Let’s not lie, we all stalk old uni friends on social media from time to time. You know what I mean, just a little check up on what job the “golden kid” in your class ended up getting on LinkedIn or a totally normal 85 week scroll back on the Instagram of that guy you thought was fit way back when; just me? Okay… But getting to the point, it’s nice to know that people you actually liked in uni are doing well. Such is the case with up and coming rock outfit Paves.
Knowing frontman Luke Shield and guitarist Mike Whitaker from uni, I first saw the band perform in the Student’s Union about three years ago after heading down for friend duties and drinking opportunities: flash forward to the present day and the group are packing venues without having to recruit pals via Facebook chat. Even glancing through their Twitter feed, there’s declarations of love for the band covering their timeline, including someone saying they’re travelling from Japan to see them. “Oh yeah, Caz!” The group say when I bring up the retweet. “She’s made a little fan group on Facebook, a Paves support fan club. She’s amazing!”
Started by Shield and Whitaker, the band fully came together after meeting drummer Tom Triggs on what sounds like a very weird night out in Camden – “Weren’t you seeing your friend play The Saw?” – and recruited bassist Perry Read shortly after. Originally called Thieves, the quartet released “Take Me While I’m Here” last year. “It was much more blues orientated,” Shield says of their debut song, “and now we’ve kind of focused on our own sound, so we’ve changed the band name because we felt like it was almost a different band.” “Yeah,” Whitaker affirms. “We started out with that bluesy stuff because it was what we were mutually into. We’re all into such different things, it was the only sort of thing that we had a common interest in. But I think now we have a very good idea of where we wanna go…”
Finding their footing after getting to know each other better – “We’ve spent a lot of time in cars together” – the group dropped their follow up “Baby” earlier this week. An irresistibly feel-good song, the band have amped up their previous bluesy style into a captivatingly upbeat rock track. Blending elements of nostalgic rock’n’roll with a refreshingly modern charm, “Baby” shows off a much more established sound that you won’t be able to get out of your head for days. “It’s a catchy pop song!” Shield says of the track. “I think we were just trying to keep it simple, write a song and not overcomplicate it. Now that we have grown as a band, I think we’re able to put more intricate stuff in without it sounding distracting. I think that’s where the new stuff that we’re going to release soon is at right now. It’s musically interesting as well as being catchy.”
A taste of what we can expect from the upcoming EP – that they’ve been recording in their mate’s shed (you know, as you do) – Paves have already become a sought after live act. Having taken on the festival circuit, the group have been lauded online for their shows and were one of the handful of bands who braved performing at the washed out Y Not festival this summer. “I came back with a lung infection,” Read laughs. “I went to Germany to see my girlfriend and I could barely breathe!” “I came back with a different shoe on my foot!” Shield adds. “I didn’t realise until we got to a service station, like, two hours away. I was wearing heels and the other one was a Chelsea boot so I was limping, covered in mud, down this service station. Then I was like ‘hang on, this is not my shoe…’”
Currently the band are on tour with Starsailor, having been asked back after supporting them last year. “We were supporting them for like three dates,” Whitaker tells me, “and then obviously most [of the audience], if not all, had never heard of us before. And that was really cool because these were like 800 or more capacity venues and we’d finish playing and then just loads of people would come up and be like ‘that was amazing, when can we see you again?’” “Yeah!” Triggs laughs, “People were asking for pictures and autographs and we were like ‘oh, shit!’”
This is clearly the start of something brilliant for the band: they’re already being tipped as one’s to watch out for. When I meet up with them, they’re getting set to play the This Feeling tent at Reading Festival, which has been set up to showcase the UK’s finest up and coming bands. I ask if they’re excited to play the iconic rock festival and Shield immediately lights up. “I’ve got a funny little fact about Reading Festival! When I told my parents that I was playing Reading Festival, they were like, ‘oh, we went there in 92!’ I was like, ‘pft, really?’ And I would have been in my mother’s womb, and that would have meant that I watched Nirvana, but then I found out after, they were like, ‘yeah, there was Mongolian monks there,’ and I found out it was the Reading Cultural Festival! But yeah, I reckon we could headline that?”
I guess we’ll see you down the front at Reading Cultural Festival then.
Photography - Bartek Szimigulski
Fashion - Kamran Rajput
Grooming - Jason Crozier