My Firsts: Dave Tattersall of The Wave Pictures | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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My Firsts: Dave Tattersall of The Wave Pictures

At the Library

Dec 06, 2018 The Wave Pictures
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My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to Dave Tattersall of The Wave Pictures.

The ever-prolific British band have released close to 20 albums, starting with 2003’s Just Watch Your Friends Don’t Get You. In fact, The Wave Pictures released two albums this year: Brushes with Happiness in June and Look Inside Your Heart in November, both via Moshi Moshi.

In a press release Tattersall admits that he’s not ready for the coming artificial intelligence led future and that influenced the band’s new album. “Look Inside Your Heart is intended as a rallying cry in the war against the machines,” he says. “While a computer may have beaten world-champion human being Lee Sedol at Go, a machine could never have made music as joyful, spontaneous, happy, poetic, broken and rambunctious as this. Look Inside Your Heart is a bullet in the face of all pop-poseurs and robot wannabes, a die-hard continuation of the vulnerable rebel tradition of rock and roll music, a vibrant work of outsider art and a masterpiece of electric folk.”

Read on as Tattersall talks about his first pet, the first concert his dad took him to, the first time he got drunk, and how he’s anti-social media.

First pet?

My first pet was a black-and-white cat who we named Smudge. He was wild and crazy in some ways, quite an aggressive cat, but also very affectionate as long as you didn’t make eye contact. I still miss him enormously, which is completely crazy and I’m still convinced that he was the best cat ever. He comes back to me in dreams. Smudge must have died 20 years ago now.

First gig?

My dad took me to see Chuck Berry when I was about 11 years old. It was a big treat and very exciting for me, though the theatre was half-empty and Chuck only did about half an hour with an out-of-tune guitar. He did a bit of duck-walking and then buggered off. But it’s exciting for me to think I was ever even in the same room as him. Afterwards me and my dad shared a bag of chips. I remember that.

First album you bought?

I remember the first album I bought with my own money. It’s a really good one so people don’t always believe it was my first, but it was. Bo Diddley’s His Greatest Sides: Volume One on Chess Records. I wanted it because I knew The Rolling Stones loved Bo Diddley and I was obsessed with The Stones and learning everything about them. I got it from a market stall in Leicester. I still have it and we put it on the other day and it’s brilliant. That was the start of my buying vinyl. I might have bought some shit ones after that, but that was the first!

First music festival you went to?

That would be Cambridge Folk Festival, again with my dad. We went every year for a few years. I don’t remember which one was which. Over the years we watched a lot of bad folk music it’s true, but we also saw some very good Americans, like Peter Rowan and Leo Kottke and Townes Van Zandt. One year Steve Earle did an acoustic solo show, which I remember as one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen.

First time you got drunk?

I think I was quite old. I avoided it for a while. I was probably only 15 or 16 but I remember the feeling that everyone at school had been drinking for ages already. I went to a party and the girls were feeding me this stuff that tasted like juice because I hated the taste of beer at the time. I remember telling a girl I loved her in front of her boyfriend and then vomiting all over the patio.

First email address?

I cannot tell you my first email address because my first email address is the email address that I still have. It is the only email address I have ever had. I have had it for nearly 20 years. I didn’t even know that was unusual in any way.

First social media account?

I have never had a social media account, which I appreciate is a bit unusual. The band has them, but I don’t look at them. I don’t look at any of those things. I don’t even have a computer. I am writing to you from the public library in Bethnal Green Gardens, east London.

First instrument?

All I wanted to do when I was little was play the guitar. I started when I was six! I don’t even know where I got the idea from or why. I just wanted to do that. It was a mail order nylon string guitar but I can’t truthfully remember it in any detail.

First band you were in?

The Tatty Message. That was me, David Tattersall, with my friend and next-door neighbor Simon Messenger on drums. You can see how we came up with the name. There was no singer, we just did instrumentals.

First recording device?

Four-track cassette recorder. Oh, it was so beautiful! Some of the things The Wave Pictures recorded when we kids with that thing are still some of the best things we’ve ever done, or ever will do. I loved that machine. It was a whole world all in itself. Especially cool when you flipped the tape over and recorded forwards against the backwards music, then switched it around to get backwards guitar effects! You can’t get that the same digitally, I’ve tried. It isn’t the same without flipping the tape. There’s something organic about that and a digital machine won’t replicate it. And there’s something you get from recording at home that you’ll never get recording in a studio. But, sadly, computers seem to have ruined home recording, I think because they give you too many options and the good stuff comes out of limitations. Just ask Guided By Voices! Home recording is about, or should be about, total freedom being funneled through incredible limitations.

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