Tuesday, 19 August 2014

We're Only Here For The Banter - Now Wakes The Sea

Now Wakes The Sea began as an outlet for Alan McCormack to dabble with wonky lo-fi pop experiments, but over the past few years grown into a band capable of molding new and interesting ideas of out wonky instruments, pop culture references and '60's pop influences.  Completing the band line up are Thomas Campbell on bass and Jennifer Hamilton on drums.

Hello!  How the devil are you?

I'm ok right now - we just played a very sweaty show with a fantastic audience in one of my favourite venues.  Beads of sweat slipping down my hair and into my eyes stinging with salt.  Blood on my shirt and on my hands from a cut I can't remember.  CDs sold.  New friends made.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you illuminate our readers with a little bit about your music and your influences?

When I was really young I listened to tapes of '50s and '60s pop in my grandparents car, things like Del Shannon and The Everly Brothers and Helen Shapiro, and that's essentially what Now Wakes the Sea sounds like, but twisted and pressed and reshaped through the filters of memory and nostalgia.  We've been likened to Grizzly Bear and Neutral Milk Hotel and Mount Eerie, which isn't bad.  I still can't get enough of '60s pop these days.  I also like Van Dyke Parks, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Joe Meek, and we all like McCartney more than Lennon.

What's your songwriting / creative process like?

Laborious.  Far more misses than hits.  I stitch together songs from scraps of lyrics and notebook scribbles, pieces of overheard conversation and misheard quotes from TV.  My guitars are in a stupid tuning and I don't really know what any of the chords are, but I like the restriction of not knowing where the common progressions are, or knowing how to play any over-used chord sequences.  When I've written something, I'll give it to the other band members and we'll work out how to play it and find arrangements through instinct.  I trust Jennifer and Thomas and we're all comfortable with our own individual playing styles.  I'm happy to just let them play whatever they want, really.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Velcro fuzz bass guitar and jazz drums and experimental percussion and faulty guitars and forgotten lyrics.  It can get loud with drones, noise, and loops, but can also be pin-drop quiet, sparse, and empty.  It can be difficult trying to replicate what's on record, so we like to mix things up a bit with instrumentation and arrangements, so you probably won't get a replica of what's been recorded.  I'm trying to sneak the name 'Dusty Rhodes' into as many songs as possible at the moment.

Tell us about your latest album Bildungsroman.

  was released on Edinburgh's Mini50 Records at the end of May.  It's the album where all my stupid ideas about music finally became a reality.  Recorded to cassette tape on an old four track in the latter half of 2013, it's a lofi, ramshackle, psychedelic take on pop music.  I'm quite proud of it, but keen to get started on something different.

What else have you got planned for the rest of 2014?

We're playing a few shows this summer, including gigs with pioneering drone heroes Earth and lofi twee heartthrobs The Wave Pictures.  And an album I recorded with Fife-based Andrew Pearson will be released on Common Records in September to tie in with Cassette Store Day.  And I have to write some new songs for a pretty cool project you'll hear more about sometime soon.

What are you listening to at the moment?

On the Beach
  by Neil Young is great for when a hot summer day becomes a balmy evening and everything is tinted pink and orange from the sunset.  There's a compilation series called Punk 45 by Soul Jazz I've been listening to a lot recently too.  Proto punk and underground psych noise and no wave from the late '60s to early '80s.  And I recently got an album called Black Orchid by someone called Stephen David Heitkotter.  Super druggy and slow and lofi and sounds like it's going to fall apart at any moment, but full of grooves and great bass.  That's great.

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

What's the difference between a sick bee and a dead horse?

One's a seedy beast while the other's a bee, deceased.

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