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Partisan Waves - Interview

  by John Clarkson

published: 12 / 4 / 2015

Partisan Waves - Interview


In the second of our new series 'Is This Your Year?', in which we will be following the fortunes of five different acts over the course of a year, we speak to South London-based indie rock trio Partisan Waves who formed last year

‘Is This Your Year?’ is our new series in which we will be following the fortunes of five different acts over the course of year. Last month in the first article in the series we spoke to Reading-based singer-songwriter Jo Bartlett, and this month it is the turn of South London-based three-piece, Partisan Waves. The group was formed by one-time school friends, Mark Rowland (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Webber (guitar, backing vocals) last year. They were augmented by drummer Daniel Brown, who joined Partisan Waves just before Christmas. While initial compositions had a discordant 90’s alternative rock influence, more recent songs and demos, which Partisan Waves have made available on Soundcloud, have had a reflective indie pop tone. Although all three members have played in various bedroom projects over the last fifteen years, they are yet to play a gig or to release a record. We spoke to Mark and Paul about their plans for this year. PB: What are your main objectives for 2015? PW: For us it’s always been a play it by ear sort of thing. It started when we decided we wanted to write songs together, and then we wanted to get a band together to play a gig. Then it was one long search to find a drummer. MR: It took a while to get the right line up for the band, but we definitely have it now. I think this year we just want to get our name out there – start playing regular shows, start building a following, make some recordings that we’re happy with, maybe put a single or an EP out. PW: I think when we were first starting, after being friends for a good fifteen years or so, and trying to do stuff and it not working out, we didn’t really have any expectations. I do think that we did have the idea of playing music together to have fun, maybe do a few gigs, and have covers. We did that one night, and then the next time we both had songs we wanted to do. MR: I hadn’t written a song for four years before then. We did that jam, and then two days later I’d written a song. I sent it over to Paul, and he emailed back saying we should do something with it. That spurred me on to write more. We’ve come a long way from that, now. We had no idea what we’d sound like at that point. Now we have a more distinct sound. PB: Do you have any ideas of how you are going to achieve this? MR: Well first things first, we need to start playing shows. We’re going to concentrate on building a local following this year. Our aim is to really go for it in the summer and see what reactions we get from people. We’ll try to get something recorded around the same time, so we’ve got something to offer people if they like us. PW: I just think it’s important that it rocks. If you go to a gig and the band’s a bit of a shambles, you won’t see them again. So being disciplined and working hard, I suppose, is how we’ll achieve what we want to do. PB: What are your main concerns as a group? PW: We’re too old. Who wants to see a bunch of blokes in their 30s rocking out? MR: That’s not a hundred percent true, though. I don’t think gig-goers are as youth obsessed as pop moguls are. PW: It’s not just that, though, it’s that when you’re young, you have no commitments – MR: And you have more hubris. PW: Yeah. At my age, I should be thinking about getting a mortgage and settling down. I feel like I’m living my teen fantasy fifteen years too late! MR: I know what you mean, but I think people get a bit bored of teenage bands. They have youthful energy, but often they don’t have anything to say. At least we have got a bit of life experience, and we still have some energy left in us. PW: I’d also say that we haven’t been in gigging bands before. This is new to us, and we’re older as well. I’m a bit nervous about that. MR: Yeah. But I’m pretty sure we’ll get used to it. PB: What are your hopes as a group? PW: Honestly at the moment I just want to get on a stage and play. I want to jump around with my guitar for a reason and not just feel like a prat doing it in the rehearsal room. MR: Yeah. We’re at a very early stage. I’m hopeful that some people will like us, and that some people might want to listen to our songs at home as well. That’s about as far as it goes right now. PB: What are your fears? PW: I’d say the biggest fear comes from our relative inexperience. Will we come across as naïve? I’m a bit worried that people at these venues will look at us and think: how do they not know what they’re doing? MR: Someone somewhere has probably written instructions and posted it on the internet. Google has an answer for everything, these days. It definitely will be a bit nerve wracking to start with, but I don’t think there’s any shame in just asking someone about it. PB: Do you have any long-term plans at this stage as a group? MR: I’m quite optimistic that we can build a following if we work hard enough. As long as it stays fun for us, I think we could go somewhere with it. PW: I think we’ve been friends for long enough that we can work around anything else that might be happening in our lives. I’d just like a body of work to be proud of. MR: Yeah. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few years, but if I’ve got a collection of our songs on an album, preferably on vinyl, that I’m really proud of, well that’s enough, really. PB: Thank you.

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