What is your name?
The band name is Space Waves. My name is Sarah, and I started the band with my husband Kelley.
What is your genre of music?
I think psychedelic shoegaze dreampop is the probably the best way to describe it. It can vary a bit from song to song. Some are noisier and others are lighter and slower.
Give us a little bio about you.
I was born and raised in Long Beach, California. I moved to Los Angeles for college, then in my mid-20s lived in San Francisco for a bit, then moved to Portland, Oregon, where I met Kelley. He had lived in Oregon his whole life. We were housemates at first and just friends for a little while, but spent more and more time together, and now we’ve been married for 11 years. We started writing and recording songs together pretty soon after we met, within a year, and have kept it going ever since. We’ve worked with different drummers over the years, and just added a second guitarist and a keyboard player for our live shows. We have just put out our fifth album called Delusion Days. We moved around California and Oregon for a bit, but we’ve been back in Long Beach since 2013.
What made you go in to music?
I think I had a natural inclination towards it and just always loved music a lot. I was in public schools that all had good music programs, so that is where I learned instruments and the basics. I started with flute at age 7, and stayed with that throughout elementary, middle and high school. I also played in an extracurricular steel drum group for 4 years in high school, and dabbled a bit in percussion and choir at music camp. I was in Camp Fire growing up and singing was a pretty big part of the summer camps, and I enjoyed that a lot. I took AP Music Theory my junior year of high school and that was fun. In college I didn’t play music but I ended up DJing at the radio station for two years and I was Music Director for a year. Through that I also interned at a couple record labels, and later formed a band with one of the other interns and my friend from Long Beach, and that is when I started playing bass. When I met Kelley I hadn’t played my bass for about a year and a half, and he got me back into it and also encouraged me to sing, which I had been shy about.
Kelley also had a natural affinity for music, and started taking piano lessons at the age of 4, and was playing electric guitar by age 10. He also played drums in some punk bands in high school, and just kept playing keyboards and guitars into his 20s, which is when we met. He’s also really into gear and recording.
Are you signed?
No, we are definitely DIY. One time our friend’s label released one of our albums on cassette, but that’s about it.
You released your new album ‘Delusion Days’, tell us more about the album.
Yes! It is 8 tracks. When we put together the track listing, it felt to me that the songs were telling a story, in a different way from our previous albums. It wasn’t just about the music but the subject matter as well. The album starts off with some of the noisier songs and gets slower and quieter in the last half. It feels like it could be a journey for the listener, maybe someone’s life journey or the fool’s journey in Tarot.
The painting on the cover was done by our friend on a box that a guitar came in. We really like the sci-fi feeling of it. We had no idea he was making it. I felt like we had to use it for the cover. Our drummer Brandon did the album art layout, the drawing on the back cover and the lettering on the front, the insert for the vinyl, everything besides the painting. We’re still trying to decide how to distribute the album. For now it’s only available on our bandcamp page.
What is the meaning behind the album?
The title Delusion Days is the name of one of the songs. Kelley wrote and named the song, but I thought it would make a good album title so I pushed for that. I mentioned this is our 5th album. Well we’ve never been a political band, but the title track is a bit political, which I think is just a reflection of our times. Music is an expression and largely an emotional one, so I think the fact that there was a need for us to write a song like this, that was so different for us, is a bit telling. It feels like we’re living in some weird times right now. Maybe we’re all under a sort of mass delusion, who knows?
Describe each track in two words.
“Clock Song” – Beginning journey
“What Am I Supposed To Do” – Consciousness expanding
“Driving Around” – Wondering wandering
“Delusion Days” – Political expression
“Landfill” – Trashy times
“Wishes Turned Away” – Unfulfilled Dreams
“Drift Away” – Letting go
“The Score” – Dying peacefully
What was the writing process like?
I wrote 5 of the songs on it and Kelley wrote 3. I initially write my songs by myself using my bass and writing down lyrics as I go. I wrote them a while ago, maybe 3 or 4 years, so I don’t remember exactly what the process for each one was like, as they’re all a little different. Sometimes I’ll write one little part, like a verse, and then later come back to it and write another part. Sometimes it’s all written at once. Once I have the bass and the lyrics down, I’ll play it for Kelley and he’ll work on guitar parts, and then we’ll play it for our drummer who will work on drums. Sometimes we will make adjustments/edits as a group but usually by then they’re mostly all worked out. Then we practice, play them out if we can, and record. Recording can inform the songs as well, as Kelley will layer different guitar parts, and this album has quite a bit of keyboard on it too, which is why we decided we really needed to find a keyboardist and second guitarist to properly play these songs out live. I also added some flute on Clock Song and Landfill. I think Kelley’s writing process is similar to mine, but usually with guitar instead. He’ll get in modes where he’s playing/writing a lot by himself, and then he’ll play the song for me and I’ll work on the bass part, and again we’ll bring in our drummer at some point, or maybe we’ll record a demo first. On this album he wrote Delusion Days, Wishes Turned Away, and The Score, and I wrote the others.
For me it’s crucial to not be pushy about the creative process, just kind of wait and see what I’ll come up with without over-thinking anything or worrying about it. I have the attitude of if I never write a song again, oh well…not a big deal. But I already have another album’s worth of songs to work on.
What was the recording process like?
We recorded this album at home ourselves. Our previous two albums were recorded in studios, but we always recorded demos at home. We actually initially put up what ended up being demos for this album online awhile back. We weren’t necessarily planning another album, but I was working on songs here and there and we were recording for fun. Once we got to 5 songs, and we still had more to record, we were like oh guess we should make another album! So we started over with that in mind. Kelley did all the recording and mixing. It felt more like a return to our roots in that way, since that is how we recorded our first EP and first two albums, except this time we had the added experience of working in studios with Larry Crane. So Kelley was able to return to recording and mixing with more years of experience and we are very happy with it.
Who did you work with on the album?
Adam Gonsalves mastered it and Brandon Werts played drums on it.
Will we see a music video for any of the tracks? Yes! I just put up a video for “Driving Around,” and we are putting one up for “Drift Away” on October 4th. I shot and edited them and I enjoyed the process a lot, and I’m planning on making more.
Do you have any shows coming up?
We are working on it. I mentioned we recently expanded our live line-up and added a keyboard player and second guitar player. Practices have been a lot of fun and we’re excited to start playing out this way. We should have one at the Redwood Bar on Nov. 17th with La Cerca from Arizona and Split Moon, but we’re still waiting final confirmation. 0a1b11a
If so where will you be heading?
We are just focusing on playing out locally right now, most likely mostly in Los Angeles but maybe also Orange County and Long Beach. We’d like to get down to San Diego as well and maybe out to Joshua Tree. We love going up to San Francisco so if we can get up there again we will. We’d like to do a Southwest tour, at least get out to Arizona, but we’ll see.
What else can we expect in 2019?
CDs of Delusion Days, music videos and hopefully some shows. We are planning a vinyl release too but probably not until early 2020. It’ll be our first color vinyl so that’s exciting for us!
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any up coming artists?
No, I don’t think we’ve ever really collaborated too much.
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
Kelley is interested in recording and mixing other bands. He has a lot of experience with that and with live sound work. We are both big dreamers and we like to talk about having a recording studio and/or venue.
Do you play any instruments?
Bass guitar is my main instrument. I will also play some other things on recordings, like flute and steel drum. Kelley plays guitars, keyboards, theremin on recordings, and guitar live. We both sing and I guess that counts as an instrument too! I’ll play drums, guitar, and synths sometimes too.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I play my bass a lot and sometimes I will just come up with something that sticks, or I’ll have a lyric idea that I can set a bass line to. I try to sorta zone out and be stream-of-consciousness about it. I am very patient with song ideas. I don’t always record them right away because I figure if I can’t remember it the next day or the next week, it must not be worth remembering. Usually by the time we put out an album, I’ve already written the next one, but the songs still need to be learned by my bandmates and recorded and everything. So I know it’s a waiting game. I have taken some creative writing classes and I think that has helped. I think of myself more as a failed writer, since for awhile I thought I wanted to write short stories or novels. Songs are a lot easier, plus I get to work with other people on them.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully pretty much where I am now, as I think I have a good balance going. Maybe we’ll have released another album or two by then, and hopefully we’ll have played some rad shows.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I’m usually either at work or at home really!
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more into the music scene?
Well that is tough to say, but one distinct memory I have is when I was in 11th grade and doing some calculus homework and listening to the Beatles in my room, and “I want you (she’s so heavy)” was on, and that song is long and has an instrumental jam at the end, and it really put me in a trance! When it ended I was like “whoa.” It really felt like my mind had completely wandered off for a minute, in a good way. When I play songs with the band it can feel kind of like that.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Once my mom said that a third of people will like you, a third won’t, and a third won’t care. That’s always stuck with me. I think having balance is essential.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
It’s hard to give general advice since everyone’s situation is different, but I think some decent general advice is to try and keep the big, long-term picture in mind as much as possible. You may get frustrated in the short-term, and possibly even react to that, but if you can try and put every experience into perspective, usually there is something good in there. You may have to sacrifice something in order to pursue your art, like for me my social life has probably been the biggest sacrifice, but since I’m more of an introvert anyway, it’s ok. I think of it as a lifelong journey or way of life, and there is always more to learn and it isn’t worth getting frustrated over.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Well I think at heart I’m kind of a jokester. One of our favorite movies is The Big Lebowski and we quote that a lot. It’s hard to pick just one but a good general one is “a lotta ins, a lotta outs…lotta strands in old Duder’s head.”
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
I guess it’s a bit obvious, but I’d have to say the beach. The walkway/bike path on it is pretty nice, but I also love just being by the ocean.
Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first? Go pick up my pets.
2/ Who do you see first? Do my pets count?
3/What do you eat first? Some good takeout since there’s no food at home. Maybe Thai or Italian.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Well aside from all of our usual gear, we started bringing our own mic stands after experiencing far too many that were loose or unstable. We’ve been bringing our own mics for a long time. A setlist. Merch, which I’ve forgotten once or twice before! Water.