Sometimes you find new music in mysterious ways! I recently discovered Brisbane’s Deadwaves via a muddled-up conversation with BG Goodrich (Local Band Smokeout). Their first single ‘In Your Veins’ is out now and Tommy McKay and Beau Stevens, the faces behind Deadwaves, were kind enough to have a chat with me.
Thanks guys. Tell us a bit about Deadwaves and what the future looks like for you guys.
Tommy: Beau and I met 10 years ago. I moved to Brisbane to join a band which at that time was called Amberain we were basically a post hardcore alternative band we dropped an EP called Empires, it went pretty well we toured nationally had some pretty crazy shows that were sold out. At around that time I personally was going through a bit of mental health stuff I was drinking too much and all that sort of rubbish and eventually became a bit too much of a burden for the band. Fast forward and Beau actually face timed me from a show and I just went fuck it we need to make music again, so we got together and wrote a few songs, well more than a few. This is the first one that we have been stoked enough with to go here’s something we really want you to hear.
Beau: I grew up playing piano and sort of going towards the more classical side of things and Tom has grown up with all his metal and that kind of stuff. I think the melding of those two sorts of mindsets can create some pretty interesting genre defying sounds which is what excites us, it’s what we like. Then we have to try and reconcile that with how we want to sound.
Tommy: I think for us one thing that we would really grab onto is that symphonic sound and Beau’s got the technical knowledge to be able to construct something like that for us, for me to then be able to sing over which I am really excited for. We self-produce as well, so all our music that we produce is done within the confines of this house, or where ever we are living at the time. Part of the issue with that though is you get to the point where you are never quite sure if your song is finished because you haven’t got a 3rd party to say stop. We’ve had to hire someone to mix and master our music for us because otherwise Beau and I will sit there for nights on end tweaking. Once you’ve listened to it enough times your perception of the song changes you need to almost cleanse your palette with some classical music or a tv show so that when you go back its brand new and fresh again
Beau: Just diving into the depths of our creativity and seeing what we can come up with. Being able to not be bound by having to spend time in the studio we can spend as much time as we want attacking it at our own pace and do whatever we want. It’s really liberating to be able to write like that and its healthy for the creative process.
Realistically we would have to use backing tracks because we only have 4 hands and 2 mouths between us. Obviously, we’ll play everything on the record but when it comes to the live show we are going to need a few friends; we’ll figure that out when we get there! The silver lining of what is happening in the world right now is that we have all the time in the world to get ready for a live show and have an audience to actually turn up to it.
There are positive to take out of this situation. People are turning to social media and looking for new music because they have so much down time and once we return to some semblance of normal there won’t be international acts for awhile
Absolutely, if we can capitalise on that even just a little bit that what be really handy for us. I’m really excited to see the expression on people’s faces when you actually get to play the music live. That is the best part about it I think. Hearing people sing your own lyrics back to you, there’s not many better feelings than that.
There was actually some confusion between me and BG over your track! There was a band above you guys on his list called Deadlights, which I thought was the band from here, and that’s how I ended up listening to your song. My ears pricked up because it had a BMTH feel to the beginning!
We sent that one email to Local Band Smokeout and we’ve picked up a handful of fans already. We don’t care if we’ve got a 100 fans or 100,00 fans we just want the people that do care about us to really give a fuck about the music. We want to be able to play a show that even if it’s to 10 people they know the words and just want to be a part of it
Beau: We’re glad that you had that reaction to our track though. If we can just prick someone’s ears up like that and get them interested enough to try and suss out who we are I think that’s the way to go about it.
Tommy: Should I tell her a secret about that song… That song is actually about 4 years old!
We’ve been sitting on it for a while, but it was very heavily influenced by That’s the Spirit. We were super inspired by the sound. One thing we are a bit unsure about is what genre we are going to fit in to because In Your Veins is a pretty in your face song. We wanted a first release that kind of stood out. And we hope that’s what’s happened. But that’s only one arrow in our quiver I guess you could say. We’ve actually got dozens of songs that we have been working on.
Who inspires you?
We love soundtracks and soundscapes by people like Hans Zimmer. That’s something we want to bring to our music. We lean on bands all the way from Bring Me The Horizon to the The 1975 for inspiration when it comes to the overall production of our music.
We grew up listening to a lot of post-hardcore music like Escape the Fate.
Beau is influenced by Post-Punk bands like The Cure and Nick Cave.
We are also influenced by synthwave and retrowave music. We love the cyberpunk sound and aesthetic. I hope that gives people some idea what’s going on inside our brains haha.
What’s the story behind the song?
Tommy : I’m a pretty dark person I write a lot of dark lyrics about the thoughts that bounce around in my brain and the struggles that I have had. I try to empathise with other people that have mental health struggles. I feel like I can relate to them so hopefully they can relate to my story
Beau: Musically I think we are very inspired by the likes of film soundtracks by people like Hans Zimmer and that kind of stuff, so we try and emulate that kind of structure or sound with our chord progressions and that kind of stuff whilst still being exciting and obviously our own take on whatever we are doing instrumentally
Tommy: I suppose the title of the song In Your Veins kind of implies drug use. What it implies for me is someone who is not themselves because of an outside influence.
When I listened to it again today that was what I took out of it. Someone who has been infiltrated by somebody else
Beau: Yeah a toxic relationship, it’s almost open to interpretation.
Tommy: I don’t sit down and go this is what my song is about. I try to think about the showmanship of the lyrics. I write very metaphorical lyrics, like for example someone who does it really well is Jared Leto I really love the way he writes lyrics. Someone who is completely different to what we do who I take a lot of inspiration from is actually Matt Healy from The 1975. Something he said really resonated with me is “I want to write a song that sounds like ‘I wanna Dance with somebody’ by Whitney Houston but have the conviction of Morrisey”. I have a similar philosophy; I want a powerful impowering song. To be honest we are probably just a pair of Brisbane sad boys!! It helps me get this stuff off my chest and deal with things and I hope that it can do that for other people too. I know that so much music has done that for me. I’m actually really excited to see what people think of our music and their reaction.
Beau: Writing music like this is a cathartic experience
We actually recorded a grand piano live and compressed the shit out of it for In Your Veins and used reverb to get the sound. Beau’s brother does a lot of the post production on our stuff too. He’s a wizard. He helped make it sound a lot bigger than what it was when we were finished. His takes on our music is what will give us our own sound aesthetic too. Genre aside we feel that over the next couple of tracks we will be defining the aesthetic of our sound. The whole anti-genre movement is a great concept. Just do what you love and what you feel at the time, then make it sound good and put it out there.
It’s great to see so many bands experimenting with their sound.
Yes. The tides are turning in that sense. The way the world is going with the internet and social media it’s so easy and accessible to make music and put it out there. All the passion projects come out of the woodwork and they get more light shone on them and I think that is great
For sure! Social media is a fantastic way to get your music out there and for music fans to find new bands.
Tommy: These days most fans become your friends and in 2020 social media is the easiest and cheapest way to grow your audience. And to have people similar to you that care about what you’re doing that genuinely care about what the bands are doing. It’s a 2-way street.
Beau: We did say that we don’t care if we have 10 fans or 100,000 but the later would be better! But really it’s genuine fans that we care about, people we can interact with at shows or online. It doesn’t matter we just want to be able to connect with the people that dig our music
Tommy: People saying that your music has helped them is the best feeling in the world and seeing the look on someone’s face standing in front of you and having them sing the words back to you is a feeling that I can’t describe
Beau: That’s what keeps you writing music.
Deadwaves first single In Your Veins is out now