Graham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougall have announced details of their debut album as The WAEVE – check out new single ‘Can I Call You’ below and watch our video interview with the duo above.
The former Blur guitarist turned solo star and former Pipettes member turned Mark Ronson collaborator and singer-songwriter first appeared as a new project in April with the track “Something Pretty,” before playing a debut show in London and appearing in The Great Escape.
They have now revealed full details of their self-titled debut album, produced by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine, Foals) and slated for release in February 2023 via Transgressive Records.
To mark the launch of the album Coxon invited NME at his house to interview The WAEVE, where they spoke to us about their collaborative journey since they started working on the record over a year and a half ago.
When asked if they consider themselves a “supergroup,” Dougall replied, “Don’t you need more than two people to be a supergroup? It’s a very strong line-up!
Coxon agreed: “I’m not sure! These types of groups are formed in a different situation. The way we met was very different. I don’t know if this can be called a supergroup or a super duo!
Coxon and Dougall have opened up about how they first met at a Pipettes gig at the Buffalo Bar in Islington in 2004, sparking a friendship that has led them to where they are now.
“I think I spoke to you briefly after the show and yelled at you to buy me a drink,” Dougall said, turning to Coxon. “I asked for a disgusting drink. I drank a lot of cognac at the time – I don’t know what was happening to me.
Coxon continued: “So I got you a quadruple brandy and coke, I said, ‘Enjoy your night,’ and then I ran away”.
After reuniting at a subsequent Queens Of Noize show, the couple did not see each other again until a mutual friend hosted a benefit show in 2020. Coxon and Dougall were both invited to playing concert social distancing between lockdowns to raise funds for Lebanon after Beirut blast.
After the show, the pair chatted ‘about a dodgy burger and fries in the locker room’ to discuss the idea of a collaboration, before they began emailing music ideas throughout this Christmas. .
“There are a lot of commonalities in our musical influences and tastes,” Dougall explained. “Graham was playing Bert Jansch and John Martyn covers at the gig we did, which is a real foundation of the music I’ve always loved. We realized it was in the bag, but then we started talking about all these other weird things like the Van der Graaf generator and other bits.
Coxon went on to explain how they share “extremely broad and varied musical tastes”, but have sought to fill each other’s “gaps in their musical education”.
“They were probably good spreads for her — a big Van der Graaf Generator and King Crimson spread — and maybe a few other jazzy spreads,” Coxon said. “There were also gaps in mine which are now filled with very tasteful music!”
He continued, “It was an interesting and educational time over Christmas, and I hadn’t had the best years. We had the idea of how we could move forward in life. Are we actually writing music, doing something completely different and out of our comfort zone, or are we just letting go and forgetting about it, in general – life, music and everything else.
Dougall agreed that “it was a really difficult time for everyone”, but that having a project to focus on gave them the impetus to make the most of life and their creative needs. .
“Just making music can be a painful process in itself,” she admitted. “It felt like a really fortuitous kick for both of us to say, ‘Wait, maybe we could both get out of our individual bullshit.’ As soon as you get new energy, there are all these other things that can reveal themselves.
Within two weeks, the duo had the debut of four or five songs and they realized they had “a rich well of music becoming evident”, and decided to continue their work as a project in their own right. .
“I hadn’t really written for 2020, so it was like a capped pit,” Coxon said. “There was a lot of stuff there. It just needed the right circumstances. It was a weird time because there was no one on the streets, time had really slowed down, and it was interesting trying to make sense of ourselves in this situation and after our experiences . Take risks in what we wanted to express.
Inspired by “a shared love of English folk music, storytelling and the associated landscapes of this beleaguered island”, their music quickly blossomed into something of their own, with “cinematic breadth while maintaining an intimacy honest” and “guitars, saxophones AND strings elevate the songs to other stratospheres”.
Dougall explained that they were more interested in “the blood, the guts, the sex and the wickedness of English folk music”.
“I’m not interested in the twee side of folk,” she said. “We are dealing with life and death and all that kind of stuff. There is brutality in nature. Not everything is pastoral. These are the visual things that I feel our music evokes.
She added: “There is a very strong English character to our references, whatever that means. I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be English. It’s a very complicated and uncomfortable relationship that I have with it, more and more, day by day.
“You can separate things from politics and society, but there are certain stories in music culture, stories and landscapes. It forms a cultural identity that can inspire in a very good way. These are things to hold on to when everything else seems really at odds with each other and you feel dissociated from your own place.
- READ MORE: Graham Coxon talks to us about his new sci-fi album ‘Superstate’ and Blur’s next move
Coxon agreed, adding that the England they represent is a much rawer version than might have been encountered in the Britpop era with Blur.
“We were given the opportunity to do something and go somewhere, but go behind the veil of experiencing what it is to be English, to this landscape, to this country; and return to a more superstitious, interesting and wealthy country,” he said.
“I’ve always liked the idea that when you get a witch stone and look at it, you’re supposed to see the world in a different way. You’re supposed to see the world of fairies and elves. That’s definitely one of my long term interests – fire, water and earth elementals, landscape, objects and trees and what they might symbolize.
Despite the folk themes, The WAEVE’s debut album was recorded in a way that gave it a “futuristic flavor, or a bit of a King Crimson of Bowie flavor”, driven by a “progressive attitude” and a “sound identity”. loose and liquid”. ”. Although they wanted to keep the album intimate and personal between the two of them, Coxon and Dougall then took the songs to James Ford to “get some perspective”.
“He just has a very sensitive ear,” Dougall said. “There is a danger that someone could come in, start taking it apart and put their own identity on it.”
Coxon continued, “He understood the malice behind what we do. I like to work with people who are mischievous in a sonic way, who are slightly perverted and who aren’t afraid to make sounds that may seem a little too much. I like to be entertained by music. James really fitted in and understood that way.
Dougall said The WAEVE was his “main focus right now” away from his famed solo career, and also agreed with former Mercury bandmate and contestant Gwenno in downplaying the chances of a reunion with The Pipettes. .
Coxon, meanwhile, has a new autobiography Verse, Chorus, Monster! on the way, and last year released the ‘Superstate’ comic book album, as well as teasing more Blur activity.
After bandmate Damon Albarn claimed the band had been in talks and “had an idea” of how to make a comeback, Coxon said NME“I was aware of this discussion. It started as a discussion, but didn’t really end as one.
With rumors circulating in the tabloids recently that Britpop legends would reunite in 2023 for stadium gigs, Coxon seemed less sure.
“A Blur meeting? I didn’t even tell anyone about it; I don’t know what it’s about,” he said. NME. “I haven’t spoken to any of these boys in a while. Even though I texted Alex [James, bassist] the other day – but he was enjoying [at his festival The Big Feastival]he did not answer me.
The band will also play a gig at London’s Lafayette on March 27, 2023. Visit here for tickets and more information.