Getting to Know Szun Waves

Szun Waves are made up of PVT drummer Laurence Pike, saxophonist from experimental jazz-ambient quartet Portico Jack Wyllie, and acclaimed producer and modular-synth wizard, Luke Abbott. They are performing at Sydney Festival in January. We asked Laurence to tell us more about the band:

We are… Szun Waves, The Z was added for easy internet searches and potentially avoiding litigation from mid-western American garage bands.

The band personnel is…
Luke Abbott – Modular Synthesisers/Laptop
Jack Wyllie – Saxophone/effects
Laurence Pike – Drums/bells
We perform improvised music inspired by spiritual jazz, fourth world mysticism, and Kraftwerk.
Luke calls it ‘Sports Jazz’ when uber drivers ask him what kind of music he makes.

“At Sacred Walls” is… the name of our debut album. We recorded it live at James Holden’s studio in West London, which is called ‘Sacred Walls’. Aside from it obviously being a clever album title… I think the idea of the music being a form of communion is important to us as a group. We completely improvise our music, so entering a space and searching for something ecstatic or beyond our immediate perception can take on a spiritual dimension, when it really works at least. We hope that when people come to hear us they could potentially have a similar experience too.

Home is… all over the world. Currently we live on three different continents: Luke is in Norwich, UK, I’m down here in Sydney, Australia, and meanwhile Jack recently moved from London to Dakar, Senegal (looking forward to seeing how that influences the music). I guess you could say that London is as close to home base as we have as a band.

Our upcoming performance at Sydney Festival will be… the first time we’ve played in Australia. We did a number of shows in London and Europe in 2016, but I’m excited to present what we’ve been doing in my hometown for the first time. Performing in a church seems appropriate somehow too.

We spend too much time… looking at our phones. It’s fucking with how our brains work. I like to think that the music we make is the opposite of looking at your phone.

It might surprise people to learn that… our album is the sound of three people that had never played together before. I hadn’t met Luke or Jack before arriving at the studio on the first day of recording. We’d only had contact via email and discussed getting together to play the next time I was in London. Needless to say we hit it off.

In the future… Szun Waves will be the soundtrack to the hopes and dreams of all humans, like that band Keanu Reeves has in the Matrix.

For information on Szun Waves’ performance at St Stephen’s Uniting Church for Sydney Festival, go here:

bobby townsend


Interview by Bobby Townsend.