for a label, or looked for it, we just wanted to do little releases with labels. We played a showcase festival in Inverness called Go North, and Alex who runs the British side of Fat Cat, he saw us at this venue that was this terrible old man pub, called 'Flames' or something like that...
R: 'Phoenix'. I think it's now called 'Deeno's'. With two 'E's...
P: Yeah. We played in there and it was the most rowdy Inverness show we'd ever had. We'd either played in places where it was really quiet, and we'd played in our friend's skate shop, called Creative Skate Store, when it got shut down after ten minutes. We had to lock half the people out. They're the best guys up here man, they're doing shit and keeping it real. Not only have they started a skate shop, they've started a place for youths in Inverness to go and hang out and have an identity. Inverness has been notorious for kids having nothing to do, but now there's a place where they can go and annoy the staff and play pool and drink tea and get to know the other kids, and they're all starting to skate. I used to work in a skate shop called North 57; I did my work experience there from school and I stayed on. When that shut down the whole skate scene in the Highlands just stopped. All these kids stopped skating and started drinking and smoking instead. The guys that run Creative have just made a go of it, they've revitalised it a million percent. They've got a skatepark coming next year.



You're all from small towns, and your music seems to be very influenced by that background. How much did small town life inform the music you make now?
P: A hundred million percent.
J: Boringness always breeds creativity.
R: I was joking about that the other day, because when we were on tour I got really excited about driving through a couple of these small towns that we knew people were from. The one I always talk about is Dayton, Ohio, where Guided By Voices and The Breeders are from. And also Dave Chappelle. I was so excited about driving through there, then we were there like "This is a total fucking shit hole", but of course it's a shit hole because that's the reason those guys did those bands. I think when you're in a small place you do feel compelled to do more.
P: I can't generalise, but I think if you live in a big city, and there's a lot of people who are like you... Say I'm a goth in Glasgow, then there's going to be other goths at school that I can relate to. If you're a goth in Tain you're getting burned at the stake. They hate you. You're more compelled to do something about it rather than just being all "Oh well, I've got my group".
R: People in cool cities still do great stuff but I think people from shit holes are more driven to do it.
P: In Tain there was literally three or four of us that were total freaks and liked that sort of thing, and we couldn't go to Inverness because there was nothing happening and we weren't old enough to go into places, so we would rent a Brownie hall or a Scout hall and put on a show that three of our friends would go to, and maybe their parents would stand at the back. And we'd be angry at them for supporting us because we were trying to do a punk thing. Haha! I think you're more compelled to do stuff if everything around you is shit. Especially if you get bullied and you're a bit different. One thing we were talking about the whole time we were away - if you're a skateboarder in America, you're cool. If you're a skateboarder here, you're scum. A lot of the reason I got into doing music was through the people I met through skateboarding. 

The music in skate videos?
P: Probably seventy five percent of my music tastes come from the first time I saw Sorry. Or the first time I got given the old Zero videos.


You released an EP called Misled Youth...
P: It's just a nod, but it has nothing to do with anything in that video. It's just my favourite title for a skate video, because that's exactly what it is. It always appealed to me. In the Highlands, if you're into that sort of thing, people look at you as if you are misled, a fuck up. Like if you want to roll around on a plank of wood and talk about music with your buddies, you're misled. It's not really what most people's grandparents or parents would see as normal. It was more about that. About being a freak. 

Ryan, you're the new guy. How did you come to be here?
R: I'm from Orkney, but it was through a bunch of people that I know from Inverness that I ended up meeting Phil. It was about six years ago and we were in different bands. 

And what were the names of these bands?
J: Kaiser Chiefs.
R: Yeah, Kaiser Chiefs and Hard-Fi. Haha!
P: I was actually managing Chas n' Dave at that time.
R: These were the first bands we were in. Phil was about 15 and I was 19 or 20, and we were the only people there that took a smoke, so we went and hung out in the carpark. We didn't know each other but we knew everybody else from each other's band. Phil was like "I like Sonic Youth!" and I was like "Fuck! I like Sonic Youth! Do you like Dinosaur Jr?" "Yeah! I like Dinosaur Jr!" and it just kept going like this for ages and ages and he was weirded out that I knew all these bands and I was weirded out that he knew all these bands because the bands that we were playing for sounded nothing like these fucking bands. So we pretty much bonded there and then over a mutual love for all these weird bands. Eventually a few years later I bumped into Phil in Glasgow and it turned out he was starting another band, and I saw PAWS' first show at Stereo...
J: Were you at that?!
P: Were you at the first show?! That conversation I had with Ryan was the incentive for me to leave the band I was in. There was one dude in that band that liked the stuff I liked, but we were playing music like the Faint and stuff, kind of like electronic stuff.
R: Same with us.
P: It was either go to school or drop out and play in this band that I didn't really feel, but it was a bit more of an experience rather than sitting around in school. My mum was like "Fuck school, go and be in a band". So I did that but I wasn't happy, then I had that conversation with him and I realised there were more people - outwith this little group I was in - that were actually into the things I was into. So that was enough incentive to think "Well, fuck this", and move to Glasgow.
R: It was weird because I saw PAWS, and I ended up loving it, I thought it was great, and I actually ended up writing about it for a few different magazines, just local ones like The List and The Skinny. The first time I ever got a 'thank you' on the back of a CD was with these guys.
P: He even sang guest vocals with us a couple of times when he was drunk.


Phil ponders.

So you're like the Henry Rollins of the band, the fan who ends up joining.
R: That's the best thing anyone's ever said to me! 

Henry Rollins ruined Black Flag!
R: OK, that's the worst thing anyone's ever said to me! I hope I'm not going to completely ruin the band! Thanks Neil. Although Henry Rollins is a bit of a hero of mine. Although I know he can be a dick. So anyway they were playing a show at the GU, and for a laugh they said I should come up for the last song and basically just scream. I thought "I can do that!" We were always friends and we would see each other here and there while we were each doing other things. About six months ago I was walking home from work and I bumped into Josh's flatmate, who at the time had said about two sentences to me the whole time I knew him, and he said out of the blue "You might want to speak to Phil and Josh", and I hadn't seen those guys in a few months. He said "Matt's just left the band, I think they want you to join PAWS". So I walked in, and they had no idea I was there, and they started freaking out.
P: Matt had left the band, and it was a pretty stressful time; we were touring non-stop. We'd just come back from a European tour and a festival in Dublin that I think had destroyed Matt.
J: Because he was driving.
P: Yeah. He left and we had this American tour booked, and all this other amazing stuff, and we didn't know what we were going to do. We'd never thought about who we would want to play with because we had no idea he was going to leave. In my head the only guy that would make any sense at all would be Ryan, but we hadn't even finished discussing it by the time he came in. Because Josh's roommate had blabbed. 

Because you'd told him?
P: Not really, we were sitting there getting drunk having a conversation about who our favourite bass players were, and we said Ryan, and then he was there about two hours later.
R: It was really good for me, because for the first half of that year I was trying really hard to do freelance writing and stuff, and I was fuckin' dying on my ass. I was struggling to pay rent. I'd just got a job in a restaurant and I'd resigned myself to spending the whole summer, and probably beyond, working in this shitty job. And then two weeks later this happened, and they're like"Do you want to come to America with us?" Three weeks after that we're in America.
P: Our first American tour with Ryan was really great. We got to play with some of our favourite bands. It seemed to make more sense with this new format, where everybody was just ready to go into it and absolutely slam it when we were playing with bands like Fucked Up and stuff.


What was the story about Ian MacKaye inviting you round?
P: That was so surreal. When we met Ryan he'd been interviewing people, but more so for himself, and one of those people was Ian.
R: When we were over in America and these guys were telling me all where we were going, and I was like "Holy shit, we're playing DC!" I'd interviewed Ian before... My good friend 'Ian'... 

Mine too.
R: Have you interviewed him too? Gnarly! 

He's not an easy person to get to agree to an interview, so props.
R: That was the thing. I had done a few interviews before, and I was like "I wonder if I can an interview with someone I actually really like", because I got in trouble for trying to sort out my own interviews before, for other magazines because they said if I use their name and it doesn't go through it makes them look bad. 

Not The Skinny?
R: (nods) 

Sophie who runs it is just brilliant, but that magazine is so terrible.
R: I'm glad you said that man. I once got £20 for doing a 1,200 word piece. If I did the same thing for a newspaper I would have got a couple of hundred quid. 

Every album they review gets either three or four out of five. It's like they don't want to commit to anything.
P: Nothing's great, and nothing's shit.
J: That's basically a stupid system in the first place. You can't 'rate' something like that.
P: Why did Pitchfork give us 7.1? It's a good score, but what earned us that extra point-one?! What was the lyric that nudged it over? 

At least the Wire describe the music. Rather than trying to mark it out of something.
P: Pitchfork try to do that all the time, but they fuck it up. We were laughing about Pitchfork the other day because when Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie first came out the slated it, then when the reissue came out they bumped it up three points. How the fuck do you say something's shit then say it's great because it's aged? 

Sorry Ryan, go on.
R:After I got into trouble I thought about just doing it for myself, so I sent an email to Dischord asking how I would get in touch with Ian.
J: Ian at Dischord dot com?
R: Haha! Yeah. I got a reply back saying "Hi Ryan, this is Ian. When do you want to talk?" My mind was blown. If you've spoken to him you'll know, he's such a cool guy but he's very challenging to speak to. He's really accommodating but he's quite aggressive. 

He doesn't take a breathe, he doesn't pause or hesitate...
R: That was the coolest thing he said to me, he said "Just make sure you have a recorder because I talk lots and I talk fast". So when I knew we were playing DC, I - for a laugh - sent him an email, just to say we were playing. You never know, if he's around he might want to come to the show or something. He said he was going to be busy that night, but he might be able to get out later, but he was on the other side of town. Then he said "Failing that, let me know the next day and you can come over and I'll show you round Dischord". I was like "Fuuuuuuck!" Then we got the opportunity to come back here and play pretty much one of the biggest shows we could have played, which was playing with The Breeders when they did 'Last Splash'. They're one of our biggest influences, so we had to do that. We managed to fly back a a day early and play the show, which was amazing, but it meant we couldn't do the DC show. I emailed him back and thanked him for the offer, and said that hopefully we'd be back sometime soon and he said just to let him know.
P: It was weird emailing Ian MacKaye to say "Sorry we can't come to Dischord, we're playing with The Breeders". I was a bit gutted about not going to Dischord because I became obsessed with that kind of stuff because of Gray Matter...


In the Flip video?
P: That's exactly the reason I became infatuated with that label. It's really hard to find anything by that band online, or to buy their original releases. Dischord don't really press it any more because nobody really wants it. I was really excited about going to Dischord so I could ask Ian everything I wanted to know about Gray Matter. That was the first punk rock band I got into that wasn't from my older brother telling me about British punk, or Nirvana and stuff like that. I just watched that video over and over. To this day I think the soundtrack on that video is just ridiculous. A year after that I played my first gig, as a twelve year old at school, and we covered 'Burn No Bridges', the song in Boulala's part.
R: That's the thing. I'm a huge Minor Threat and Fugazi fan, but it's more the stuff he did around those bands that fascinates me. 

When I first heard Fugazi they were still active, and I was able to go and see them, but you must have heard so much stuff you'd have missed otherwise through skate videos.
P: I always find it intensely hilarious what the general public's consensus of what skateboarders listen to is. In reality, I wouldn't know who the Delgados were, or who Belle and Sebastian were, or Gray Matter and I wouldn't have listened to David Bowie if it wasn't for skateboard videos. And that's ridiculous! But as a young teenager, nobody in my family told me to listen to David Bowie. Skate videos are some of my favourite mixtapes.
R: I remember, another interview I did, with RM Hubbert. And he used to be really into skating. He's a huge Minutemen fan, and a Mike Watt fan, and he said that the reason he got into that was a Santa Cruz video. Streets On Fire. He said the soundtrack was pretty much all SST, so I went back and watched it and it was all Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, fIREHOSE...


Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai used to always bang on about how he was a skateboarder. Posing in NME or whatever. He's also the worst person I've ever interviewed.
P: Our friend Ben's in that band Fuck Buttons, and they were playing in Glasgow recently and we went down. Stuart's a big Fuck Buttons fan. I'd been skating all day and I had my board with me, and we're backstage drinking with Ben and Stuart's there, and he had these brand new fuckin' Rowleys on, and a Thrasher t-shirt and shit. He goes "Oh, do you skate? I skate." All this shit. I was just thinking "No you don't". After everybody cleared out I was skating there for about two hours while they were all drinking. It was in SWG3 and it's really smooth, and I was just doing stuff over the barrier from the stage - it's the perfect height to just fuck around in there. Stuart was just standing around watching and you could tell straight off the bat he doesn't have a fucking clue, it's all just an image thing for him. Maybe he can drop in or whatever, but you can instantly tell that if he skates he doesn't skate for the reason that he wants to be a skateboarder. He just wants to fulfill an image or something. It's quite sad. I'm not hating on Mogwai or Staurt Braithwaite but when it comes to bands attaching themselves to the whole skate thing it really pisses me off. I don't understand why anybody would want to adopt 'being a skateboarder' as a fashion thing.
R: You're instantly fake if you don't do it. 

It's like basing your image on what toothpaste you use.
J: Yeah! It's like if I went around dressed as a footballer. "Oh, do you play?" "Nah, I just like the stuff". Big socks with shinpads, sliding around the street in football boots.
P: Maybe Stuart does fucking skate, but I highly doubt it. 

I think he used to. As much as everybody used to. When Back To The Future came out or whatever.
R: Haha! He's maybe got a hoverboard. He can probably afford one.
P: You can tell. All the people I skate with, when they're walking around you wouldn't know they were skateboarders. Whereas all these people who don't skate, are definitely trying to look like they must be skateboarders. You can tell there are real people in music who do skate, because they're not hyping the fact that they do it. Like Odd Future, they're a prime fuckin' example of that. Some of those dudes in that crew are really good. Have you seen their Berrics edit thing?
R: It's maybe not quite the same because it's punk so maybe it's kind of expected, but Cerebral Ballzy and Trash Talk and stuff like that all skate. 

And Municipal Waste and all that. I think that comes from the whole Suicidal Tendencies thing.
R: Yeah. Those are a few bands who write songs about skateboarding, but it's because they skate.
P: There are so many bands right now that make me feel nauseous with the "We smoke weed, we surf, we do all that" stuff. It's like "No you don't, you live in Paisley. You've never seen a wave and you've probably only smoked council brown in your life". Everybody's banging on and writing songs about how their stoned, and skating all the time. Shut the fuck up. There's been an influx of bands like that, maybe because of Wavves. None of them skate. They don't say they do, but they've totally pushed this whole wave of bullshit. There are so many bands in Glasgow that just piss me off because they're so desperate to fulfill this stereotype. This surf-y, skate-y, smoking weed thing. When that becomes something you're aspiring to be, then you're fucked. It's not 'cool', it's a thing that you do. 


Didn't you get noised up outside the pub when you were wearing a Thrasher top?
P: Here's the thing. The whole Glasgow skate community is fucking bizarre to me. I'm not from here, and moving from Tain to here, I was thinking "shit, there's going to be so many more skateboarders here. I am stoked". And I moved into a flat that was across the road from Kelvingrove so I was going there every day when I moved there. And the fucking static that was involved with going to that park if you're not part of that crew or from one of the areas those guys grew up in is really sickening. I thought that if you were a skateboarder, and somebody else is a skateboarder, then you instantly have something in common. Like Andy White, he is the fucking dude. That guy rips so much harder than all of those guys and if he sees you trying something that you're not getting he'll come over and take your board and show you how to do it. He's such an inspiration for the skate thing in Glasgow, but he obviously wouldn't think that. He's so rad, but all the rest of those dudes are so caught up in this almost gang mentality. And that sucks. But one night i was in Sleazy's, and we had just came back from SXSW where Thrasher had asked us to play. We were playing with Wavves, Bleached, Trash Talk, all this shit, at the mini ramp watching Ben Raybourn slay the ramp. He was just destroying that mini ramp when we were playing. And then I come back here and I'm wearing this hoody that I got from Phelps - he was just giving out shit to all the bands - and after we got a write-up in Thrasher, and these guys were all "What the fuck you wearing that hoody for? Fucking poser." I had my board, and I'd been skating all day, and those guys were all "Come on then, tre flip". I'm not going to fucking jump for them. I just assumed that as long as you're rolling you're of a similar mentality. 

It wouldn't have been Tom Shimmin that said that.
P: Nah, Shimmin's cool. I don't know him, but I've seen him rip.



You've got a label.
P: It's me and Josh, with some other friends. It basically started by accident. As long as I've been making music with friends I've always made shitty CDs and tapes of said music to give away at gigs. I hate how the majority of bands in the UK will record demos and demos and they'll never release anything until they have a proper studio recording released. We didn't have money to go to a studio or anything like that, so anything we recorded, we saw as a good representation of what we were doing at the time. I'd buy 20 or 30 cassette tapes and dub them all just so we had something to give away at our shows. By the time we had three different tape releases people were asking about it, and what label it was on and stuff. We didn't really have an answer, but I thought that if I was doing it for my band I could do it for my friends bands, and maybe group it all together so that this stuff has a home. I guess we were running a label without thinking about it, so we decided we should give it a name and keep doing it. But I haven't done it for a while. One band we released just got way too much hype, because we were doing so much, and people knew it was our label. Because we were getting attention it felt like anything we did got attention too. That wasn't right because those bands were great on their own merits, rather than me stamping an approval on something. I don't really want to talk about that. 

Can you talk about who that band were?
P: They're called Honeyblood, and they're my ex-girlfriend's band. They recently got signed to Fat Cat. It's a load of bullshit basically. I put all my effort into releasing this thing for my girlfriend, then I got dumped and they got signed. It's a bit more complicated than that, but that's essentially how it looks in hindsight. 

Can that go in?
P: Yeah, I don't give a fuck. It freaked me out because I was running a label on bedroom ethics, and I put this out because I loved someone, not because I thought they were going to be huge or anything. They could have done that on their own and I'd have had no attachment to it. we're going to release something properly now, we're going to do a 7" for Black Cop. 


Why did you put tapes out before? it's an awkward medium.
P: It was all I could afford.
J: You could afford CDs as well, but they're fucking shit. Tape sounds nice.
P: As annoying as they are, when you actually find somewhere to play it, it sounds great. Tapes are second to vinyl, then CDs are somewhere way off. I'd take MP3 over CD. I like tapes because if people own it they must really like you, because they have to go out their way to listen to it. You know if they're buying it they're actually gonna listen to it.
J: I don't have a computer or anything, and for a while I only had this old ghetto blaster than my grandma gave me. That was the only means I had to listen to music so I'd go round charity shops and buy stuff up. I found some Sonic Youth singles once. I'd just listen to tapes all the time, until Sean fucked it. Tapes are something you can do yourself, in the house. Unless you have a fucking vinyl press in the house then your next best option is tape.
P: It's hard because you need patience. I couldn't afford to buy the tapes and have them dubbed. I could afford to buy them and - with my ex-girlfriend's release - sit and listen to those songs a hundred times each. You can't turn it down or it doesn't go on the tape. It's not just like burning something on your laptop.


Phil, I know you lost your mum to cancer last year. She definitely seems to have inspired a lot of the music you do.
P: It's kind of more fucked up because - this sounds insane - but two days ago I found out that my dad isn't my dad. And I'm half Spanish. It's a really weird time to ask because this is even more important now than it was then. On the last day of our tour, in LA, my brother who lives there that I haven't seen for ten years disclosed this information to me because he felt like no-one else was ever gonna. He thought my mum was the only one that would ever tell me, but now he knew it was his job to tell me. I found out that the guy who I'd been believing was my dad for 23 years isn't. Obviously he still is, because he brought me up, but I don't really see eye to eye with the guy. I never have, and this is why, I guess. My mum was with this Spanish guy, and for the benefit of everyone I guess she decided it'd be a secret. There's an eleven year gap between me and my older brother, and I've had all of this shit my whole life. The first day I went to school, these kids were "Where are you from? You don't look like you're Scottish", and all this shit. There's been loads of gaps in my life that I've always just ignored, because I had no reason to believe that I wasn't related to my dad. We respect each other, but we have no similar interests, no involvement in each others' lives. It sounds like I'm making this up, but I found out yesterday that he now has cancer. So I found out that within two days of finding out he's not my dad. 

Have you spoken to him about him not being your dad?
P: Not yet. I've decided not to. So now my relationship with my mum is even more intense. My whole life, she brought me up under the pretense that I was special to her, that I was different to my other brothers. I thought it was to try to raise my self-esteem because I was a really depressed teenager, but I know now in hindsight that it was because she was obsessed with Spanish culture, and wanted to move to Spain and all this shit. And now I know that she was calling me special and all this stuff because I was a Spanish kid that she'd had. My whole life I had a really extreme relationship with my mum, because she was the only person other than my oldest brother telling me to pursue anything I wanted to do as long as I didn't do it half-assed and as long as I didn't fuck around. To the point where she let me drop out of school to be in a band, even if it was a shit band, as long as I was serious and wanted to learn from that experience and apply it to my life and figure out what I wanted to do. She was always pretty full on with always pushing me to do what I wanted to do, and not do anything that was boring or stagnating. When she got ill the band was just starting to do pretty well. The day before she passed away we had a gig booked in London. It was the gig that Fat Cat came to and decided they wanted to sign us. She was literally dying, and then eventually I had a choice between going to her funeral and doing this gig. I went to the gig, but I somehow made it back to Inverness on a bus to go to the thing, but she wanted me to do my own thing to such a degree that she didn't give a fuck if I missed her funeral. Before her passing I had this urge, this compelling desire to do these things, but now it's the only thing I have. It feels more natural. If I didn't do anything I wanted to it'd be like I was lying to her and to myself. Her whole life she'd just tell me to fuck complacency, and fuck where you're from, and fuck getting caught up in what other people think or expect of you. Just do everything you want to do. I guess the effect of losing someone that close to you is just to embody their life's efforts in encouraging you to do something and not give up on it. To follow through on the things you say you're going to do. I know a lot of people who shit about "I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do that" and then months later they've not even lifted a finger to do anything. The positivity I got from my mum is just to encourage people I know to do things they want to. Don't be a dick, just do it. Otherwise you'll be sitting around when you're 60, if you're lucky to make it that far, saying "Why the fuck didn't I do that?" It's better to do something and fail than sit around on your ass getting old and boring and not try something you really care about. Live healthy and make sure you can pay your rent, even if only just. 


Plans for 2014?
P: I think we're going to tour, like three times as much as we did this year. The new album comes out in May. We're doing a full UK tour in February, then a European tour with We Are Scientists, who are fucking great guys. Then we're going back to America for more touring. We're doing a Highlands and Islands tour, Shetland, Orkney, those places.

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