Though Toronto four-piece Weaves crafts a sound that's already being hailed as the future of weird pop, its fans can't quite pin down what makes it so alchemical. But boy, do they love trying. The band's vocalist, Jasmyn Burke, nets nearly as many comparisons to Aaliyah as she does to Siouxsie Sioux, though one outlet's appraisal — "if Karen O was the lead singer of your acid trips" — is also rather apt. Weaves — ignited just two years ago by the collaborative efforts of Burke, guitarist Morgan Waters, and the Voice Memos app — has been referred to as, "somewhere between Pixies and Pavement," "bubblegrunge," and, a personal favorite, "Nirvana playing Looney Tunes." All of these assessments, however divergent, are pretty spot on. Yet Weaves somehow breaks even this out-of-the-box mold — concocting an elastic blend of oddball pop, spasmodic surf rock, and zanily energetic punk that's truly all its own.
Today, i-D is excited to exclusively stream Weaves' eagerly anticipated debut album, the self-titled Weaves LP, ahead of its release this Friday, June 17. Comprising 11 tracks which include singles "Tick," "Candy," "Coo Coo," and the riotous "One More," (watch its delightfully DIY video, we're begging you), the record has been in the works since Weaves first became a band. Mixed by Alex Newport (who's previously teamed with Death Cab for Cutie and Melvins) and mastered by John Greenham (whose credits range from Death Grips to Sky Ferreira), Weaves is a triumphant assault on all things conventional, from vacuous zombie pop to cut-and-dry guitar rock.
We caught up with Burke — presently on a summer-long European tour with Weaves — to learn more about the record's multifaceted sound and the time her mom got kicked out of a Prince concert.
I was just looking at your "Sonic Bubble Steam Bath" playlist on Apple Music; there's some really great stuff on there. Arthur Russell and Lana Del Rey together at last.
Jasmyn Burke: [Laughs.] Every bubble is unique in this playlist.
You're going to be touring for a while. What do you guys listen to on the road?
Actually, our van doesn't have an auxiliary cord, so we have to listen to old CDs. There's nothing else for us to do but listen to our pasts — a lot of Björk and Radiohead. We just got into Scotland, so we're listening to Enya.
Before this tour, you were on the road with Sunflower Bean. How was that? Any Enya marathons?
I wish. They were really awesome! We'd go for group dinners, and by the end of the tour, it was like a family affair. They're all about psychedelic, crazy guitar licks, so we sort of made sense together because I feel like we were both playing in-your-face and aggressive, yet pop-y, music.
Does playing the songs live give you a new outlook on them?
The songs evolve, get tighter. Once you start aggressively playing a song that seemed really simple or square, you'll find this crazy interesting thing to do with it on the road, just because you get bored if you keep playing it the same way every night. As a singer, I feel like I'm a lot stronger when I'm on the road. We're playing together every day, and you hit this new stream of enlightenment with each song. You try to find an interesting way to keep it exciting for yourself. There's this improvisation that happens and it's really fun.
Let's talk about this record. I'd imagine working on a debut full-length involves a different headspace than when you're working on an EP. How did you guys approach that transition?
After the EP, it sort of felt like we had to make our songs bigger and better. And especially after we played Glastonbury last summer, it really put a fire in us; if you want to start playing those bigger audiences, you want your music to hold up in those larger atmospheres. But we kind of approached making the record like the EP, in that we didn't want there to be too much pressure on what we were doing. We took our time and just opened ourselves up to whatever songs came out.
People seem to love not being able to pin your sound down. What sort of stuff populates the Weaves universe, and which parts of it do you guys feel helps shape this record?
I think we all like a variety of music. I'm more of the emotional singer who likes artists that pour out their heart. I like Patti Smith and Mavis Staples, and part of that is because you really hear their emotions — it's super important to me. We all love Prince, we all love Michael Jackson, and PJ Harvey — they have that combination of technique meets raw emotion. But also, we're in an iPod age where you just grow up and listen to any type of music; you're not necessarily a genre-specific type of person. No one really identifies with one genre anymore, so why would your music just have to be rock music or just rap music?
Speaking of Prince, I read on Instagram that your mom got thrown out of his concert?
She did, yes. We went to see Prince last fall and she got kicked out. She was filming "Purple Rain," and they were very strict. He had his own security for kicking people out if you were filming — they're not even part of the house staff. She got taken to a holding space with this other group of people. She was like, "I thought you were going to follow me out!" and I was like, "Uh, no… I wanted to see the rest of Prince!"
What do you guys hope people take from this record?
We just want people to know it's honest, and we worked really hard on it. We feel like it represents us at this point in time, so hopefully people enjoy it. We tried to record something that emulated what we're doing now, which is just improvising and having fun as a foursome.
Text Emily Manning