Papa vs Pretty

PAPA vs. Pretty have found themselves with a reputation for a lively, energetic live set, catching the attention of fans and media across the country.

ALEXANDRA McINTYRE spoke to lead singer Tom Rawle, about their new EP Heavy Harm, which they launch at The East Brunswick Club in Melbourne on December 1 and at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on December 2.

Paul Dempsey is the producer on your new EP ‘Heavy Harm’, how did you feel about working with such a well known name?
Paul is an amazing songwriter. We supported him at Beach Road Hotel and I remember he got up on stage and was saying “this band is really amazing” and we were just going, “what?!”. Then I met him and it was really surreal, the most surreal meeting was when I was going to someone at the labels house and I thought it was a meeting with them and Paul but it was just Paul there and me and him just ended up sitting in the house listening to records all afternoon.

What was it like working with him?
Paul is really kind. He’s so patient with us and he’s just such a nice person.

How do you feel about the song ‘Heavy Harm’? It seems like a very strong single.
I remember when I first accidentally played the riff I thought “fuck that’s difficult” and it took me a while to learn how to play it. And then I played it to Paul and he played it straight back to me in another tuning and I was like “huh? I had to learn how to play my own song and he gets it straight away?”,the guy is amazing.

Do you feel that you have become a lot tighter and found more direction as a group with this EP? From your older stuff to now it certainly looks and sounds that way.
Most definitely. It’s different because this EP is more like a step to us towards the album. Everything we had been doing before that was more pacing wildly around the step. I wrote the songs ‘Heavy Harm’ and ‘Wrecking Ball’ and the others on the EP so quickly, I don’t really like that. I wrote it all in three weeks and it was recorded within three days. That’s two songs a day. But I like the EP a little bit. I think the album that we are about to record has a lot more preparation going into it, it shows a progression of our work and we have spent a long time putting it together.

You have gained a lot of fame from your live shows, in fact most of your reviews describe the energetic nature of the shows being a driving force of your popularity. Is there any pressure with these shows coming up to perform well?
Not really. I’m actually more excited about these because the music was written to be played in a live atmosphere. We have been rehearsing so much and just practicing that there is now a flow to our performance that I have never had with a band before. We are using mostly album material in these shows so I am really excited about the performances.

You have played at Oxford Art Factory before, how do you find it as a venue?
OAF is definitely our favourite venue!

Are you just saying that?
No it really is, they are always really professional and they have amazing bands play there all the time, I remember seeing the ‘Dead Weather’ at OAF. So we are always really excited to play there.

You are also playing at the East Brunswick Club in Melbourne (on December 1st) with Stonefield, a band of four sisters. I thought it would be cool if you three hooked up with three of them. What do you reckon?
I think one of them is 12! I have one of them on facebook and I’m pretty sure they all have boyfriends.

Have you ever inspired a chick to take off her shirt at a gig?
I got a bra thrown at me once. I was like woah, umm… it was kind of confusing. Once I tried to take my jacket off onstage and it wouldn’t come off so the guys had to come and help me and while they were trying to get it off the keyboardist (at the time) was playing seedy porn music.

So after this EP tour you are going back to start work on an album with Paul Dempsey again with a tentative release date of early next year.
We are recording in January, fun party times ahead!