The Wave Pictures Interview: “You’re Either Big Stuff Or You’re A Failure”

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The Wave Pictures Interview

New Vinyl Only Album A Season In Hull  Is Out Feb 12th.

An industrious outfit, The Wave Pictures are alt-rock stalwarts with 15 studio albums under their belt and a career that began a millennium ago, 1998 to be precise. Bursting with curiosity, we Q&A’d with Dave Tattersall (vocals and guitar with the group) and were imbued with wisdom on the trials and tribulations of being in a band, wanting to play in a mid-sixties group and not making any of the decisions, Franic does that, apparently.

O: The Wave Pictures started as Blind Summit, what provoked the change from one to the other?

We had to change the name because Blind Summit couldn’t get any gigs. No one wanted to book us twice. We weren’t very good. After we changed the name we seemed to get better instantly!

You have 15 studio albums to your name, how have you managed to remain so productive?

We just enjoy doing it so much. It isn’t difficult. It’s hard to stop!
A lot of artists struggle with keeping their project fresh and exciting, how do you keep on-your-toes creatively and make every release special?

To be honest, I don’t think about it at all, until it comes time to write the press release or do an interview. Making music is just a fun thing to do. Then you have to pretend that you’ve made something special afterwards, but it’s a kind of white lie. I mean, it might be special or it might not, it’s not for me to judge. But I love making music with Franic and Jonny. I love writing songs and recording them, and I love playing live.

Which of your studio albums has been your favourite to make and why?

I liked making all of them! I don’t have a favourite! A Season in Hull was really fun to make. They are all fun though. If it’s not fun, then something has gone terribly wrong.

How do you think the wider music scene has changed since 1998, and have those changes been good or bad for you, do you think?

Oh, it’s all pretty terrible. There are hardly any bands that I like. All the record shops I liked all over the country have all closed down. One big change since 98 is that the underground struggles to survive. It is much harder to sustain a small career. So bands tend to get split into two categories, you’re either big stuff or you’re a failure. No one pays for music anymore, so as a consequence there are less small labels and less small bands, just like there are less record shops.

There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on me and my friends to do things like sell our songs to adverts, or get kickstarter campaign money. The reason for this is that there is less money at the bottom than there was in the 90s. So you sort of have to decide whether you want to stop or whether you want to sell out or whether you want to keep fighting the lonely fight. No one really talks about selling out any more, but that’s what putting your songs in adverts is doing. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to survive anymore so you have to sell out a bit just to eat! Meanwhile the record labels want a cut of your t-shirt sales, and t-shirt sales are the only way you can afford to even go on tour. It’s all a bit tight. There are many many new bands who appear every day, but they don’t last very long. People started to call us old stalwarts after we had been going for about 5 years! The life-span of a band isn’t supposed to be very long, unless they have some proper huge financial success. I don’t see anything positive about the last twenty years, to be honest. I just feel like too many of the things that I liked have dissapeared.

What is your biggest highlight of being in the band?

I really enjoyed playing as Daniel Johnston’s backing band.

Overblown readers have a voracious appetite when it comes to music, what musical tipples can you give them to listen to?

I’ve been listening a lot to the Grateful Dead recently. I especially like ”Europe 72” and ”American Beauty”. Last night, we had some friends over and we listened to those and then we put on Jimmy Reed, who is an old favourite of mine. I would reccomend listening to his music.
Your tour a fair bit and it feels sometimes like you’ve played every square inch of the planet, what’s your favourite live experience or crowd been?

My favourite country to tour in is Germany.

If you hadn’t been in either Blind Summit or The Wave Pictures, what band would you of loved to have been a part of and why?

In my dreams, I wish I had been in a band like Canned Heat or The Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead. I would like to have played guitar with those kinds of people. I’m a fish out of water, really. I shouldn’t really be a front man and I shouldn’t really be alive now. I should have been alive then and just been a guitarist in one of those kind of mid to late 60s bands. That’s really what should have happened. But it didn’t work out that way!

Where do you plan to take the project in 2016 and beyond?

I don’t really have any plans I’m afraid. Franic makes all the plans.

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