We sat down with Mickey and George, two members of the Brighton-based indie band Wave Chase! We discussed what the British music scene is like, their latest release “Sit by the Sea” and drawing inspiration from American bands of the 1960s.
What’s your go-to gas station order?
George: We usually go between gigs, we usually finish quite late and stop at McDonald’s. I’d have to say probably the sweet chili wrap, it’s very good and it’s cheap, so.
Weronika: I don’t think we have that on the menu in McDonald’s here in America.
George: It’s like crispy breaded chicken. It’s banging, it’s great.
What was your first impression of your bandmates when you met?
Mickey: The first time me and George met, I went to see his old band play when we were like fifteen, I think. I don’t know what happened that day, but George was so ill. He was throwing up all over the stage and stuff. He played some good songs, but he was really sick. He had to rush to the toilet every five minutes.
George: I went offstage at one point and some guy just got onstage and started playing licks on my guitar. It just wasn’t a good vibe. But somehow Mickey became my friend from that, and we started a band.
Mickey: We were hanging out afterwards, and we just got on well, so yeah.
Before you released your latest single, it’s been a bit over a year since you’ve released music. What are you most excited about this next chapter for the band?
George: Just putting out stuff, really. Like you said, it’s been over a year. And those songs that have come out are quite old. Even that new tune, “Sit by the Sea,” is like a year and a half old. We just hadn’t gotten around to recording it because of the pandemic. We haven’t been able to gig and stuff, but we’ve got so many new tunes. I’m quite excited, it’s a bit of a shift musically from the oldest stuff. I’m excited for people to hear that. So we should have some new stuff in June I think.
How would you describe your local music scene to listeners across the pond and beyond?
Mickey: It’s weird, we have all sorts. For us locally, we have a lot of grunger heavier stuff, and then there’s this nice clean indie pop stuff. And we sort of sit in the middle of those two extremes. There’s not really a consistent scene here, bands just do whatever they want. Brighton is more post-punk and edgy, kind of.
George: Bournemouth is not really a scene. We all moved to Brighton up the coast, which is one of the bigger musical places in the UK, and there’s a great scene here. There are too many bands, if anything. Back home in Bournemouth is weird. You have our kind of band, then you have some 9-piece folk band playing all kind of instruments in a cellar somewhere. Bit strange, but yeah.
You cite California surf rock, especially classic 60s surf rock, as a major influence. What are some of your favorite bands?
George: Me and Mickey love a lot of American kind of garage rock, we’re really big into Twin Peaks and a band called Howler from back in the day and they’re pretty good. That’s kind of the vibe we wanted to do when we started the band, and it just sort of naturally progressed into more indie rock with the other guys’ influences. I’m the biggest Beatles nerd, and The Beach Boys, and we just love all that stuff really.
What does your typical writing process look like between the four of you?
Mickey: It’s weird, it depends on the song, really. A lot of the EP stuff, George would do a whole demo on his acoustic or something, send it over to me, and I’d put on my parts, and we’d bring it all together. Or I’d send him a riff, and he’d mesh it with something else. It really varies from song to song.
George: Me, myself, Mickey, and our bass player Tim all have a flat together, so the process has become a lot more collaborative. I haven’t actually sat down and written a song for this band in ages, because these guys have started taking over. Which is quite nice.
Mickey: I’ve been writing a lot more on my own. Not that any of it is good. Just a lot of trying new ideas I suppose, and trying to rip off old stuff. We’re all studying music at Uni, so we literally have to do that. It has given us a bit more time to focus on what we do recording-wise instead of just live, because for the most part we’re more of a live band, I think.
If you could “sit by the sea” with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?
George: I would say Mickey. He’s a great friend.
Mickey: Thanks George. I appreciate that. I would like to sit with Ringo. I feel like he would have some great stories.
George: Or Brian Wilson. Although I don’t know how good of a chat that would be, nowadays.
Your music video for “Sit by the Sea” has a very vintage aesthetic. Do you like to thrift, and if so, what have been some of your favorite finds?
Mickey: I’d like to say I do that, but to be honest I’m very basic with my clothes. I just buy whatever looks alright.
George: I got this denim shirt today, it’s apparently from the nineties. Pretty cool. My dad said he used to have one like it, so I don’t know if that’s cool or not. Dad rock.
That song obviously has a lot of beach imagery in both the video, lyrics, and sound. What are some of your favorite beach activities?
Mickey: I’d love to say we can surf, but we can’t.
George: We’re absolutely terrible. I’ve got a surfboard, but that’s as far as it goes with my ability. We tried last year and got absolutely destroyed in the waves. It wasn’t great. I don’t know, you can’t beat a good old sandcastle, can you? I made a dragon once when I was 7 or 8, my dad and my brother and I made a sand dragon on the beach. That was pretty cool.
Is there a surf scene across the pond?
George: There kind of is. Back home in Bournemouth where they’re from, they built a surf reef. It cost like three million quid or something and the sandbags all broke. There’s this random tiny blip in the water where it was. Three million pounds, just gone.
Mickey: Further west there’s Cornwall, which has a bit of a surf scene. There’s not much here, it’s a bit cold for it.
What is your fondest memory from playing shows?
George: I think mine, we did an EP launch last January and we have a song called “Talk Tonight” and there’s a bit where it breaks down in the middle. We got everyone to sing it, and get low then jump up. Did the whole classic band thing. That was really good. That was just great. We didn’t know anyone in the front row, and they were singing my lyrics, which was pretty cool.
Mickey: That EP launch was great. We packed it out, we had over capacity by thirty or forty people or something. That was good. We had people queuing out front, and that was the first time for us. It felt like we kind of made it, nowhere near but sort of.
George: We made it just for that one night.
What’s the state of the live music scene in the UK?
Mickey: I think we’re allowed to play in gardens.
George: Supposedly, the end of June in the UK, all social distancing is meant to be scrapped. We’ve got gigs booked for July, and all the major festival like Reading and that are going ahead. I think Glastonbury is the only one that’s not going ahead. It’s hit and miss, but hopefully.