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EDM Producer Wave Racer Surfs the Web for Wild, Colorful Sounds

In Clubs
Australian producer Tom Purcell, AKA Wave Racer, relies heavily on ‘technology and the Internet’ when crafting his glossy, maximal EDM.

Australian producer Tom Purcell, AKA Wave Racer, relies heavily on ‘technology and the Internet’ when crafting his glossy, maximal EDM.

You could fill a rolodex with adjectives to use when describing Wave Racer’s music—a high-energy mix of bright, shimmery synths and samples that wouldn’t sound out of place in the Nintendo 64 game from which Tom Purcell borrowed his stage name. One fan took to Twitter to proclaim that “listening to Wave Racer, is like looking at Lisa Frank stickers,” which also makes sense. It’s easy to imagine the Australian DJ and producer’s music evoking searing magentas, purples and neon pinks in the minds eye of a synesthete.

Purcell, who brings Wave Racer to SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant next Tuesday, defers to his fans when it comes to explaining his tunes. “Everyone comes up with better adjectives than I do when describing my music,” he says. Wave Racer’s maximalist, “future bass” sound is often compared to Cashmere Cat, Hudson Mohawke and Rustie—all of whom are known for their jam-packed, erratic, yet pop-oriented, styles.

But all of that is too clinical sounding for Purcell. The way he explains it, he is just trying to make music that is “fun and makes you feel good with cool synth sounds.”

The majority of those “cool synth sounds” come from and through Purcell’s primary tool of creation—his laptop. “Technology and the Internet has made it possible for the process of making music a lot faster as well as having the ability to get more sounds on demand,” he says. The producer crafts his pieces by seeking out and experimenting with sounds—drawing them out of the vast electronic sea that is the web, pulling them apart, and combining them with other sonic scraps.

It’s a sound that is clearly resonating with clubgoers all over the world. Purcell is just coming off of a European tour, which took him to Amsterdam, London, Paris and Berlin. He’s set to play a homecoming show in Sydney before coming to the States for a string of shows, including the Mad Decent Block Party in Maryland, a headlining set at 1015 Folsom, and the SP2 show—a treat for fans of the bar who also happen to appreciate Wave Racer’s brand of glossy EDM.

The Wave Racer show is not the first such event at SP2, and it won’t be the last. However, according to Pomaikai Shishido, co-owner and manager of the bar and restaurant, SP2 is not looking to become a club. Although a previous show at SP2 drew as many as 800 people, the Wave Racer event is being intentionally limited in order to foster a more intimate vibe and avoid over-crowding.

As for Purcell, he is riding high on his recent, well, wave of success, and says he is excited for the show. “It’s always exciting going to new places and not knowing what to expect,” he says—“Just going out there to play my music and experiencing something new is really great.”

Wave Racer spins at SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant on August 5 at 10pm. More info.

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