Introducing: The Blue Wave Pavillion
In association with super promoters Scruff of the Neck, we have just announced a series of gigs featuring the best unsigned talent from the Yorkshire area and beyond. The first gig is on 26th January, and will see City Dukes and Alex Tracey supporting The Blue Wave Pavillion. Originally from Warrington but now based in Leeds, this post-punk act has just self-released its first single “Song of Cedric / Food For Yourself”. We had a chat with them.
First of all, what’s the story behind your name?
We’re named after a garden in a city called Suzhou in China called 滄浪亭 (canglang ting), which translates to ‘Blue Wave Pavilion’. There’s a few other translations like ‘Surging Wave Pavilion’ and ‘Great Wave’ but we thought Blue Wave sounded coolest.
You formed in Leeds, and now operate here? What brought you to West Yorkshire in the first place? And how has it informed your collective attitude to making music?
Alec and James met at uni and the rest of the band are based in Warrington, but with Leeds’ massive music scene we mostly play here. We spent our uni years going to loads of cool gigs at places like the Brudenell and Belgrave and wanted to give it a go ourselves. There are too many great bands to name who are about in Leeds at the minute, and we think their drive and passion for playing live is infectious, so we guess that’s how we’ve been influenced by the scene.
You have recently played at Hyde Park Book Club, which is another of our favourite live music venues in Leeds. Where else do you like to hang out in the city?
You can usually find us drinking at the Brudenell and playing at the Lending Room, our adopted stomping ground. Alec and James played their first gig together at the Lending Room back in 2013, before it was the Lending Room, and we’ve played a fair few shows there as Blue Wave and it’s just a really cool place to play with a great sound and great people.
As well as Leeds, you have links to Warrington. What was the scene like in that part of the world when you were growing up?
There’s a really good scene in Warrington which does loads to help young bands cut their teeth. When I was first getting into playing live there were lots of opportunities to play cool venues like the Parr Hall. Loads of great bands are coming out of Warrington right now, and with the Neighbourhood Weekender coming up in May the scene should get some well-deserved attention.
There are two Jennions in the band – what is it like working with a relative in a band?
It’s actually really cool. We grew up listening to a lot of the same music so we have similar ideas and approaches to writing songs. We’re into pretty different music these days but I think we have the same baseline approach to writing so work together quite well.
It is interesting that you have described yourself as a post-punk/new wave act. What artists have influenced you if that is the case? And what sonic elements of post-punk and new wave have you drawn on?
We described ourselves as a psych-rock band for ages because we’re really into bands like Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Then we just took a step back and realised that we sounded nothing like those bands and that we had a much more 80s-inspired sound. Our recent release is way more on the post-punk side of the things, but there’s no deliberate post-punk influence there – it’s just the way the songs turned out. I think the new wave aspect of our sound is much more deliberate. Our next single, Never There When I Need You, is built around a very 80s synth chord progression. We’re really into those beefy, slightly tacky synth string and brass sounds that were used to death in the 80s so we throw those in at every opportunity.
Your latest tracks are beautifully produced. Just how much work goes into playing with the recordings on the mixing desk in the studio?
Thanks! The original demos of these songs were much scuzzier and rough around the edges but when we took them into the studio our producer, Mark Winterburn, really helped us to shape them and get them sounding really clean. So quite a lot of work – Mark really helped us to bring out the best elements of the songs and emphasised those parts in the mix, as well as doing loads of production magic to create weird noises that you can just about hear lurking in the background of the tracks.
“Food For Yourself” is a proper barnstormer, and an angry one at that. Could you tell us a bit more about what this track is about?
(James) The hook just popped into my head a few years ago and I didn’t take it seriously for quite a while. Then one day I was really stuck for ideas whilst recording so drafted out the hook and then just built the rest of the song around it. I wrote the rest of the lyrics around the line ‘it’s getting hard to find any food for yourself’ and it turned into a little story about a community of people going mad from starvation. Most of the lyrics are just various situations these people find themselves in – selling all their things, knocking down buildings, and so on.
Following the release of this EP, what have you got planned for the near and distant future?
We’re working on some new material to keep the live set fresh, planning our own new wave / immersive art night called Slightly Altered and laying the groundwork for our next single, Never There When I Need You. We’ll be hitting the studio to record it very soon, so keep your ears peeled!
In three words, sum up what can we expect from your performance at HiFi.
Dancey, punchy, wavey.