Q&A with December Artist of the Month: Waves Crashing on Face
by Chrissy Prisco
How did Waves Crashing on Face start?
The band started off as a Ben Garrett solo record. I hired Scott initially to produce the record and play guitars. We needed session musicians, so I recruited some friends. These were folks who I’d played with in various groups in college or after college, plus our original drummer Tony who was Scott’s friend from another group. it was basically an all-star line up brought together for a one-off recording project. That project eventually resulted in Waves Crashing on Face the album. But it took a while, and somewhere in the middle of the process we got bored and decided to play a few live shows for a change of pace. We also did some stints as a Marley cover band and an ‘80/’90s cover band just for kicks, because we were waiting on one thing or another for the record. Somehow, over like a year or so, Waves became something of a live act phenomenon in the Boston area, packing small and midsize clubs, keeping the flurry of cover songs in the repertoire to the delight of local hipsters and popsters alike. We also cater to nerds, as I’m a scientist, and nerds rule. We’re currently working on our second album, to be ironically named later.
Where did the band name, Waves Crashing on Face, come from?
It’s funny, because everybody in the band seems to have a different theory on this: Zach says “We’ve had to stick with a variant of our original name Waves Crashing on Face or Waves for short. The name likely came to Ben in a dream or some other fit of anxiety, along with a list of a dozen others, and it was selected from a pool of other not-so-worthy options. Ben tries to change our name every couple of months, but we all like Waves, so we go through the rigors of tying him down and making him submit via tickle tortures of various sorts so we can just keep our name and identity.” I always thought it was how I described the chorus of our song Lost Feeling.
Truthfully, the name was kind of a running name for the project and due to the nature of how we started playing out and became a band it just sort of stuck. It originally came up when I was discussing the demos with a friend in another band. He was like, “So what does it sound like?” and I was like, “Like waves crashing on your face!
What are your biggest musical influences?
We like a lot of different kinds of music. We switch genres on the album and during shows like nothing. We’re like the anti-Pandora. I think we can all agree we have some major roots in classic rock, Beatles, Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Who, all those guys. We also love Marley and roots reggae in general. A lot of different stuff, actually. We are children of the 80’s and teens of the 90’s so there is a big influence from those decades too. I guess we can cite big name bands that were also built on classic rock influences: Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Beck, Phish, Radiohead.
What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
We’re all listening to different stuff. I’ve been listening to stuff like TV on the Radio and the Fleet Foxes this week. Scott says he’s been listening to P-Funk, Sam Cook, vocal jazz from the forties, Miles Davis, Goldenboy and Porcupine Tree and locally, Comanchero. Adam is hearing Sons of Otis, Jucifer, Black Pyramid, and Blue Aside. Jim is listening to the O’Jays and Hot Chocolate. Zach is hearing Arcade Fire, Lee Family Curse, The Dodos and Paul Simon.
What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
My first concert was Duran Duran in the 90s, first album that I think I bought was Eddie Money, but I forget which one. Scott’s first concert was U2, first album, Europe's The Final Countdown. Zach’s first concert was Paul Simon in the Park in 1991, his first album De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising.
What do you love about New England's music scene?
I love that it’s really strong with a lot of quality music. It doesn’t suck. In Boston, I can go out in Allston or Cambridge or Somerville and not know who’s playing or what and just walk around and hit 3 clubs with really good local bands of all genres almost any day of the week. That’s just disgustingly nice if you like live music. Also, there's a real community of musicians out there in the Boston scene, which we dabble in and it's great to hang and see and support eachother's music. There are also cool rooms to play and many neighborhoods of music enthusiasts seeking inspiration.
What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
I’d like to see more people look to go out and see local bands, not only if it's their friends' band or whatever, but just as a night out. As I said, I’m constantly impressed by the awesome talents around our city, but you never know what’s what and who’s good until you go out to the clubs, and trust me you will not be disappointed when you do. But for non-musicians or enthusiasts, the scene needs more general interest. More small venues. We also would like to be able to play longer sets instead of being showcased sometimes, which always happens in town. But eventually, I think we’ll get that wish...
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
We'll be spending the first part of 2012 writing, arranging, and recording our new album. No shows. Its going to be a full band album, with input from all of us, and recorded live in one studio rather than multi-tracked in various places. We’ll still throw in some found sounds though, for sure. Then we’ll be back on the scene, playing more local shows and probably NYC and a few other major northeast cities.
What was your most memorable live show?
We have lots of good memories. Our first Middle East sellout last summer was super cool. I remember playing a couple of fantastic shows early on at random places, like a bar in Allston (The Draft) that I think we got banned from after for being too loud. (They no longer have live music). Some cool festival shows up in Maine and Vermont. Early on, some guy tried to sell me a trash bag full of clothes at our show. We have an archive linked from our facebook page where you can download a bunch of these for free. Also , Waves has had the chance to play for two of our bandmembers' weddings this past year. What's more memorable than that?
Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?
We have many fans and friends who have been there along the way, and continue to stand by and listen to our work. Hear Now Live! deserves a special shout out, I think, for believing in us and keeping us booked and on stage. Our friends in Comanchero deserve a similar shout out.
Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?
Scott: A three-way tie between my Strat, Jekyll and Hyde overdrive and my HeadRush delay. With that gear and any amp I can play the vast majority of our set. Zach: My Fender Rhodes 73 Suitcase Piano. Even though it rarely works anymore without constant care and expenditure, and even though it weighs 250 pounds and is a bitch to take anywhere, just knowing it's there gives me great comfort. It's unique vintage sound has been the foundation that I base all other sounds on. If I could, I'd always have it on stage with me.
Why do you read The Deli?
The Deli supports and highlights local music! We like to get introduced to local acts that we might not have otherwise become privy to.