INTERVIEW: Waves of Dread | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle dream pop band Waves of Dread release their debut album, A Bad Dream in A Raging Sea, this month. Its emergence has been a painful process in so many ways, as a literal interpretation of the title might suggest. But with the release imminent there’s also been an opportunity to view things in a more detached way, as cathartic and ultimately healing. I caught up with Nick, singer, songwriter and the person who’s experienced all of the album’s ups and down most closely.

Nick begins by likening the process of making this album to going through therapy. “It was therapeutic on a number of levels. We’d obviously all been in lockdown for the previous year or so before we started recording, so it was good for us as a group to finally be able to do something like that again. On a personal level, I certainly had some stuff to get off my chest. Lyrically it covers a lot of ground, coming to terms with the death of mine and Steph’s mother, relationship issues, as well as my seemingly never-ending battle with my mental health.” Heavy stuff indeed. The context of songs like Cold, Forevermore and Motion feel weightier in light of knowing this, as do a lot of the other tracks to a greater or lesser degree.

Steph, Nick’s sister and co-vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist in Waves of Dread also performs as Steff Mundi, the other album personnel include long-time friends Bob (guitar), Steven (bass – and now permanent drummer), Lucas (drums) and newer member Binho (bass, keys) and appearances from other musicians including Charlotte of Marginal Gains on violin and James Leonard Hewitson on trumpet for the epic opening album track Moon Shows/Sun Shows – which showcases the album’s broader contrast of dark and light perfectly.

Despite the depressing nature of the lyrics, we never had any intention of making a miserable record

With Nick’s home demos whipped into shape by the band, including a couple of older songs worked up as singles, recording the album proper shifted to Harbourmaster Production Studios with owner/producer/engineer Martin Trollope, someone Nick recommends highly. “He’s great to work with. He gets us. It was important for us to work with someone who is a fan of the kind of music we make.”

So, to the music then. It’s a sound that’s difficult to categorise. There are lots of melodic guitar washes, languid but solid drumming and occasional fuzzy sounding vocals, all of which could be classed as ‘shoegazing’, Twilight and Oyster being the most obvious examples. There are up tempo, angry and indie pop sounds too, adding further colour to the music. Nick’s been quoted before as not recognising some of shoegazy comparisons in his band’s songs, I understand as there’s definitely much more to them and a lot of it is happier sounding.

Despite the depressing nature of the lyrics, we never had any intention of making a miserable record.” He confirms. “As a band we’ve always been about trying to turn negatives into positives. That’s why we recorded this album.” Mission accomplished on that front, and with the strong return of many original ‘shoegaze’ artists recently, after thirty years being considered a ‘phase’, Waves of Dread can hope to connect with this same appreciative audience.

Waves of Dread launch A Bad Dream In A Raging Sea on Friday 13th October at The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle.


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