Interview with Day Wave at ACL Festival: Film Photos, Albums and Opening for The Shins

Photo by Austin Roa

We sat down with Jackson Phillips from Day Wave, an indie rock band from Oakland, California during ACL Weekend 2 to discuss their latest album The Days We Had and tour life this past year.

Teal Magazine: You just released your album The Days We Had last May. How does it feel to finally have it out and performed it live on this tour?

Jackson: It feels good to finally have an album after having two EPs because I can finally say "I have an album out!" But seriously, It feels good to have it.

TM: We've seen lately that bands will release just one EP then work on a full album, depending on their creative process.

Jackson: It seems more of a build up to do an EP. In reality, it is as important. It is something that still has some room to grow. With an album, you can be a little bit more ambitious.

TM: We’ve noticed that some songs from your EPs didn’t make the tracklist on the album. What was the vision you were trying to create for this album? Were you trying to bring a similar vibe or how would you describe it to be different from the Headcase and Hard to Read EP in terms of inspiration?

Jackson: I didn’t want to use the same songs on the album from my EPs. I felt that it seemed a bit lazy, in [terms] of not making new songs. I usually tend to write a lot of songs. I wanted the album to be all new. Maybe I should’ve kept some of the older ones and maybe some people were annoyed. If they want to hear those [older songs] they can go back to the EPs.

TM: How would you describe your music making process in general? Do you make and write songs on the road? Or do you have to set out a week or month just to write songs and isolate yourself from others?

Jackson: I usually do it when I’m not on tour. On tour, I usually write little ideas and record them to my phone. I just do it all the time. I don’t set aside time to do it. I’m just constantly doing it.

TM: You just toured with The Shins recently, how was the tour like? Would you say you have a favorite city you look forward to going on tour?

Jackson: Touring with The Shins was fun. It’s always weird to be supporting. I prefer to play my own shows even though my shows are smaller than some big show at Red Rocks. It is a good experience and you gain some new fans. The tour was pretty much West Coast. It was cool to play Red Rocks and the Berkeley Greek Theater, which was probably one of my favorites.

TM: Since the release of Drag in 2015 to now, can you say that your music or your style has evolved since then?

Jackson: I think your sensibility has changed. At least, the music that inspires me now is a little different than the music that has inspired me when I made that song. The way you do things changes, what you’re listening to changes, the music will change naturally. I don’t really try too hard like, “It needs to be different!” I just want it to be whatever I think sounds okay.

TM: From the album art and even your EPs, what inspired you to have that as the covers? Who took the pictures? Do you love film?

Jackson: The EP artwork, I did all of that myself. The album, which is a picture of me, I didn’t do it. This guy, Jesse Lee Rola from Chicago took the picture, but I wanted it to be the same type of camera and the same type of film. It’s a similar vibe, but I felt a little pressured to put me on the cover of it [the album]. I felt like switching over to a major label has made it that style of things of “putting you on it” which I wasn’t totally opposed to, but I’m not sure I’d do that again.

TM: They probably wanted the dynamic of just you on the cover.

Jackson: I tend to take photos of myself.

TM: It feels that you’re in control of what you want?

Jackson: Yeah! There’s something to me a little corny about putting my face on the cover of it. Looking back, I probably wouldn’t have done it.

TM: Which song would you say you prefer playing live out of the songs on the album?

Jackson: I’m not sure, it’s hard to say. But I like Something Here and Bring You Down are probably my two of my favorites. Looking back, those are the ones that I think, ”Oh, alright these are cool!”