Wayward are dropping their debut album ‘Waiting For The World’ next month. We got Lawrence Hayes and Louis Greenwood to talk us through it, Track By Track.
Our album came together during the first COVID-19 lockdown and a lot of the meaning behind this record stems from our longing for past experiences, while contemplating the uncertainty of the future. So, stuck in our houses, we compiled tracks that conjured feelings of nostalgia to better times and this is a running theme throughout this record.
Waiting For The World
The voice note that comes in halfway through was sent to us by some friends we had made during a holiday to New Orleans, Memphis and Miami back in the summer of 2018. This was probably the best holiday of all time, so weaving this momento into the track has meant it will always remind us of the joy of this trip. One of our most prized possessions in the studio is our Elektron Analog Heat; the saturation on this piece of gear and the inbuilt EQ are really cool. On this track we ran the main bass/leadline, from the Sub37, and the rising pad which came from the Korg Monologue into the Analog Heat which helped us achieve the warmth we were looking for.This track and album title is a nod to our all-time favourite skate video which we used to watch back in the day, made by a British company called Blueprint, see below. The phrase ‘Waiting For The World’ seemed as fitting now, under current circumstances, as it did when we were 10 watching these videos desperate to grow up.
All A Bit Mad
While the mix was a bit more tricky, this track came together in a day. Again, being locked down and looking back to better times got us thinking about the last gig we’d been to – Ezra Collective at The Roundhouse. The energy that drummer Femi Koleoso created with his interactions with the audience that night was incredibly inspiring. He sounded more like an MC at a rave than the host of a Jazz band and we had the idea to sample his vocal to create a track that would work in the club spaces we were longing for. A really special moment in the creation of this track came when we sent it to one of our all time heroes, Paul Woolford/Special Request, for feedback. He was incredibly helpful, giving us some tips, suggesting we pitched part of the break down to help it groove. We’ll be forever grateful to get advice from the master.
Back To The Old Days
A few years ago we both used to teach at a place called WAC Arts College in Camden. During our time there we met loads of inspiring students and colleagues so it was important for us to pay homage to this place in our debut record. A friend of ours, Sam Ripman, went on to film a documentary about the college and sent us his interview recording with one student in particular named Rio. An early demo of the track was made with the vocal sample chopped up with drums and synths from the DSI Tempest but the track really developed during a working trip to LA. This is when we added the breaks section, in an attempt to recapture an atmosphere similar to some of our earliest clubbing experiences, listening to the likes of Joy O, Calibre and Pearson Sound for the first time. This track has about 10 different breaks on it, using waves sound shifter to mess with the pitches. For both of us this is probably our pick on the album because it came together in a way that felt effortless and encapsulates the journey we’ve been on over the last 9 years of writing together.
This track was all built around our incredible Moog One. The stutter synth sound comes from running a drum machine into a vocoder setting on the Moog One so it triggered the chords. The rising pads are also a patch that we created on this synth. Like ‘Back To The Old Days’ this one really started to take shape while working out of the Domino studios in LA which has become a treasured place for us to work in. It started out as an ambient piece, but we love how it evolves into a dancefloor track on the drop. The vocal sample chops were really fun to make, creating stereo delays using logics sample delay and Waves H-delay creatively to add to the rhythm.A few weeks before we started this idea we went down to Canvey Island in Essex to shoot some video for an artist we had just signed to the label we A&R called Kilig. There was this epic storm brewing when we went there and it all felt pretty post-apocalyptic and the mood of the tune kind of reflected this so I guess that’s why the project file was called this.
This track was written the very same day I met my nephew, Casper, for the first time. I left the hospital where he had been born the day earlier, came straight to the studio and started creating the breathy synth sound you can hear. It sat on the hard drive for a few months until we went into lockdown. I was missing him a lot but this was helped by my brother who was constantly sending me videos and voice notes of the little man. The track went in many directions before eventually deciding that it was just fine with one of Caspers voice notes slapped on top of that breathy synth that reminds me of the day we first met.
Casper Pt 2
This was one of the iterations of the original Casper idea that went in a more clubby direction. Two of the main aspects that made this idea exciting to us was the chopped up vocals from our friend and collaborator Sappho and this detuning bell synth preset called ‘Raindrops’ from a plug in made by Slate+Ash called Cycles, which we were going to town on during the period of making this album. Sappho’s voice is used on a few different tracks on the album. We would pick acapellas from previous sessions we’d had with her or she would send us bits that we’d then go on to chop up and manipulate using plug ins like Fabfilters Timeless. The preset delays on this plug in are incredible and good inspiration tools when you’re feeling a bit stuck.
Where the magic happens: Wayward’s studio.
This track was actually released a couple of years back on Beats Of No Nation, a label run by the super talented producer Jad&The as part of a free download EP. This is one of our favourite tracks we’ve made and we felt like it had a bit more life in it. To fit this track sonically with the rest of the album we had to beef up the kick with different layers and remixed it. A lot of the sounds we put through our outboard effects chain which includes our Eventide Space pedal and the Strymon Timeline. We love the way these two effects worked together and made it feel like vocals were dribbling out just before the main drop. The drums all come from our TR8S, which is our go-to for classic 909 kicks and rim shots.
It started out as an unused bit of vocal that Sappho had sent through for ‘Bright’. We liked it so much that we built the track around it and it felt like the right track to give the album some breathing space. We wanted the track to have that euphoric Burial-esque tone with distorted vinyl crackle loud in the mix and large reverb on organic found sounds using Valhalla. This is named after my grandma who recently passed away and was a hugely inspirational woman to me (Lawrence Hayes). She had been a continuous supporter of our work and my decision to pursue music as a career. She kindly passed on her old upright piano to me which we used to record on this one. This track is an ode to her.
When we first started producing together we were also co-running a club night up in Leeds. These were the best times of our lives, booking some of our all time musical heroes such as Gilles Peterson, Todd Edwards and DJ EZ. Since then we’ve always wanted to create something that would fit as a last tune on one of those nights and that kind of melancholic but euphoric emotion is what we tried to conjure with this one. We wanted to record live pianos but it never really worked and the Logic EXS24 piano always sounded best. During lockdown, every Friday we’d sit outside with our best mate and house mate, Simon, have a few beers and play through what we’d worked on. This track was his favourite so as a thank you to him we named it after the house he grew up in that we had so many good times in, rolling back to after the club.
Bright is the first tune we’ve written where we decided on the key before recording anything. We came across this website, describing the emotions conjured by particular musical keys. It suggests that B Minor evokes feelings of solitary, melancholy, patience. This felt like a more fitting description of where we were at during lockdown than we could have probably ever articulated ourselves. Coupled with this we were playing a lot of Final Fantasy 7 on PS4 and the music must have infiltrated our consciousness because it doesn’t sound far from something you’d hear on the soundtrack.
Check out the boys home made video for ‘All A Bit Mad’:
‘Waiting For The World‘ is released on March 26th on Silver Bear Recordings.