By Helen Grant
Water Graves has managed to capture my attention with only two publicly released songs to their name. On Triple J’s Unearthed page their sound is neatly summed up into a few key elements: “Water Graves combines electronic production techniques; lo-fi textures and watery synth tones, together with dreamy vocal harmonies.”
What else would I add to these descriptors?
I think “Creatures” sounds like someone grabbed a didgeridoo and started playing it underwater but in a very synthy and soothing way. Think Animal Collective’s “Lion in a Coma” but way more ambient and chill, yet still pleasantly distorted. And I like the way that baseline moves throughout the song. The whole track conjures images of light bouncing around blue green water under sunlit waves. I might be addicted to it.
“Iridescent” reminds me of a darker version of Washed Out, possibly channeling some Bradford Cox, while the keyboard, as paired with dreamy vocals, keeps the ambiance shimmery. While elsewhere in the song, the baseline reminds me of some 70s funk, strangely enough.
So what does one do when hooked? Turn to the creators and ask a bunch of questions. Water Graves is a duo that is one part Coel Healy (Keys, Loops, Guitar) and one part Blake Hart (Vox, Guitar). They’re from Perth, Australia.
okc.net: I did some reading via Triple J that you share similarities akin to Deerhunter, Young Magic, and Washed Out. For Deerhunter and Washed Out, I can kind of hear it. I am very familiar with Bradford Cox’s and Ernest Green’s output. Young Magic, I would have to research. If that is not accurate, then tell me more about your influences and we’ll go from there. I’m also curious if the EP you’re working on sounds more like “Creatures” or your other song “Iridescent”? How exactly did you two come together on this project? How long have you all been making music and have you performed live?
Coel Healy: We both listen to heaps of music, I listen to lots of old Soul and Funk which has made somewhat of an impact on our sound. The project began with our mutual appreciation for more lo-fi sounds, but we particularly liked the balance that Washed Out achieved between lo-fi music and really chilled out pop. I think he has been our biggest influence so far. Blake is into a lot of psych rock stuff, which is still going quite strong in the local scene here in Perth. However, I have started to appreciate a lot more electronic music lately.
“Creatures” and “Iridescent” were both written over a year ago and were the first songs we worked on when we started this project. The EP contains both these tracks and two others that have a slightly more developed sound. Additionally we have a bonus remix CD planned that’ll contain remixes from a range of different electronic artists.
Water Graves has existed in its current form since February last year. Originally it started out as an electronic project that I was working on, but after showing some of the stuff I had made to Blake, he was keen to be involved.
We had our debut live performance on March 7th at a smallish bar here in Perth which sold out. We’re also supporting XXYYXX when he plays here at the end of the month.
okc.net: Bonus round time.
1. Do you have favorite artists (besides musicians, think poets, writers, painters, comic strip artists, etc.) that inspire you to create?
2. What are you listening to these days?
3. Most important goals for 2013?
1. Outside of Water Graves I’m also a filmmaker, I have a degree in film. I very much think visually even when it comes to music. I like to picture the sort of imagery that the song would be a soundtrack to even in the early stages. Miyazaki is someone who comes to mind, I’ve seen all those films and I think they really inspired me as a creative person.
Blake is first and for-most a musician, I can’t really speak for him to specifically, but the local music scene here was something that really inspired both of us to get involved with music. Seeing other bands such as Tame Impala take off really inspired a lot of people around here. There are so many good bands in Perth that are unknown but feed creatively off each other, it’s like nowhere else in the world.
2. Electric Sea Spider and anything on the This Thing label, it’s seriously next level. There’s this band in Perth at the moment who I’m really loving, Seer Wave, their music is amazingly good vibes.
3. To release the EP!
okc.net: Funny you mention Miyazaki, I love “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” and “Princess Mononoke.” “Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” and “Ponyo” also fall into that list of favorites. Do you have a favorite scene out of any of his movies?
Coel Healy: Nausicaä is my favourite. It’s hard to pick a favourite scene. But in general I like the overall theme of human impact on the environment.