Behind The Mask: Wave Machines Grow Up
Wave Machines are back. And, yes, it is like they've been away. This year's model is a glitchy and shiny package of delux modern funk.
When times are tough, it’s the little luxuries that get us through. A flat white in BSC, a wee dram or two on Burns’ Night, a sheepskin-lined onesie. Whatever works. Thankfully, we’ve got the soundtrack to soothe us on our way to better days. Wave Machines are back with a full fat stew of seductive and ingenious pop. With more textures than John Lewis’ haberdashery department, their new album (teasingly dropped with the gorgesous Ill Fit last year) sees them squarely back in the fray. With its Tom Tom Club meets Hot Chip DNA, ‘Pollen’s already getting glistening reviews from the nationals and the music blogs and it’s, officially, the first play in the new SevenStreets office.
Surely, they can retire happy now? We spoke to lead singer Tim Bruzon…
So, seems you’ve spent your time away wisely. How would you describe the Wave Machines 2013 model? Evolution? Revolution? Revelation? None of the above?
Probably an evolution, at least that’s what it feels like to us. Whether it sounds like that to anyone else is a different matter.
You must be impressed with its reception so far?
The reviews have been really positive on the whole, with a few exceptions. We knew this album wouldn’t be for everyone when we were deciding which songs to put on it but still it felt like the best hand for us to play.
Was its birth a complicated one? Or did it all flow like nectar from the Gods?
It was conceived in the van in a long conversation on the way back from a Scottish festival about which direction we wanted to take (less pop frivolity, more darkness).
We followed that up with a month of jam sessions which were distilled into source material for me to try writing songs to. Those in turn were reworked over many months up here in Liverpool and down in London with co-producer Lexxx (who’s worked with Arcade Fire and Goldfrapp previously). A lot of substandard material got left behind.
To us, Pollen’s funkier and sleeker than your early stuff. More textures, more polish. Do you agree?
Amongst many other things Lexxx helped reshape the bottom end of the songs. There’s a lot more analogue synth doubling or replacing bass guitars.. On Wave If You’re Really There if we wrote a bass guitar part, we recorded it exactly as that and left it raw. This time we have added subs and tones to extend the range, make the whole thing sound bigger.
And now you’re back on the publicity merry-go-round. We bet that’s fun.
There seems to be a mad scramble to occupy page space in the many online sites that have sprung up over the last decade and I wonder sometimes if it’s counter productive to answer every question that’s thrown at you. It’s hard to retain an element of mystery without pulling the shutters down on every blog that contacts you, but I’m not sure if that’s the best thing to do either.
I’ve realised that in today’s electronic age the artist, having written, recorded and released an album, ends up sitting down and writing a lot of the copy that is used to promote it. We are getting increasingly squeezed for content. Having said that, at least you get to edit yourself.
What’s on your wish list for the year ahead? Festival frenzy?
That would be good. We’re starting to get dates coming in. The more gigs the better really. We love playing live.
Who are you listening to? (home and away)
Grimes – Visions, Gwilym Gold – Tender Metal, Everything Everything have made some stunning tunes, Post War Years will be making an impact soon with their album. I still listen a lot to Ella Guru – The First Album, one of the best and least known-about records to come out of this city in years.
What’s right with Liverpool right now?
Sefton park is still a hit with us, it was stunning in the snow. I always find the Georgian quarter, where I lived until recently, incredibly striking whenever I pop in. To be honest, I have’t been into town very much over the last 18 months but day to day I still get a really good feeling off this city.
What’s wrong with Liverpool right now?
Too much dog shit on the pavement. I can’t tell you how pissed off that makes me.
Seven words to describe you…
Persistent, stubborn, annoying, tired, happy, romantic, optimistic.
Find out more, and buy the new album via their website: Wave Machines