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Big Sonic Heaven 7 – Pale Blue Eyes

todayMarch 14, 2024 85 4

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Big Sonic Heaven 7: Pale Blue Eyes

BY DANIELLE HENNES

Originally formed in the coastal town of Totnes in southwest Devon, Matt and Lucy
Board (husband and wife) and Aubrey Simpson of electro-modernist guitar group, Pale Blue
Eyes, are no strangers to hard work and dedication. In the four short years they have been
together, they have put out two albums, the first of which was recorded in a self-built studio in
Matt’s childhood home. That first album, Souvenirs, was written during the aftermath of the
passing of Matt’s father. And their second album, This House, captures emotions surrounding
his mother’s passing after he and Lucy moved back home to care for his mother during her
illness. They have since relocated to Sheffield and have been touring almost constantly. After
opening for Slowdive last Jan/Feb, Lucy was kind enough to take some time to answer some
Big Sonic Heaven Seven questions for us.

1. Who influenced you initially as a young adult, musically, to want to become a musician and who influences you now or has that changed now that you’ve developed your own sound and have been a band for a while? 
I think we’ve all had quite different influences and motivations for pursuing music over the years. Both Matt and I had ace music teachers very early on who really inspired us to want to do music, and it’s tricky to know where to start with current influences as we all like so much different stuff!
 
Making music, listening to music and playing music gets us out of bed in the morning – we’re constantly discovering and searching out new music which inspires and informs us.  New bands, old bands… Jazz, Disco, Soul, Pop… friends who are also in bands – it all feeds into our own creative process.
 
2. Slowdive are a shoegaze mainstay with a dedicated and loyal following and are often sited as being a major influence to many up and coming shoegaze and dream pop artists, how has touring w Slowdive challenged you as a band and what has been the best experience about touring with them? 
 
Seeing Slowdive play their set live each night on tour was such an inspiring and emotional thing really – moments like ’40 Days’ and ‘When the Sun Hits’  felt so bloody epic, a whole new generation of people singing their songs back at them, in massive packed out rooms, as well as long standing fans who’ve followed them since the very beginning. It was all pretty incredible to be a part of! Plus personally hearing tunes like ‘Alison’ and ‘Kisses’ which are some of my absolute favourites was just insane – they are such a good live band.
Opening for a band you actually love and listen to all the time is dead cool and we definitely didn’t take that experience for granted.
 
3. How do you define success for your band? 
Not sure really! We tend to just set ourselves goals each year and keep working towards those little milestones.
Every so often I think it’s good to stop and reflect on what you’ve done but also we’re all the kind of people that just like cracking on really!
 
We’ve absolutely loved the journey we’ve been on so far with PBE and just want to carry on doing it. The shows with Slowdive were definitely a career highlight for us… but really success for us is just keeping going, making music, and hopefully doing that as much of the time as we possibly can!
 
4. In this time of streaming services, it must be frustrating as an artist because, frankly,  it’s just not like it used to be financially speaking, how can your listeners be of the most support to you? 
 
It’s a tricky conversation – and it is a bit crazy that it is so tough financially on bands and artists nowadays, so you do wonder how many musicians have been forced to call it a day because of the financial pressure getting too much.
Even in a cost of living crisis I think we all need music, art, telly, radio, things that provide escapism, things that can help you to wind down, or get you ready for your day, so it’s a shame that the industry is in such a weird state…kind of devaluing a thing that is so embedded in all our day to day lives.
 
Anyway… I think fans of our band have been dead supportive over the last few years by coming to our gigs, buying stuff from us directly at the merch table at our gigs, or picking stuff up from our bandcamp page – which has all massively helped us to fund tours and keep PBE rolling along up to now!
 
I’ve also heard that some streaming platforms are much more artist friendly than others – so I guess it’s worth researching if you want to move platforms to a more artist friendly option.
 
5. Your first two albums were put out within a year of each other, recorded in your own self-built studio, how does having your own space to create music effect the song writing process? 
 
It is great, and just means having more time, which is so key. When we were making those albums we all had other part time jobs and various other things going on, so being able to nip up to the studio after work or late night or just for a few hours before a shift was really good for us. You could work on loads of ideas but not feel like it was wasted time if something didn’t work out – we have folders full of recordings and demos that we didn’t end up pursuing for whatever reason but that is all part of our process.
 
We had to move out of that house and studio in Devon and are now creating a similar setup with a studio space at our new place in Sheffield – which is where we’ll be writing our next album! It’s definitely how we like to work – just immersing ourselves in it as much as we can!
 
6. What do you do outside of music to rejuvenate your creative process? 
 
We love going for a good walk –  just to clear the head and reset a bit. Walking and talking seems to be a good way of resolving things or planning things, so we do that quite a bit.
Matt loves getting stuck into manual jobs; building, demolishing, gardening, fixing, DIY…
 
We all love watching football.
 
Aubrey does a lot of photography as well as music. He’s got an amazing eye. He defo inspired me to get into using a little 35mm film camera, so we all love a bit of that!
 
We also have a bit of a PBE tradition of cooking curries together after rehearsals. Tunes on in the kitchen, a cold beer, lots of chillies.
 
7. What’s next for Pale Blue Eyes? 
 
We’re starting work on new PBE tracks now, which we’re very excited to get stuck into, and then we’ll be back out playing live in May for a handful of tour dates in England…and then festivals over summer!

For our listeners in Europe, you can catch Pale Blue Eyes on a short spring tour in May,
followed by another run with Slowdive. Checkout their Instagram page for more info here: PBE

If you would like to support and purchase their music you can do that by buying it directly from
them on Bandcamp.

Again, thank you very much to Lucy, Matt and Aubrey for your time. We look forward to seeing
you in the States someday, hopefully soon!!

Written by: Danielle Hennes

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