The WAEVE are drawing out the blood and guts of their influences
The duo brought in James Ford to handle production duties. Dougall had known him previously and had always wanted to work with him someday.
“Having been stuck in a tiny room together for all that time, it was a healthy thing to take it out of that space and have someone else give a little bit of objectivity to it,” she says. “We needed someone that we could trust, who wasn’t going to have a big fat ego that needed to lay its mark on the whole project.”
Coxon engineered most of the album, so when it was presented to Ford it was close to a fully formed production. But that doesn’t mean his influence wasn’t felt. “He knew that we needed to widen it and get some air into the record,” says Coxon. “To replace some of the synths, add in other instruments like the flute, and to record the strings properly with real string players.”
As the music evolved, so did the emotional side of their partnership. “We got to know each other through the music, as naff as that sounds,” says Dougall. “There was a level of intimacy and trust that allowed some risks to be taken, and we managed to create a space where we could exist naturally in the music and as people. That’s a real gift that doesn’t come around very often.”
Across the album, the duo often use references to mythology and folklore as vehicles to express their feelings and stories – to help “cushion the blow of the more confessional stuff,” as Coxon puts it. “The themes of the album just unfolded by themselves, as we got to know each other. I’m not against sentimentality, but it is balanced out with a sort of rawness of emotion. Not quite cruelty, but certainly darker feelings.”
From the shapeshifting first single “Can I Call You” to the strings and saxophone heavy “You’re All I Want To Know” – “a happy ending, of sorts… I guess,” says Coxon – The WAEVE is an erratic and blindsiding listen.
“I like the way it keeps the listener guessing,” Coxon continues. “It’s vague enough at times for people to be inside the music themselves, but we also wanted it to go off into the distance at the end. It’s about as sentimental as we could take it.” “I really respond to music that’s emotionally available,” says Dougall. “I’m only just beginning to get a perspective on what we’ve made.”