Jackson Phillips aka Day Wave aka the sweetest person ever and I had a chat before his gig in Montreal in June. We talked about what it’s like to move onto a larger label and creating his full length album The Days We Had. Touring and his fave upcoming artist at the moment!
How was it making a full length album compared to making EP’s ?
I enjoyed making EP’s more just because I did it all by myself. On the album, there was other people in the room while I was working on it so its a bit more of a painful process. I think that just comes with signing to a bigger label and that sort of thing, I’m happy that its done.
Are you going to make other full length albums or do you wanna go back to EP’s?
I don’t think i’ll make anymore EP’s but I think I might approach my future albums a little differently than I did this one.
Was there people watching you?
Well, I recorded originally in a studio and there’s an engineer in there and I still produce everything but having someone kinda lingering in the background… for me it’s just not a good feeling cause it made me second guess my ideas. When I would be doing something I was like ‘oh I wonder if he thinks its weird’, I couldn’t just rely on my gut as much. I think that affects the music, in the future maybe I’ll try to do something different
Is there any songs on the album that was inspired by something in particular?
I mean yeah, I guess they all are. But at this point, sometimes its hard to even know what I was writing about because I wrote some of these songs so long ago, but some of them are about anxiety, things like that.
Can you tell me a story about one song in particular, like a story behind it?
The song Promises, that’s the first song that I think I wrote for the band that was when I started writing music. It was a little different in tone because it wasn’t writing about myself, it was like I was making up a story which is not usually how I’ve written most of the Day Wave songs, but that one happens to be like that. I ended up holding on to it because I liked the song, but its not necessarily a personal song.
And now when you write do you write more for yourself or more for the band?
Normally now its more honest, more of my personal experiences.
Is it intentional that all your songs flow really well together on the album
Yeah, I mean I placed them that way cause I thought that they flowed well into each other but I also think the songs are pretty cohesive, theres nothing that seems out of place or anything.
And when you write do you think about that or it just happens?
I don’t know its weird, when I’m in the midst of making a song I don’t really even think about what I’m doing. I’m just trying to make something that I like and sometimes its hard and sometimes it comes easier. I think because I record all the instruments myself it comes out cohesive because its just me and I do things a certain way.
Is there any upcoming/rising artists that have inspired you?
I like Alex G a lot. I think I discovered his music like 2 years ago and I really like it, it just hits the spot for me, it really does. I like a few bands but his music I can keep listening to. He’s put out a lot of albums, and yeah I really like it. I wouldn’t say that I would try to make music like that or do it in the way he does or emulate it, but definitely when I go on Spotify and try to find something to listen to he’s one of the more recent artists I listen to.
Would you collaborate with him or anyone?
I never really think about collaborating with anyone. I don’t know, I always keep to myself so its weird for me to think… I don’t assume anyone would like my music, I’m sure most people don’t care to collaborate with other people but you know it’d be cool.
Do you listen to your music for fun?
No, I would say I have an easier time listening to my EP’s because I did everything, I mixed it and for me go back and listening to the album is a bit harder for me because I didn’t mix it and there’s things that I’m still kinda like ‘ehh i wouldn’t of done it that way’ but its just being a control freak. So, it’s a little harder to listen to the album but either way I don’t really listen to my music. I’m afraid if I do that I’ll be stuck in one place, whereas I naturally want my sensibilities to change overtime.
How has tour been so far?
It’s been pretty fun! In comparison to the last tour we did which was last year, the shows have been bigger and its cool that everyone knows the lyrics to the albums and the EP’s so its cool to see it growing.
Is there any cities that have been outstanding so far?
Chicago was probably the best one so far, Toronto was pretty good also.
How has it been playing your new material?
I think its good, it flowed into our set pretty nicely. It all feels very cohesive when we play it live. Its fun I’m starting to really like playing the songs.
At the beginning were you more ‘iffy’ about it ?
Yeah, because whenever you play a new song its kinda hard to pull it off. It’s a little bit different from the earlier stuff so we had to approach it differently but it actually helped me approach my older songs in a different way too, so I think the whole thing is bigger and has more energy now.
And for your setlist, I saw you created this page where fans can request what songs they want to hear, do you look at it?
Yeah I have looked at that. Its cool to see which songs people like and it’s interesting to see what they like from the album and from before and I found that it’s a mix. I think a lot of people are discovering the music from the album cause it has a bit more of promotion than the EP’s did and its cool to see that they’re resonating with it and they can also discover the earlier stuff.
The music videos for Something Here and Promises are filmed on film cameras, how did you go for that aesthetic for the videos?
I’ve just been doing that since the beginning and I didn’t want to stray away from it yet. I felt that with the album I didn’t
want to change everything. Like, you go to a bigger label and some of the vibe changes a bit. I didn’t want to like, you know they were kind of pushing me to do things a bit more hi-fi like digital photos and videos and I shut it down. I don’t wanna lose that aesthetic I created around it and so that’s why I kept it that way.
What’s next for Day Wave?
Uh, touring. We’re going on tour with The Shins and there might be other support tours as well. I’m writing another album. I don’t know when that’s going to happen, I don’t like the idea of waiting 2-3 years. Hopefully it won’t be too long, like a year at least cause I already have so many songs I could make an album with, its just a matter of the label. And I get it, but at the same time I think its important to keep people engaged and if you have the music, put it out. I think it also depends if you have an album thats a huge hit then you can tour on that one album for a really long time but being the type of artist that I am, you sort of build your career overtime, there’s no fast track, no radio hit, its just word of mouth, and thats the type of fan I want to have.
Favourite song from your album?
Bring You Down
Best concert you’ve been to?
LCD Soundsystem at Lollapalooza
If any artist could cover one of your songs, what artist and what song?
New Order covering You Are Who You Are