Hey look! Another Weekly Featured Artist! This week we have a band who has been floating around the pages here at Everything Is Noise for a couple of months now. Their most recent album has been reviewed by myself and they have been featured in our The Noise of August playlist over on Spotify. Of course we are talking about Palm Haze today, duh, it’s in the title.
I have been lucky enough to meet up with the members of Palm Haze to have a conversation with them before one of their shows. Anna Wagner and Lucas Inacio are two of the loveliest people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. The day started out normally but quickly became special when I walked into the cafe we decided to meet at and they were sitting there waiting with smiles. I was able to ask them questions, talk about life, and then later, watch them perform. The venue which I saw them play was small but it kept things feeling intimate which lent itself nicely to the music. Just as a testament at how nice they are, as soon as I walked into the venue of their show, Anna had a beer bought and put in my hands. Nothing says friendship like free beer!
The cafe we met at is a local place which always keeps a calendar full of events, so right off the bat the place had an air of creativity in it. I sat down and flipped through my notes as the steam from my fresh coffee escaped into the air and the rain outside gently pattered against the windows. With the stage fully set, I began asking them questions about the band, their life, their travels, their experiences throughout their tour, and the benefits of living in Canada. I started off asking about their tour and how that differs from regular road trips, something that is loved by me and both Anna and Lucas . Anna spoke of travelling being her favourite thing to do and touring combined that with her love of playing music. She went on to say that touring gives them the opportunity to meet amazing people and bands which allows them to watch all of the bands they meet play live.
Their tour which was in support of their recently released album Rêve Bleu took place across Canada. Anna spoke of how the people she has met throughout their tour thus far have been very supportive. Lucas joined in with agreement saying that there is a uniqueness to touring and how supportive and nice people are. Touring presents the ability to meet people in settings you wouldn’t normally meet them and allows you to see parts of the city you wouldn’t normally be able to as a tourist. Lucas goes onto say that they have been invited out to so many after parties with the notion that they were definitely welcome back whenever they were in town again.
Continuing on with conversations about the tour, I asked how fan interactions have been going so far. As mentioned above, they both said that people overall had been really supportive and lovely. Anna told a story of their show in Quebec City saying:
‘It’s so fun, I was doing the door… this guy walks in and looks at me and says, “You’re Palm Haze, right?” and I didn’t have a stamp so I drew a happy face on his hand and he says “Wow, I’m never washing my hand again.”’
Small, local shows bring out the best in people because of the ability to interact with everyone. This creates connections between fans and the band that would never be able to take place otherwise. Keeping on the subject of fan interactions, I asked how people have been responding to the new album Rêve Bleu. Lucas responded by saying that they have been seeing a lot of positive reviews and overall they have been received quite well. Anna went on to talk about some of the negative comments she has been seeing and how there’s a real juxtaposition between them and the positive comments.
‘You never know right. It’s funny to see negative comments and then I see a positive comment and it’s the exact opposite. Everyone has a different opinion but overall it’s been good hearing a lot of people’s feedback. It’s very unique because it mixes a lot of different sounds… my favorite thing to listen to is how people are identifying them and is the thing that is what stood out to people.’
Moving from fan interactions I asked what brought Palm Haze to Vancouver when they decided to move away from Brazil. Right off the bat, part of the reasoning is because of how welcoming Canada is to immigration compared to other local countries (who shall remain nameless!). On top of that though there was a familiarity with Vancouver because the beaches and the ocean life that comes with it. Anna says: ‘I’ve never heard people really talk about Canada, like it was never on my radar but the more I researched it the more it stood out to me. It came to me as a place that had more art, culture, it was full of nature and people cared about nature more and the quality of life. Of course, there is still capitalism but people seem to care about community more.’ All I am hearing is that Canada and Canadians are awesome, and are obviously humble!
I asked how living in Canada compared to Brazil affected their song-writing process. They mainly spoke about how much the winter was a huge shock to them and therefore influenced their writing. ‘Winter is a time where you want to just stay home and write music’ Anna says in talking about winter. Lucas goes onto add:
‘…the first album we did, we did right after moving to Canada. There’s a bit more of a summery vibe. This second one, is very inspired by the winter blues. It was after we first experienced the winters, it’s much colder than Brazil. It got much more moody. Where before we were more about palm trees and now it’s more about pine trees… it gets darker much earlier here.’
Palm Haze has their own approach when it comes to creating songs and melodies. They focus on the raw emotion of the first few playthroughs of whatever they are currently working on rather than trying to perfect a song. Lucas states, ‘It’s more of a moment. We just try to capture something. Our recording is always ready to capture something.’ While Anna adds, ‘You capture the feeling of it when you first write it and record it and when you try to re-record something and you just don’t capture the same feelings or mood.’ There is something admirable in not needing perfection to capture the feeling of raw emotion. I personally have found that the strive for the perfect sounding song has been the downfall of many records.
Continuing on our train of talking about music, I asked them about how they came upon their instruments of choice. For me, when I chose which instrument to focus on learning more it was out of necessity, the band I was joining needed a bass player so I focused on that. I asked Palm Haze if they had a similar tale or if they had come into their own instruments differently. Anna plays the bass and provides vocals while Lucas handles guitar and production. They both had quite a history so I will divide it up here. First Anna spoke:
‘For me, when I was younger, I tried learning the guitar, I played a little bit of the acoustic but I never really stuck to it. It was something I just stopped doing. Then we decided to play music together and I knew Lucas wanted to go with guitar. So I wanted to do something different so I went with bass and was like if it doesn’t work out then I could try something different, but I like it. With vocals, I always liked singing but I never had any training so I took some singing lessons to learn about technique. I feel like I have a very specific type of singing where it’s not full “ahhh” but it helped me find out what I could go for.’
Secondly, Lucas told his own history with guitar and production:
‘Since I was young I’ve played guitar, I remember when I started […] I was young but it didn’t stick that much. But after sometime I decided I wanted to have a project or band or something like that, but I got influenced by some artists like Kevin Parker from Tame Impala and he makes everything. So I started learning music theory and composition and stuff like this. So I would be able to make everything basically. After that I started more guitar, now i see it more as a tool, you know, for composition, it’s a very complete instrument, I’ll compare it to piano which is the next one that has a lot of notes and ranges. So I guess the guitar is a very good way to make songs. In the end, it’s still my favourite instrument to play.’
All of this led to a good transition about talking about their formative years in music. Not only were they figuring out their creative musical side, they were also experimenting with what kind of music they would listen to. A lot of good bands were thrown about by both of them including: Sonic Youth, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Deftones, Pixies and more recently, Deafheaven. Both Anna and Lucas went through a phase of listening mostly to melodic metal bands as well. Lucas also branched off into vapourwave and electronic bands as he was learning the production side of music creation.
The world is a scary place and the internet allows all of the positive and negative things easy access into our lives. Everyday I have ups of being proud of people and downs of completely hating the world, it’s a large range of emotion to endure everyday. On this thinking, I asked Palm Haze what they do when they start to feel overwhelmed by the scary place we live. Anna responded saying:
‘It’s hard sometimes, the more I get into the internet, the more down I get. There’s too much negative, there’s too much to process. Sometimes I like to step back and not even engage too much and think more about my life and my circle. I think it’s important to focus on something that’s good. You can try, you’re not going to change the world, so you have to try to engage in your community and things that surround you. I just try to live a life you’re proud of living and do things your proud of. That helps me not think too much about what’s happening outside and more about what’s happening around me.’
I’m nailing these transitions today! Furthering the topic of being proud of the life you live, I asked what they would be doing if they weren’t musicians. Anna immediately responded by saying she would be hanging out with her cats because she misses them so much. Can relate. She later added that ‘I’ve wanted to be an actress, I was into acting when I was younger, you know, it was my dream to become an actress. It didn’t happen exactly like that, now I’m a musician and still get to be on stage and I love that.’ Lucas had his own answer, stating, ‘If it wasn’t music, I would still be doing something with art like photography or trying to make a short movie.’ Artists in every version of their lives, despite the space time continuum branching off down different paths.
As artists, there is a need to be constantly feeling creative, this is done through a wide variety of influences. I asked Anna and Lucas what some of their favourite hobbies are and how they contribute to their creativity. Lucas started off by saying they liked to go hiking and being around nature in general. Being new to Vancouver they are always exploring, and for those who have never been, Vancouver is surrounded by beautiful terrain, endless ocean, and colossal mountains. Having access to water and beaches was also a huge source of inspiration for them, especially since they have come up to Canada from Brazil. The water is able to put Anna in an almost meditative state which quiets her mind so that she can be her most creative self. Watching movies, just being around art, and touring is also a major part of their process, Lucas adding:
‘It happens naturally, as we tour we get to see more local bands and so I’ve been listening to a lot of them. As a musician, even watching other musicians doing things on stage, there’s are always things to be inspired about.’
Coming up on the end of our conversation together, I asked them how they were able to stand out in the ever changing and ever expanding music industry. Things like Spotify and YouTube, along with the endless amount of new bands coming and going, creates a vast sea of new content and oftentimes artists get overlooked. Lucas spoke of being a band but not being just about the music, it also expands to how they interact with fans online. Anna expanded saying,
‘We try to make things good, not good but things we are proud of. For example, we like to think about other pieces. We have a goal to check out our art work and things like that. Try to make things that really show visually who we are and our sound. It’s about the music but there’s also all these other pieces.’
Our conversation lasted around an hour and it became clear to me that these two had an immense love for music, life, and their fans. They are some of the most genuine people that I have ever met and definitely deserve the praise they get. As the steam dissipated and our cups emptied, I asked them a final question of what can we expect next out of them. As artists do, they are continuously working on new material though they are taking their time so there is no expected date for anything. I, for one, will be patiently waiting for their next chapter and am excited for them to carry on doing their thing.
Palm Haze is:
Anna Wagner: Bass and Vocals
Lucas Inacio: Guitars and Production