Found sound: Wave Machines

Liverpool art-rock band share a sound close to their hearts as part of our ongoing found sound series.


Words by: Ruth Saxelby

As part of our found sound series, in which we ask artists to take a closer listen to their immediate environments and send us a field recording of something that inspires them, Liverpool’s Wave Machines have recorded an old friend at the heart of band life: their van. The art-rocker foursome released their new album ‘Pollen’ this week. Produced by Lexxx (Gwilym Gold, Wild Beasts, Darkstar), it’s a cracker of a record, full of verve and vibrant texture. (We’re still enthral to lead single Ill Fit.) Here Wave Machines frontman Tim Bruzon tells us about their found sound, and how the sounds around them in their hometown fed into the new album. Scroll down to have a listen, and for their full UK tour dates.

Hi, Wave Machines! Can you tell us a bit about your found sound?

It’s a snippet from our recent trip to Paris. We parked in a cavernous, echoey underground car park beneath the Louvre. It sounds like someone’s limping but that’s just Carl who lost the heel of a shoe earlier that day. After a lot of thinking we realised that our van has been with us since the very start of the band. We made a decision right at the beginning to invest some publishing money in a splitter so we could, at the very least, get around the country to present the music we’d been working so hard on. It gave us enormous freedom and meant we could do the job long before labels got involved. Two albums in and it’s still going. We plan to run it into the ground.

Have you ever used found sound in your music, either directly as a sample or indirectly as an inspiration?

Sticking ambience at the start of a song is a great way to set a mood and build a bit of anticipation. We’ve tried it quite a few times before but never managed to get it quite right. In that same vein we used an artificially created ambience at the start of the song Home on the new album.

Seeing as your van is at the heart of band life, was any of new album ‘Pollen’ written or conceived in it?

We have jammed in it and recorded ideas when we’ve been hanging around waiting for soundchecks. Generally though it’s like a kitchen/laundry room/train carriage rolled into one so we tend to stay out of it when we’re recording. Give ourselves a little break.

Do you think the sounds around you fed into your new musical direction? How?

Liverpool is a relatively peaceful, calm city. That becomes incredibly clear whenever we make trips to London with all it’s chaotic energy and volume. I think the laid back atmosphere, particularly around the Georgian quarter near the city centre where much of this album was conceived and recorded, has had a huge influence on the way the music has been shaped. It encourages the more reflective side of the writing.

Neapolitan / PIAS released Wave Machines’ new album ‘Pollen’ on 21st January 2013 (order it here).

Wave Machine tour dates

31st Jan – BATH, Moles
1st Feb – LIVERPOOL, Kazimier
2nd Feb – GLASGOW, Broadcast
3rd Feb – NEWCASTLE, The Cluny
5th Feb – NOTTINGHAM, The Bodega
6th Feb – LONDON, Scala
7th Feb – SOUTHAMPTON, Joiners