Dancers painting themselves to the beat of live music. A life-sized Pabst Blue Ribbon can ring-toss. A lively audience, filled with crowd surfers and mosh pits. Foam noodles everywhere. Local creative collective, Raw Paw, incorporated all of these and much more to bring their “New Magic” event to life.
The collective launched its new label, Raw Paw Records, at the Scoot Inn on Sept. 5. Staying true to the “Keep Austin Weird” mantra, Raw Paw is a social organization that publishes a zine and hosts different events around Austin to promote artists’ and musicians’ work in a way that inspires community collaboration.
“Becoming a record label was an organic process,” Co-President Chris Dock said. “We’ve already been supporting these musicians all along. This is actually more like a coming of age for us; we’re suiting up.”
Raw Paw formed in 2010 in a “broth of new talent, house shows, and poetry potlucks,” according to its website. What began as merely a “humble zine” has morphed into what Dock and other Raw Paw members describe as a “fierce print and music publishing house.”
Dock said Raw Paw’s main objective with the new label is to “help artists grow and find the support needed to develop their work.”
Raw Paw Records has four bands signed to the label: Milezo, Hikes, Chipper Jones and Corduroi. Charlie Martin, drummer, synthesizer and vocals of Chipper Jones, said they chose to sign with Raw Paw because they see the collective as their creative heroes.
“It’s still really early in the game for us,” Martin said. “It was either wait and see if something else came along or get behind what we believe in. Raw Paw was immediately behind what we were genuinely wanting to do as a band. It was kind of a no-brainer.”
Martin said Raw Paw was not the only option Chipper Jones had for a label.
“I know of a handful of comparable labels like Raw Paw in Austin,” Martin said. “Plus, spreading our music is so easy now thanks to the Internet. We could easily send our music online to labels in New York. We just organically came into close ties with Raw Paw.”
Dock said that although Raw Paw recognizes that it is very new to the music-producing world, it hopes to be a great stepping stone for up-and-coming bands.
“We know where we’re at,” Dock said, “and Raw Paw is an entity that is trying to grow, too. We hope to grow with the artists and push each other.”
Chipper Jones left for its first tour almost immediately after signing with Raw Paw Records in early June. Martin said the tour was still very much self-booked and was an “eye opening experience” to play in other cities that did not have creative collectives like Raw Paw.
“In some towns where it felt like we were playing with really talented bands, say bands that would do really well here, there was no foundation,” Martin said. “What’s so cool about Raw Paw is that they live for this stuff, and they are actually facilitating these events that can bring all these people together to have a focus point.”
In addition, Martin said he felt that Raw Paw was breaking the mold for the type of music that comes out of Austin.
“You normally think of blues, country, and singer-songwriter type traditions that have really flourished in Austin, and I feel like now we have all kinds of music flourishing,” Martin said. “To me Raw Paw has always been a real example of what’s happening in Austin.”