By Sonia Schnee | Posted by Sunday, September 15, 2019
Idle Wave is a pop-punk/alternative band hailing from Asbury Park, NJ. We were fortunate to be able to interview Idle Wave’s Guy Battaglia (Voice/Lyrics) to learn more about the inspiration behind this song and the music video. For more information about Idle Wave, visit their official website, grab some merch, and of course, there’s nothing like a live and in-person performance, so follow Idle Wave on social media to find out where they’ll be performing next.
Congratulations on the release of your new music video, which is a live recorded session of “Heaven Knows.” (For those who don't know, “Heaven Knows” was originally featured on your self-titled EP that was released back in Dec. 2018.) . This new rendition of the song has quite a different feel to it. What inspired you to release an alternate, stripped down version?
GUY BATTAGLIA: My good friend David Ross Lawn (who is responsible for a good chunk of our press photos) has a YouTube channel where he covers Emo/Pop Punk bands such as The Wonder Years, Tigers Jaw, and Real Friends on piano. Once I saw his Wonder Years cover I immediately messaged him and it was a resounding “yes!” on his behalf. I’ve always wanted to do a music video for each song on the EP so this also helped fulfill that goal as well. Many if not all of the Idle Wave songs are written with the intention of first sounding good and full with just an acoustic guitar and vocals. Nothing captured the vibe better for Heaven Knows than when I ran through it in a voice lesson with Bryan Haring (Ernest). Bryan played piano to help provide a background to focus in on my vocals and it felt beautiful and natural. This version is also set to provide a nice glimpse into the future for the current Idle Wave fans.
What can you tell us about the inspiration behind “Heaven Knows”? Which came first for you, the melody or the lyrics?
I picked up my acoustic guitar in my living room one day and started playing open chords in E major. Once I honed in on a chord progression I began mumbling some odd melodies to fit over it. I want to say the melody came first but normally the melody and lyrics arrive simultaneously. The song is about the feeling of wanting to do more for someone you care about. It was one of the first complete songs I was able to write after my grandfather passed away. The juxtaposition of major and minor chords took me back to moments in the hospital waiting room and watching other families anxiously await updates regarding their loved ones. It’s difficult dealing with someone that like being out of your control, and I feel I succeeded in honing that emotion through the music and melodies of this song.
Your voice on this version has a very raw and honest and yet calming quality to it. Are you classically trained, vocally? Are there any singers or songwriters who you look up to and wish to emulate? Is there anyone who you'd love to collaborate with one day?
I am far from classically trained! I covered rock and screaming songs out of my range all through high school until I joined choir towards the end, and I earned a place in the bass section to hear my actual voice for the first time. I joined choir in college as well as took private voice lessons as much as I could to work on my form and longevity. After college I taught at private music academies where I was giving voice lessons to middle schoolers, and I have to say running through warmups with them and helping them perfect dynamics and form really helped me view myself as a vocalist better. Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) provided a good foundation for me growing up; he has a voice that sings fluently with character, that is just so easy on the ears. I took a lot of influence in my approach from that. Also, Soupy from the Wonder Years roars with emotion in every lyric and is one of the best lyricists in my opinion; so I learned a lot from singers in that genre on how to execute balancing lyrics and control. I’d actually love to collab with writer Danny Brown one day, despite him being an opposite of mine musically, I love every song he has ever created. He finds these drug-induced beats and is able to come up with the most perfect delivery to every line. I feel like he would help me step out of my comfort zone and look at music from a different perspective.
The music video itself is beautiful filmed. Who’s the filmmaker that you worked with? Where can we see other works of his? Where did you film the video, and what was the filming process like?
Kris Khunachak! He has done the majority of music video for this EP (“Calm”, “Smoke”) and we are actually working on some new content as well. We filmed this video in Lakehouse Recording Studios (Asbury Park, NJ) with the help of engineer Connor Hanson (Cloud Hands, Ella Ross) and David Ross Lawn in a 2-hour session. I described this team of people as “the avengers” because everything was so natural and productive. We did cut five or six live takes of one-shot video and audio and then we chose the best take as they matched up. Connor mixed and mastered the audio while Kris color corrected and cleaned up the shot, and the final product was done in barely a week’s time.
What can you tell us about the talented pianist who’s featured in the video?
David Ross Lawn is a renaissance man who composes, teaches voice and piano, takes beautiful photographs and much more. He’s one of the sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and he is well loved by much of Asbury Park as well. I sent David the song and he immediately provided a brilliant, natural rendition complete with dynamics and unique chord voicings. His playing perfectly accompanied the raw emotion and attitude of my vocal performance.
Have you been playing, or do you plan on playing, this alternate version of “Heaven Knows” during your live shows?
I have mostly with myself playing acoustic guitar. It is not the same as David’s piano playing, but it gets the job done in situations where it is needed, and I have to say it is a crowd favorite most if not all of the time.
How do you hope listeners will react to the song? What do you hope they walk away with?
Ideally, I hope it helps someone through their day. Belting along to other songs in this genre helped me deal with many of the stresses of being an anxious teenager transitioning into adulthood.
Do you have any words of advice for individuals who may have had similar experiences to you or faced similar obstacles/challenges? Also, what words of advice would you give to up and coming musicians/performers who are trying to find their way?
Find what you love and do it. Don’t be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone despite what everyone tells you. Any path you take will bring you obstacles and reward so find the reward that suits you best and is all you think about.
Finally, what are some ways that fans can connect with Idle Wave online? (Website? Facebook? Spotify? Etc.?)
Fans can connect the MOST with us through our official website at idlewaveband.com.
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