Wavedash x James Ivy
A friendship born in their teens and consistent creativity shared between Texas production trio Wavedash and Korean-American talent James Ivy has come to life in the form of their latest single Chicago Loop, a track which was first introduced three years ago and quickly became a fan favourite.
One of countless tracks that Ivy and Wavedash – consisting of Luke, Michael, and Gavin- have crafted in their years of musical companionship, Chicago Loop, is an upbeat indie/electronic production which brings Wavedash’s ability to pull and immerse listeners within dreamy sonics together with Ivy’s layered vocals.
The track comes at a time when both acts on the cusp of new eras in their career ; Wavedash – who dropped studio debut World Famous Tour in 2021 – embracing post-album freedom to explore and experiment while James continues his upwards trajectory.
Speaking to 1883, both acts delve into creating Chicago Loop, their favourite and most challenging aspects of the music-making process, what genres they’d love to experiment with in the future and much more.
What was the inspiration/message behind Chicago Loop?
James Ivy: Chicago Loop is a representation of friendship to me, even though the lyrics and subject matter of the actual song may not convey that very well. It started as a song that we made for fun in a hotel room on a Bluetooth speaker, using an ironing board as a desk, and turned into a song we got to play at Second Sky and other Wavedash shows throughout the US. Felt like me and the boys were getting back to our roots a little bit with just making songs with each other for fun and just enjoying the process of it all. We never set out on a mission to make anything in particular, the song sort of just happened organically. I think if anything, the lyrics reflect the weekend we had in Chicago right before we made the song, by alluding to this shitty party that we were trying to dip from.
How would you say you’ve influenced each other sonically and what have you learned from each other over years of friendship?
James: I learned a lot of what I know production wise from these guys when we were growing up. They’re a year older than me, so when we met I almost felt like they were my big brothers in a way. A lot of my growth as a producer comes from what they taught me and what I observed from their process. I’ve learned what it’s like to have family that is not bound by blood.
Gavin (Wavedash): Were always learning from each other. Our friendship has really turned into a brotherhood, so one person’s victory is everyone’s. It’s become very easy to be vulnerable with each other.
You’ve mentioned Chicago Loop as one of many songs you’ve made together. What motivated you to release this particular track?
Michael (Wavedash): Chicago Loop is a demo we had been sitting on for a while. Obviously we loved the song, but none of us really felt the need to finish it. It kind of just sat on our hard drive for a while. The song really gained new life when we started playing it in our live shows. Fans really seemed to gravitate towards it, so we felt the song deserved a proper release.
This song was born from an ironing board acting as a makeshift desk and a Bluetooth speaker. Besides this particular track, what’s the wildest or strangest place/way you’ve had to make music?
James: It’s been a cool journey for us all I feel like. I started out making music in my bedroom, and then once I met the guys, I would fly out to Texas and work with them in their bedrooms and vice versa. I feel like as we’ve grown, we’ve graduated a little bit from the bedroom studio and have gotten the chance to work in some pretty cool spaces together. It’s always exciting getting to go to an actual studio with these guys, I feel like we are all little kids walking into a candy store. As far as weird places go, I think the hotel ironing board takes the cake for me.
Speaking of making music, what’s your favourite part of the process? On the flip side, what’s the most challenging part?
Michael: In my opinion the best part of the music making process is the period of time directly after writing a song you really like, and it’s all you can listen to. You just listen to it over and over and over all day. It feels like a drug. The most challenging part is finishing the music. It sucks. Really bad. I hate it.
James: I’d agree with Michael on this. No better part of making music than the first day working on a new song. Most unexplainable and irreproducible high.
In terms of lyricism, do you tend to draw from personal experiences or just whatever inspires you from around you?
James: I feel like a lot of my lyrics are very vague. They always end up alluding to something rather than being definite and concrete. I think I’m growing to like that about my writing, the ambiguity of it and the simplicity of it. Whenever I’m free-styling a melody idea or trying to come up with a verse or chorus for a song, I find myself subconsciously gravitating towards words like “something” “everything” “feel” “want”. Maybe my writing is just lazy, but I really value the impact that simple writing can have, if done effectively. I feel like Sam Ray of Teen Suicide, American Pleasure Club, Ricky Eat Acid etc. is really good at this. Luke showed me his work growing up and it always really resonated with me. I definitely pull from personal experiences, almost everything I write about is something that I’m truly feeling, but I treat a lot of my songs as a collage of ideas and feelings, so a lot of my songs end up being about more than just one thing, or emotion or theme.
If you could experiment and work together in a genre you’ve never tried before what would that be and why?
Michael: We’re super open to experimenting with different genres. Trying your hand at different types of music is great for creativity. We’ve made so many different types of music together in the past, I don’t think there’s anything we wouldn’t try. I think a Wavedash and James Ivy ambient record would be a lot of fun to make. Or maybe just a really loud industrial record. Something absurd.
James: I think it could be cool to make like an experimental electronic punk record with the guys or something. I’ve always felt like metal and other genres adjacent to metal share a lot of DNA with dubstep and heavy bass music. When I listen to Show Me the Body, or Death Grips, I get the same sensation I get from listening to Space Laces or some of the heavier Wavedash stuff.
What’s been the most surreal moment of your career so far?
Gavin: Definitely playing our own headline shows. The effort put into making the shows the best they possibly could be has been really insane for us. It feels like people our finally seeing our vision right in front of them.
James: Getting to perform with the guys during their Second Sky set. One of the best days of my life for sure.
What’s on your bucket list as musicians?
Gavin: Our biggest goal as a group of people has been to create a place where all of us can create whatever we want. I mean that very literally. In my head it’s almost like a compound. Some place we can all live with enough space and even more space to create whatever it is we want to create.
James: Only thing on my bucket list is to never settle! I always want to constantly be evolving and challenging myself. I feel like after a while of making the same thing over and over, music starts to feel stale. I constantly want my sound to be changing, and always want to try new things and listen to new music.
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