Graham Coxon & Rose Elinor Dougall discuss the inspirations behind The WAEVE’s debut LP
The WAEVE, aka the duo of Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and former Pipette (and Baxter Dury and Mark Ronson collaborator) Rose Elinor Dougall, just released their self-titled debut album, and it's not really like any record either has made before. For one thing, Graham's main weapon of choice here is the saxophone -- the first instrument he learned -- and the songs are heavy on rhythm and atmosphere. Rose and Graham are more often than not sharing lead vocals and their very different styles prove to be very complementary to each other. It's a terrific record (read our review) and you can listen to it below.
We asked Graham and Rose to tell us more about the inspirations behind the album, and they each provided a list of five albums, including Talk Talk, Fairport Convention, Broadcast, Gong, Young Marble Giants and more. Read about their picks below.
The WAEVE have UK dates coming up, including a few Rough Trade in-stores this week, and then a tour in March and a few European festival dates this summer. All dates are listed below.
GRAHAM COXON & ROSE ELINOR DOUGALL - INSPIRATIONS BEHIND THE WAEVE'S DEBUT ALBUM
Laughing Stock - Talk Talk
Talk Talk have always been an inspiration, but in late 2020 into early 2021 I listened to this album most mornings — often before Rose arrived to start a session but I did generally -- I love to hear the room in the recordings, the quietness, the sounds off mic. The scraping of a bow on the violin as it’s played very gently. It alleviated a lot the of the anxiety I was feeling at the time about in my life in general and about the potential present and future I saw coming into view in my minds eye right then and there.
Court of The Crimson King - King Crimson
This has always been a massive album for me since I was at school! Mellotrons and Fripp’s guitar really informed me about ideas in a sort of psychedelic space - and how psychologically deep this music could get for me.
Camembert Electrique - Gong
Lots of mischief and rhythmic complication... great guitar playing… amazing drumming and songs about pixies etc… there’s such a lovely humour in this music but also villainy!
The Soul Queen of New Orleans - Irma Thomas
Love the 6/8 type soul music - really influenced “You’re All I Want to Know" on our album. I really enjoy hearing the pre amps in the studio creak under the power of her voice, needles bending deep into the red! Irma Thomas is one of mine and Rose’s favourite, often overlooked, soul singers, there’s a roughness to her voice which is so full and rich and expressive.
Still Life - Van Der Graf Generator
I will always get such a lot from VDGG … the saxophone and the distorted organs take the place of an electric guitar for me -- so I never really noticed the lack of guitar -- which made me think a lot about sound and the jobs certain instruments do within the sonic landscapes of songs. It’s very frantic at times and at others more thoughtful. Peter Hamill goes from choir boy to devil in seconds… The last minute and a half of “La Rossa" is incredibly exciting for me. Guy Evans is the best chap to air drum along with.
Right of Passage - Martin Carthy
I love how Martin puts the third of a chord in the bass! Such a mixture of songs on this record but the “Eggs in Basket" melody is a stand out… and the tragic “Bill Norrie" is on here too!
Tender Buttons - Broadcast
This album has been such a big influence for me. I love everything they ever made, but this is such a singular piece of work. They are the sonic gold standard in my book, and this record distills their sound perfectly, with Trish Keenan’s crystalline vocals, the drums which are so free, roomy and upfront, all of the brilliant textures from the synths... there’s so much confident space in the arrangement. It’s really bold, but beautiful and mysterious. I always find new things in the lyrics, and her melodies always feel like they come from the language of folk melody to me. I was especially thinking about the song "America’s Boy" when we were making "Kill Me Again."
Unhalfbricking - Fairport Convention
It would probably be a big oversight not to mention one of the all time great English folk rock records in this list. I’ll always remember the first time my dad played me "Autopsy" in the car on his cassette player one night on a long drive when i was about 16, and it just totally floored me. Sandy Denny’s vocal performance throughout the album, but on this song in particular is one of the most beautiful bits of singing i know, and the freedom of the arrangement to go into that jazzy groove half way through is so effortless and loose. Also it has one of my funeral songs on it, “Who Know’s Where The Time Goes," which was almost the first song Sandy Denny ever wrote which is almost spookily prescient.
Colossal Youth - Young Marble Giants
This is one of the records I had the pleasure of introducing to Graham. I remember buying it on a whim when i first got to Camberwell Art College in London and playing it in my room in halls and feeling like my life was starting. Its has such a distinctive alienated atmosphere, it makes me think of the bleak romance of the shitty grey towns all over this island.. Its jagged and sparse, and the melodic propulsion of the bass that runs through it is really interesting. I think it might end up suggesting a bit of a flavour for what Graham and I come up with next, maybe…
Signs of Life - Penguin Cafe Orchestra
I grew up listening to Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Some of it can be a bit too jaunty maybe and a lot of their music has been coopted by TV adverts over the years, but they are so worth digging into as a collective. I’m fascinated by the approach of Simon Jeffes to folk music, who was classically trained but wanted to break free from those confines. His string arrangements are what really kill me though, especially ‘Southern Music Jukebox’ and ‘Oscar Tango’. They are so lyrical and really evoke landscape and a certain kind of off kilter, reflective Englishness for me, and taught me a lot when i was thinking about the string arrangements for our album.
THE WAEVE - 2023 TOUR DATES
ROUGH TRADE IN-STORE ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCE + SIGNINGS
04 FEBRUARY 2023 ROUGH TRADE EAST, LONDON
06 FEBRUARY 2023 ROUGH TRADE, BRISTOL
07 FEBRUARY 2023 ROUGH TRADE, NOTTINGHAM
19 MARCH 2023 EXCHANGE, BRISTOL
20 MARCH 2023 BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER
21 MARCH 2023 SAINT LUKE’S, GLASGOW
23 MARCH 2023 BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, LEEDS
24 MARCH 2023 THE. FOUNDRY, SHEFFIELD
25 MARCH 2023 RESCUE ROOMS, NOTTINGHAM
27 MARCH 2023 LAFAYETTE, LONDON
28 MARCH 2023 CHALK, BRIGHTON
30 MAY 2023 PRIMAVERA SOUND, BARCELONA
23 JUNE 2023 THE GRAND SOCIAL, IRELAND
13 JULY 2023 FESTIVAL DES VIEILLES CHARRUES, FRANCE