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It was back in December 2017 that we last caught up with Birmingham indie dance quintet, Ivory Wave. Fast forward two years and the band are selling out headline shows and smashing festival slots at Isle Of Wight Festival, Shiine On and Truck

Successfully bridging the gap between dance music and indie, their upbeat and feel-good tunes are gaining the band a legion of loyal fans. If you are a fan of the Happy Mondays, Oasis or The Stone Roses then you will love Ivory Wave. Ready to hit the big league, the band have just released their debut EP ‘Dream Nights‘ I caught up with them to find out all about the inspiration behind it…

Hello again guys, you are no strangers to Northern Exposure but for any of our readers who may have not had the privilege, can you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about Ivory Wave?

We’re Ivory Wave from Birmingham. We sound like a mash-up between Kasabian, Public Enemy and Inner City. We want to be the biggest band in the world one day and we’re not going to stop until we are.

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For anyone in the music game all across the board I believe the main two ingredients for success are never giving up and passion. Was there a moment in your life where you went to a gig or listened to some music and thought fuck yes, this is what I want to do? What lit your fire and passion?

I can remember being at my dads house when I was around 8/9 and I couldn’t sleep. So I went downstairs to find my dad in the living room watching a documentary on the Sex Pistols and as I sat down the on the sofa the camera cut to Steve Jones playing the intro to Pretty Vacant and I can remember feeling like a lightning bolt had just shot through my ears and into my brain and the rest they say… is…

From Birmingham, there’s some big names and bands that have come out of the city, what’s the new music scene like there? 

The music scene is really great at the minute and its sick to have competition with other bands as it keeps us all on our toes.

You’ve recently just released your new EP ‘Dream Nights’, I’m interested in getting right to the heart of this as I know you’ve put blood, sweat and tears into it! Can you give me a brief explanation about the songs and where the inspiration came from for each track?

‘The Middle’
The middle came from the keys sample at the start of the track that Connor found, and the rest all came from that really. The song itself is about being stuck in a rut and getting yourself out of it.
‘Uptown’
Uptown was the song for me that made me think, we need to do an EP, it’s my favourite song by a long way and I love it every time we play it live. Luke wrote the majority of Uptown and it’s mostly about getting bored of going on the same nights out every weekend over and over again. It’s a really special song for me.

‘Pale Moonlight’
Pale Moonlight is one of the groovier songs on the EP, funnily enough, we very nearly didn’t put it on the final tracklist because we weren’t sure if we liked it with the other songs as its so different, but I’m glad we made the right decision in the end and put it on, as it has turned into a bit of a fan favourite.
‘Weigh Me Down’
Weigh Me Down started from Connor finding a drum sample on a Snoop Dogg track (believe it or not haha) and the rest of the music fell into place when we all began throwing ideas around of how we wanted it to sound. The lyrics are about us not getting the recognition we deserved as a band around 2 years ago and saying ‘look at us’.

‘Young Blood’
Young Blood Is a really special song for me, I wrote it when I was around 18 after a conversation I had with my nan who was ill at the time. We were talking about dreaming and she told me that when she dreamed she was still young and was able to do anything she wanted to do. So the song stemmed from that, it’s a real celebration of life and a fitting tribute.

Listen to Dream Nights here.

Out of all the tracks on the EP which would you say is your favourite and why?

As I said before, Uptown. It’s my favourite song we’ve ever written and when Luke showed me the lyrics for the first time it absolutely blew me away, it goes down amazingly live and our fans are just as crazy as I am about it.

As a young band, what’s the most important thing that the listener takes away from your lyrics and music? What would you say your main message as a band is?

We just want people to listen and have a good time, we make music for parties and we want to be transported to a happier place we’ve never been into writing sad music or something that’s going to make you feel down. It’s all positive vibes from us.

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Dream Nights just hit 50k streams on Spotify, I’ll take this chance to say congrats! Some of the main questions I get asked by bands is ‘How do we do we hit these numbers on Spotify?’ also ‘How do we get those big support slots?’. Do you have any secrets to your success and what advice would you give to new bands wanting to achieve the same?

Our number one rule in Ivory Wave is if you don’t ask, you don’t get! If we see a support slot that we want, we ask for it and I think that’s the best way to push yourselves as a band today. Nothing’s going to come to you for free, you’ve gotta go out and grab it.

People on the outside look at people in upcoming bands (especially ones with impressive support/festival slots) and see this big rock n roll lifestyle, seeing things from the inside we know that’s not always the case… What are your highs and the lows of being in a young and upcoming band?

The truth about being in a band is exactly that. It’s constantly highs and lows one day you can be playing in front of 3000 people the next you can be playing in front of 10 in a small bar, it can get you down at times but the one thing we all love is music, and that’s what keeps us going.

As just mentioned you’ve had some mega support slots (DMA’s, The Twang, Jaws, LONA to name a few) and have recently been announced as one of This Feeling’s ‘Big In 2020’ How does it feel to be getting more and more recognition?

It feels… right. We’ve worked hard to get where we are as a band and I feel as though we deserve it. But it’s always special to be supporting people who you look up too, sometimes I have to pinch myself haha.

Do you think it’s tough to get recognised in the digital age we now live in? How do you as a band tackle this?

A lot of people say that it can get oversaturated with new bands churning out music constantly so it’s hard to stand out, but I strongly believe if your good enough people will notice you.

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What’s the ultimate dream?

We’ve set a goal that we want to play Brixton Academy this year, it’s been a dream of ours for some time so we are putting everything into making it happen.

As we all know, fame and money can certainly change people! Having met you I’m pretty certain I’m safe to say that like myself you are very down to earth. If or when you reach that dream, how important is it for you to stay grounded and true to yourself? And if so, why do you think it’s important?

We’ve always been the same 5 lads, and I don’t think were ever going to change we’ve met a few people in bands that we’ve looked up to when we were younger and they’ve been total assholes, so its made us go ‘that’s not going to be me!’.

Last but definitely not least! What can we look forward to from Ivory Wave next year?

It’s looking super busy already, we have a load of tours and festivals booked already so it looks like its going to be absolutely mental!

Listen to Dream Nights. You can catch Ivory Waves last show of the year when they support The Illicits on 21st December at King George’s Hall Blackburn, tickets here. They also play Nambucca as part of This Feelings ‘Big In 2020’ on the 11th of January, all details here.

RACHEL BROWN

Photo: James Kay


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