Hailed as ‘your newest indie-pop sensation’ by The Fader, Manchester’s latest indie offering Pale Waves were one of this year’s highly acclaimed performers on the Reading and Leeds BBC Introducing Stage. Following their appearance earlier this year as special guest on The 1975’s sold out USA and Europe tours, and their music video for second single ‘Television Romance’ directed by Matty Healy, I spoke to frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie ahead of their full UK and European tour which begins next month.
I discovered (first single) ‘There’s A Honey’ quite a few months ago and learnt it was produced by members of The 1975 – how has working with them been?
It’s been awesome, they’re amazing producers. We felt really special that they wanted to spend their time on our tracks considering how busy they are. They just really understand us, we don’t have to struggle for them to get what we’re going for, we seem to have a very similar musical compatibility.
Have they given you any advice? Or is there one particular piece of advice which sticks in your mind?
They always just say to stick to what you think is right. Listen to others, but you know what you’re doing to your music.
So, you’re all from Manchester and that neck of the woods, particularly after this year, how does it feel to come from and be part of a city so cemented in the music world?
It’s amazing, Manchester’s such a big part of Pale Waves, that’s where we met, and did all of our first rehearsals and our first shows to like five people at the Castle Hotel and Night & Day. It’s such a great city. We love Manchester, it’s always great going back.
Did you all meet in Manchester or at university?
So me and Ciara met when we went to uni – we met before, online. I saw her profile and thought she looked like my type of person so I started speaking to her. The first day we moved into our student accommodation we met up and ever since then we’ve kind of not been separated. We’re like an old married couple, just always together! And then Hugo, he knew we were looking for another member, and he knew of the band, so he got in contact. We had a few people audition, and I always had this really strong feeling towards Hugo – Ciara thought it was a bit strange but I was like ‘no, it needs to be Hugo!’. And I was right! We picked Hugo, and then we knew Charlie through a mutual friend and just knew we wanted him in the band – Ciara had a strong feeling towards Charlie, oddly.
Manchester’s such a big part of Pale Waves
That’s sweet, it sounds like it all came together! So, this summer has also seen your performance on the Reading and Leeds BBC Introducing Stage, how was that?
It was awesome, that was the first time that we’ve ever played Reading and Leeds, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was quite scared, going on the BBC Introducing Stage at 12 o’clock, I didn’t think there’d be many people there at all. But the people who came to watch us, it was more than I could ever expect. I was really happy with the turn out; I was quite moved.
Obviously, there were so many acts on the Introducing Stage and the countless other stages – were there any you really wanted to see or hoped to catch?
There was actually quite a lot, but when you’re playing, when you get there it’s like a mad rush to set up, and then you play, then there’s an hour and a half of press, and then you kind of have to leave because you either have to drive up to Leeds, or your team has to go back to London or what not. But when we played Reading, we saw The Japanese House, which was amazing – she’s always amazing, we’ve seen her like five times now. We had a lot of friends and label people there so we hung round with them. As for Leeds, we had to leave pretty soon after we played, but we saw Wolf Alice before we played there – their secret set. I’m definitely excited for their album, I love ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’.
I read in DIY Magazine that you initially went from acoustic to electric and just developed from there – what was that process like? How did you get to your current sound and style?
Before me and Ciara met, she’d already played in the odd band here and there, and I was writing emo stuff on my acoustic guitar, which wasn’t that good at all. Then Ciara was like ‘no, we need to stop doing that’, and I thought ‘oh, ok’, and then I bought this really cheap electric guitar and cheap guitar pedals, and we just went from there really. It was a big jump, I was really out of my comfort zone but Ciara wasn’t, so she really kind of pulled everything out of me and helped me form into what we are now. Even now we’re kind of developing. Some of our new stuff that we’ve written quite recently isn’t like ‘There’s A Honey’, but it’s not too far away from it.
Who would you say are your influences?
I like to listen to a lot of different artists, really. I love The Cranberries, Prince, a love a lot of artists from the 1970s and 80s.
So, your tour dates for next month are coming up, how are you feeling ahead of those?
We’re really excited. We’re a bit nervous because we’ve got to get back into rehearsals, because we’re in the studio until late next week, and we don’t have that long to practise! But we should be fine, we played a one-off London show last month which was our first ever headline show and that was awesome, it was so good to play more than six songs. I’m really excited, I can’t wait to show everyone more of Pale Waves.
The ‘Television Romance’ video launched on Monday, what else have you got in the pipe works?
So we’re doing this EP, and that’ll be our next big thing. We’re just writing our album at the moment, we’ve got quite a few to choose from so we’re just trying to build on what we have. There’s no better feeling than finishing a song which you really believe in, it’s like being a proud parent. So yeah, the EP is the next big thing, then touring, and more music videos.
Ending on a positive note, with lots of exciting plans in the works and much more to come from Pale Waves, I think The Fader may have spoken the truth. The Pale Waves UK tour begins next month, and tickets can be bought here.