Day Wave:  "I can make the stuff I want to"

Neu Day Wave: “I can make the stuff I want to”

California soaks through Jackson Phillips’ music like a big wave. But you wouldn’t guess it, judging by his background.

“Round two!” enthuses Jackson Phillips ahead of his imminent return to the UK. The Oakland, CA-based brains behind Day Wave is itching to bring his bittersweet, sun-soaked indie pop across the pond once again. Just in time for summer as well – not that he sees it like that. “It’s interesting,” he says, “because so many people [say] ‘This song is getting us ready for summer’ or ‘It’s making us miss summer’, but I don’t think about that at all.” As he quite rightly recognises, though, “there’s a laid back vibe to it.”

But just where does that vibe stem from? As Jackson admits, nothing he was listening to growing up was “too similar” to what he’s creating now. “I was really into Brian Eno,” he reminisces, “and I loved more modern stuff too, like Interpol and The Strokes and The Shins. And I loved Pink Floyd – I was obsessed.” It seems fair to suppose that his surroundings have been most influential. His irresistibly mellow sound is, after all, inherently Californian, even if he’s not necessarily conscious of that. “For me,” he laughs, “more than a California thing, that just seems like something I tend to lean towards. In all the music that I’ve made, it always tends to be a little laid back.” Correction: very laid back.

"In all the music that I’ve made, it always tends to be a little laid back.”

— Jackson Phillips

In some ways, Jackson just might be more Californian than most, having experienced life in both the north and south of the Golden State. He’s keen to point out one key disparity that exists between the two. “When I had the idea for Day Wave, I was living in LA, and I didn’t like [how] it was just very easy to become influenced by other bands out there,” he explains, “and I wanted to be in a place where I wasn’t influenced by other people so I was like, ‘I’m going to move back up to the Bay Area [near San Francisco]’ because there’s not really much of an entertainment industry, scene or anything there – I can keep to myself and I can make the stuff I want to."

“It worked out really well,” he says, “‘cause I was able to just focus better and I think when there’s a bigger music scene, it can make you a little more anxious about it.” If there’s any anxiety to be found where Jackson is concerned now, it’s only going to be contained within his quite often melancholic lyrics which, crucially, are never fictional. “Before, I was writing more impersonal stuff,” he recounts. “[But] I didn’t really connect with it; it didn’t really hit the spot.”

“It’s still crazy to me that people are listening to the music in all these different places,” he admits. Indeed, word has spread fast and wide since he started the project in late 2014 – his first ever headline show was all the way out in New York because that’s where “most of the engagement was happening”. It’s just indicative of the strength of the spell he’s casting, though, and heaven knows we could all do with a bit of Day Wave magic in our lives.

Day Wave plays DIY’s stage at The Great Escape (19th - 21st May). Head here for more details.

Tags: Day Wave, Features, Interviews, Neu

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