Welcome Pack: onDeadWaves


There’s a good chance you may already be aware of the constituent parts of onDeadWaves at least. We’ll let them do their own introductions below, but their recently released debut (via Mute) drew positive notice from the likes of The Guardian, enamoured by their atmospheric, modern take on the whole Nancy-n-Lee, Isobel-n-Mark format.

About to (briefly) hit the road to support the album, we thought it was an appropriate moment to do one of our ‘Introducing …’-style pieces where we get trivial and pretty much ignore the music entirely. It’s a winning formula, beloved by our nine legions of readers.

Greetings, onDeadWaves. Please introduce yourselves, starting with the tallest band member and working down.

James Chapman (aka Maps) and Polly Scattergood.

You’re about to play some shows inc. a Glasgow date with M83. Who gets to choose the music in the van? Do you ever fight about who gets to sit where?

Our band is all about peace, love and good vibes – no fighting on our bus. We all like similar music and discovering new sounds – although if James tries to start a sing-a-long for the journey then there may be problems.

What was the most catastrophic equipment snafu you’ve experienced at a gig?

‘Touch wood’ we haven’t had many, although Polly can be pretty haphazard when keeping her whisky bottle balanced precariously on the Moog onstage.

What would your ultimate onDeadWaves merch be, if budget were no issue?

onDeadWaves talking dolls. One of Polly and one of James. You pull the cord and they speak to you. Maybe in a secret coded language. Kind of like a Furby but obviously better looking. Polly’s would have a parachute on her back so she could be thrown out of the window on a windy day. Fun for all the family.

Tell us the stupidest thing that you ever saw happen at school.

James: Any kind of mandatory sports activity that I was involved in. It was stupid for everyone involved.

Polly: Yeah, school in general for me was a series of stupid incidents. Whoever says they are the best days of your life was lying; it gets better and better every year.

onDeadWaves pizza – what’s the topping?

James: Pepperoni, olives and definitely no pineapple. Fruit isn’t allowed on pizza.

Polly: James, what are you talking about, you weirdo? I love a ham and pineapple.

James: We’re going to need to have a serious talk about this.

Do any of the band have famous ancestors? If not, tell us who your favourite local celebrity is.

James: My favourite local celebrity is Alan Moore (who wrote Watchmen, V for Vendetta). He’s an eccentric character but hugely talented.

Polly: I’m not very good with spotting celebrities especially if I don’t have my glasses on. I never know who anyone is. Saying that I did once see Paul Daniels’ wife Debbie McGee on the tube. That was a good day.

What were the words of the first verse of the first song you ever wrote?

James: “In the summer of ’95, she committed her high dive, off the highest point in town, and now she’s not around”. It was not a happy song.

Polly: “Waiting for a reason to be here again waiting for the sun to start shining ” – my teenage angst coming out in full force!

Cover song – Prince or Bowie, and what’s the track?

Bowie – Always Crashing In The Same Car.


onDeadWaves play in Manchester (26th June) and Glasgow (27th) with M83. Their album is available via Amazon.

About Douglas Baptie (208 Articles)
Editor at Words & Guitars. Lives in Carlisle, far away from 'that London'.
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