British Indie Pop Band Pale Waves Makes Cinematic Music You Can Dance & Cry To

British Indie Pop Band Pale Waves Makes Cinematic Music You Can Dance & Cry To

Manchester natives Pale Waves are the indie pop up-and-comers bringing '80s new wave back.

Manchester natives Pale Waves are the indie pop up-and-comers bringing '80s new wave back.

Text: Sadie Bell

There is a cinematic quality that plays like a film reel in the bopping sound and confessional lyrics of music from the ‘80s. Major new wave and pop rock bands documented the woes of love and loss over ambitious synthesizers and jovial guitar work, creating the breadth of a feeling through song like the sympathy projected through movie magic.

Manchester natives Pale Waves are the indie pop up-and-comers bringing this quality back to music. With lyrics that play on the melodrama of youth and sonic elements that inspire the impressive, rock-fused poptimism of the ‘80s, they could have soundtracked iconic films like The Breakfast Club, and are sure to keep this legend alive while forging their own as the group works on their forthcoming debut album. Signed to the coveted independent label Dirty Hit and frequent collaborators and tour mates with The 1975, the emerging band is destined for indie pop greatness.

Below, V talks with Pale Waves lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie about the project and what to expect from the band.

You and drummer Ciara Doran met, got along creatively and as friends, and kind of became the backbone of Pale Waves. What is your relationship like that made this work so well?

She’s like my soulmate in so many ways. I don’t know how I would deal with life without her now. It’s scary. It’s scary to think that she could just leave if she wanted to. Obviously, she would never, but I need her in my life.

You had been in other bands before Pale Waves, but this is obviously the project that stuck and is propelling you to success. Why was it that this is project that you held onto?

It just really worked. As soon as we started writing that kind of music, we never went back, and we just kind of ran with it. We started getting better at writing what we were writing and we just knew it was right to carry on doing what we were doing. We wanted to make people dance at our shows. We didn’t want them to just cry and we didn’t just want to write loads of sad songs.

Your songs themselves feel really cinematic and they embody the woes of youth and teenhood; why are these important stories for you to tell or feelings that you want to evoke?

I write because I want to express myself and I don’t want to express myself by talking to people - that’s why I write. I find it quite awkward. I’m an awkward person, especially when I have to talk about something serious or intense, so when I write it, it’s out of me and [those lyrics end up being] a lot of the situations that people relate back to. Like, [our recent release] “Television Romance” is about someone who is pressuring you in a way and won’t leave you alone, and then [our debut single] “There’s a Honey” is a very desperate song where I was being an absolute nightmare to someone that I loved - I just kept being a dramatic trouble maker. So, I feel like, especially young people, they go through a lot of situations like that themselves because you try to figure yourself out - who it is you want to be - and I’m still trying to figure myself out. I confuse myself sometimes, so I feel like a lot of people can relate and find ease with someone else saying it.

Your music on one hand is very dark with its dramatic, vulnerable lyrics, but then it’s backed by pop music. Do you intend to converge these two things in any way or bring a certain darkness to pop?

Yeah. I love pop music, but if it’s pop and it can move me and make me feel something, then that is exactly what I want to listen to. Like, I love the chorus that you could sing at any minute, but it’s not meaningless. It has to have a realness about it and that’s what we want to portray through our songs. We write pop music, but it’s all real and honest and it’s true. It resonates with people.

Your sound also reminds me very much of ‘80s music and new wave like The Cure. Do you feel a connection to this era at all and is this a sound you’re going for?

Yeah. We in particular love the ‘80s. I love The Cranberries, Madonna, Prince, The Cure, Cocteau Twins - all the legendary artists. Music was just so great then, and I don’t actually listen to a lot of modern stuff. I like to listen to a lot of old music because I feel like it was better back then.

How did you get connected to Matty Healy and George Daniel of The 1975 and how does their work ethic or musical style make for a good collaborative effort with Pale Waves?

We first got introduced to each other because we are on the same label [Dirty Hit] and Jamie [Oborne] manages us both. We recorded “There’s a Honey” and “Television Romance” and Jamie was just showing Matty and George them and then they really just spoke to us, and then when we spoke to them, I think they saw something in us that they saw in themselves at that stage of their band. We both have quite a lot in common. Like, we musically understand each other and they wanted to work with us, so obviously we were up for that, and then they produced “There’s a Honey” and “Television Romance,” and we love what they did to it. They’re great producers.

Is it surreal being this little small band from Manchester going on so early in your career to play the big arena shows in the U.S. like Madison Square Garden when you opened for The 1975’s recent tour?

Yeah, it’s pretty insane. We feel extremely lucky to be given an opportunity like that at such an early stage in our career. I think we only had one song out and we played at Madison Square, so for The 1975 to do that for us will always mean a lot. It really helped us. We grew as a band on that U.S. and Europe tour.

What can we expect from your debut release?

It’s very energetic. We have a lot of songs on there that will instantly hit you and then we have a ballad on there that is one of my favorites, so just more Pale Waves - just an introduction to us.

Credits: Ed Blow

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