Your EP cover art reminded me of one of my old favorites, Aorta, (debut LP from a Chicago rock band in 1969) which featured, Michael Been, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club father and sound technician who passed away on tour in 2010. Been more famously formed and fronted San Francisco band, The Call, in the ‘80s. BRMC just released a cover of The Call’s Let The Day Begin as their new single in tribute.
Who created your cover art and what song would you cover and release as a single?
We made it ourselves. We had been throwing ideas around for the artwork for quite a while based around various photos I had taken and between all of us we hadn’t come up with anything we were all really happy with, but there was one particular photo we all really liked and wanted to fit into the finished art somewhere. It’s a photo I had taken out the window of my flat, looking down The River Clyde and onto the shipyards. On the cover that was eventually released that photo is the background image, you’d probably never know that’s what it was unless you were told though, but that’s what the background is. Then Billy (bassist) had the idea of just drenching the entire cover in one colour/tint and we decided we liked the pinkish version best of all the ones we tried. We’re really proud of the finished artwork. As for a cover we’d release, we’re possibly going to be putting out a cover of Blueprint by Fugazi at some point.
Blog founder and guv’nor, Thor, pointed out the nice melodic undercurrent in your songs. Bits of Creation Records forebears of “noise and melody” come to mind when listening. What are some sonic reference points that have influenced the band?
“That’s definitely something we were trying to get across, so we’re happy that it’s been noticed! It’s a repeating theme throughout everything we’re doing with the band. We wanted the artwork to be difficult to really tell what it is, or what’s going on and we wanted the music to be like that too. When Iain (our friend who produced/recorded and mastered it) asked what mood we were trying to convey with the EP, we told him to make it sound hazy and foggy, like a daydream. We wanted it to sound like what it feels like when you’ve been up for 24 hours and you think you’re hearing things and seeing things, but you’re not really sure whether you have or whether it’s the comedown and lack of sleep. We wanted to it to sound like an audio version of that feeling, 6am, sun rising, fuzzy headed, heavy eyelids. We put the melodic undercurrent in there to replicate that feeling.”
Are there any lost/forgotten Scottish shoegaze bands that Alan Mcgee may have overlooked or never quite got the break back in the day?
Nope, if they were there I think he would’ve found them. Although there’s a fantastic Shoegaze band from Glasgow called Ursula Minor that have been going a long time. Definitely a great band that people might not know about.
I LOVE your gear posting and I think you should print it onto a t-shirt for the merch table. How did you come to choose the Jazzmaster? Name a pedal you couldn’t live without?
“I personally chose it when I went out to buy my first ‘real’ guitar with the intention of buying a Red Fender Jaguar with matching red headstock, I was likely drawn to it because I’d seen Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr playing these weird looking guitars that looked melted. I had seen the Jag in a shop in town, but when I went to buy it someone else had gotten to it before me, so I picked up a sunburst Jazzmaster and it had such a warm, mellow sound, I fell in love with it instantly. I could talk all day about Fender ‘offset’ guitars, I’m a ridiculous obsessive in regards to them, and luckily everyone else in the band shares that obsession to some extent in that everyone (Including the drummer) owns at least one offset Fender. The songs we have couldn’t be played on any other type of guitar, because the magnificent tremolo arm that they have is used on almost every song we play. They, to me, are the perfect guitar.
I’m also ridiculously obsessed with pedals and effects, but if I had to pick, something I couldn’t live without it’d be the Eventide Space, it’s an incredible reverb with lots and lots and LOTS of sounds available. Since I managed to pick up a second hand one It’s become absolutely integral to my guitar sound. I can sit at home and create sounds I like and thanks to the preset feature I can save those sounds and recall them instantly. It’s a great piece of kit. I’d also like to give a mention to the Smallsound/ Bigsound Fuck Overdrive, it’s an overdrive pedal that goes from beautiful low gain overdrive sounds to full on fuzz, but it also has a momentary switch that when you’re standing on it replicates a blown amp. Who would’t want to replicate that?!?!”
Where did the name, The Cherry Wave, originate?
I wanted something that sounded like it could’ve been the name of a 60′s U.S. drug cult haha. Like The Soft Parade and The Velvet Underground. Those names always make me think of groups of hippies that have dropped out and are living in a commune in California, getting wasted and talking about how the government are poisoning the drinking water.”
Any local bands we should tune into?
Lots yeah, but in particular I’d mention a band called The Yawns. They’re a sort of Guitar Pop band, a bit like Orange Juice.
Any plans to hit the states?
“As soon as someone wants to pay to get us there. We’d struggle to afford to get the train through to Edinburgh right now. We’d absolutely love to play everywhere, but until we have a label that wants to pay for it or we win the lottery, it’s unlikely. :’(“
Pedro (end of part 1)
I keep accidentally typing ‘Cheery Wave’ – perhaps that is just me subconsciously channeling Mogwai’s ‘A Cheery Wave to Stranded Youngsters”. That actually captures 2 of my thoughts about the EP. The first is that the nice melodic bits sounds like this amalgamation of Mogwai/Gothenburg Address with a swirling Chapterhouse gloss. Why do you think no one has come along yet to knock Mogwai from their perch? After all, isn’t that what we expect our musical youngsters to do?
Well, we’ll take those references as a compliment, thank you! I primarily think no one has knocked Mogwai off ‘their perch’ because most of Glasgow’s ‘musical youngsters’ are too busy trying to sound exactly like early Mogwai., and it’s become tiresome and dreary to hear yet another Post-Rock band. It’s understandable because Mogwai have done amazing things and made incredible music, but you can go and see what is effectively a Mogwai tribute band playing practically every night in Scotland if you want. I’d quite happily never hear or see another dull Post-Rock by numbers quiet/louder/crescendo/quiet band ever again. Step away from the delay pedals folks, Post-Rock is dead.”
One the first concerts, Pedro and I attended together was a Chapterhouse reunion. We both left somewhat puzzled as to why it left such a bitter aftertaste. It wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t seem to be necessary. We happened to take in a show where this by the numbers (slow melodic constant vapid vocal drone) young LA opening act stupefied us. We decided then and there that anyone stranded in that era should be outlawed. So when I suggested that Pedro handle this one he, at first, mistakenly assumed I was mocking his love of the 90’s. He kept sending links of bands that he felt sounded like The Cherry Wave and I kept writing back on why you actually sounded so much better. What sorts of bands did you listen to ‘growing up’?
“I listened to lots of Hardcore growing up, lots of Black Flag, Void, Bad Brains, but the main soundtrack to my teenage years was Anarcho/Crust Punk music, bands like Crass, Anti-Sect, Flux Of Pink Indians and Rudimentary Peni were pretty much all I was interested in listening to/playing for a long time. Crass had a huge impact on everything in my life and I doubt I’d approach life or making music in the same way had I never discovered them. I suppose coming from a background like that, when I started The Cherry Wave I was maybe coming at it from a different angle than most people who start Shoegaze bands, who I’m assuming probably come from a more ‘Indie’ background.”
What’s your musical vision for the future?
“All we want is to create and to be productive, we want to keep releasing music and playing gigs, we don’t want to sit around waiting on anything. We recently added a third guitarist, and he’s bringing another texture to the sound, which is something we really focus on. We want all the instruments together to create a pleasing texture, a vast and dense one. A sound that you almost feel like you could reach out and touch. We’ll likely keep releasing short run EPs because we can only really afford to get into a recording studio in short bursts, but in an ideal scenario we’d have a label that would say “Right, we believe you can make something worthwhile, here’s the money for recording time, go and make an album”, but that’s highly unlikely.”
I am loving ‘Melt’ and its marriage of the vocals and melody. I like that you really have to struggle to hear the words and they work equally as a form of chant. Additionally, there is that bouncing effects wave toward the middle. I’ve never progressed past noodling with my ME70 and M13, but I’ve spent enough time with them to sense that the musical effect waves are relatively easy to create – but controlling them and reigning them into something approaching structure is another matter altogether. Could you divulge a bit of your recording technique?
“That’s cool that you picked up on it sounding like a chant. That’s how Shoegaze should sound to us, like a branch of Psychedelia, a fuzzy wash of guitars and someone mumbling a chant in a cave haha, but the thing that makes it more interesting than just a trance inducing drone is the melody. All my favourite Shoegaze/Psych/Drone bands were masters of it, making songs super catchy, but at first listen you might not notice, it might just sound like a load of noise. The most beautiful things are sometimes the hardest things to find and we’ve hidden the beautiful things in amongst there, in the oblivion of the fuzz canyons and reverberated chants there are little pearls of beauty haha. As for the use of effects, we’re all pretty obsessed with gear and pedals, that particular sound you’re referring to in Melt is made with a Lovetone Meatball Envelope Filter, it’s like a triggered wah sound. So every time I’m playing a chord it’s making a weird, really short and quick wavy sound. It’s on almost all the way through the song, but it’s buried deep in the mix until that moment. Sadly, that will never be recreated live as the pedal belonged to the studio and I can’t afford to shell out £500 to make a weird noise (although I would if I could).”
I just came across the Deftones’ song ‘Cherry Waves’. Personally, I managed to ignore them pretty effectively myself so I would fully believe you if you said you’ve never seen this song. On the other hand, perhaps saying this is the origin for your name will help you get a foothold in California one day.
“Well, you’re not the first person to think we’re named after that song and if saying that’s where we got it means we get to play California then YES THAT’S WHERE WE GOT IT!!!! But, in the spirit of honesty, no we aren’t named after the Deftones song. I had no idea they had a song called that, and with that, there goes our only opportunity of ever playing in America.”
Thor (end of part 2)
Hop on The Cherry Wave