Wave Racer is an artist I’m truly stoked on. His productions – whether remix or original – simply make me smile. Wave Racer’s tunes put me in a better mood than 90% of the music out there. Wavey, as some people call him (though his real name is Tom Purcell), made splashes (the puns are way too easy) a couple years ago when he signed to the thriving Future Classic label out of Sydney, Australia. The whole Future Bass movement is hard to define, but a crazy good place to spend some time listening to music. Future Bass isn’t quite Dubstep, it’s not quite Trap, and it usually doesn’t get into House beats… but it certainly borrows from all of that. Thing is, Wave Racer’s music doesn’t sound like any other producer’s music and that’s what makes him so great.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Wave Racer ahead of his North American tour which starts on September 4th at Electric Zoo, and the impending release of his debut EP called Flash Drive, due out on October 16th (the tour is of the same name). We gained some insight on the new EP, what we can expect from live Wave Racer shows, and a hint at why we see dolphins in relation to the Aussie artist.
After you read the interview, enter our contest to win a pair of tickets to Wave Racer’s show in San Francisco at Rickshaw Stop on September 10th!
MyMusicIsBetterThanYours.com (MMIBTY): On a personal level your music makes me so happy and it’s something I put on when I need an emotional boost (something I’ve tweeted about before on @mmibty). What makes you happy, where do you get the inspiration to make these tunes? It’s got to partially be from living in the beautiful country of Australia…
Wave Racer (WR): Thanks very much! There are lots of things that make me happy, like my cats, and good food and playing video games and making music with my friends, but those aren’t always necessarily the things that directly inspire me. Sometimes inspiration comes from fascination or bewilderment, like trying to figure out how something great has been done by someone else, sometimes even frustration which leads to creativity can be inspiring. I’m often inspired by trying to discover how something has been made and trying to make it for myself from scratch. It’s fun for me to figure out how things work musically and sonically, and then channel that into something creative. And yeah, I think living in Australia is definitely a part of it. It really is a beautiful place and I’m always surrounded by amazing creative people here.
MMIBTY: Talk to me about the Future Classic family. There is so much good music coming from Australia, how do you feed off each other while managing to stay unique to your own sound?
WR: I can only speak for myself, but I think it comes down to respecting everybody’s music for what it is, and not trying to change that. There is so much music being made in Australia and it’s all so varied and unique, and that’s because nobody is trying to copy each other or mimic a specific style. I think we take pride in doing what we want to do, which in itself is inspiring. The freedom to build something of your own from scratch and be proud of it. We’re not pressured into being part of a clique or a movement or whatever. Personally, I find inspiration in all kinds of music and art, and being with Future Classic allows me to be pretty adventurous with what I create, as you’ll hopefully hear when my EP comes out, but at the end of the day it’s just about appreciating the work of your peers and being open-minded when it comes to taste and influence.
MMIBTY: Your debut EP drops on October 16. It’s been over a year since we heard new music from you and Wave Racer fans have definitely been anxious for that new new. Tell us about the “Flash Drive” EP – how long has it been in the works and what can we expect?
WR: It has been in the works for quite some time – I think I started to properly work on it about midway through 2014. I’m really excited that it’s finally finished and ready to come out now. Basically what I’m trying to do with this EP is showcase what I’m about musically. This is the first time I’ve released a cohesive package of music like this, and it’s going to give people a deeper understanding of what I’m trying to do as an artist. Each song on the EP was conceived at a different time, in a different place, with different people. I worked in many different settings while traveling, which I’m usually not very good at doing, but I think it helped to me give me some perspective. I would often leave an idea for months and then come back to it later with fresh ideas and sounds. It’s like an amalgamation of different influences and ideas that came from all around the world, which I pieced together into a structured, cohesive piece of work over time. Having the opportunity to work collaboratively was a new and exciting experience for me as well. It’s a pretty diverse EP, but stylistically it all comes together and makes sense. I’m actually very proud of it and I can’t wait for everyone to hear these new songs.
MMIBTY: The Flash Drive tour description tells us we can expect new visuals and unreleased music during your live dates. You’re playing both festivals and standalone headlining gigs. Will your sets vary depending on the size and scope of your audiences? Will an intimate venue be approached any differently than a festival spot?
WR: I tend to approach all kinds of shows in the same way. I always have a set planned out that I have practiced and I know what I’m going to play beforehand. For me thats the best way to make sure the music is heard the way it should be and allows me to plan cool creative transitions/mixes in advance which greatly helps the flow of the set and the experience as a whole. I usually make adjustments if I know I’ll be playing at a huge festival in front of thousands of people, to make sure there is the right amount of energy and suspense for that setting. But now that I’ve got more original music completed, I’m trying to incorporate as much of my own production into my sets as I can so I can make that the focus of the show.
MMIBTY: Do you have a preference on the type of crowd you’re playing to or what type of setting you’re DJing at? I saw you at Hard Summer 2014 and you were easily a highlight… I’m curious if you go out there with something to prove at a festival vs. when you know people have paid money specifically to see you in a club.
WR: Having the right setting when playing a show is quite important, but I wouldn’t say that I have a preference. Playing at massive festivals is always a thrill because you get to play to bigger crowds, and there are always people who have never heard of you before. I like it when people discover me at festivals because it means my music has stood out to them in that setting, which isn’t always easy. I don’t necessarily feel like I have something to prove at a festival, I just do my thing and let people make up their own minds.
MMIBTY: What significance do dolphins play in your life?
WR: They have no real specific significance in my life apart from the fact that I love how intelligent and majestic they are. I love all animals but dolphins are particularly cool because of how unattainable and independent they seem to be.
MMIBTY: I love hearing about musical role models past and present. Who were some of your inspirations growing up and who is someone you really admire in 2015?
WR: Growing up I was really into rock music. I only discovered electronic music when I was about 17. I used to listen to bands like Muse, The Mars Volta, Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers and loads of stuff like that. I played guitar and was in several bands throughout high school. Most of my music theory knowledge comes from being a guitarist. I have an imaginary guitar fretboard in my head that I use when I’m envisioning chord structures and stuff like that. I still use that knowledge every day. When I first got into electronic music though, I was mainly into French electro. Pretty much anything on Ed Banger Records. That is what sparked my interest in electronic music production. Someone I really admire in 2015 is Kevin Parker from Tame Impala. He’s on a whole other level when it comes to producing music. He’s one of those guys who is so infuriatingly good at what he does that it encourages me to be better at what I do, haha.
MMIBTY: I feel like your career is really starting to take off. We all have champagne dreams… what are a few of your ultimate goals in the near and not-so-near future?
WR: I’ve got plenty! I would love to play at Coachella. I would love to co-write or co-produce a really awesome hit pop song. I would love to have a song in a Hollywood movie. All of those things would be dreams come true.
Huge thanks to Wave Racer and Yash at Biz3 for taking the time to do this. Looking forward to the San Francisco show!