Denver band Wave Decay defies traditional genre labels. The music is so different from what most indie shoegaze bands are playing, it’s difficult to cite any act that sounds similar.
But Wave Decay's Jeff Deakyne and Payton Funk ultimately identify their sound as krautrock, a 1960-’70s West German experimental rock movement.
“I think we pull a lot of influences from stuff that we love, but we’re a krautrock band, because when it came out, it wasn’t a genre — it was a lifestyle, and it was a movement. It was anything against contemporary music after World War II,” Deakyne says. “Kraftwerk, Neu!, Harmonia. That was just going against the grain of society. I think it’s just making weird noises and drone and having punk influences as well.”
Funk adds that krautrock is certainly not “musical masturbation," referencing the penchant some musicians have to constantly show off their chops through extended jams or solos.
“I feel like krautrock is the opposite of musical masturbation. It’s about restraint," he says. "There’s something about the trance and the minimalism. I don’t know what other way to put it.
“We have our own flavor on all the music we write. We’re not trying to be something. We just write music and play it. If people like it, we’ll see. That’s the [most fun] part: playing these songs out live. It feels good when fucking people are into it after you play a song for the first time live,” he continues, adding, “There’s not a lot of music like ours in Denver.”
He’s right — and that type of intrigue complements Wave Decay’s amorphous renderings, which are even more intoxicating live. The next opportunity to see the four-piece, which includes Mason Peters and Marisa Dal Santo, is Wednesday, February 22, when the band opens for Lorelle Meets the Obsolete at the hi-dive. DJ Novak is also playing.
Funk and Deakyne initially met in 2018, when they were both “longhairs,” and Funk had first moved to Denver after spending several years in the Austin psych scene. The two began to mess around musically, but Wave Decay really took off during the tumultuous times of the pandemic, which resulted an EP titled the world is wasted. Much of the inspiration was “heavy into the uncertainty that was happening in 2020,” Deakyne notes.
“We’ve always talked on current events and experiences. I do most of the lyrics writing, and it’s always about society as a whole — and I never talk about this one time I took mushrooms and walked through the forest. We play psychedelic music, but it’s more about current events and living in the moment,” he says, adding that the band’s writing process is “easy” compared to other groups he’s been in.
Funk agrees, but still doesn’t know how to explain what Wave Decay's genre is, exactly.
“I’m trying to think of a way to describe how we got to our sound, and I don’t know. I feel confident that it’s uniquely ours. You can’t compare it to where I came from or…I don’t know,” he says.
“It’s ethereal,” Deakyne interjects. “I’d definitely smoke a bowl before listening to it, as cheesy as that sounds.”
“Or take psychedelics,” Funk adds. “That’s what I’d advise people to do if they come see us play, because it’ll take you on a journey, if that’s what you want to do.”
Deakyne clarifies, “It’s not like we’re taking psychedelics all the time, but that music is incredible. … When you come to our show, you’re going to feel things. We’ve had people cry at our shows before, which is pretty moving.”
And maybe that’s the best way to describe Wave Decay: It’s an auditory experience.
Wave Decay, 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 22, hi-dive, 7 South Broadway. Tickets are $15-$18.