Words and Interview by Rubie Barker
It’s 6 pm in a slightly dingy and drizzly Cardiff for me as I log on to a zoom call with Pale Waves’ Heather Baron-Gracie, who is in a far brighter and warmer LA. “The weather is great!” she tells me, “different to Northern England, so that is a massive appeal to me.” Having announced back in July on their Instagram that album 3 was on its way, Heather tells me that she has been in the studio for the past few days recording, with two songs already done a few days later.
“Music is a way that we can spread the message and talk about those subject matters that need to be spoken about.”
Pale Waves only released their second album Who Am I? in February this year, and after a move away from the collaborative writing between Heather and bandmate Ciara Doran that drove their first album, they have joined forces again for album number 3. “For a minute there we sort of had to take a break,” Baron -Gracie explains, “because we weren’t exactly connecting over the same type of music. But now Ciara absolutely loves the music that we do and it’s really nice for me because I don’t feel so alone.” Ciara recently had their top surgery but Heather tells me they’ve still managed to write a lot of the songs together which she says ‘is really nice because I feel like me and Ciara are really the roots of the band.’
As a band, they went through far more in 2020 than most. In March, their tour bus was involved in a serious road accident while they were on their way to Berlin to support Halsey. Ciara took to Instagram to let fans know that Ciara Doran (drummer), Hugo Silvani (guitarist) and Charlie Woods (bassist) had been trapped in the bus after it rolled off the road. They said that “The injuries will heal but this will stay with me and everyone involved for forever.”
“I am trying to be as vocal as ever, I just have to do it in the right way.”
Speaking about their second album, Heather says the band are going to carry on being vocal about issues she believes in for their third album. “I am trying to be as vocal as ever, I just have to do it in the right way.” We agree that there is a power in music and it has an ability to spread a message about sensitive subject matters. Heather chose to open up about her sexuality in the second album, especially through songs like “She’s My Religion”. “I feel like music is a way that we can spread the message and talk about those subject matters that need to be spoken about constantly.’ Heather says she is going to continue to ‘write and write and write up until the very last minute.’
“There is so much friendship there so it’s nice to go back to those roots and write with your bandmates.”
Ciara and Heather met in Manchester when they were both still students and were attending gigs together. ‘One of mine and Ciara’s first conversations was when we went to a Daughter concert who we absolutely adore but everyone was just standing around and we were like no… we want people to dance.’ This realisation that they want people to dance to their music and not cry, is continuing to drive album number three. ‘Our music definitely hasn’t got any softer or any sadder. If anything it’s gone in the other direction.’
Heather gave very little away about album three but I think that may be more because it is still taking shape rather than being held a tight secret. “It is still coming together, it is hard because I don’t know what the tracklist is going to end up being, but I know there will be some tracks on there that have a strong opinion!’ When speaking to me she had only been in the studio for a few days but two songs have already been recorded. “It seems to be going pretty fast” she admits. For one of the tracks already recorded, ‘that vocal is the demo vocal. I always find that interesting when people keep the demo vocals because it is the first time they’ve ever sung that song.’
“I always find that interesting when people keep the demo vocals because it is the first time they’ve ever sung that song”
Over the Summer, Pale Waves were featured on All Time Low’s new track, PMA which as Heather describes was ‘kind of scary!’ Talking of how it came to be she says ‘Alex just randomly hit me up and was like we have this track that we are looking for female vocals on and they told me they absolutely loved our second album and were absolutely fanboying about it.’
It has been a good few years since Pale Waves came to Cardiff when they supported The 1975 on tour in 2019. But Heather reassures me she is looking forward to coming back to perform their own show once they are back in the UK.
Pale Waves will be performing at University Great Hall, Cardiff on 12/02/22 as part of their Who am I? Tour.
Tickets are available here.