Earlier this month Philadelphia experienced for the first-time, in-the-flesh, New Zealand musician Brooke Fraser in her radically new form. The songstress, who has deservedly earned a title as a darling of Christian music and who began as a relatively traditional “singer/songwriter,” only to transform into a powerful princess of indie pop by her third LP (Flags, released in 2010), has most recently reinvented herself as a postmodern and ineffably danceable diva of the electro-pop variety, found on her fourth LP, Brutal Romantic (released last year), and only further supported by a live performance that had her looking fit to share stages with Depeche Mode and Phantogram. However, just as impressive as Brooke Fraser Version 3.0 was the opening set from Dark Waves. Dark Waves in the musical project of Nick Long. The band is a dark and lovely blend of mid ’90s alt rock balladry and the shiny, shimmery moroseness that generally accompanied the ‘80s best kind of new wave balladry.
A little more than a week post-show (and several weeks of incompatible schedules) Nick and I finally got a chance to talk about the early history of Dark Waves, who released their debut EP last fall on Five Seven Music. After telling him that I and many of my friends, being children of the ‘90s, find his sounds really nostalgic and reminiscent of our formative years [My best friend has said that she can’t hear the difference between Dark Waves and Toad the Wet Sprocket.], he tells me that he’s actually had pretty large array of music fans compliment his work: “I played a TV morning show in Seattle and there was a 70-year-old who told me, ‘You’re taking me back to my Leonard Cohen days,’ so that made me feel really good, but we also had a song on The Vampire Diaries a few months ago and so we had these 13 and 14-year-old girls that were really into it, so I’m happy that different kinds of people are into it.” Nick tells me that the music that inspires him is equally as eclectic as his fan base: “I was always really into the blues growing up and then I got really into bands like Jawkbreaker and Fugazi when I was around 10 and I played in punk bands for a lot of my life.”
I ask Nick about the highlights of Dark Waves and he tells me that he’s enjoyed each aspect of the project so far, although admits that it’s been nice to get some time on the road recently: “Obviously being in the studio and being on the road are two totally different experiences. I spent a lot of time writing and in the studio, so then it’s nice to be on the road for a while.” And while last night was the final date of Dark Waves’ tour with Brooke Fraser (which Nick says has been “excellent,” in addition to characterizing Brooke as, “A sweetheart”) at Triple Rock in Minneapolis, Nick assures me that Dark Waves has a lot planned for the immediate future: “We’re gonna keep touring and I have a bunch of music recorded. The full-length is coming out this summer.”