Fresh off the back of recent single ‘Left Behind’ and a performance for Porter Robinson’s Secret Sky Digital Festival, Wave Racer today releases ‘What Are We Waiting For?’. The track is a study in creative restraint and the latest flex of sonic dexterity from the Australian producer and multi-instrumentalist, out now on Astral People Recordings.
Tom Purcell says of the track, "This is the result of a creative exercise involving deliberate restriction - a proof of concept to prioritise process over materials. I limited my sound sources so I would have to be more creative with how I used them, kind of like playing a guitar with only 2 strings instead of 6. It forced me to produce the music in a very different way to normal. Every drum sound was crafted from the same tiny piece of non-musical noise.
The result is this really dense, noisey, shuffling drum groove that I would never normally come up with. Composing this ended up challenging my own hesitations surrounding my creative process, hence the title. More broadly, it’s just a really sonically interesting instrumental track, I guess like a study in sound design process, which was super helpful for me.”
Alongside the release of ‘What Are We Waiting For?’ is the announcement of Wave Racer’s first Australian headline shows since 2015's Flash Drive tour. Wave Racer will be joined by his full band for these unmissable live performances, where he’ll be debuting his two latest singles live along performances of all his classics with a couple surprises thrown in. Taking place at The Lansdowne in Sydney on July 9 (supported by Micra and Tasker) and The Northcote in Melbourne on July 15 (supported by Micra and Zeal), tickets are on sale now.
In retrospect, Purcell sees his anxieties bubbling up since first finding success as a 21-year-old, when he uploaded tracks ‘Rock U Tonite’ and ‘Stoopid’ to SoundCloud on a whim under the name Wave Racer -- an ode to a Nintendo 64 classic that captured the songs’ sunny, pixelated optimism.
Soon after, he was touring non-stop internationally and was considered a leading producer of ‘future bass’, an electronica genre trading in nostalgia, 808s and twinkling, hyper-speed beats. He won praise from Skrillex, Porter Robinson and Flume, remixing the latter as well as the likes of Foster The People and Tkay Maidza.
“I don't think I was ready for any of that,” he says. ”I'm normally very cautious with the decisions that I make... I thought I was managing the attention at the time but I wasn't coping very healthily. I was so worried about how people were going to perceive me if I made one wrong step. It was a recipe for anxiety.”
In 2019, Wave Racer returned with ‘AUTO’, his first original release since 2015 EP Flash Drive -- and his first with new label Astral People Recordings, marking their first release. A glitchy, vocoder-infused meta-pop ballad, the song sees Purcell fight through the mechanical expectations to constantly release music and play the role of a party-starting DJ.
Soon after, he released collaborative tracks ‘Summer Rain’ with triple j favourite Kwame, ‘This N That’ with LunchMoney Lewis and the sonic rush of ‘Higher’, co-produced by PC Music’s Danny L Harle (Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama).
‘What Are We Waiting For?’ is out now on Astral People Recordings / [PIAS].