Pale Waves – 'A lot of people think I should be in a heavy metal band, but I write happy pop music'
- Henry Northmore
- 15 June 2018
Goth make-up and indie pop from the fast rising four-piece who play this year's TRNSMT
'A lot of people think I should be in a heavy metal band, but I write happy pop music,' laughs Pale Waves' vocalist, lead songwriter and guitarist, Heather Baron-Gracie. With her shock of raven black hair, striking gothic make-up, and thick dark eyeliner, she's become the distinctive face of Pale Waves. 'I understand why people make that assumption because there are stereotypes out there but, whatever genre of music, you should just wear what you want and write whatever you want.'
Perhaps people forget that some of the greatest and most influential Goth acts, like the Cure or Siouxsie and the Banshees, wrote astonishingly beautiful pop music (think 'Love Cats' or 'Happy House'). And Pale Waves swim in similar waters, specialising in dark tales of romance heavily influenced by the 80s and modern pop. Baron-Gracie and drummer Ciara Doran instantly clicked when they met at university in Manchester with a mutual love of music and respect for each other's talent forming the heart of the band. 'She's my rock,' insists Baron-Gracie. 'We hold it all together; she's my best friend and someone I can't see going out of my life.'
After expanding to a four piece with the addition of guitarist Hugo Silvani and bassist Charlie Wood, Pale Waves signed to Dirty Hit Records in 2017 (home to Wolf Alice, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Marika Hackman). Fellow label mates the 1975 were instant fans with Matt Healy going on to produce two tracks, direct the video for 'Television Romance' and invite them to tour the US. 'Working with the '75 enabled us to reach to a much wider audience,' says Baron-Gracie. 'They are great people; when they love something they want as many to hear it as possible. It was great exposure for us, as we went from playing to 15 people to playing arenas. It was a big jump.'
As people eagerly await the arrival of their debut album, the buzz surrounding Pale Waves continues to build. According to Baron-Gracie they're currently working on 12 tracks but they might not all make the final cut. 'Obviously I explore a lot more of my songwriting abilities not just romantic interests. I talk about my issues as a person and how I'm feeling, metal health issues; I just explore myself a lot more. When anyone listens to the album they are basically stepping into a world of Heather.'
Pale Waves play TRNSMT, Glasgow Green, Fri 29 Jun.