In Conversation With Pale Waves
After spending the majority of 2017 announcing themselves to the world, Dirty Hit Records’ Pale Waves are ready to spend October through to November undergoing their debut headline tour throughout the UK & Europe. This year has seen the band earn slots at major festivals such as Reading & Leeds after the release of singles, ‘There’s a Honey’ and ‘Television Romance’ which were produced by The 1975’s Matty Healy & George Daniel. I was lucky enough to speak to lead singer, Heather Baron-Gracie, about the band’s history as well as how their future plans are shaping up.
“It’s going to be very energetic, very intense and full on.”
How would you describe Pale Waves to someone who’s never heard of you before?
I would describe us as Emo, Honest Pop
I like use of ‘Emo’ because to be honest, that would put a few people off; but I’d say emo in terms of the lyrics actually meaning something is definitely back in.
Yeah definitely, you don’t want to listen to songs that obviously don’t mean anything. Well I don’t.
So how did Pale Waves start out right at the beginning?
Well me and Ciara met when we went to uni in Manchester, I actually started speaking to her online prior to moving there and as soon as we moved into our student accommodation we met up straight away and then just realised we were meant to make music together. Then we were looking for other members and Hugo was already aware of us; we auditioned a bunch of people and I was always like it has to be Hugo, you know when you just have a feeling about someone? Then Charlie, we knew through mutual friends and we just kind of scouted him in. Ciara had a strong feeling about Charlie as well.
Did you get involved in the Manchester gigging scene then?
Yeah yeah, Manchester’s where we had all our first rehearsals, wrote all our first songs. We played pretty much all the venues like Castle, Night & Day, Deaf Institute, Sound Control, all of them pretty much! I love the venues in Manchester.
I don’t know if you’ve seen on Spotify, but you can see the top 5 cities where artists are listened to and for Pale Waves it’s Manhattan, London, LA, Chicago and Brooklyn.
<Laughs> Manhattan number one?
It’s crazy because most UK bands tend to start in the UK, branch out and then try to reach America. But you guys already seem to have people listening all over the place! As a result then, how do you plan to respond to that?
I think doing the tour with the ’75 guys really helped us be introduced to America; I think that’s how people have discovered us and want to keep listening to us. So yeah, we’re responding by doing a big US tour very soon.
In relation to Matty & George from The 1975, being the ones who’ve produced your singles; how much do they have to say in relation to the sound of the songs? Do they change it up quite a bit?
They don’t actually, they just produce it and anything that we say we don’t like, we’ll get rid of it. Some producers get really protective and it’s a bit hard to work with them, but with those two, they were just very easy going and put the sprinkles on the cake basically.
And then playing with The 1975; those shows are huge, but you’ve still only released two singles. How differently do you actually approach a headline show?
Yeah it’s quite scary actually doing a headline show. We have quite a lot of songs but people are just so unaware of that and think we actually have just two songs; that’s a bit mental to think that. But yeah, I’m really excited to do a headline show. It’s going to be very energetic, very intense and full on.
How many songs have you got for the headline tour then? What’s the set-list going to be like?
I think we’re going to do eight. We don’t want to make it too short or too long, we want to keep it nice and sweet. We don’t want to play so much for people to be like ‘oh god, it’s too much to take in now’. We just want it to be really energetic and to be a really small sweaty show.
Are you planning to keep up the Dirty Hit trend of releasing EPs before an eventual album, or do you reckon you’re going to keep releasing singles in the lead up to an album?
Well this is our last day in the studio today, we’re recording an EP. So, that’ll be coming out next month maybe. That’s got four tracks on, I can’t wait to get that out there. Maybe we’ll do another EP, I’m not sure.
How much of the album have you thought out then? Have you got a name? Do you know which songs are going to end up on it?
We’ve got a potential name and we’ve got songs that are definitely good enough to be on the album. We’re just kind of writing as much as we can and then we’ll decide nearer the time. We just want to get as many songs to pick from. There are some songs where it’s obvious that they have to go on there.
Why do you use the Vox Phantom guitar, what’s the story behind that?
Matty (The 1975) actually gave it to me. It was his guitar. We did ‘There’s a Honey’ and he was like ‘you need to play the riff on this twelve string and then he gave it me as a birthday gift!
That’s so cool…
Yeah I know! Very sweet of him.
Okay, last question. I’ve seen from some interviews that you’re a massive fan of Adventureland (amazing film!). Any other pop culture: films, shows, books that you’re into at the moment?
Well recently I’ve not been indulging in anything because I’ve been so busy for the past three weeks in the studio. But I really vary, sometimes I just like reading anything or sometimes I might just get really into a series on Netflix. Me and Ciara always watch Netflix together. Ciara what are we into at the moment? (A brief pause). Power. Have you heard of Power? It’s really cool. So dramatic. Something unbearable happens in every episode.
We’ll be watching the four-piece live in Manchester this month, get down to one of their UK tour dates which are as follows:
16 Oct / Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
17 Oct / The Bodega, Nottingham
18 Oct / Sound Control Bar Basement, Manchester
21 Oct / Northumbria Institute 2, Newcastle
23 Oct / Joiners, Southampton
24 Oct / The Camden Assembly, London
25 Oct / Waterfront Studio, Norwich
26 Oct / Komedia Studio, Brighton
Tickets available here