On Sunday we had the pleasure of talking to Heather Baron Gracie and Ciara Doran from Manchester band Pale Waves. They played the foundry in Sheffield as part of their headline tour. One thing was massively apparent throughout the interview, they are reluctant to be put in a box and there is a lot more to this band than meets the eye. Both Heather and Ciara are dead set on where they see the band going and I couldn’t help but warm to them both straight away. I completely understand after watching their addictive, goth pop sound played live, why they have such a solid and fast growing fanbase.
We spoke about the new album, their current tour and visiting Japan.
You played Glasgow on the first date of your tour, how did you find the crowds?
Ciara: Glasgow was amazing, we really enjoyed it.
Heather: We played Newcastle and that was great but Glasgow was just something else.
Ciara: I think its the Scott’s mentality it was very rowdy on a Friday night and in a dark warehouse which felt big but it was actually small. Last night at Newcastle it felt massive like a London warehouse kind of vibe going on, like the ceilings were really tall and there was windows everywhere and it wasn’t as kind of dark and sweaty as Glasgow.
You’ve had a really busy year touring with The 1975, festivals, your debut album is out and now your tour, what have been your highlights?
Ciara: Probably Japan and the album release. The album release was pretty surreal, it’s all been amazing to be honest!
Was it hard to pick the songs that were going to go on the album?
Ciara: We were writing quite a lot at the time but it was pretty obvious which ones we should push forward, on the album I feel you have to have songs with certain feeling and you have to dip down at some points so it was really obvious which one we was going to pick and which we were going to save for a later date.
You have just announced a UK and Ireland tour with The 1975, how hard was it transitioning from playing smaller venues when you started out to the shows your playing today?
Ciara: Yeah, we’re really looking forward to it. It’s kind of like a gradual build up with the gigs, slowly they get bigger and bigger and then it gets easier. What we love the most is more gets done for you, like we don’t set up or anything anymore and it feels nice because you can just concentrate on writing music and stuff. It’s good to feel like were getting treated seriously now.
Heather: We’ve lugged our gear around so many gigs, put all our stuff on stage and when we’ve finished taken it all off. That’s one of the worst parts starting out.
Do you get a lot of support from the industry? There is a lot of talk about mental health in the music industry in the press right now, how have your experiences been?
Heather: Yeah, definitely from each other. Our crew are also great and our tour manager Darren always looks after us.
Ciara: He’s like a father figure and we have a great relationship with him.
Heather: He’s even cradled me like a baby before! (laughs)
Heather: He’s so caring and our managers are the same, they look out for us. It’s really about having that great team around you that helps with those side of things. It becomes like a family because you spend so much more time with them, a lot more than you do your own family.
Is it hard been on the road a lot?
Heather: Yeah it is, because if you are feeling depressed, you haven’t got your mum around and thats kind of hard. We’re very rarely at home anymore, I haven’t been home to my parents in Preston in months and it will be December now before I head back.
Can you tell me more about one of your fans favourites tracks ‘Karl, I Wonder What It’s Like To Die’ on your debut album ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ Is it hard to play?
Heather: I’ve not played the track live at gigs but I have played it at some in-store appearances where there’s about twenty people. It can be awkward to play because it’s so vulnerable, but at the same time it means so much to the fans, I can see it. When I play the in-store gigs and it’s broad daylight, I’m literally in front of them and they’ll just cry in front of me.
Ciara: I even cry sometimes when she plays it, especially towards the end. I sometimes think oh no not this one! (laughs) I’m really shocked that Heather doesn’t cry!
A lot of your songs are very open and vulnerable, I especially love the track ‘Noises’ is it hard to put yourself out there like that?
Heather: Writing the songs for me is the hardest part, performing it is difficult but not as hard as writing as it feels good to let it out – it’s a release.
Ciara: If you were to sing really un-meaningful lyrics it would of course be boring and it would probably be more uncomfortable.
Where do you tend to write?
Heather: Everywhere pretty much, a lot is in hotel rooms as we write together. Ciara writes the music and I write the lyrics.
Ciara: It’s like half and half.
Another issue in todays society, is the pressure to look and be a certain way. How do you deal with issues like that, do you experience any difficulties?
Ciara: We just laugh at it because we get loads of shit because of how we look. It’s like you can’t look like that and play pop music and I’m like ‘Why can’t we? Are you serious?’ It’s the typical stereotypes like you have to look this way to like football etc.
Heather: Or you can’t wear this much eyeshadow. I was like ‘Who are you to say that?’
Ciara: We had a review about our album and they mentioned our make-up. Infact, we had a few reviews and they talked about our image and makeup.
Heather: We don’t mind people talking about our image, thats fine but specifically our makeup its almost kind of sexist in a way. We’ve always been into this fashion, we’ve been into dark fashion for ages.
Ciara: I don’t even think its that much of a statement anymore but people just get blown away by it. We could absolutely dress like pure goths if we wanted and take it much more extreme than we do.
Heather: I feel like that like some older people take it as we’re just girls who love makeup and that we’re not a serious band because we have a younger girl fanbase. I’m just like wtf? You can like us whatever, it just doesn’t matter.
Would you say there was there any particular band that influenced your style?
Ciara: Emo Music. The Cure, Avril Lavigne, My Chemical Romance but to be honest we more just influence each other.
What’s ‘Heathers world’ like? What’s a normal day look like to Heather and Ciara outside of the band?
Heather: Mixed emotions!
Ciara: Yeah, one minute she can be like this and then the next she’s pissed off about something. Mood swings especially when she’s getting ready! (laughing)
Heather: Yeah, because it stresses me out getting ready. I’m on a thin line!
Is that anything to do with been in the public eye?
Heather: No, I don’t think so.
Ciara: Well, maybe its got more like that but even when I first met her she was like that.
Heather: I think I was probably worse back then! I feel I’ve calmed down with age a bit but I’m still me.
Ciara: She’ll say ‘This is what makes me great!’ (laughing)
Heather: Maybe, I should try and write a song about been pissed off – an angry song!
Whats the aim for Pale Waves whats the ultimate goal and what can fans look forward to?
Ciara: The main goal is to headline the Manchester MEN arena, we’d also like to go back to Japan. We got a brilliant reception and we’re doing really well over there. We’ve only been once, so its great they’re really into dark fashion and pop music so that’s us!
Heather: There will be another album but first we’ll release an EP.
Ciara: You’ve got to keep releasing these days. Everything so much faster now, you could concentrate two years on your album and tour it at one time, but now everyones releasing much quicker. It’s the grime scene that’s made it more like this, dropping mixtapes out of nowhere and all that, so we plan to keep up.
My Mind Makes Noises is available now – http://smarturl.it/4uchzy.
All tour dates can be found at – http://www.palewaves.co.uk/tour/