INTERVIEW: PALE WAVES | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Mancunian indie rock band Pale Waves display a remarkable work ethic as they return with their new album, Unwanted, this month, just over a year after their last release. Their newest outing is a more mature release, which sees the group flesh out the alternative rock strands of their sound. It’s electric guitar-driven, with anthemic choruses and a vigorous vocal performance – a detour sonically from the pop rock the band is known for.  

Vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie discussed this change further: “This is the direction we want to keep exploring and diving into deeper. We want to sound like a band and don’t want to rely so much on backing tracks. We want to have the best time performing live.” 

The album dives into feelings that I felt not only needed to be written but that our fans want to hear,” Heather expands. “Almost everyone has felt like they don’t belong or has been made to feel like they’re not good enough. That’s a consistent theme that I’m seeing from our fans – that their family doesn’t approve of them, or their friends have disowned them because they’ve come out. So Unwanted had to be honest, provocative, and loud. Not only thematically but in the music as well.”

Producer Zakk Cervini seemed to be the perfect person to take on the task for this album, having worked with the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Slayyyter and Dorian Electra, Heather explains it was “the perfect match made in heaven”. “I adore Zakk so much and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to help create this record with us. He’s a genius and such an incredible human. He really listens to your vision and just wants to pull out the best in you.” 

We’ve just become way more comfortable within our own skin and as performers

The stand-out is Numb, which is a far cry from the LP’s anthems, with a stripped back and intimate feel. Heather explains: “Numb is about the depression I tend to have random bursts of. The feeling of that forever darkness. The feeling of never wanting to leave your bed or caring about anything or anyone. I hate it but at least I was able to write about it, and hopefully it’ll help others feel a bit more understood.” 

While Numb exhibits the intimacy of the record, there are still plenty of moments when this new soundscape is being pushed to its max. Two of the strongest are the bridge on Only Problem and how The Hard Way cranks it up to eleven – a moment that Heather is excited for fans to hear. “I wanted to create such an authentic moment for it and I’m so happy with the outcome. I’m so excited to play You’re So Vain as well because I’m in love with the guitar riff, that’s gonna pop off so much live.”  

It’s been five years and three albums since the band’s last headline Newcastle show, so audiences will be excited to witness their live return at Times Square on Thursday 24th November (rescheduled from Wednesday 17th August). “We’ve just become way more comfortable within our own skin and as performers.” Heather expands. “We know what we want a lot more and we’re determined. The pandemic really allowed us space and time to grow and blossom.” 

Unwanted is out now. Pale Waves play Times Square, Newcastle on Thursday 24th November (rescheduled from Wednesday 17th August).


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