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INTERVIEW: A Far Out introduction to PAUW

The last couple of years have been a bit of a whirlwind for Dutch psych-rockers PAUW.

They have followed hot on the heels of their compatriot Jacco Gardner and just before Christmas unveiled their debut LP Macrocosm Microcosm – a spangly piece of 60s-inspired pop that has drawn comparisons to Tame Impala and Caribou.

What’s more, they’ve already bossed some pretty huge spaces after touring with Kasabian and Temples in Europe. The four-piece touched down on UK soil for the first time at last year’s Liverpool Psych Fest, but for those who missed them, we set out to find out a little more about PAUW with frontman Brian Pots…

How has the reaction to the record been?

It’s been amazing, especially in the Netherlands where I think people already knew us.  It was exciting to get the reaction we did because a lot of people had already seen us play live. They have extra patience so it was nice fulfil them. It’s all been positive, really great.

Did the success of those early live shows give you a lot of confidence?

Yeah, it gave us confidence, but also it made us kind of insecure. It put a bit of extra time pressure on recording the album. At the same time we were playing live a lot and we were still studying in school.

We had to fit the recording in between these things – and some of the writing because there were still some songs that weren’t properly finished yet. It was pretty heavy, but we made it through!

Have the live shows felt different since you got the record out there?

Some people were singing a long, which was pretty cool. The crowds were getting bigger and bigger at shows. Afterwards people were asking for autographs and to take pictures with us. That was all new for us so it feels pretty amazing.

Was that a strange feeling, the sensation of sudden fame?

Yeah I think so. You know how the process goes, we’re still the same people as before the album came out, we’re still human beings. We couldn’t believe all that stuff at first, but overall it’s pretty cool.

You had some pretty big support slots early on – including Kasabian – how did that help your progression?

It was amazing. Kasabian were a band I was planning on going to see anyway, and then we ended up supporting them! I learned a lot from this experience of playing on the big stage and the whole production that comes with that.

The day of the show is really different. There’s a much tighter schedule and obviously a lot more people are coming. Even though we were just the support act the crowd seemed really into our music!

PAUW clearly have an ear for a melody, who are some of your favourite songwriters?

It kind of depends from song to song, but in terms of stuff all four of us are into, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, also The Small Faces and King Crimson. With this particular record we took a lot from the 60s and 70s psychedelic scene.

Psychedelia has had a bit of a resurgence in popularity over the last few years, is that something you have noticed in the Netherlands too?

Yeah, somehow there is some hype from somewhere. There is something going on in the psychedelic scene. We already had our own Jacco Gardner, and you guys in the UK seem to love him too, which is pretty cool. And we have many more, so it’s great to see it is still alive!

Speaking of the UK reaction, how was Liverpool Psych Fest?

It was our first show in the UK and a really great experience. People are coming [specifically] to see psychedelic music so it was perfect for us. The reaction afterwards was really great, a lot of good reviews. We want all our future shows in the UK to be like this.

What’s next for PAUW? Any early ideas for the second record?

We’ve got some ideas floating around but we’re not really ‘writing’ at the moment. We’re playing live a lot at the the moment and really still focusing on that. But then after we will take some proper time for writing.

From tomorrow we’re just going to rehearse for three days and really work on the set we have now. Some of the songs were written in the studio during the process of the recoding. So we need to really get them in our fingers, you know? It’s a bit like we’re playing covers of our own songs!