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Wave Pictures - Interview

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 20 / 4 / 2008

Wave Pictures - Interview


Ben Howarth chats to Dave Tattersall, the lead singer with lo-fi London-based indie guitar group, the Wave Pictures, about his band and their latest alabum, 'Instant Coffee Baby'

The Wave Pictures have been tipped in indie circles since their last release, 'Sophie', which came out in 2006. But, if I’m being honest, that was rather disappointing in comparison to the live shows they have played since. High time, then, for the band to release another album – and let us have the quality of their live shows on a disc we can play at home. ‘Instant Coffee Baby’, their first album for new label Moshi Moshi shows off the songs they’ve been playing live recently, which promise to linger in your head for far longer than previous albums. Would you like them? I think so. Some people would call them indiepop, others c86, and some even anti-folk. I’m a bit too confused to decide, but if someone told me they liked Hefner or Pavement, I’d probably recommend them the Wave Pictures. On ‘Sophie’, the songs were enjoyable, and were never quite as conventional as they seemed at first listen. But, unfortunately, the low quality recording let them down – I’d have been disappointed if it had been a demo tape. It didn’t matter though; the live shows are of a far higher quality. I’ve seen the band play twice in recent months, and on both occasions they surpassed the limited confines of the quirky lo-fi scene to produce dynamic and entertaining music, which succeeded in never sounding too much like any other band. I’m not going to predict fame for this band (frankly, I doubt they’d want me too). But I’m sure this will sell more than their last record. Pennyblackmusic spoke to singer and songwriter Dave Tattersall about ‘Instant Coffee Baby’. PB : 'Instant Coffee Baby', is just about to be released. Can you tell us a little about it, and where it varies from previous efforts ? Previous albums have sounded deliberately lo-fi. Will this still be the case ? DT : We were never deliberately lo fi. We recorded ourselves at home for the fun of it, then we went into a studio in London for the fun of it. Our new album, 'Instant Coffee Baby', varies from previous efforts probably because we have got older. My voice has probably changed a bit. They usually change over the years. The main change is that this is our first album with Jonny Helm playing the drums on every single track. He is an amazing drummer and we are lucky to have him. We aren’t a conceptual band to be honest. The changes happen without us paying attention to them. PB : Was it an easy album to make ? Do you enjoy being in the studio, and what was the role of your producer ? DT : It was very easy ! We didn’t have a producer ! PB : What role do each of the band have in songwriting ? DT : I write the songs and teach them to Jonny and our bassist Franic Rozycki. I would argue that they had no role in the songwriting, but it is conceivable that the two of them might disagree. PB : My lazy assessment of your music would be that you sound a bit like Joy Division and the Velvet Underground, with a hint of ’A Hard Day’s Night’, and with funnier lyrics. What music actually influences your band? DT : An awful lot of music. We are, as you say, very influenced by the Velvet Underground, but I have to confess I dislike the other two things you mentioned. How about a long list of stuff we listen to AC/DC, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mudhoney, Jonathan Richman, Townes Van Zandt, Skip James, the Feelies, Guy Clark, Herman Dune, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Manitas de Plata, Beat Happening, the Go Betweens, Hefner, Mississippi John Hurt, John Lee Hooker, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones…. I could go on and on… but everybody in the whole world could write a long list… you don’t think too hard about it when you’re playing. PB : When you supported Darren Hayman recently, you played an acoustic set. I thought it was really effective. Is this something you plan to do again ? DT : Oh, we don’t really make plans, but I’m sure we’ll play acoustically again lots and lots of times. It is fun for me to play acoustic guitar. PB : Still on the subject of Darren Hayman, you were part of the Secondary Modern band on his recent solo album. Has this had any effect on your Wave Pictures’ music ? DT : Playing with Darren is really exciting. He is a great song writer and a good friend of mine. He and I talk about music constantly and I’m sure he has affected my thinking about music, but it is hard to say exactly in what way at this point. Maybe in a few years I will figure it out. He is an inspirational figure though, a great songwriter who figured out a unique path for themselves through all the crap. PB : Many lo-fi indie bands seem to be so because they can’t really play their instruments, but that is clearly not the case for you. What attracts you to this kind of music ? DT : Some of the acts I like are indie, some aren’t. I know that I like to hear instruments clearly, so I don’t like too much overdubbing, and that I value spontaneity over precision. I also prefer attending gigs in small venues, spending a fiver, or so, on a ticket, than attending big shows. PB : When I first started listening to indie music (about a decade ago), a band like yourselves would have been in the weekly music papers and in session in the evening on Radio One, neither a viable option anymore. How will you go about promoting your new album now ? Do you think this makes being in a band better or worse ? DT : It makes it worse. I know exactly what you mean. You are absolutely right. The world just keeps getting worse and worse, but in tiny imperceptible stages like the one you mentioned. I’m not sure what would have happened to us ten years ago, and I’m not sure what is going to happen to us now. It’s all very exciting, but yes, we exist in a strange time and I can’t figure out how anything happens these days. PB : Finally, do you think your ambitions for the band are the same as they were when you started the Wave Pictures ? Are there any long term ambitions you hope to achieve ? DT : No, it was all a little lighter than that. We never talked about it. We still don’t talk about really. Franic and Jonny aren’t talkers and if I’m talking it’s as likely to be about something else. Ambitions...I don’t know. I’m not hugely ambitious. I’d like to make a career out of playing music. I’d like to never have a different job than this one. I’m trying all the time to write the best songs I can but I don’t have to put much effort in so much as that they just happen. We’ll see. Time will tell. PB : Thank you.

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Wave Pictures - Interview

Wave Pictures - Interview

Wave Pictures - Interview

Wave Pictures - Interview

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