On The Radar: Sacred Paws

On The Radar: Sacred Paws

It’s a cold Friday night in Glasgow and the flyer-covered windows of Mono are cloudy with condensation. Inside, Sacred Paws are doing a grand job of steaming the room up.

The shoeless Rachel Aggs wriggle-dances behind her guitar, while Eilidh Rodgers smashes out rhythms on her drumkit.

Both members sing and wear striped shirts; Aggs’ are vertical, Rodgers’ horizontal. They’re a blur of limbs, hair and nautical patterns, and their instantaneous mix of Raincoats indie, African highlife and hooky pop is making people sweat. It’s pretty much impossible not to move to Sacred Paws.

“That show was really fun,” Aggs says down the phone a few days later. “The London one was too,” adds Rodgers, referring to the second of two hometown gigs to celebrate the release of debut album Strike A Match.

That’s right, Sacred Paws have two hometowns: Aggs (who also plays in Shopping and Trash Kit) lives in London, while Rodgers is in Glasgow.

Being separated by a six-hour drive has obvious effects on work rate - they formed in 2014 and Strike A Match arrives almost two years after debut EP Six Songs - but Sacred Paws aren’t interested in clocking in and out, this band is all about fun.

“We get on really well and we formed so we could hang out together, so there’s no intention to be really careerist,” says Aggs.

“We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun, I don’t really see why anyone would do a band if it wasn’t enjoyable. It’s not like you’re gonna make loads of money…”

We’re on crackly speakerphone as they slog up the M6 en route to a BBC 6Music session, but their laughter is clearly audible.

Aggs and Rodgers have been friends since playing together in the now-disbanded Golden Grrrls, and their clattering style is the product of clear closeness. It’s natural almost to the point of being wild – riffs sprint and wander as percussion rattles and vocals overlap.

They never planned to make an album but, Rodgers says, “It feels good that we’ve documented these years”.
Recorded at Mogwai’s Castle Of Doom and mastered at Abbey Road, Strike A Match’s 10 tracks amount to much more than two mates having a laugh.

Together with producer Tony Doogan they decided to lace it with brass and keyboard, and the record’s crisp finish lights up every nook and cranny.

“We had time to play around with different ideas, it was really relaxed,” says Aggs. “We get tired though, we tend to get really excited and then burn out and have a little nap.”

“Yeah, it’s fun when we write together, we feel more like ourselves,” Rodgers agrees. But her next comment has them both in stitches: “But we don’t take it seriously… Actually no! Sorry, wait, yes we do!”

Clearly, Sacred Paws take at least some of what they do seriously, their album proves that much. But ask what’s changed since they formed and Rodgers insists, “We’re very disorganised, and professional in no sense of the word,” while Aggs says, “We still have no idea how to write songs”.

Before they hang up, they offer a window into that process. “We don’t talk about feelings at practice,” Aggs says. “But everything comes out in the music. It’s quite… healing.”

“WOOOAAAHH!” shouts Rodgers in response, and they crack up again.

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