Interview with Inner Wave: The Journey to Underwater Pipe Dreams

Film photos by  Bastardjer

Film photos by Bastardjer

Inner Wave is made up of Chris Runners (keys), Elijah Trujillo (guitar), Pablo Sotelo (vocals/ guitar), and Jean Pierre Narvaez (bass). This Los Angeles band has managed to create a unique sound over the years that some fans might even describe as “alien space rock”. Inner Wave hit The Mota stage at the Tropicália Music and Taco Festival right at sunset.  After watching their performance, unfamiliar with who they were, their stage presence really made me feel engaged with the music. I was extremely happy about the opportunity to talk to Inner Wave about their new album “Underwater Pipe Dreams” and the process of making it. 

Does it still feel surreal?

Jean Pierre: Yeah, definitely.

I mean if you could put it into words, how would you describe it?

Jean: Have you ever been to Six Flags?

Elijah Trujillo: It’s like when you’re scared to go on a ride and you finally go on it.

Pablo Sotelo: Yeah, it’s an adrenaline rush.

Seeing all your fans react to your music, how does that make you feel?

Elijah: Great.

Jean: It's like we’re doing something great and we’re doing our job.

Pablo: It makes me want to keep going.

I understand that you put a lot of work into this. How does that feeling get to you when you put so much time and effort into an album and then finally it’s like you are reaping the benefits from it?

Jean: It’s kind of surreal sometimes because you work so long on it and then it’s finally out. You’re working on it and you feel like, "Oh, there’s something we have to do!" It’s constantly pacing you to do it. Finishing the music, and once it’s out you’re like ‘'Oh, there’s nothing left to do." It’s kind of like a taker down.

Elijah: A lot of people say it’s not about the finishing result, but it’s all about the journey.

Would you say you’re really proud of this album?

Pablo: Yeah, I would. I think that goes to every album that has come out most recently.

Jean: Because in every album you want to feel like you got better than the last one.

Pablo: That’s the goal.

Were there any big hurdles you guys had throughout the process of this album?

Pablo: We finished the album once back in 2016, and I spent a lot of money and effort recording it and finishing it up. When it was done, and we were pretty close to putting it out, we realized we didn’t like how it sat and felt like we could have done better. 

So how do you feel that you guys should be more honest with each other and be more outspoken with the band when it comes to decisions?

Pablo: I feel like there's a time and place for everything and you can't be too critical when you're making stuff.

Jean: Especially early on.

Pablo: Because it's too soon and it can change so much. Like a lot of these songs are so old and have parts from other songs that have never been released. I think the time to criticize is once it's close to almost being done. It's almost like enviable process.

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That's a really dope thing to do. You can really tell you care about what you are doing since you kind of want everything to be perfect.

Pablo: Yeah, for sure. I feel really glad that we ended up deciding not to do that. I feel really grateful that the guys trusted me to re-record everything on my own and to have it sound like we wanted to in the end.

Elijah: It felt a little heavy, but it was one of those things that needed to happen.

Jean: It was more of how long was it going take rather than being nervous because we wanted to be done already.

For those who do not know about your band, what would you like them to think when they hear the name Inner Wave?

Pablo: I feel like more than anything, like you said, being able to tell we care about what we are doing musically and we hope that they get that. 

Does it ever hit you that you’re in a band?

Elijah: All the time.

Pablo: More now than before. I think moments like these it's still kind of crazy but we are pretty grateful for it.

Chris: Practicing in a sweaty ass garage every day. We play shows every now and then and bringing all of that to a big ass stage with all these people in front is completely different. That's when it really hits you. It's the same thing you do every day but it happens to be a new spot. Different people are listening.

Pablo: We definitely want to keep playing more festivals and put out more music.

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Would you like to say anything to your fans?

Elijah: We love you and thank you.

Jean: Thank you.

Pablo: We might have some leftover music that's going to come out this 2018 as an EP.

Jean: They will be songs from “Underwater Pipe Dreams” that didn't make it. They are real swampy.

Pablo: Swamp music.

Jean: Swamp rock.

Pablo: It will be really slimy.