West Midlands scene, although sadly overlooked in the mainstream press, has a long and proud musical heritage. From Duran Duran and Black Sabbath to the ever popular grime scene, Birmingham and the neighbouring cities are producing high quality musical talents at an amazing speed. And slowly things are beginning to change. The new influx of bands such as The Cosmics, MeMe Detroit, Table Scraps, Cherry Pickles, The Novus, The Pagans S.O.H or The Clause are changing the popular perception that only London and Manchester are the music hot-spots to go to. The Second City’s DIY scene has never been stronger and it is ready to take on the world. Indieterria spoke to Sebastian Baldwin, the drummer of the newest star of the scene, the Ivory Wave, about Madlands, plans and an incoming tour.
George Johnson (vocals)
Luke Morris (bassist)
Connor McMinn (guitar, vocals)
Rob Clarke (keyboard, vocals)
Seb Baldwin (drums, vocals)
Official Bio: Birmingham band Ivory Wave have released their new single ‘Gold’. The band have landed support slots with DMA’S, The Twang and Superfood to name a few as well as playing festivals such as Isle of Wight, Truck and Shiiine On. Their growing army of fans are now packing out venues up and down the U.K. “Gold” is an infectious swagger drenched banger that relentlessly surges hyped up energetic tones into your ears. With a punchy bassline creating a funk flavoured strutting foundation, this track is fun vibrant and full of youthful adrenaline. Slick guitars glide and jingle between snappy drums, while flickering speckles of scintillation through swirling soundscapes. With attitude smothered vocals and pure unadulterated raw energy this swanky groove infested track is an instant shot of vitality and is sure to have you dancing and bopping carelessly.
About the track front-man George Johnson said: “Gold is about realizing your full potential, grabbing it with both hands and running with it.“
Ivory Wave is a very poetic name. The story goes it was used in a conversation you once overheard in a pub and thought it would make a great name for a band. Is this true?
Seb Baldwin: (laughing) That’s exactly the case! Our singer George and bassist Luke were sat in a pub discussing potential names and caught the name from a nearby conversation!
You are based in Birmingham and according to your bio, you formed at the beginning of 2016. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria and tell us more about your beginnings. How did you meet?
Seb Baldwin: Ivory Wave is made up of singer George Johnson, bassist Luke Morris, guitarist Connor McMinn, Rob Clarke on keys and of course me. We’d all played in different bands before and ended up forming through mutual friends and connections. We wrote the first few songs and it all just clicked.
We listen to hundreds of bands per year but we can safely say that nobody plays like you do. You remind us of the golden days of The Hacienda, Mancunian rock mixed with rave beats, but with a contemporary twist. Ivory Wave is not just a nostalgia play, but something brand new. It is fresh and exciting. What do you think?
Seb Baldwin: It is the same with us! We all listen to such a wide and varied mixture of music and styles that it’s hard to pin point specific influences down. We’ve all listened to most of what came out of Manchester scene so there are undoubtedly nods to that sound. But we have never laboured to create something that replicates a specific sound but rather focused on writing something that feels real and genuine to us.
You have been compared (but of course!) to every Madchester legend there is, from 808 State, Stone Roses, The Charlatans, New Order and Inspiral Carpets to Happy Mondays and even The Beautiful South. But you come from Birmingham! How did that happen that a Brummie quintet started playing Manchester inspired music in the middle of West Midlands?
Seb Baldwin: I think it is because we listened to all those bands growing up and although we have never consciously tried to write anything that sounds like them, those sounds have crept into the music we produce.
BBC Introducing in West Midlands described Ivory Wave as a “perfect combination of rave, acid hip hop and classic rock a la Duran Duran”. This is the first description of that sort we ever heard! Who inspires you to write?
Seb Baldwin: We are inspired by such a wide range of different artists, it wouldn’t feel fair to name few individuals. The key to our sound has always been the range of different genres that our music tastes cover. From hip-hop to rock, from pop right across the spectrum to grime, we all indulge in a wide enough range that when it comes to writing our own music, we all bring different dynamics and angles to what we put out.
The band is known to keep to “no label, no management, no agent” rule. Although you are not the only ones in the business to do so (Jordan Allen, Strange Bones or The Clause also decided to follow that path) it means doing everything yourselves. Does day to day managing of the band affairs have an impact on the creative process?
Seb Baldwin: Most definitely. To take the time to manage the bands social media, book shows, engage and organise meetings with a people across a range of parts of the industry to name a few things, all while we are working full time obviously takes a decent wedge of time away from creating music and playing.
You are credited with creating the “Madlands” musical movement. Who else, besides you is in the league and what bands should we all be looking out for?
Seb Baldwin: (laughing) This is a common misconception! Jacky-P, ex-BBC WM Introducing presenter and DJ for Scxrlxrd actually coined the term, although we are more than happy to champion it. And we have to name every band in the area who is pushing for the common goal of putting the Second City back on the map musically: The Clause, Riscas, The Novus, Violet and Sugerthief to name but a few as the list goes on and on and on.
Ivory Wave supported established acts as The Twang and DMA`s and appeared on festivals such a Truck, Shiiine On and Isle of Wight. This year, you are already booked for Live at Leeds and Lakefest among others. Are you eager to take your music to the next level?
Seb Baldwin: We are all grinding and pushing as hard as we are able. Getting to play bigger and better shows is already an amazing and humbling confirmation that our music is being well received and that we are establishing ourselves more and more as time goes on. Onwards and upwards.
April and May will see you hitting the road and going to Preston, Manchester, Nottingham and Leeds. Are you planning to add more dates? What about London or Glasgow? Any plans on playing there?
Seb Baldwin: We cannot say much yet, but we have a number of shows in the pipeline and will be announcing details of all of these soon!
Your current single “Gold” was released in January 2019 to a phenomenal response. It was a song of the week for BBC West Midlands and gave you several spins on BBC 6 Music by Steve Lamacq himself. The song also amassed over 18K streams on Spotify. We can easily say that this song is going through the roof. Did you expect such a positive response from public and music business alike?
Seb Baldwin: We had been playing “Gold” for well over a year in our live set, and although we all loved it as a track we hadn’t thought of it as a standalone single until the fans started to beg for its release. After an influx of tweets and messages asking us to release it next, we went back into the studio and the result it out for the world to hear.
They say “ride the wave until the grave” – so we want to know, where is Ivory Wave taking you next?
Seb Baldwin: We are in this for the long run, although we couldn’t call exactly where we will end up. We are all driving at the band building and growing as time goes on. Long live Ivory Wave.
Catch Ivory Wave on tour and you can now win two tickets for their homecoming gig in Birmingham.
Please come back soon as we have some very interesting interviews and reviews coming later this month.
Catch you soon!