In 2003, after creating her brand-new band 50 Foot Wave, Kristin Hersh created her own record company (ThrowingMusic, named for the seminal post-punk band she founded at age 14, Throwing Muses) and set to recording, releasing and distributing 50 Foot Wave's debut for herself.
In April of 2004, 50 Foot Wave released a self-titled blistering 6-song mini album, which earned the band much critical notice. So although 4AD stepped in to provide international distribution, it's been something of a DIY endeavour.
The EP was followed in March 2005 by Golden Ocean, the band's full-length debut. This is Hersh's first new band since founding the influential Throwing Muses - and it's a harder, faster, more direct experience altogether. After self-releasing the mini-album the band spent the balance of 2004 touring the US and Europe, playing unbelievably loud shows and in-stores, visiting radio, and otherwise getting the word out.
50 Foot Wave is comprised of Throwing Muses founder Kristin Hersh, joined by bassist Bernard Georges (Throwing Muses) and drummer Rob Ahlers. Kristin is arguably one of the most important women in music today. She's written and released nine albums fronting Throwing Muses, six as a solo artist, not to mention countless EPs and singles spread across a career which, almost unbelievably, spans two decades - and now, one 50 Foot Wave.
50 Foot Wave is propelled by the race-car engine of Kristin's guitar and her explosive, feral vocals. Bernard's bass, as always, is a muscle, undulating through Kristin's wall of sound. Ahlers's drumming is ferocious and unbridled, at once supporting and keeping pace with Kristin's driving and relentless sound. The trio are tight and powerful, creating music that is precise, emotional and seemingly on the edge of control.
Built - from the ground up - to be an overwhelming live experience, 50 Foot Wave tours extensively, Hersh explains, "The current state of the music business leaves us with fewer choices. A band can't just release a record and wait for the fans to "show up". Independent radio has been all but wiped out and independent retail is in even bigger trouble, so it's pretty simple really. Without radio we have to be the broadcast, and with diminished retail outlets, we have to be the means of distribution. Both of those realities mean that comprehensive touring is no longer optional, but required for a band that wants to play an active rather than a passive role in their own business."
Relying on one-to-one relationships to drive their music business, 50 Foot Wave strives to strengthen the bond between band and fan. The band will continue to build on the innovative work Kristin has been doing since the mid-nineties, finding new and exciting ways of involving fans in the music. They've provided early versions of songs as mp3s for download, and they opened the early rehearsals to interested fans - 120 people, some from as far as 3,000 miles away travelled to a practice space where they ate pizza and drank beer in an atmosphere that was decidedly more "living room" than rock club. Hersh says, "We're very lucky to have these people who care so much about us. Since 1994 I've had a web community of involved fans (www.throwingmusic.com) centred around the Muses, my solo stuff and now 50 Foot Wave. It's been a great thing for us."
From the beginning, 50 Foot Wave were described as "a force of nature", and Golden Ocean - a full-length, full-strength collection of songs - only reinforced the band's reputation. Kristin created the band for the sole purpose of being loud, fast and hard and when pressed, she sums up her vision for 50 Foot Wave : "What could be more fun that turning up to "10" and screaming your head off for an hour every night ?", she asks. Nothing Kristin, nothing at all.