Indie stalwarts The Wave Pictures (consisting of Jonny Helm, Franic Rozycki and Dave Tattersall) have been churning out ditties that encapsulate sheer romanticism married with intricate rhyming and brash melancholy for eighteen years now. Their compiled hotpot of quirk-drenched aneurysms and bittersweet storytelling is equivalent to the steamed up bus window on an overdrawn Thursday night journey home, altering the perspective in which you disintegrate the everyday occurrences we tend to brush off with such negligence, and granting them a polished and kooky vista.
Birthed in Loughborough in 1998 as Blind Summit, a name they begrudge for being unattractive to potential fans and promoters, before their transformation to the charming trio we associate with today, they have a mighty 15 albums tucked firmly under their thread loop belts, amongst which also lurk several singles and collaborations with the likes of Jeffrey Lewis, The Mountain Goats and their hero, artistic muso Wild Billy Childish.
The prospect of eighteen years in relatively constant company would seem a concerning feat for most – not so for frontman Dave Tattersall: “I think the secret is that we’ve never let anybody else be involved, we’ve remained independent. Making music is fun for us, and I think that’s very rare, as my experience of bands is that most don’t even enjoy themselves very much, it’s all pure business.” That the band have a determination to destroy the popularity of robotic, autotune smothered inventions is evident in their passion for DIY and the importance of sticking to your guns. “So many things piss us off about music,” cites Dave, “there isn’t a lot of good stuff out there, so you feel like you want to give people the option. Bands nowadays aren’t relatable; it’s a terrible time for music. They don’t sound like humans!” Is there a certain notion behind this disgust with the prevalent nature of the industry? “They use punk music on McDonalds adverts and it’s all posh boys and BRIT School people on the telly. Everything sounds like keyboards. I hate keyboards.” Just a defiant detest for keyboards then? “The impact of the internet and general technology on life has been pretty negative. Record shops are shutting down, smaller bands/labels are struggling to survive, people can’t be bothered to listen to albums and everyone’s on their computers all the time.”
Bands nowadays aren’t relatable; it’s a terrible time for music. They don’t sound like humans!
From their style evolving over the course of the noughties from outlandish hippies, to being dressed by their mum and their current self-confessed “Jason Statham auditioning for a Stella Artois advert” style, unusually their musical flair has remained benevolently distinct, alongside their stage fright. Speaking out on some of the harsh criticism they’ve received over their nearly two decade underdog reign, Dave explains: “It’s a nervous business, going onstage. We don’t get criticised as much as we used to, but we still get criticised a lot. They didn’t believe we actually wanted to sound that way! You often get judged by other people’s standards, you don’t get judged by the right criteria, which is how well are they doing what they set out to do”.
Often considered as the “strange outsiders” of the alternative indie stratosphere, The Wave Pictures’ willpower to push their somewhat genre-less genius out into the Big Bad World is bold, despite the copious tuts and upward nose turns that get hurtled in their way. They’ve wholeheartedly accepted the compliment-verging-on-insult of being ‘odd’, a description they’ve warranted due to their eccentric and new-fangled song titles – Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon and Bye Bye Bubble Belly being personal highlights – and their collaged mixtape-style album covers, carefully crafted by Dave and Franic themselves. Their next release arrives on 11th November, entitled Bamboo Diner In The Rain, and brandishing a cover that can only be reminiscent of the sort of classic 70’s TV series you’d watch reluctantly round your Grandma’s. “I asked for the lettering to look like the one from MASH! That’s so nice of you to notice.” Dave grins.
Citing The Fire Department, The Velvet Underground, Link Wray and John Lee Hooker as prime inspirations behind their sixteenth offering, adding another 10 songs to their 150-amassed collection can only make choosing the cream of the crop for their forthcoming gig at Newcastle’s Cluny 2 on Sunday 13th November even more difficult. “There’s always such a great feeling when you play a show in some little place and people are having a wonderful time and they’re all tumbling out drunk. It’s a very happy thing. You start doing shots on stage and messing about, it’s all still a lot of fun!”
Touring for the length of time that The Wave Pictures have may not have gotten boring, but have they ever felt truly fulfilled by their incredible contribution to music quite yet? “BLIMEY! I’m not sure you ever feel completely fulfilled in the music industry, I just keep on trying to be the band I would’ve loved when I was 15. I think that a lot of bands are sell-outs, to be perfectly frank. It’s absolute bullshit that they make terrible music just to try and be popular, and we could never do that, which I suppose in itself is rather fulfilling.”