Memory Tapes is the project of musician Dayve Hawk. Growing up in New Jersey, Hawk retreated into his obsession for music at an early age. He began playing drums at the age of nine, but was inspired by his makeshift vinyl collection of the Beatles and David Bowie to begin writing songs, recording homespun guitar tunes on a toy karaoke machine. Over the next decade, he recorded hundreds of tracks alone in his parents’ basement - never going to shows, never playing in bands and rarely sharing the demos. After years of building synthesizers and recording tracks at home, while working the overnight shift at a grocery, store Hawk was convinced by fellow coworker Matt Maraldo to form the Philadelphia-based dance-punk act Hail Social in 2005. The band released two well-received albums and embarked on international tours, giving Hawk an exposure to youth culture and an expansive music scene he hadn’t experienced outside of his insular home recordings.
When the band broke up, Hawk moved back to rural New Jersey. With a newfound interest to share his music with a larger audience, he started a blog to post his new tracks, recorded under the trio of aliases Memory Cassette, Weird Tapes and Memory Tapes. The hazy electronic tracks began to circulate around the internet, as well as his buzzed-about remixes for songs by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Peter Bjorn & John and Britney Spears.
After releasing a Memory Cassette EP, Hawk officially adopted the Memory Tapes moniker and released his debut LP, Seek Magic, in September 2009. With the Memory Tapes project, Hawk fleshed out his vision of experimental electronic music based on field recordings, and Seek Magic was greeted with praise from critics, landing at #23 on Pitchfork’s top albums of 2009. In 2011, Hawk followed Seek Magic’s success with his second full-length Player Piano, a record that adopted a fuller band sound in its Motown inspired treatment. Memory Tapes also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Short Form Music Video for the Player Piano single “Yes I Know.”
“…a record of achingly gorgeous dance-pop that captures both the joy of nostalgia and the melancholic sense that we're grasping for good times increasingly out of reach.” – Pitchfork
“…the debut from Memory Tapes is a rare album of delightfully addictive pop, positioned on the difficult-cum-enviable dividing line between the indie underground and mainstream recognition.” – BBC
“But the general sense of Proustian nostalgia - and I also hear the shimmering radiance of the Cocteau Twins, the heat-haze dance-pop of Saint Etienne - is something I imagine will work for almost everyone, evoking different, half-remembered songs from their past; ones they heard, ones they wrote, or ones they maybe just imagined.” – The Quietus
“Memory Tapes oozes the crossover charm of Broken Bells or The Postal Service The infectious ‘Sunhits’ revisits the New Order beats of 2009 debut album Seek Magic, and Player Piano finally opens both barrels on ‘Trance Sisters.’” – NME
“During the chillwave boom of the late 2000s, New Jersey’s Dayve Hawk and his group Memory Tapes moved toward the forefront of that burgeoning sub-genre by blending blissful synth-pop hooks with lo-fi laptop ambience.” – The AV Club