WAM INTERVIEWS: Pat Chow
WAM Song Of The Year nominees Pat Chow are kind of like your favourite dive bar; rough around the edges, endearingly familiar and oozing with character. Since the 2014 release of their debut EP, the band have been on five national tours and appeared at local festivals including In The Pines, State Of The Art and WAM Festival. Ahead of the launch of their latest single, Outta Words, WAM’s Dean Gavin interviewed bass player Andrew Meredith about establishing a cult at your local bowls club and the occupational health and safety issues of eating a pie onstage.
Having had a few WA Music Award nominations now and Bad Thoughts nominated for WAM ‘Rock Song Of The Year,’ what advice can you offer to other bands when trying to create a song that makes an impact?
We always like to be pretty direct with our song structure and writing and I think Bad Thoughts is a good example of that… it’s fairly to the point. There’s no hard and fast rules on these things but I guess if you want to get people’s attention it’s good to focus on the basics of hooks and melodies first and go from there.
How do you channel your life experiences through songwriting, and what do you get out of it?
I find song writing a great way of clarifying thoughts and ideas that are floating around your head. It could be a personal experience, feeling, observation or even an idea for a story but getting it down molds what you are actually thinking about. Otherwise it can just be a vague concept and I think the writing process adds weight to ideas and can help provide closure to them.
What gets the creative juice flowing, and what are your best tips for beating the ol’ songwriters’ block?
As strange as this might sound it’s often setting deadlines. Ideas can come in the spur of the moment but personally I’m not great finishing them unless I have to. If you set yourself some sort of target then you’ll at least be forced to come up with something. It may not all be great but there will usually be some usable songs.
What do you feel is your main strength as an artist in terms of connecting with your listeners?
I think, but Ben writes in a personal, honest, relatable manner but at the same time I don’t think we take any of this too seriously. Ben’s got a great way with lyrics and wordplay so I think if anyone’s connecting with our music it’s probably down to that.
Your latest music video for Bad Thoughts (watch here) features some particular cordial/kool aid that brought about some interesting and mind warping scenes, including faces appearing on thumbs and a flying 1990s Ford Falcon… Tell us about how this came about
The clips director, John McGovarin, and myself came up with this idea originally. We had this whole other concept which was becoming a bit frustrating when we were scouting for locations so we stopped in for a drink at the local bowls club. The environment just got us thinking and the idea of a crappy cult which would meet there on Tuesday nights came up. The rest is all John’s imagination and skills!
Who was the worst punter/turbo you have ever come across during one of your shows, and how did you deal with them?
I can’t think of any real negative experiences with people watching us, it’s all love and good times at a Pat Chow show! But I do remember some guy walking around trying to start fights with anyone when the Peep Tempel were playing after us and eventually someone took the bait. I think they stopped the show, told the punters what they thought of it and waited for security to escort them out before continuing which seemed pretty reasonable to me.
What’s the craziest thing you guys have done on stage?
I ate a pie on stage once… I guess that’s pretty crazy from a hygiene perspective if nothing else.
You’re all going on a tour very soon, and spending even more time together. What pet peeves do you have and how do you get over them and maintain a happy touring party?
I lose my keys all the time which I think drives the other guys crazy! To be honest though, we don’t really have any problems on the road. We’re pretty close and know how to not piss each other off so when we go away it’s just heaps of fun.
Dream venue to play at and why?
Some sort of submerged dome in the ocean because fish.
Previously you’ve supported the likes of The Peep Tempel, The Ocean Party, King Gizzard and Flyying Colours. Who impressed you the most and why?
That is a very tough question! We were super impressed with all of them… We are probably closest with the Ocean Party guys and they never cease to amaze me personally. The dynamics of that band are spot on and the shows create a really nice mood. Those guys are gems!
How has WAM helped your career?
Getting some nominations from WAM has been really nice. It gives you the sense that people actually give a shit about what you’re doing and is always good for exposure of course. I only wish Jamie was never nominated for drummer of the year because he hasn’t stopped going on about it! Apart from that we’ve played a couple WAM festival gigs which have been great opportunities to play to people we wouldn’t normally.
Pat Chow Outta Words Single Tour
Friday 1 April at The Bird, Northbridge
Support from Boys! Boys! Boys! and The Tawny Rajah
Entry $5 from 8pm, door sales only
More information here