In Conversation With: Patawawa

Patawawa – The North’s new answer to Disco

Look through the latest charts and you’ll notice that Indie is making somewhat of a comeback. Friendly Fires are back, Franc Moody are bringing the new age funk and a pack of dedicated girls are front row and screaming at all of Shy Luv’s gigs. Indie is back with a new sound that’s hailed by up-and-comers Rory, Sam and Beth of Patawawa from Matlock, Derbyshire.

Patawawa’s sound oozes soulful tones which are kept in check by heavy disco bass lines and with Beth’s powerful vocals layered on top, they’re definitely one to watch. Describing their music as disco-tinged-indie, it’s fair to take their word for it. Hot off the back of Sheffield’s Tramlines festival, we caught up with school friends Patawawa ahead of their much-anticipated Bestival set this weekend.

It’s a huge summer for the trio, whose name is a culmination of something to do with mating dogs. Beth giggled, explaining: “We were under pressure from our management to come up with a name and we had nothing. “Rory saw two dogs mating, claimed their puppies would be Patawawas and that was it – we had our name.”

They’ just headed out to Bestival’s Big Top this weekend and September sees the band embark on their first headline tour, gracing the likes of London, Sheffield and Newcastle. For a trio that’s still making beats and writing tracks in a Derbyshire bedroom in between episodes of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, it’s a bit of a dream come true.

“We’ve just auditioned a new drummer to add an extra dynamic to our bigger shows, it’ll be interesting to see how many people actually turn up” Sam said. “If we get it right, we’ll see if we can build the band even more. In fact, I’m looking forward to the inevitable Patawawa string quartet within six months.” That’s not their only big dream – Beth aspires to play London’s Koko. She said: “Would be pretty nice to see the big sign in Camden with our name underneath. Glasto next year would also be really cool.”

But it’s not all about the big performances for Patawawa, Sam toned down the exuberance to reflect on some of the band’s smaller gigs. He said: “Some of our best ever gigs have been in clubs – they’re really intimate and it makes us gives a whole different performance. “On the other side though, I love festivals and Tramlines was incredible. When you can pull in a big crowd and they’re going mental is great. I think we’re really lucky to have both of those opportunities.”

They’re not shy about their pre-show rituals either. All three of members are strictly off all booze and cigarettes before performing. “If I have one pint, my voice doesn’t work. It really does not like lager,” added Beth. Sam laughed: “We have to keep Rory’s pints down and try to keep each other from going insane. Then we obviously deserve 20 beers each.”

It’s hard to see the band following the same ritual after writing new tracks, which they can’t stop banging out having just given up work to focus on Patawawa full-time in Matlock.

Beth, Rory and Sam have a new EP out this Autumn to coincide with their UK tour and unsurprisingly, they’re planning to crack their first album next year. Listen to their latest track, Fight Me, above.