Ahead of Pale Waves' upcoming maiden voyage to Australia and New Zealand this July for a special run of one-off intimate shows, Coup De Main caught up with frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie to discuss the band's upcoming debut album, working with her best friends, and friendship tattoos...
...there's nothing quite as exciting as when you and another person know that you're going to get together, but you don't know who's going to make the first move.
COUP DE MAIN: You're coming to New Zealand! And Australia! Are you excited to visit us this July?
PALE WAVES - HEATHER BARON-GRACIE: I am! I am really excited. I've never been before, and I've heard great things. Apparently it's really beautiful, and I'm very excited to see what the show is going to be like.
CDM: Will this be everyone in Pale Waves' first time in Australia or NZ?
HEATHER: I'm pretty sure it is, yeah!
CDM: Is there anything you'd like to do while you're here?
HEATHER: Well the rest of the Pale Waves members might do, but I know that I'm scheduled in for a lot of press, so I probably won't end up seeing that much, but I'm sure the rest of the guys will go off and do the standard tourist thing.
CDM: You're taking one for the team.
HEATHER: I am. You've got to, haven't you? Someone's got to do it.
CDM: When I last saw you in New York last year, we talked about the changes you'd made to the lyrics of 'Heavenly' with "this night is electric, and you're being pathetic." Why did you change it back to "this night is electric, and I won't forget it"?
HEATHER: When we first wrote that song, all the fans fell in love with how it was. And then I just became the typical songwriter and looked at all the flaws of it, and then I freaked out and wanted to strip it back and dissect it and change it all, when really that was the wrong thing to do. I should have just kept it how it was and not freaked out, and just listened to how much that song meant to the fans. So I changed it back because I realised I was being stupid.
CDM: Did you record new vocals for 'There's A Honey'? Fans seem to think that there's a new version of the song on Spotify now with rawer-sounding vocals.
HEATHER: Yeah, we did actually. We re-recorded pretty much everything again. We made that decision to re-record them again because the plan is to maybe have 'There's A Honey' and 'Television Romance' on the album, and we want those songs to sound like they've been recorded at the same time as the rest of the tracks on there. We didn't want them, really, sort of jumping out to people. So we wanted everything to feel like it had been done in the same time.
CDM: Will the rest of the album include new songs that you haven't released yet?
HEATHER: I think we're definitely going to put 'There's A Honey' and 'Television Romance' on, and the rest, we pretty much want to be new songs. I hate it when a band hypes up their album, and then they give it to you and it's like, 'Oh thanks, I've heard, like, ten of these tracks already.' So we don't want to be one of those bands, we want to give all the new music that we can.
CDM: How's work on your album going?
HEATHER: It's going amazing, actually. Today was the first day that I actually looked at it and thought, 'Oh my god it's actually coming together, I can sort of, not stress out as much as I have been.' But yeah, it's going great.
CDM: Are you still aiming for an August release?
HEATHER: Yup, that's the plan. I feel like, we have to release it around that time, and I've told everyone that it's out in August, so everyone will literally hate me on the Internet if I say, 'Oh it's not coming out in August anymore.'
CDM: When will we get to hear the studio version of 'Noises'?
HEATHER: It's definitely going on the album. We might maybe release it before the album, we haven't decided yet, but it's definitely on there and it sounds amazing.
CDM: Do you have a favourite song on the album yet?
HEATHER: I'm going to look at the album track-list, one sec, let me get it up in my notes... we're just putting so many new ones on, that I have to sort of remind myself what those new songs are. I really love a song called 'Came In Close', no-one's heard that. And obviously, 'Noises' is definitely up there, but everyone's sort of heard that off YouTube.
CDM: Well it must be good, if Ciara has gotten a tattoo. I feel like that's a high recommendation.
HEATHER: <laughs> Well Ciara is just a badass, isn't she? I was like, 'Are you sure you want to get these lyrics tattooed on you?' And she was like, '100%.'
CDM: You've been playing a few new songs live, do you have a favourite to play live of those?
HEATHER: I really love playing 'She' live. And even though that's a really sad song, there's just something about it that--
CDM: That is a really, really sad song.
HEATHER: Ha! Yup, I love the sad songs. I love the dark emo songs that sort of rip your heart into a billion pieces. But there's something about playing that song live, like all of our biggest fans really connect with it, and they shout the lyrics at me, and it makes me feel like everything's okay.
CDM: You're very, very honest in the lyrics of 'She'. Was that song therapeutic to write?
HEATHER: It was. It was sort of, you know when you talk about things and you feel like you've finally got over them? I guess that was what it was for 'She', when I wrote that song, and then we started playing it live, it just made me feel better about the whole situation. And I think a lot of people go through similar situations to the subject of 'She', and I'm glad that that song can be there for them now. And the studio version just sounds even more emo!
CDM: In 'Kiss' you say, "Just kiss me hard like you did at the start, kiss me hard just like I'm breaking your heart." Do you think it's impossible or possible to get a relationship back to that exciting first kiss feeling once you have familiarity with your partner?
HEATHER: That's a very good question. I think it's very hard to, because there's nothing quite as exciting as when you and another person know that you're going to get together, but you don't know who's going to make the first move. And you haven't kissed them yet, or been with them in any way. And that's such an exciting time for anyone. And then, like you said, you do become familiar with it, but I feel like nothing will ever be like that first moment, but it will come close to it if it's the right person.
CDM: On May 2nd you tweeted, "Does she sit with you in the rain?" Are these lyrics from your upcoming album?
HEATHER: That's a song that might possibly go on the album. We're aiming for it to go on the album. It's actually a really cool track, it's kind of really R&B-inspired, like people just won't expect it to be Pale Waves at all, and that's what I love.
CDM: But that's the thing about you guys. You haven't released an album yet, so everyone is still yet to learn what Pale Waves is capable of.
HEATHER: Exactly! 100%. I feel like people are going to be quite shocked by the album, and I love making people shocked and making them step back and re-analyse their perceptions, so I can't wait to make this album exist in the world.
CDM: What's it like working with Ciara as a producer?
HEATHER: Ciara's great! Ciara is my best friend and she's one of the most important people in my life, like she's up there with my mum. So, writing music with Ciara is great. We do argue, now and again, but we always end up making things that we're really proud of. And I feel like as writers, she really inspires me, and I inspire her. And we bring out the best in each other. So working with Ciara is great, and anyone who's lucky enough to work with her in the future, maybe, because I think she might go into that, they will be just as lucky as me.
CDM: You and Ciara getting tattoos of each other's names is the most #friendshipgoals thing to happen, ever. But when are Charles and Hugo getting their tattoos of each other's names?
HEATHER: <laughs> Well, I think we might have to wait a while for that. Maybe they'll get it done on like, their arses or something, but I don't feel like they'd get it done on their arms at all. It takes a lot to get someone's name tattooed on your arm, and I just don't think they're at that stage yet.
CDM: So Charles and Hugo aren't quite as close as you and Ciara?
HEATHER: No, no way near. Me and Ciara we've been friends for four-and-a-half years, we hardly ever spend a day apart, we're so close. But don't get me wrong. All of us in Pale Waves are really close, and they're all my best friends, and like my brothers and sisters, but mine and Ciara's friendship is just on a next level.
CDM: That's so heartwarming to hear, because sometimes you meet bands and you can just tell that they hate each other.
HEATHER: Yeah! I hate that. I think it ruins the music. I just don't get that.
CDM: You can tell.
HEATHER: Yeah, you can really tell. With us, we just have a laugh all the time.
CDM: Do you have a favourite Pale Waves music video so far?
HEATHER: Yes, it's got to be 'Heavenly', and then 'My Obsession'.
CDM: And if you could give your eighteen-year-old self some advice, what would you want to tell her?
HEATHER: I would tell her to just go for it. When I was eighteen, I was a bit reserved in what I was doing and what I was thinking, but I would just tell her, 'Don't think about everything too much, and do what you want to do, and don't feel bad about it.'
Pale Waves are coming to New Zealand and Australia in July 2018 for their very first shows in our continent - click here for more information on these special one-off dates.
Watch the 'Kiss' music video below...