Members: Lawrence Gale Hayes, Louis Greenwood
Current release: Waiting For The World on Silver Bear Recordings
Recommendations: Yu Su – Xiu / Part of the album Yellow River Blue - one of our favourite albums of the last 12 months;
Akala - Natives / Incredibly insightful book from an inspiring artist. It details real life experiences of racism and the class system in the UK.
If you enjoyed this interview with Wayward, visit their bandcamp-, soundcloud-, facebook- and/or Youtube account for further information.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
Lawrence: We started writing and producing music together back in 2013. We’d been running a club night in Leeds, DJing at the events and shared a passion for the same music. It felt like the natural step to start writing together and it clicked straight away.
We are inspired by all the artists we used to book which included Swamp 81 crew, Gilles Peterson, Wookie and loads more. Before that we’d both been in indie and emo bands when we were younger but transitioned into more electronic music sounds at around the age of 15/16 after hearing records like Goldie’s "Inner City Life", Calibre’s "Mr Majestic" and the emergence of dubstep which was such an exciting time.
Going to raves like Transmission at Ally Pally with fake IDs was our first proper insight into club and rave culture and we fell in love with it from then.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
Louis: Emulating other people's work is definitely something we have done/still do to some extent, but early on in our careers the results would usually be more frustrating as we could never really get it to reach the quality of the tracks we were referencing. This really caused a lot of dissatisfaction early on, feeling as though we couldn’t add that final 10-15% of gloss or professionalism that we could hear in the electronic music we loved.
Obviously making a track based on just one other piece of music is pretty uninspired, lazy and immoral. But when we’re working we’re often looking at 10 or more pieces of music and taking inspiration from each. This tapestry of sounds taken from all our different reference points, all seen through our personal lens, is how we hope to create something unique.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Lawrence: Pretty much our main problem at the beginning was using shit samples. We used to have this Vengeance drum sample pack and we used it on every tune. It was the same reverse crashes and boxy sounding snares that just make us cringe when we listen back now. These young producers don’t know how good they have it with stuff like Splice and Noizz. The quality of the samples on those platforms are incredible, it makes it a lot easier to find that sound you can hear in your head.
Buying hardware was definitely a positive moment that allowed us to get out of the box and focus our energy on drum machines and synths that took us away from the computer. Sometimes the Logic grid can grind you down and you can get stuck in the 8 bar loop of doom! Investing in good plug-ins has always helped us creatively and improved our production value plus limiting the amount we use has really helped as well. We’ve found it’s much better to have a small amount of key plug-ins that really work for us and the sound we’re trying to work towards and then every 3-6 months invest in a few more that can help to reignite the creative juices.
What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
Louis: Our first studio was pretty terrible. It was a windowless box, inside a warehouse, which smelt of stale skunk and was at times impossible to record or mix in because our neighbour on one side was a drummer, and on the other side someone blasting trap really loud. It’s quite embarrassing looking back, thinking about the people who came to that studio. We once had a session there with Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud - she was actually really cool even, though I’m sure she is used to much more grandiose studios.
Over the years we have bought a load of hardware. Some of our favourite bits are the DSI Tempest, Elektron Analog Heat and the Moog One but in all honesty the one piece of equipment that has had the biggest effect on our productivity is the new laptops we got recently. It’s such an incredible feeling to make music, throw as much stuff as you want on the channel and never, ever see ‘system overload’ window pop up and crash the project.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
Lawrence: I’ve read some wild stuff stating that robots are gonna make all our music one day using algorithms. The way that music technology is going it could happen but we’d still like to imagine technology as the paints and canvas, that will always rely on the human to control the brush, in order to create something meaningful and relatable.
Technology is essential to create the music we make. Whether that’s writing on Logic, using 3rd party plugins or working on our outboard gear, the interaction between us and the specific technology we like to use enables us to make music that we love. As humans we operate the technology to spark a feeling or atmosphere and then manipulate the technology to perfect it. It’s this interaction that helps form unique ideas and songs. There’s so many possibilities with all the technology we use and that’s what gets us so excited everytime we step into the studio.
Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
Louis: Again I think this really just depends on what happens on the day, or how you’re feeling. Sometimes an artist will lean more heavily on their tools and other times the tools are there to add a little bit of detail. If I’m feeling lazy or uninspired, I’ll throw something into a sampler, randomise things, run it through a load of effect plug in presets and let the technology do the leg work. Obviously there is still authorship in that process because it still requires a number of decisions to be made, but it’s more of an editing process than a proactive process.
Then some days you will spend hours writing melodies, chord progression, perfecting drum patterns and really orchestrating the technology to work in the way you can hear it in your head.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
Collaborating with other artists is something we love doing and it pushes us to work in different genres and takes us out of our comfort zone.
Our approach to collaboration has changed over the years. When we started, especially working with new people, sessions made us feel a bit nervous, and we had a lot of unproductive sessions. I think we slowly built our confidence by working with old friends like Chelou and Sappho who’s chopped up vocals feature on a lot of our album. This felt easy because there was already an established level of comfortability with these people.
Over time we’ve realised that getting to know the people who we’re collaborating with is really important to us as well and helps to create a relaxed and productive song writing environment. What we usually do is sit and talk music for a bit in the studio, or go for a drink before ever writing anything. Another thing that helps is building different ideas for specific artists / projects separately and sharing them with the artist before the session. This gives the artists time to listen without the pressure of being in a session and means the collaboration starts off with a clear identity.