Trouble is, wherever you look, there is music. Thousands of bands springing up, splitting, making records, touring, remixing, showcasing, re-releasing. Everywhere – all over the world. I was looking through some of the things going on at South by Southwest (SXSW for us trendies in the know) where just about every band on the planet is congregating in March, and purely by chance I came across the band Ghost Wave.
The quartet come from Aukland, New Zealand and describe themselves as being ‘inspired by ’80s bands on the Flying Nun record label, as well as the ’60s British Invasion and some ’70s recordings by Lee “Scratch” Perry. That’s quite possibly the case, but more importantly they make bright scuzzy pop tunes, and with their single ‘Hippy’ they’ve made one of the stand-out tracks of the last few months. That’s the thing with music. So much of it is about, but if you look hard enough you’ll find some real gems, even from the other side of the world.
Immediately after falling head over heels for Hippy, and indeed pretty much everything else Ghost Wave have done – I investigated further and spoke to Matt from the band.
Ghost Wave – Hippy
Hey, thanks for this – can you introduce us to the band, for people who don’t know you?
Hello we are Ghost Wave from New Zealand.
How did you get together?
After becoming bored by the trend towards electronic music (we love electronic music but at the time it was feeling overdone) we started a band, learnt how to write songs and after that we decided we liked it and wanted to write better songs.
Who were your influences?
We influenced each other a lot and continue to do so. We were also influenced by the need to get out of the 9 – 5 grind and focus our energies on music and art.
You cite one of your influences as the label Flying Nun – I don’t think people in other parts of the world realise how influential they were to a lot of bands over there, can you put that into some kind of perspective?
I don’t think Flying Nun suffers from having a lack of profile overseas and to be honest there’s only a handful of bands that I feel really observe and try to build on what happened here. Before learning about Flying Nun growing up I wasn’t able to identify with New Zealand culture and still don’t in a lot of ways. I like the style of many of the bands.
Was it difficult getting your music ‘out there’ being from New Zealand?
We haven’t been too worried about getting out there and I think that has been an advantage for us.
You released a self-titled album last summer, can you tell us a little about that. Where was it recorded? Was there a feeling, or sound that you were looking for?
We make music to reflect the time, mood and place we are living in – it is something that visits us and we have to do our best to capture it in what we are doing. The record was an EP and it basically documents us learning how to write and record. We had rough demo cuts that we made and from there tried to do a good job of layering textures on new versions of the songs we recorded . Our next record is in the opposite direction.
And there’s new material at the end of the month – tell us about that as well
We are doing a series of singles with artwork and videos and rolling them out over the next couple of months.
And a new video?
The first video we shot in New York City last year, our friend Stu Page was interested in doing a video for us and so we liked the idea of shooting it kind of casually and seeing what came of things. We like visual art and it’s always interesting to work with someone else.
And the track Hippy we love here, what is that about?
Stop fighting, start loving, don’t be annoying.
You’re off to SXSW – looking forward to it? You going to try to catch anyone while your there?
Yeh there are so many bands we want to see, I think it’ll be a good time. We are playing the 35 Denton festival first and looking forward to seeing bands like Silver Apples and Chelsea Light Moving. At SXSW I’m looking forward to seeing the Zombies and The Flaming Lips.
Are you going to be premièring anything new across there, or just showcasing what you can do/have done?
We write and record new songs basically every week so our live show takes into account a lot more than just our records. We have like 30 songs backed up that need to be recorded so we choose about 15 to take away with us.
And then, any more tour plans, where can fans see you in the short-term?
And plans for the rest of the year?
Save some money, make another record, buy some microphones, make some art, grow a mini herb garden on the balcony of my apartment, maybe get another band member.
The best record I have heard this year is….?