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Rookie of the Year: Headwaves is Making Waves

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Courtesy of Headwaves

Usually a band spends its first year falling flat on its face. Seattle group, Headwaves, has done pretty much the opposite. Though its members had all done time in the Seattle underground, the band emerged from its rehearsal space fully-formed, with an EP, music video and a booked tour before it had even played so much as an open mic.

That debut tour brought them to Ashland, to which they will be returning for their time on Fri., July 7. Singer Ryan Barber took the time to answer a few questions to preview the performance for The Messenger.


RVM: You’ve played Southern Oregon a few times now. What brings you back? Any thoughts or expectations?

RB: We love the room/ venue! People in Ashland know how to move and really appreciate original music. We are looking forward to sharing the stage with our Portland friends Star Overblue.

RVM: You released your debut EP last year, around the time of your first performance in Southern Oregon. What’s happened with it since then?

RB: After the LP, we have toured the West Coast and out to Montana. KEXP our local beloved station added us to rotation and used “Mama” as song of the day the final week of 2016. We also charted strongly on college radio. We opened up for Helio Sequence and played many regional shows. The Headwaves crew looks forward to a busy summer, West Coast tour and a stint at the year’s Capitol Hill Block Party.

RVM: What do you call your sound? And why?

RB: Dream Pop/ Indie Rock. The songs are actually simple folk pieces that we layered with synthesizers and electronic beats.

RVM: What drew you towards that sound when you started playing together? Were there specific influences you were trying to emulate, or did it happen on its own?

RB: I originally sampled the drum beats to my favorite hip hop and pop songs, and from there layered my ideas and chord progressions over these underlying rhythms. Some our influences include Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Pond, MGMT, old rhythm and soul bands, and many others.

RVM: Analog or digital synths?

RB: Yes both! We really enjoyed using the Juno.

RVM: What’s on the radar for y’all?

RB: Capital Hill Block Party July 22nd! New record in the works.


Headwaves, with Star Overblue

9 pm Fri., July 7

Brickroom, 35 N. Main St., Ashland



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