Sometimes chemistry is science. Other times, chemistry comes from happy accidents. Indie-disco band Patawawa certainly falls in the latter category. Beth, Sam, and Rory make up the brawn behind the UK-based crew and, while they didn't set out to make a band, they've crafted some illustrious music. Resplendent with catchy pop lyrics and an incredibly fun lyrical back and forth between Beth and Sam, they're an easily digestible yet utterly satisfying example of a band that just wants to have fun.
They're fairly well known within the modern nu-disco world and have worked with some of the most prolific members of the scene, having released remixes with Dr Packer, Hot Toddy, and a forthcoming remix with French don Yuksek. Most recently they've released a single, titled "That Guy," which perfectly exemplifies their no-seriousness-allowed attitude. It's a joy to listen to and serves to wring out the last of the lingering summer energy.
Listen to it below and read the words that follow to learn more about the up-and-coming Patawawa.
Magnetic Magazine: How did you three meet?
Sam: Beth can take this one.
Beth: Well, I remember meeting them in school but obviously I wasn't that memorable because they don't think we met until we were about 17 or 18, at which point I thought I'd known both of them for quite a while. My version of events is that we met at school. According to them, Rory and Sam met at school and then they met me after they left.
MM: It seems like Sam and Rory had already been working together before they invited you to come sing for them. What was it like walking into the middle of that existing dynamic?
Beth: At the time they had a very impressive, world famous metal outfit (laughs). But really I was a little nervous. It didn’t help that the “studio” was set up in Rory’s dad’s living room, so there’d be loads of people around having a beer, sitting on a sofa, with a mic in the middle of the room. I’d have to sing on demand, Rory’d be like “right now!” It was pretty intense but, well, you kept me didn’t you?
Rory: Yep. We’ve kept her. She’s done well.
MM: Patawawa’s songwriting is quite interesting in that there’s a lot of back-and-forth between Sam and Beth. How did that take form?
Rory: Well we started doing harmonies but Sam and Beth have a very similar range and so they’d always end up singing the same notes. You couldn’t really tell who was who so we just split the parts.
Beth: Also I’m a diva. So if someone writes the whole thing, I’ll just re-do my bits and we’ll splice it all together.
Sam: It’s really nice because some bands have to draft in someone extra to do it but we have it all the time. Two lead singers.
MM: What’s your songwriting process like?
Rory: It’s always different. Sometimes they’ll come around to my house and I’ll have a full song ready for them. Sometimes we’ll all come together and start from scratch.
MM: Do you write for Beth or Sam in mind?
Rory: Not really. Sometimes a bit suits Beth or Sam in particular, but not usually.
Beth: When I write lyrics I write them from a girl’s point of view and then poor Sam has to sing them.
Sam: Hey, I go either way.
Rory: Sometimes we can’t tell.
MM: If Patawawa were a singular entity, what would they eat for breakfast?
Sam: If we were all one person together I think it would be KFC for every meal.
Beth: Would we be one on top of the other on top of the other? Or would we be side by side.
Rory: Well, I could fit two people on one person’s shoulders.
Beth: Then we’ll be a pear. No one wants to be a pear. We’re discovering some difficulty with this.
MM: What do your parents think about your foray into music?
Beth: Oh my mom hated it. I dropped out of Uni doing Chemistry to be in a band, so you can imagine that she thought it was the worst decision ever. Now I’m back living with her and she’s like “oh, kind of what I thought was going to happen.” So she’s slightly supportive, but not really.
Sam: My mom and dad are a bit different. My dad is crazy into it, he goes to every show he can. My mom, on the other hand, uses it against me when she needs to. If I’m at home all day working on emails she’ll be like “Why have you done nothing? That’s not really a job, is it?” But then if we’re doing well with the streams she’s like “Oh yeah my son’s in a band” to all her friends. So it’s a 50/50 split.
Rory: My mom did like it but then I moved into her house with all the studio gear and now she’s not a fan any longer.
MM: What are the big dreams of 2019 and beyond?
Sam: Album time. I reckon in 2020 the full album will drop.
Rory: We should try to stick to that shouldn’t we.
Sam: I’m not giving you a month because I’m just not doing that. 2020.
Rory: 2020. We’ve got to.
Sam: Maybe 2021. In the 2020 to 2030 period. There will be an album. This is our decade.
MM: How do you stay patient?
Beth: I think every year has been substantially better than the last. Some days I want to quit because I’m tired and I’m sick of being skint. But apart from that it’s definitely improving. We came from such small, tiny beginnings. We didn’t even plan to be in a band, it just happened. We don’t really want to be world famous, it would just be nice to have a career of this.
Sam: We don’t have to make loads of money, just enough to do it as a job.
Rory: I’m actually a full-time musician because I got fired last week.
Beth: Well done Rory.
MM: What was your job before?
Rory: I worked with my dad. I brought in my mate to help us do a little bit and he gave my mate my job. He had skills I didn’t; I was just the laborer.
Beth: That’s what you are in music as well. You’re the laborer. Rory does all the laboring, Sam and I just stand there.
Sam: We stand up and look good.
MM: What do you do to keep it fun when things are a bit stressful or boring?
Beth: I don’t think I’m very good at keeping it fun when it’s stressful. I think I do a big dramatic march and then the boys go “Shut up and sit down!”
Rory: In a really nice way.
Sam: What do we do? I mean, to be honest, if it’s a bad time it’s happening to all of us, so we all feel it together. The thing with being in a band is that there are these immense highs and immense lows and it’s pretty much a constant flow between the two.
Rory: The intense highs and lows come even on the same day. You wake up and you’re on top of the world and then by lunch time you’ll be crying.
Sam: If you’re in a band with people that you don’t get along with, then you're in serious trouble down the line.
Beth: It's lucky we like each other, then!