Waking Aida have been engrossing fans in their unique bouquet of influences for quite some time – their style ranges anywhere from math rock and electronic to post-rock with hints of jazz and progressive rock as well. It’s been a little over a year since their sophomore release Full Heal, which expanded on their distinct sound and bridged together acoustic and electronic instruments in a holistic way that rivals most other efforts. Just before the band heads out on their Spring UK tour, they’ve released a new song “Shoal”, which is as surprising as it is enjoyable.
I’ve gotten comfortable with the sound Waking Aida have developed over time, and before listening to the track my expectations of “Shoal” were completely different from the end result after hearing it. Don’t let that scare you, however, as my expectations shattered, my interest and admiration for the band grew. “Shoal” doesn’t challenge you in the way new singles often do with a stylistic change – Waking Aida took the core sound of their music and expanded on it in a new light. It can only be seen as a progression for the band, not a deviation.
The future of Waking Aida remains bright, and I am eager to hear more of what they’ve come up with behind the curtains. Below is a short Q&A with the band where we talked about the risks and rewards of releasing a song such as this, as well as future plans in store for the band. Also, if you’d like to catch them on their UK tour, tickets and information can be found here.
Your new single, “Shoal”, incorporates a lot of new elements thrown into the Waking Aida stew of influences. Has this song rewired your thinking about your band’s live performances?
To an extent yes, but I’d say it’s more a case of evolution than revolution. We’ve been gradually adding more electronic elements to our sound ever since Eschaton came out, but this is clearly the most electronic-influenced track we’ve written yet, and vocals are new territory for us. That means the biggest change is for James to adjust to performing as a singer, and possibly for Alex as his focus is just as much on electronic drums as live drums in Shoal.
Do you think “Shoal” plays more to the strengths of your musicianship compared to older material?
Perhaps less, to be honest. I think we’re out of our comfort zone a little and that’s a challenge. The stuff we find easiest to write is the more “obvious” crescendo-based music, but also we’ve always written a lot of songs from Josh’s mathy basslines. Shoal forced us to develop as musicians and play in a style which wasn’t necessarily our most natural. With that in mind, we’re pretty delighted with how it turned out.
Bands and artists usually have some trepidations when deviating from their normal sound. Some bands use that fear as a motivator, and others don’t seem to be fearful at all. How did you guys handle creating this song with these things in mind?
Oh yeah, total fear. But fear brings an excitement and focus to writing that is totally exhilarating. I’m almost hoping someone was expected an instrumental crescendo and hates it as a result – it’s nice to be able to toy with an expectation; it’s part of what defines a listening experience. That sounds completely pretentious, but I think it is true nonetheless!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the future for Waking Aida?
Just…watch this space. We’re playing a bunch of exciting shows this year and we are continuing to try and write music that stretches us and makes us feel things. You will hear it as soon as we can get it to you.