SEAWAVES, an emerging dream pop/indietronica/visual band, are making their presence known in the music world. Hailing from Manchester, England their impressive list of credits include major brands such as Sony, Adidas, MTV, Sky Sports 1, Mercedes Benz, and more. We talked with members, Si Van Brussel and Daniel Benjamin about their vision, licensing success, and aspirations into film.
Kyle Warner: It seems that indie, dream pop music has many different tones. How did you find your sound in this genre?
Daniel Benjamin: We both came from different musical backgrounds where we learnt different styles of music. Where Si came from a metal/rock background as a drummer, I came from a more electronic background whilst learning guitar. The name SEAWAVES represents the calm and chaotic; it can be soothing but there’s always an element of danger and unpredictability.
When I first got into producing, Si was getting singing lessons, so as well as our musical styles combining, we happened to fit each other’s requirements for the music. It’s taken a few years of writing together before we knew what sound we wanted but we’re not restricted by genre or styles. We just write what we feel.
KW: You’ve had tremendous success licensing with top brands, do you feel you’ve found a sound that fits well with brand messaging?
Si Van Brussel: Our music tends to have quite a visual feel to it. I think this is because most of our ideas or visions of tracks don’t come from the studio. They come from everyday life, dreaming or even just driving down the M6. [Editor: for Angelenos, that’d be the 405, or the 10, or the 101 etc. etc.) Once we have the idea we’ll develop a visual of what we want to write. Our songs are almost written to a visual message, which is probably why they’re working so well now.
KW: I’ve noticed your music tends to have these driving, inspiring instrumentals. Do you think that’s something that attracts brands and other content creators looking to pair their work with music?
SVB: Of course! We keep all our music at hand with instrumentals/stems available at any point in case a music supervisor gets in touch. Because we aren’t signed to any label and own all our publishing, we’re able to provide music with no fuss.
DB: I feel the song needs to work instrumentally and tell a story without vocals. Vocals to me just supplement the story of the music. Music has its own unique way of telling a story to the listener.
KW: Do you feel you’ve seen more opportunities arise after landing some of these substantial placements?
DB: Definitely! Our first ever sync stemmed from a radio play. We had never pitched a track or even considered licensing at the time, but out of the blue we were contacted over the potential use of our track for a commercial. Our initial thought was “Hmm, why not?” then it’s seemed to have snowballed since then.
SVB: Before this sync we were always under the impression that to succeed in the music business you need to be signed to a successful record label. We’d spend a lot of time chasing labels who weren’t interested, but when our music started to gain interest in the licensing world, we quickly realized you don’t need a record label for this. In fact, it makes life so much easier having your own studio, releasing music under no strict deadlines and working with licensing agencies and music supervisors directly.
KW: Your LP “The Motion Picture” was just recently released. It’s awesome, by the way. What was your vision for that project?
DB: Thanks a lot! We wanted the album to feel like a film soundtrack. If SEAWAVES was a film then this would be the soundtrack. We wrote the album over 3 years, releasing singles as and when we completed them. We wanted to offer a broad range of genres, styles and more importantly – atmospheres.
SVB: The Motion Picture LP was just 1 of many different concept albums we had in mind.
KW: I love the artwork on your social media, is photography something you actively complement your music with, or just another passion?
DB: In all honesty we’re still complete beginners when it comes to photography and design but it is something we’re learning as we go along. We splashed out on a Canon 7D and 30mm lens a few years back without really having a clue how to use it properly, but I’m a big believer of, “If it looks good, then it is good!”
SVB: Again, we’ll usually have a visual idea of what we want the track art to look like. There’s a lot of experimenting we do on the visual side especially since we’re still learning in that area. We often use a great studio in our hometown Manchester called Cotyso Studios who are amazing supporters of what we do.
KW: Your twitter following is climbing by the thousands, how do you keep the fans hungry for more? Are you touring?
DB: That’s probably our biggest challenge. We’re not marketers or promoters or radio pluggers etc. We’re music writers, but in this day and age you’ve got to know how to do both sides of the music industry, more so if you’re not backed by a major label or managed by someone who knows the business well.
SVB: We’re currently not touring and haven’t really played live much apart from the odd show here and there. It’s always been a big ambition of ours but we don’t want to put out a live show that doesn’t truly show our vision. We’ve started thinking about live sets and how we would put together the best live show.
KW: What’s next up for the SEAWAVES?
DB: We’re working on brand new material for our 2nd LP. We’re really excited about writing fresh music and exploring some new avenues. We’re also talking to some of the best UK directors about ideas on collaborations as well. All in the early stages currently, but hopefully we’ll get some really awesome music videos made.
SVB: We’d eventually like to break into film soundtracks and be featured on some upcoming movies.