An Interview with The Wave Pictures at SXSW 2010 in Austin, Texas
I walked in to the Red River bar, Barbarella, just before their set. I was excited enough just to see their show, let alone get an interview, since this Spring had been The Wave Pictures’ first set of gigs in the U.S (outside of NYC). If you spent your adolescent years in the suburbs, the sounds of David, Franic and Jonny place you right in to some grimy, underground bar where everyone is chain smoking in British accents. If you’re not a suburban teen…then I don’t know what it does, but I can’t get enough of them. David’s lyrics paint pictures that stick to your mind and he sings them in to memories that you always thought you had. I had a thousand memories from The Wave Pictures and I was grateful to watch them play on that foggy, London-like day in Austin, Texas.
Can you guys introduce yourselves and what you do?
David: I’m David Tattersall and I play the guitar and sing in The Wave Pictures.
Jonny: I’m Jonny and I play drums.
How is SXSW going?
David: It’s been okay, it’s been a bit hectic for me
Jonny: Yeah I’ve had a good time… it’s a hectic place.
You guys have put out a lot of albums. I think it’s crazy that your music is just now getting over here (the U.S).
David: Well we did a lot of stuff independently. We just made CDR’s and sold them at shows so a lot of our albums haven’t been released. An album called Sophie (SP) was released on a small record label called Smoking Gun in the U.K, which does a lot of very good music, but it’s a very small label. So we never had the money to really tour America or put out an album in America. We have been to New York a lot of times, we have a lot of friends in New York and a lot of great bands in New York that we’ve done stuff with. So we’ve been there a bunch of times, but nowhere else…this is our first time really venturing out.
And are you excited to be promoting a new album?
David: I mean… no, not really. I get excited when I’ve written a new song or I get excited by a show. I’m really glad, rather than excited. We don’t think of it as like we’re promoting a new album, we just play our shows. We just play different songs every time we do a show and we do as many gigs as possible and the gigs are the main thing the band’s about.
What is your idea of a great show?
David: I think a great show is just when something happens…something musical happens that’s interesting and not just a band going through the motions. So I think it’s a great show when we haven’t just gone through the motions and played our songs perfectly, but we’ve tried out some things live on stage, improvisation and some different songs maybe.
Where do you think you write most of your songs?
David: Where do I think I write them? Or where do I write them?
Where do you write them!
David: I write them mostly in the flat that I live in. I don’t write a great deal out of doors because my house is where all the pens are and the guitars. Sometimes I write lyrics while I’m traveling but there’s never really enough time to write a whole song when you’re on tour…so mainly at home.
And if you had to describe the sound that you guys create in…uh…3 words…that don’t form a complete sentence. How would you do that?
David: I couldn’t do that. It’s just a band that, you know, that sings our own songs. We have a sort of very independent attitude so you could call it indie rock or you could just call it rock-n-roll. But I mean it’s just a band, trying to write our own songs and play guitar, bass and drums.
One of my favorite albums is Catching the Light: The songs of Andre Herman Dune. What was it like covering the songs of a friend of yours? How did you go about covering someone else’s songs?
David: We took the songs that he had written and mainly recorded with acoustic guitar and made them in to full band songs with electric guitar, and maybe slightly changing the arrangements. It felt really good. It was tremendous fun. We covered some of Andre’s because Andre had covered some of ours. He’s a very good friend too and a great songwriter. He’s written hundreds of songs so it was great picking and choosing which ones. We tried out about 30 to see what worked and made an album from that. It was a good experience.
Do you have the most fun playing shows in the U.K or do you enjoy shows more when you’re traveling?
David: Well it varies, the country that’s the best for us at the minute at least is Spain…oddly, I don’t really know why, but we have great shows in Spain. But you never really know which show is going to be the most fun. I think two of my all time favorite shows were in Germany. England…is a little less fun. An English crowd is maybe not the best crowd, no offense to my fellow English men and women. We’re kind of odd balls in our hometown really and London’s not where we come from either. We have great shows in London, it’s not that we don’t, we do have fun there, but the most fun is usually to travel… Germany, Spain, New York.
And what is the plan for the future?
David: Just to carry on, just to keep working.
Jonny: Yeah maybe make a bit more money so we can do it even longer.
Do you guys have any day jobs?
Jonny: My day job back in London is to help make picture frames and deliver them around London…that’s what I do. It’s very exciting. I like it.
What is the worst item you have ever lost?
David: Well we did a show in London and somebody stole a shirt. I took my shirt off because it was hot on stage and someone snatched it off the stage. I was gutted about that because it was a nice shirt.
You can check out The Wave Pictures at www.thewavepictures.com and also at www.myspace.com/thewavepictures.