Finding inspiration at every turn in their home city, Glasgow band The Cherry Wave deserve wider recognition, argues Stuart Lewis
“Gazing at shoes to make music to gaze at shoes to.”
You have to admire a band that has such a clear goal in the music they make. Often, individual members will bounce ideas off each before formulating a coherent sound; on other occasions a central driving force feeds off the people around them and build from there.
Not so for The Cherry Wave.
“For the last few years I’ve wanted to put together a band that sounds like this and the other projects I’ve been involved have had to suffer me trying to push these sorts of sounds onto them” says singer/guitarist Paul. “So I decided it would probably be best if I started a band that was along the lines of what I wanted to hear myself.”
In some ways it’s refreshing to have a frontman admit that, yes, they are the driving force behind their band’s sound, circumventing the waffle that surrounds certain bandleaders (hi Billy Corgan!) and spurious claims that they run a wholly democratic ship.
Paul is nothing like the Smashing Pumpkins’ Voldemort, though. Drummer Adam was picked up via an ad on Gumtree and Billy, a figure from previous outfits was asked to join on bass.
“The EP (a self-released, self-titled five-track freebie) was just songs I wrote at home, then I’d take it to Adam and Billy at rehearsal” he continues. “Those songs were just the three of us building on the idea I had at home and making it into a proper song.”
Now a four-piece (a David has now been added guitar), Paul is pretty clear that The Cherry Wave is not just ‘his’ band. “With the new songs we’re working on for the next EP, the ideas are coming from everyone and we’re constantly writing and sending each other ideas, then we get in a room and play the various ideas everyone’s had.”
He’s similarly candid on influences – Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain get a mention alongside more contemporary noise merchants Ringo Deathstarr – and musical ability, as Paul gets onto the songwriting process. “When I’m writing I just sit down in front of a row of effect pedals, switch the reverb on, then try and find a chord. Not an actual chord, because I don’t know any. If I like the sound of a short chord progression I like then put an avalanche of fuzz on it to cover up my complete lack of talent.”
Talent or not, The Cherry Wave have crafted five songs awash with melody and reverb – in thrall to their idols perhaps, but there’s a distinct Scottishness to the sounds that is no mere facsimile of anyone in particular.
“I’m inspired to write a lot of the time by my surroundings, the weird amber glow of the streetlights in Glasgow at night, the shimmering red brick tenements, the River Clyde, The Shipyards, Kelvingrove Park as it is right now, awash with pink and golden leaves in Autumn, I find Glasgow an inspiring city to write about,” says Paul.
With only a handful of gigs under their belt, the future already looks promising for the band. Glasgow micro-label Good Grief have given ‘The Cherry Wave’ a strictly limited tape release and a new EP is set to be recorded before Christmas.
While the band may claim be gazing at their shoes at the moment, we reckon it won’t be for too long.