Pale Waves, led by Heather Baron-Gracie (second from right), mix pop sounds and dark lyrics. (Courtesy photo)

Pale Waves, led by Heather Baron-Gracie (second from right), mix pop sounds and dark lyrics. (Courtesy photo)

UK’s Pale Waves enjoy boost from The 1975

Even though her British band Pale Waves has only three singles, singer-guitarist Heather Baron-Gracie has a style and silent-film-era fashion sense that already has earmarked her as alterna-pop’s next big thing. It helps that she has the backing of The 1975’s Matty Healy, who discovered the group two years ago, got it signed to his Dirty Hit imprint, and began producing its music and directing its videos. One of his first benevolent acts was to invite Baron-Gracie and company on its American arena tour last year. “That was pretty mental — for him to do that was just spectacular, and I still can’t thank him enough,” she
says.

You grew up in the tiny town of Preston as kind of a lone wolf?

Yeah. I’m just not a very sociable person. I don’t know — I just don’t seem to click with a lot of people, so I don’t have too many friends. I actually just have four or five best friends, and that’s more than enough for me. I don’t get it when people have loads of friends. How you can be so close to so many people just baffles me.

The first songs you wrote at 11 sounded like Avril Lavigne, you’ve said. How did you find the ethereal Pale Waves sound?

We found it one night, me and (band drummer) Ciara (Doran). We both listened to different sorts of music, and then we kind of combined it into one. I listened to a lot of depressing music, and she listened to a lot of upbeat pop. So then, as one, we fused the pop music with my depressing lyrical content. That’s how it became Pale Waves. I was into a lot of acoustic music, like Lucy Rose and Ben Howard — I just think he’s a great guitarist. So I was intrigued by different tunings of the guitar, and now I love songs in an open tuning.

How did you develop your Clara Bow-ish look?

Well, I’ve always been into dark sort of clothing, and I always wore black, heavy eye shadow. And when I met Ciara, I think we just expanded each other’s makeup, without even saying it or noting it. And now it’s sort of become our thing, and we’re really in to looking like it’s Halloween every night. People always say we look like we just walked out of a Tim Burton film, and we think that’s really cool.

Have you started to spot lookalikes in the audience?

I have, actually, and it’s crazy. There are all these mini-Heathers at our shows, and it’s really cute. And sometimes I’m taken aback because they look so much like me!

IF YOU GO
Pale Waves
Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 29
Tickets: $12 to $14
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.ticketfly.comPop Music

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The Rev. Norman Fong of the Chinatown Community Development Center joined San Francisco city leaders and community partners in a “Campaign for Solidarity” at Civic Center Plaza on Saturday, Apr 17, 2021. (CraigLee/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
City launches ‘Campaign for Solidarity’ to combat racial violence

Mayor London Breed, the city’s Human Rights Commission and community leaders launched… Continue reading

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Muni’s K-Ingleside line will return six months earlier than previously announced. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

The Warriors will be back inside the Chase Center against the Denver Nuggets on April 23. <ins>(Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Sports weekahead for week of April 18, 2021

A look at the upcoming major Bay Area sports events (schedules subject… Continue reading

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors those killed by police

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

Most Read