Monday, 9 February 2015

in the mind of / pale seas

They say all good things must come to an end - those people also had very good self control - so what better way to see the end of what has been a very insightful and fortunate project, than to have the pleasure of talking to the four-piece delight that is Pale Seas.  

Not so long ago, they were old pals trying to find their way once University had eaten them up and spat them back up again. But now, with an a hauntingly beautiful EP and a set of cinematically dramatic and aesthetically pleasing music videos under their belt, whilst in the midst of more exciting projects - very mysteriously kept under wraps, I tried guys, but they're very tight lipped - lead singer Jacob took some time out from creating more wonderfully ethereal melodies to chat all things musical.

You're all pretty young, have you found that age plays a significant role in the music industry? 

I’d be interested to know how old people think we are, we are all approaching our mid-twenties but are just very baby faced I think!

In my opinion, the relevance of age completely depends on the type of music being made and the core demographic that labels envisage the act being marketed towards. For example, I don’t think in most cases that a new artist in their forties or fifties would necessarily be pushed towards a teenage demographic. But I also don’t think that it is possible to speak of the industry as a whole, as this would cover a wide range of areas and labels that are completely different both in terms of financial clout and outlook.

I do however believe that artists go through cycles of relevance, and their own life experiences will mould their productivity. A lot of people make their best music in their teens or twenties before losing importance, whereas others mature and grow into their art.

Overall, I think experience in knowing how to deal with the industry takes precedence over age. We were completely new to the all of this when we started out in Pale Seas, which led to many mistakes being made, so I think a plan of how to get your music out there in the right way is the most important thing.

You gained quite a following online, which was followed by snippets of new music from yourself, did you feel there was a lot of pressure for you artistically to churn out an album as soon as possible, to keep the buzz alive from fans? 

I think when we first started out we got a bit of buzz, and this created imagined pressures internally, not just with writing. We wanted to keep the momentum going, which meant that we chose to ignore a number of bad situations that were starting to form around us. I broke up with my ex-girlfriend Zealah, and to keep up the hype, she was still playing on drums for a year and a half afterwards! This caused a lot of arguments that we can look back and laugh about now, but at the time 8 hour practices would actually last about 2 because we were quarrelling over ginger beer or something equally as ridiculous. We were basically like Fleetwood Mac, but without the fame or success, which is not ideal for a new band haha. These problems will eventually catch up with you, and they have done, but now everything seems to be falling into place again.

After you have had setbacks like the above example, you really start to care less and less about hype – it really doesn’t matter so long as you are happy with your art. The main thing is to write music that you are proud of, be harmonious with other band members and really value the people who want to listen to what you’ve created when you release it.

Can you remember the first song you ever wrote, and be so kind as to give us a sneak peak? 

So Graham (guitar), Matt (bass) and I were in a band called Moda Disordini when we were about 16 or 17, which means fashion riots in Italian or something, which we thought was really cutting edge… I won’t add a link because it’s a musical nightmare, but I think some of our shame remains online if people wanted to find it. We usually used to practice for an hour and then pile in to Matt’s Rover Metro before throwing pasta salad at country road signs. But that’s when Graham and I started writing together, and we struck up a really good relationship. The first song we wrote was called ‘The Siren’ and it was an ode to J. D. Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye, which sounds far more intelligent than it actually was haha.

What's been your most memorable moment since you started out in music? 

We supported the Lemonheads, which was really surreal because Evan Dando is a big influence of mine. It was cool to meet him, but he wasn’t very talkative. We have also done some writing work with Bernard Butler, who is another of my all-time heroes. I think these experiences stand out, along with tours and festivals – we love playing live and can’t wait to get back on the road this year.

Have you got anything lined up for fans to indulge in that you can spill the beans on? 

I’d like to, but giving away too much has come back to haunt us in the past, so people will just have to keep their eye out for announcements that we hope to make soon (plus being mysterious is quite fun)…

What's been your most challenging moment as a musician? 

I’ve helped to direct a lot of the videos as well as writing the music, which led to me trying to find a Volvo estate car within the space of 3 days. I eventually stumbled upon this Dorset Volvo enthusiasts group (yes this exists) and the kindest man alive drove 40 miles at 2am to meet us for the shoot, which eventually became the video for ‘Evil is Always one Step Behind’. Videos are a real challenge compared to writing music!

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