Sunday, 6 March 2016

I guess it would be nice to be a little more famous!

The tour is over and the reviews are in - bizarrely, more press than for their normal Moshi Moshi releases. Frantic must have been working hard in the PR department of Wymeswold Records. It's just a shame most of them are contradictory (Best lyrics/Worst lyrics) or just plain wrong (recorded by Darren Hayman? Er, no, concentrate harder when reading press releases please internet reviewers.)

Ready for a new album yet? Me too. Bread And Honey apparently. In the meantime, here's a final couple of interviews.

This one in particular is interesting due to Tattersall not being present which forces the normally taciturn Franic to spill the beans on their early days:



IN CONVERSATION: The Wave Pictures

The staff at the Mogal-E-Azam Indian restaurant, just a stone’s throw from Nottingham’s cultural triangle of music venues (Rock City, The Rescue Rooms and Spanky Van Dykes), are always delighted to welcome the night’s performers to their humble establishment. The owners and waiters act with such enthusiasm and appreciation that a group of musicians would choose to bless them with their custom, that you suspect they go to great pains to get the meals exactly right. Given the barnstorming set performed by The Wave Pictures at Spanky’s later on, supported by the hilarious band The Thyme Machine, and a post-show pub visit with both acts where the gorgeous actress Alicia Vikander walked up to the bar in front of me to order a drink (if it wasn’t her, she has one Hell of a doppelganger loitering around the Midlands area), I’d say it was a pretty damn successful evening all round. David, Franic and Jonny peered over their restaurant menus to answer a few questions…
Your new album is called ‘A Season In Hull’.  I always found the place hopelessly grim, yet somehow brimming with character. I’m intrigued to know what appealed to you about the place enough to make you want to base an album around it?

David Tattersall:
 Well, the title is just a pun on a French poetry book by Arthur Rimbaud called ‘A Season In Hell’. I don’t particularly LIKE the book, but I just thought it was a really funny title, and that’s why I wrote the title track. We’ve always had a nice time in Hull, and I suppose I like that Philip Larkin lived there, and worked in the library there, so there’s a nice romantic association with the place. Since we made the album, though; we’ve found that not many people know the Rimbaud book, so whereas it was meant to be an amusing title, it really doesn’t seem to have amused very many people much!
It’s a vinyl only release. What is it about vinyl only releases that appeals to bands these days?
David: There are lots of reasons. One is purely because we love and buy vinyl records ourselves. Another reason is that it makes it a kind of special and distinct project, so when we were recording it, we knew exactly what it was going to be for. And I suppose it was because, these days, with music being all on the internet, I think we’ve lost something that the band thinks is quite precious in a way, which is the idea of ‘Album as Album’. You know, something that you have to sit and listen to as a piece in its entirety, because with the internet, all the music’s just flying around in the air, and people just click from one to the next – which is fine.  But technology has changed the way in which people listen, and relate, to music. It’s inevitable with any huge technological change, I guess, but making it a vinyl release, if you want to listen to it, you’ve got to sit and listen to it, and not just be online for 45 minutes.
On your last record (Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon), you worked with the great Billy Childish, of course. In which way did he push you that was different from your normal approach?
Jonny Helm: In a much punkier way! That’s the obvious answer anyway!
David: He did a lot of the musical side of things – he brought a lot of riffs and things like that…
Jonny: It was much more of a collaboration than any of the previous Wave Pictures albums…  Although it ended up with just our name on it and not his!
Bit of a weird question this time – when my father-in-law passed away in November last year, we complied with his wish of having ‘The Birdie Song’ played while everyone danced to it as the coffin went behind the curtain. As a result, bizarrely, whenever I think of my father-in-law’s funeral, I laugh. It makes me think of The Wave Pictures, in a way, because it’s like… marrying the ridiculous with something that makes a lot of sense. Is that kind of a “vision” you had when you made your records? Does that make any sense at all, in fact? 
Jonny: It does!
David: Well, I quite like it if people take things as more ridiculous than if they take it super seriously.
Jonny: Yeah, I think a lot of bands take things just a little bit too seriously, and that goes for recording techniques and how they try to project themselves in the world and everything really. It doesn’t mean you have to be Half Man Half Biscuit, but it’s good to inject a little humour into it.
I think I said in my review of the album that you were “the Marr to your own Morrissey”…
David: Oh, I read that review! That’s true as well…
Jonny: …Though he’s probably a bit better than both of them, aren’t you Dave?
When I was in bands and approached cover versions, we used to only ever choose songs that we thought weren’t that great and could make better…
David: …Whereas we like to take great things and make them worse.
I wasn’t going to say that! I was going to say you do some very brave covers – Creedence, Springsteen, Van Morrison…
David: A friend of mine pointed out to me that it’s a bit of an indie trend, taking some rubbish pop songs and doing them in a sort of “meaningful”, indie type of way, and we don’t want to do that. If we’re gonna cover a song, it’s gonna just be because we love it. We don’t do the ironic indie cover game. It’s almost more to show a different side to yourself, these things get pigeonholed, and people think there’s no relationship.  I mean, people see the way you dress, and they just assume you’re just like all the other bands who dress like that. So you do a Creedence song, then you’re showing a different side to yourself, but also how much more music there is in those songs, rather than just being a certain type of song. As soon as I sing them, they just sound totally different, but it’s not a joke thing; if it doesn’t work when we try it, we just sack it off. We’ll try 10 covers, and if one comes off, we’ll do it for another couple of years. The words have to be meaningful to me, though, otherwise I can’t do it. When I covered the Creedence songs, the first thing I thought was that his (John Fogarty’s) songs were closer to mine than you would think because he’s interested in memory songs. So that appealed.
So, now that you’ve worked with one of your heroes in Billy, is there anything else on your “bucket list”?
David: That’s a good question. One of the things that we thought when we got to work with him was that we couldn’t imagine anybody else who would remotely compare to him in terms of how good he is with the sound. And now what we’ve done, is we’ve gotten rid of Billy, but we’re still using his studio! It’s all worked out fine!  I don’t think there is anybody else, really. The trouble with it is, most famous records now by the people you’ve heard of, they sound really bad; and the people who made the best sounding records from the sixties or whatever, those guys are all dead or barely functioning, so I don’t know if there’s anybody left.
Jonny: We’ve always said that we could give Bob Dylan a hand to make a good sounding record again, because his most recent albums have got a bit boring!
Well, you’ve been around for 17 years now, so you’d have the experience! At one point, around the time of Instant Coffee Baby, it seemed like you were going to become really big…
David: It never really happened, did it? We don’t know why. We were confused by it – we should have been really famous (laughs). No, we were on Moshi Moshi Records, and we saw all these other bands on these very specific career paths, with management and long waits between releases and very controlled plans to get famous, and we thought that seemed really stupid. We thought it’d be better to keep releasing records and be totally independent – and of course, in some ways, that is better, because we’ve got a real fanbase.  On the other hand, all of those people got really famous and we didn’t! We were on the label at the same time as Metronomy and Slow Club and both of those got much more famous than us. But then in order to do that, they had to do things that we weren’t prepared to do. We were very inspired by Herman Düne in particular, and Jeffrey Lewis – people we looked up to, who were very independent, and didn’t have management or any of those types of things. It was difficult because we always tried to keep the music business at arm’s length. We’d go and meet these people – me and Fran would go to meetings with these horrible people – booking agents or managers – in horrible offices, and we couldn’t relate to them at all, so we just stayed away. And maybe that’s why we’re not famous. It depends on the way you look at it, though, because we’ve done things in exactly the way we wanted to, so in a way, we’ve been very successful. We’ve probably made hundreds of mistakes, but they were our mistakes that we thought were a good idea at the time. But now…  Yeah, I guess it would be nice to be a little more famous!
And you can’t fault the guys’ work rate.  No sooner has A Season In Hull been released (and critically acclaimed, incidentally, having attained Album Of The Day status on 6Music), than there is talk of another new album to be released in October! 
Whatever successes The Wave Pictures do have, or whatever level of fame they ever do manage to muster, they sure as Hell deserve it.
Oh, and it may not be obvious to the inattentive reader, but you may have noticed that Franic Rozycki didn’t answer any questions. This is not true, however, as I’m sure he did.  Sorry about that Franic, if you’re reading this – it’s nothing personal, honest!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

2016, A Season In Hull

Well, doesn't time fly? A quiet second half of 2015 saw The Wave Pictures doing what they do - touring almost constantly, either by themselves or backing Stanley Brinks. My Ass, their latest collaboration with Europe's most prolific songwriter came and went. An excellent collection in my opinion but perhaps missing the hit single the Gin campaign had (I say campaign because, of course, Orange Juice was left off that LP). I would press Another One Just Like That and put out Make Friends With People From Work - surely a radio hit in waiting? But then, neither The WP's nor Brinks strike one as people who look backwards.

So, here comes A Season In Hull. Vinyl only, no digital, one microphone. Sounds perfect, even if the title reminds of punsters like Half Man Half Biscuit.

Says Tattersall,

Darren Hayman suggested to me that The Wave Pictures make an album with one microphone. Everybody together in one room playing live into one microphone. You get the picture right once and you capture it. No mixing later. The idea appealed to me enormously. It’s a really beautiful sound, the one microphone sound. The results tend to be mysterious and lively, and it’s a very romantic way to record, too. It’s how Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys did it, after all (and that’s how bluegrass music destroyed John Fahey’s life).

Thanks, then, are due to Darren for the idea and to Giles Barrett and Simon Trought for pulling it off. Thanks also to Paul at the Adelphi. The Wave Pictures always have a good time when we visit Hull.

This album is dedicated to the memory of Blind Owl Wilson.

Get your copy now. Amazon have it, as does Cargo via the link on the WP's website. Presumably they'll have it on tour too. Here's hoping they sell all the copies and the future is full of similar little gifts. Speaking of the future, this recent interview suggests the next "proper" LP is done already.

“There Is A Sense Of Space That You Cannot Have With Multi-tracking”: 

The Wave Pictures Interviewed.

The Wave Pictures Michael Wood 3
Never a being a band who cares about perfection, the prolific Wave Pictures are back for another album ‘A Season In Hull’ released on their own Wymeswold Records (named after the Leicestershire town the band originate from). This time around the band has recorded the album over the course of lead singer Dave Tattersall’s birthday, using only one microphone. And in a move just as unconventional as it’s recording, the album is a vinyl only release.
We fired over some questions to Dave covering everything from the decision to record in such an old fashioned manner, to his opinion about the works of Rimbaud.
What inspired the idea to record everything into one microphone?
Dave Tattersall: It appealed to me for a few different reasons. It was Darren Hayman’s idea, not my idea! I thought it was a good idea!
It’s like taking a picture. You don’t HAVE to put it all on separate tracks first, with one microphone (at least) for each instrument. Instead, you just get the microphone in the right place and record everything! No mixing later. And it shows up in your ears when you listen to the record. There is a sense of space that you cannot have with multi-tracking. You can fake it, but you can’t get the real thing. You always want to hear the room: when you listen to a record you should always hear the room that the record was recorded in. Well, you really get the sound of the room with only one microphone.
I was particularly thinking of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, ‘Blue Yodel Number 7′. It’s a great record that will always sound fresh and real. I wanted to get that kind of a sound. It has a wildness to it. That’s the one microphone sound! That’s how they used to it!
I was reading ”How Bluegrass Music Ruined My Life” by John Fahey, and in that book he talks about the first time he heard ‘Blue Yodel number 7′ and it completely blew his mind. Best record he ever heard in his life! It just knocked him across the room. It’s a good story and it got me thinking about one microphone recording.
Finally, I wanted to have some fun on my birthday, so I booked the studio and we went in to record.
Do you find changing the circumstances in which you record a way of keeping things fresh?
Dave Tattersall: It can be stimulating. I don’t think of it as strictly necessary, though.
What was the writing process like this time?
Dave Tattersall: Really fast. I wrote all of the songs very quickly. It was fast and easy and enjoyable. It isn’t always like that. But sometimes you get on a roll. It’s easier to write ten songs together all at once, than it is to get ten songs by writing them one at a time.
Why have you decided to make this a vinyl only release?
Dave Tattersall: It was a romantic idea. I liked the idea that the songs would only be available in this way. It’s like a message in a bottle, thrown out to sea.
Of all the albums you have made, which one are you most proud of?
Dave Tattersall: It’s definitely A Season In Hull at the moment. It’s always the latest one that I like the best.
This is your first release on your new label, why did you decide to make the leap to self releasing?
Dave Tattersall: It was just that we are the only people who wanted to do it! We wanted to put out a vinyl only, and we hope that it works and people buy it, so that we can do it again. We need to sell 2000 of them, then it all pays for itself and we can do more fun projects like this in future. We might do some vinyl only live albums and things like that. But we don’t know if it’s going to be financially viable or not! I hope it works out, because I love vinyl records and I love the idea of putting out more stuff in this way. I think it’s a really nice thing.
When you were on record labels, were you given a lot of space to be prolific?
Dave Tattersall: Yes, plenty of space. We’re still with Moshi Moshi, they are going to release our next album, but A Season In Hull was only supposed to be a vinyl only album, and Moshi Moshi didn’t want to do that. So, we decided to do it ourselves.
We’re all sort of sick of the internet, to be perfectly honest. Something that has certain practical advantages seems to have taken over too many areas of life. It seemed nice to make it vinyl only, so that it didn’t even exist in a digital form. It’s a totally futile, but rather romantic gesture. That’s all that it is, but I like it that way. A little romance before the machines take over completely. It’s only a matter of time before what happened in the Terminator movies happens for real.
But things are still good between us and our record label. They’ve been very kind to us, and they completely stay out of the way and let us make our own choices. We’ve always had total freedom; it’s been essential to us.
The title is a play on words with a Arthur Rimbaud poem, are you a big fan of his work?
Dave Tattersall: No, not a big fan, but then I don’t speak French. I’ve read translations of Rimbaud, but I’ll never be able to read the real thing. I didn’t like the versions I read at first. I found that there are some translations that are better than others, but I’m not sure that you can translate something like that at all. So, no – not a fan to be honest. The only poet that I really enjoy reading is Charles Bukowski.
Have you had any ideas about the next album yet?
Dave Tattersall: We’ve got another album finished, and another one that we are half way through. It’s very exciting! It’s the golden age of The Wave Pictures!
If someone was curious about getting into the Wave Pictures, where would you suggest they start?
Dave Tattersall: City Forgiveness.
Have you ever considered releasing a best of for all the Wave Pictures neophytes out there?
Dave Tattersall: No, I’ve never thought about it. I don’t really like the idea at all. I imagine someone will want to do something like that at some point but it doesn’t appeal to me very much. I just want to keep moving forward myself.
Words by Matthew Shearn.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

My Ass!

This little beauty should be coming our way in October:

Not to mention these two even smaller beauties before then:

All can be pre-ordered now from Fika Recording's band camp page. Start clicking here -

As the WP's continue sporadic summer touring a couple of interviews have surfaced, both of which make mentioned of a vinyl-only LP at the end of the year - the recorded around one microphone affair we'd previously heard about. Lots to look forward to!

Hailing from a tiny town near Loughborough in Leicestershire, since 1998 The Wave Pictures have been creating bright, brittle pop and woozy, warm ballads enriched by a cosy, analogue feel.
After nearly a decade in obscurity, self-releasing a string of cult albums, guitarist/vocalist David Tattersall, bassist Franic Rozycki and drummer Jonny Helm relocated to London a few years ago and signed to the well-regarded British independent label Moshi Moshi.
One of the most prolific, independent, and yes, awesome British indie bands, The Wave Pictures have collaborated with the likes of Daniel Johnston, Darren Hayman, Jeffrey Lewis, The Mountain Goats and more recently Billy Childish, who co-wrote and produced the band's latest effort Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. Bursting with energy and ignited with a garage-rockspark, the album (which came out in February) rings loud and bold, showcasing Tattersall's searing guitar solos and sharp lyrical wit. 
I took the boys to Tufnell Park Playing Fields and we discussed their writing process, analogue vs. digital, zoos and their favourite tea.How was working with Billy Childish?
Johnny: It really worked out better than we thought it would, it was just an awesome experience.
How did you guys meet him?
Dave: Through the BBC Radio 6 DJ Mark Riley, who knows him a little bit and knew we were big fans. I got Mark to ask Billy if he was interested in working with the band, thinking that nothing would come out of it, but he was actually excited about working on a new project. He had never heard of us before, but apparently if someone asks him he would probably want to do something with you, because he just wants to work on something all the time. We were very lucky to have him on board, and then we also got on really well making the album.
Was Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon recorded live and analogue like your previous albums?
Dave: Yes, we recorded everything live onto tape machines, and then there were a few overdubs, but just little pieces, like a bit of guitar or percussions, or the glockenspiel that Billy played in one of the songs because he was feeling very adventurous. But the basic things and some of the songs are just all live tapes, and Billy did a great job recording us live in his studio.
Did you use any different instruments you were particularly happy with?
Dave: Not really, because the main thing for me is always the guitar. As for the other stuff, you may put a little something in there to add just a little bit of colouring and flavour, but the most important thing is the guitar and to a less extent the bass, the drums and the vocals.
Franic: And definitely Billy's ideas, as we wouldn't have come up with some of them on our own...
Dave: I really like the glockenspiel, but it's not the most important part, as that is the instrumentation and the interaction of the three us playing live.
Have you ever recorded anything digital, and if not what do you most dislike about that type of approach?
Dave: Yes, we have. The whole album Beer in the Breakers was actually recorded all on a digital 8 or 16-track.I can't remember now... I don't like it as much, but you can do interesting things with digital sounds. Given the choice tough, it is always more exciting to have reels of tapes rolling around as it gives a warmer sound. If I do things with digital, I would still approach it the same way and try to get the same sound. We never build up a track at a time, it always starts with the three of us playing in a room.
This is your 14th album in 17 years, so I guess we can safely say you guys are very prolific. How do you approach the writing process? Do you deliberately sit down to write music or do songs come to you in a more spontaneous way wherever you are?
Dave: That is a good question... it varies from song to song. Sometimes I sit down to write a song just because I feel like it, with no ideas at all, just for fun, thinking it would be good to write some music. Other times the songs present themselves to me when I am not expecting them. It is a real mix, and I often would be writing 10 or 20 songs all at once and leave them half-finished to then build them up all together rather than write one song at a time. I like that way better because it is easier to write 10 songs and get maybe 5 good ones, than writing one at a time and have 5 good ones that way. It is usually just me writing the songs on my own, but for this record, I mainly only had to write the lyrics, take them around Billy's house and then he came up with the music on his guitar. I had no ideas of the tuning while I was writing the words, so some of them were terrible and needed lots of editing, and also, that way you can't have too many songs to start off with, which is my usual approach. This time, I just did the same thing with Billy that I do on my own, writing lots of lyrics and then turning them into songs later.
So you tend to write lyrics first?
Dave: Always. Occasionally though, I might come up with some music first and then add the words, but usually it is a matter of writing lots of lyrics and then sit down with the guitar trying to fit them together. I always think that if the words don't come first it's usually bad, as I don't like lyrics when they are written to fit the melodies someone has come up with.
But are they lyrics with a sort of melody?
Dave: No, just nonsense that doesn't even scan, which is quite important, because if you write lyrics so that they can scan and rhyme, they are going to sound more like song lyrics. So initially, my lyrics don't scan, don't rhyme, and I might make them do that later. You don't want anything to stop you from getting them all out, that is why I don't think about form when I am writing them at all and just fit them to the music afterwards. Whereas most songwriters I know would write them more as poems.
You mentioned earlier that you sometimes write a bunch of songs at the same time and then only end up using some of them. Do you ever go back to old songs?
Dave: Yes, all the time. Some songs don't work straightaway, so you just have to leave them for a couple of years, and then you might find them in the drawer or not, or you might half remember them, go back to them and only then they might sound like a good idea.
The video for 'I Could Hear the Telephone (3 Floors above me)' shows what life on the road is like and how The Wave Pictures love a nice cup of tea before rocking out on stage... What is your favourite tea?
Dave: English Breakfast tea I think.
Franic: Earl Grey.
Johnny: I also like normal English breakfast tea.

The new record's title was inspired by a visit to the London zoo where you, Dave, saw the moon in the still eye of a flamingo. Do you go to the zoo often, in London or elsewhere?

Dave: No, I don't, and I made that up, as when you finish an album the label asks for a track-by-track analysis, and of course you don't always have everything to say, so you make up stuff to fill out the thing. I am actually not that very keen on the whole idea of zoos, as it seems a little sad to me. But I have been to the London zoo.
You have collaborated with lots of artists... is there anyone you haven't worked with yet and would love to do a collaboration with?
Dave: We were actually thinking of Van Morrison as we are big fans. I don't know how it will come about, but if he wanted to go back to his roots in a rock and roll band and make a grungy sort of rock record we would be up for it! I would even pay him to do that, he wouldn't have to pay me. Apart from that, I always think it was good when we did the tour with Daniel Johnston, so more realistically it would be nice to do another tour playing as his band. Doing something with Jad Fair would also be good, and also lots of other people, but Van Morrison is probably on top of the list at the moment.
Franic: Well, I could play bass in the Stones, which would be an improvement probably.
Johnny: And Dylan obviously, as he needs a decent band these days and I think we could help him out.
You guys are originally from Leicestershire. What do you miss the most about the place where you grew up?
Dave: I don't particularly miss Leicestershire, though somehow I miss the early days of the band, as those were the most fun. We were in isolation in a country village, so it was very exciting to form a band and write songs for the first time. But I don't miss anything else about living there as nice a place as it is. London is such a great city and I am the happiest I have ever been living there. 
To me you are the epitome of what true English indie music is, but I am always surprised to hear you list mainly American bands among your influences. How English do you actually feel?
Dave: We didn't know what being English-sounding meant, but I knew I didn't want to put on an American accent when I sang, which is going to make you sound very English to people. Also, if you sing about a place it makes more sense to be singing about a place where you have been to or lived in, that is why I sing about English places. There is actually no difference between being from Loughborough and singing about being in Loughborough, and being from Texas and singing about being in Austin, but as soon as you sing about Loughborough you are called quintessentially English. Most of the bands we like are actually American. We like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but they sound pretty American too. It just seems that the roots of the music we like come from the blues and early American music, so yeah I could say we spend way more time listening to American music. I guess the fact that the band sounds English is completely unintentional. 
If you had a super power, what would you want it to be?
Johnny: Flying.
Franic: The same.
Dave : Me too probably.
What upcoming record are you most looking forward to?
Dave: By someone else other than ourselves? Oh god no! We don't listen to that rubbish! But we have got another record coming out around Christmas time, a vinyl only acoustic album, recorded all with just a microphone. It is going to be very special and I am really looking forward to that coming out

The Wave Pictures are David Tattersall, Franic Rozycki and Jonny ”Huddersfield” Helm. The band, who are based in London, formed in 1998 and have released 14 studio albums. Their newest album, Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon, was written and recorded with seminal punk singer Billy Childish. It was released in February this year on Moshi Moshi, to widespread critical acclaim. Earlier this year they layed the BBC6 Music Festival in Manchester and also appeared on BBC6 Music DJ Marc Riley’s new “All Shook Up” music television show. The Guardian has described their work as “charming, witty songs shot through with Jonathan Richman’s gawky glee and Suede’s doomed provincial romanticism.”
Hi Dave! How excited are you and the rest of The Wave Pictures for your third visit to Indietracks?
We’re really looking forward to it! It’s such a nice festival. There’s always a very lovely atmosphere and we always seem to run into a lot of friends.
Any standout memories from your previous two?
There was one trip where I played a solo show in the church. I had flown from Spain where The Wave Pictures played a festival the night before. I got food poisoning or something. I was extremely ill on the journey. I had to make this epic journey from the south of Spain, two flights, throwing up the whole time. At one point I remember I was lying on the floor of the airport heaving into a plastic bag. I even got wheeled through security on a wheelchair. I was surprised that they let me fly, I was so sick. But I made it to the desk and explained myself to the staff and they just stuck me in a wheelchair; it was nice of them, they really took care of me actually. That was a very extreme day, though. At the end of it all I played this solo show in the church. I sort of felt alright by the point I actually went on stage. That’s not exactly a happy memory though!
A much happier memory was the last time we played. We went on before the Pastels, which I enjoyed doing very much. I used to know John who plays guitar in the Pastels, when I lived in Glasgow. It was nice to run into him again. We had a bit of a chat at some point. I really enjoyed that whole visit to Indietracks.
I remember The Pastels went on and did this long, very dark, Ennio Morricone kind of instrumental, it was very beautiful and heavy, and the clouds burst open and it was a very heavy, very wet rain storm. That was a striking thing. Stephen strumming these minor chords on his Gibson guitar and the rain.
The first time we played is a striking enough memory in itself, just how nice the atmosphere was, how uncommercial the whole festival was. I don’t usually like festivals to be honest, but this one still has that nice village fete feeling. I like it.
The Wave Pictures have been together for such a long time, how do you feel your band has changed over the last 17 years and how have you all managed to stay friends?
We’ve changed quite a lot, even the sound of my voice seems to have changed about a bit over the years. It’s all quite unconscious, but there are changes. You do just change over time, but you don’t realise it as it is happening. On the odd occasion when I hear an old recording of ours I am surprised how different we sound at different points. It’s a bit like looking through a photograph album. I find my voice a bit embarrassing on old recordings to be honest. That’s hopefully changed for the better a bit. I think we’re a bit more confident about doing what we like these days than we used to be. I’m not sure, though, to be honest I’m trying to come up with differences but we’ve probably stayed the same more than that we’ve changed! Certainly we can do very old songs in the set mixed up with the new ones, and they all seem to go together.
How have we managed to stay friends?
I don’t know. Jonny Helm is a pretty easy-going fellow, which helps. Franic and I have a long running pool and darts rivalry. We all really like playing music together, that’s probably the main thing. We still enjoy ourselves. We love music.
To be honest, it seems to me like we went from being a very new band to being thought of as old hats in nought seconds flat. The shelf life of a band isn’t supposed to be very long I suppose. But time flies when you’re having fun. It doesn’t feel like we’ve been going all that long, to me. I can’t really imagine not doing it. I don’t know what else I would do. On my birthday this year, I booked a studio and went to do some recording with Jonny and Franic. I couldn’t think of anything more fun than that! That was my birthday treat to myself, a bit of recording with the band. That’s the most fun thing in the world to do.
After 14 albums, Where do you find the inspiration to write?
The main thing is that it’s just very exciting to write a song. I write far more than that we can use. It’s a kind of madness I suppose, you just start processing the world into songs. It’s not madness really, though, it’s just a fun thing to do. Making up songs is probably the most fun part of being in a band. I always think – just do it, you can worry about if it’s any good later. Or don’t worry about it at all. Don’t let anything stop you just getting them all out of your head.
How do you decide what songs to play at gigs? And just how do you remember them all?
We can’t remember them all! Well – I can’t remember all those words. I can remember quite a large number of them, though. We decided at a certain point to not use set-lists. We just go onstage and start playing. I usually choose which ones we play. At the end of the first song, I choose what to do next, and we just go through the whole set like that. It’s not pre-determined. It’s good to be spontaneous I think, it suits us better. Sometimes I start a song and Jonny and Franic can’t remember which one it is, or Franic can’t remember what key it is in, but that doesn’t happen too often. It’s pretty funny when it does happen, though.
The Wave Pictures often get the title of the ‘one of the best live bands’, why do you think this is? 
Well it’s because we are really wonderful! I’m happy if people think that. We certainly enjoy ourselves playing live.
You got to work with Billy Childish on your latest album ‘Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon’, how did that come about? What was it like with working with one of your heroes?
Marc Riley brought us together. He’s such a star, he’s done us so many good turns. He put us in touch with Billy, and Billy agreed to make a record with us.
Billy wanted to co-write the whole thing with me, he thought it would be more fun that way. I said – OK! It was a total blast. Right off the bat, we found we could write songs together very easily. It all just came together very easily and pleasantly. We got on well and we had fun. Billy and The Wave Pictures like a lot of the same things – we talked about John Lee Hooker a lot, early Rolling Stones, Link Wray, and Billie Holliday. Of course, he had never heard our music, but he liked it, he got where we were coming from straight away. It was plain sailing and I like the record we made together. Billy is a wonderful bloke – he’s a genius, and a very nice person too.
Have you heard the stuff Billy has done with The Spartan Dreggs? It seems that this particular project has gone completely under the radar. It’s so good! It’s such a shame that so few people have had a chance to hear them. The album ”Forensic RnB” is an absolute masterpiece. Everything The Spartan Dreggs have done is great! Billy plays the bass and there’s this guy Neil on lead vocals. Neil has a very strange, totally compelling voice. It’s completely sincere stuff, very real and just beautiful. It’s extremely refreshing to listen to, like a strong sea breeze! It’s the best new music I’ve heard in ages and ages from anyone. It reminds me of when I first heard The Who’s debut album – that’s how good it is, that’s how fresh and alive it sounds.
That would be my main recommendation for you, but also I want to give a shout out on behalf of my mate Sam James, the greatest songwriter in the world at the moment. He’s just completely ignored by everyone. I don’t know why. I can’t figure out how someone can be so talented and so completely ignored, but that’s how it is. Sam James is a New Yorker and he’s a school teacher who makes records in his spare time. He puts them up on line, you can find them. Listen to a song like Manuel for instance. I hope you can find it! He’s a total genius.
Is there any bands or sights in particular you are looking forward to seeing at Indietracks?
I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, there’s going to be a lot of people hanging around. And I’m looking forward to eating a hotdog in the sunshine. And Tigercats are always rocking – especially now they have Paul Rains on guitar. I always enjoy watching them. We’ve done a fair amount of gigs with them. It is always a pleasure. I love playing shows with Tigercats – they are a really great band and very nice people as well. And Paul is one of the best guitar players around.
Thank you so much Dave, cannot wait to see you and the band at the festival.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Articles Old and New

A great find from Laura of - a 5 part interview with the WP's, seemingly from just after Instant Coffee Baby. Lots of information about their early days and the recording of that LP. Start here:

Less successful is the following article about their sleeves/art design. It feels like an email interview where the questions are set in advance and therefore are mostly irrelevant after the first answer. Still, worth a read...

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Another New Interview

New LP recorded!

The Wave Pictures

The Wave Pictures are a three piece band who are prolific in making albums. Since the band came to life in 1998 they have released 14 albums, their most recent (Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon) being a collaborative effort with the legendary cult artist Billy Childish who co-wrote and produced the album. It was all record using Billy Childish’s equipment, including his 60s Selmer amps, a 60s drum kit and his rocket-ship shaped guitar, which all helped to bring out a different side to The Wave Pictures music. The band are renowned for their amazing live performances, never using keyboards or guitar effect pedals, but still creating the perfect encompassing sound. I spoke to guitarist and lead vocalist, David Tattersall, to find out more about the band.

How did you all meet?
Me and Franic when to the same tiny school in the same tiny village, then the same high school until we left home at 19. I went to art school in Glasgow and he went to art school in Cardiff, and then we moved to London together.

So how did The Wave Picture come about? Can you remember when you both thought, “Let’s start a band”?
It was really me and another guy called Hugh Noble who played drums. When we were 16 years old, he got this drum kit from a second hand auction for like £5, and it came with a bass guitar. Franic got given the bass guitar as he was hanging around with us – never having played it before. We stuck post-it notes on the neck of his guitar to say what the notes are, and then said “this song goes EFEAB” and he would try and play it. So it was a real punk band. Then Hue left as he didn’t want to do it any more and wanted to become a singer songwriter. For years it was just me and Franic playing without a drum or with random drummers. Sometimes Hue came back to play drums, sometimes we asked other band if we could borrow their drummer. Then Jonny came about, played drums for one gig and just kept coming back. He then moved down to London with us and became the permanent drummer.

You recently played in Paris, how was it?
We got stuck there for an extra day because of the fire in the Channel Tunnel. Which meant I missed the snooker. Paris is always really, really fun and a good show to play, its a just great city. The rest of France is tough to tour, compared to Germany or Spain. There are lots of small towns that tend to be quiet.

You have a busy tour ahead, its always a test for band relationships. How do the three of you keep sane?
We all get on really well considering. Even though we are all sick to deaf of each other after along tour I still want to see them, and go down the pub to play pool or darts.

We at are big fans of ‘Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon’, especially the name. What is the story behind it?
The idea of the song is that the moon is kind of watching over us in the sky. It is sort of a benevolent eye in the sky. I sang about a pink moon on a song on the City Forgiveness album, ‘The Inattentive Reader’. I had this thought when at a zoo, I saw that the flamingo have a very still eye, almost like a dead eye that it watches the world. I put them together – the moon is watching over us, seeing all the silly things we do. It’s a bit like Edward Lear, a silly idea that’s not total nonsense. It means something to me, but doesn’t have to make sense to the listener. It is risky to talk about lyrics. People come up to me at shows and ask me about songs, and they always seem hugely disappointed. I saw this once with Darren Hayman (from Hefner) where a fan got really angry when he asked what a song meant.

How did you come to work with Billy Childish? I can imagine he is quite particular which who he works with.
It was all through Mark Riley from BBC 6music. We were having a drink with Mark Riley from BBC 6music after a session we did. We mentioned that we were listening to a lot of Thee Headcoats, one of the excellent bands Billy Childish has been in. Then Mark said he knows Billy. So I just said if he could ask him if he would be interested in recording with a band that he has never heard of before, doing something with a bunch of strangers. But apparently he wanted to do it straight away. Mark had sent him ‘The Woods’ and he liked it!

Wow. If you don’t ask you don’t get. How was it to write music with him?
My original plan was to record blues covers and make it a vinyl only kind of thing. But it was Billy’s idea to write the songs together. We went to meet him in his studio where he’s wearing his overalls and a beret. He then starts painting on a huge canvas and starts talking for about 20 minutes about the album. I then go to his house without the others and we start writing some music. A bit nerve racking at first, but we got on well. It was only after recording the songs that we decided to make this the next Wave Pictures album as it is exciting and a slightly different project than what we would have done. It was a very brief but intense experience and I think the record sounds excited because of that.

It sounds like an amazing experience.
I really can’t believe it. A year ago I would never have thought it. Billy really is a genius, a really intelligent guy. What he can do with sound, how he gets the sound that he wants is extremely impressive to see. He knows exactly the effect that he wants to create, everything from how the drummer plays to the mixing and the post production.

You must have a real affinity with Creedence Clearwater Rival to have two covers on the album and another on the B-Side of ‘I Can Hear The Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)’? They are quite a touchstone band for The Wave Pictures, of which there are many. It is one of the bands we talk about most. Billy didn’t know about Creedence Clearwater Revival which astonished me. They're definitely one of those bands that created their own world which you enter when you put on their records. The lyrics have the same left wing politics that you hear in Bruce Springsteen later on – a feeling for the common man or a feeling of injustice. They (CCR) also create this very dark poetic world, a very mysterious dark vision that felt very strong to me. Like in the same way as when you listen to the Velvet Underground. It takes you to a different world where you can immerse yourself in the band. That’s definitely something to aspire to in our own sound.

Do you have a favourite song off the new album?
‘At Dusk You Took Down The Blinds’. It’s very sparse, and makes you a little nervous listening to it because it is so empty. It could have only been written by myself and Billy. I would never have come up with it without him and he wouldn’t have come up with it without me. So it has a special unique quality to it. Then you have got ‘Green River’ (CCR) which is the complete opposite with a real swampy beat. Jim, the engineer of the album is playing that amazing harmonica over it which is great. The lyrics of that song are beautiful and I’m so happy to sing them each night. They are really cleaver, dark and mysterious, but then very plain also.

You are prolific with your albums, almost releasing an album each year.
I really want to do more. I would do 2 or 3 albums a year if I had my way, and if there was the demand for it. But the record industry can be slow, they want about a year from when you deliver a record to when they put it out. You can loose the excitement of it, whilst waiting for people to respond to it.

Do you think the concept of an album has change with the digital age? I don’t think most people listen to albums in their entirety any more, they just listen to a couple of tracks. Which is a great shame to me as they are always conceived as albums and have a great deal of thought put into the track listing, especially if its vinyl with sides 1 and 2.

You must find the recording process an easy thing to get into?
I love recording, but I think I’m most excited about writing an album. Recording is enjoyable, but it can be quite stressful sometimes. If you keep it fun by making it spontaneous and involve other people in, it is always really enjoyable. It’s always embarrassing to hear your own voice though but no one likes hearing their own voice.

What are in your future plans?
There’s going to be a video for ‘I Can Hear The Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)’, which was one of Billy’s favourite tracks. Then our next single will be ‘The Fire Alarm’ which was the very first song we recorded on this album. There will be a video for that. There’s a Jonny ‘Huddersfield’ Helm EP coming. We have recently been doing more recording and have made another album. We are all playing acoustic instruments around one microphone and it sounds really good with its own unique sound. Now we are just waiting to decide what to do with it.