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Getting To Know: By The Waves

Your music is described as a uniquely eclectic blend of soul, dream-pop, reggae, rock, and indie. How do you navigate and incorporate such diverse genres into your sound, and how does this contribute to the distinctiveness of By the Waves' musical identity?

We never set out to an X type of band and play Y type of music. We have common interests but there is a lot of freedom for us all to do what feels good and we trust each other in that respect. It's like when you put on a jacket that just feels right, you don't need to ask for the opinion others of how it looks. Ultimately the diversity of our influences are what excites us about creating music and playing the songs.

The band's cinematic quality is mentioned, taking listeners on captivating and relatable journeys with every song. Could you share a specific example of a song and the story or emotion behind it, highlighting the cinematic elements that make it stand out?

Life is often dizzyingly quick and on those rare occasions where you feel like time is working in slow motion and you can see things from outside yourself. "Looking up" was a song that was written during such a time, the verses are observing people on a train moving frantically, cramped up, stressed out, but instead of going into the workplace as every other day, the stop was beside a beach. Like a dream, it's makes no sense because the location exists not in reality, the chorus is very much everybody splashing around in the sea wearing office clothes totally losing it. 

The members of By the Waves bring diverse influences to the table, from Jim Morrison to Otis Redding, Johhny Marr to Robert Smith. How does this wide range of inspirations shape the collaborative songwriting process, and how do you find a common ground to create the cohesive sound that characterizes your music?

Imagine how good it would have been to see Johnny Marr and Otis Redding together in a band? I think each song is a blank canvas and writing is an organic process. As simple as it sounds, and as hard as it is sometimes, we try to give the song what we each think it needs and we keep trying until it either keeps us up all night after practice going over and over in our heads or it fades into obscurity. 

The description of your vocalist Ben Thomas highlights his impressive vocal range and influences. How does Ben's vocal style contribute to the emotional depth of your lyrics, and how do you approach crafting lyrics that resonate with your audience?

Ben usually has the seed of an idea built around lyrics sung over an acoustic guitar that is shared and inspires us to come together and add our feelings and dynamics through the instruments. His lyrics are deep and relatable, but also ambiguous enough for us all to interpret them differently and engage with them on an emotional level. Even in darker songs, there is the element of hope and escape which we all search for in tough times. 

The rhythm section is praised for its metronomic precision and dynamism, drawing inspiration from iconic figures like Ringo Star, Jack Bevan, and Nathan Followhill. Can you elaborate on how Luke Finch and Hristo Gerdzhikov's contributions create the rhythmic foundation for your music, and how their styles complement each other to drive the band's overall sound?

Some of our songs originate from Hristo and Luke jamming out while Ben and James are setting up during practice. As soon as I hear Luke playing a beat it always inspires me to come up with something on the spot and then James comes in showering is with luscious, reverb drenched, beautiful chords. Before we know it Ben is already fitting lyrics on the spot and ties up the whole band and a song is born, it's such an amazing thing to witness.

With lots of upcoming song releases, 2024 is set be an exciting year for the band.The band play in Manchester this week:


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