BAND YOU SHOULD KNOW/ INTERVIEW WITH WAYWARD
Hailing from Reno, Nevada (aka The Biggest Little City) unsigned pop-rockers Wayward is comprised of Chris Stanton (vocals, guitar), Allen Lewis (guitar), Brad Crane (bass), and Paul Curatolo (drums, vocals). They have been breaking into the industry since their first EP in 2009., including being featured on Smartpunk’s Top 10 Unsigned Acts, being crowned Hometown Heroes in the September 2009 issue of Alternative Press Magazine, and recently being featured on Purevolumes homepage for a week.The members believe in building personal relationships with their fans and pride themselves on being reachable and relatable; in doing so there newly released EP, “With Love”, was funded 100% by their fans from around the country. With the fans help they were able to do a full 4-song EP release with Kyle Black in West Hollywood, CA, at the same studio that All Time Low tracked their latest album. They were also able to get the songs professionally mastered by Alan Douches of West West Side Music in NYC (Bayside, Pete Townshend, Fleetwood Mac, etc). Wayward has been trying to get ahold of Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy, Black Cards, Owner of Decaydance Records) to show him the publicly address letter they wrote for him and shorty after this interview Wentz tweeted Wayward back saying “haha you guys are funny and have dedicated fans- gonna scope when I get home.” Can’t wait to see what happens.
Before forming the band, how did each of you know you wanted to perform music for a living?
Allen and Paul's dads are members of a Beatles tribute band called Rain that has enjoyed a lot of success, so they've been close to music since birth. But all of us have had those "I get it" moments individually during our childhood where we've seen the excitement behind performing, writing, and sharing songs with an audience. I think we're all so captivated by that feeling that at this point, we honestly can't imagine doing anything else.
You guys have been a band for quite a while, how did you know you wanted to be in a band together?
I guess it kinda goes with our answer to the first question. We all just kind of have it ingrained in us to want to play music. And we've all been friends, playing music for so long now, that it just wouldn't make sense not to. But if you want the whole story, here goes: Allen and Paul we're friends from birth through their families (the Beatles tribute band that I mentioned earlier). I met Allen in 3rd grade, through a mutually nerdy obsession with Goldeneye on N64. Around that same time, Allen and I used to "play Woodstock" in his room, which was basically just us pretending to play and sing to an audience with his stereo on full blast, haha. Around 6th grade, Paul started jamming around with us, and we played cover songs as a 3-piece, just for fun (I played bass at the time). Then after dinkin' around with covers for a few years and playing a couple dances and things like that, we started writing our own songs with our first band Hearts Fall (hah!). Eventually, after realizing we sucked big time, we scrapped the whole thing and started writing new songs from scratch under the name Wayward in 2007 (our senior year of high school). That was when Brad came into the mix. He was a friend of Paul's in high school. Aaaand that's that. Nothing too exciting. =)
What do you think about the local Reno music scene? How have you seen it changed over the years since you’ve been a band?
Oh boy. The Reno scene is a strange animal, and I could probably talk about it for hours, but I'll keep it simple, haha. Basically, we've gathered over the last few years that the turnover rate for bands in this town is higher than McDonalds. Every time we get excited about a new local group that gets together, they break up within a year or so. It's kind of a bummer, but luckily we got off on the right foot (we think), and kind of separated ourselves from the whole "Reno Famous" goal. We've always set our sights beyond Reno, and because of that we feel like maybe we're able to avoid the drama and other things in the local scene that may have deterred us from bigger, better things in the past. We have some good friends that are or have been a part of the scene here, and we're really thankful for that. Obviously we have to know our roots and where we came from, so we can't talk Reno down TOO much. =)
Wayward was featured in Alternative Press Magazine’s Hometown Heroes section in the September 2009 issue, what was that like for you?
That was so awesome for us. I may be wrong, but I want to say that was the first "big" thing we had happen for us. I think it was a much bigger deal to us symbolically than anything else. It helped us to really start thinking about ourselves through the eyes of the whole country vs. just Reno, or just the area where we can play shows, etc. It made us feel like we were on the radar finally. So, in a way, it really put an iron under our butts to keep our momentum up, and continue to progress.
Who do you think changed the music industry? Why?
Oh man, so many. For all intents and purposes though, we can narrow it down to our top choice, which has to be the Beatles. They were able to write outside the box (which, at the time, was 3-4 chord arrangements, and very simple, straightforward song structures). Not to mention, they had 26 #1 singles over their short career, which is nothing short of astounding. And for them to still be relevant today is just wild. They're a very big icon for us, and for pop music in general. If they can do what they did, then there's no excuse to not try for anything less, if that makes sense.
As some people might know one of your top inspirations is Pete Wentz, you recently wrote a publicly open letter addressed to him. What made you do that? What do you admire so much about him?
Oh boy, haha. It's weird, it's not necessarily that we admire him "so much," but more that we recognize the position he's earned for himself. We feel like that position has made him somewhat of an industry-leader, with the label and everything. He's also a mentor-figure to us, with his previous discoveries of groups like Panic at the Disco and The Academy Is. That being said, we feel like the industry is so heavily based around trends, and simple formulas of what's been done in the past, that we should try and branch out from that. In this case, we're breaking the trend of "little guy" bands like us thinking they can never have a touch point with a celebrity like Pete Wentz unless they're famous too. We think that's bonkers, and that life's too short to not at least try. It worked for us when we wrote Anthony Raneri in 2008, and it worked again in 2010 when we wrote Scott Sellers of Rufio. I think what it really boils down to is that all these big "celebrities" really are just real people at the end of the day. And we think if you treat them like real people, sometimes good things happen. You just never know. So that's what we tried with Pete. Who knows if he'll ever read it, or ever care, but now we won't regret not trying.
There have been a lot of local Reno bands that have parted ways in the last few years, how have you guys managed to stay together for so long and kept the same lineup of members since Wayward started?
We based our entire musicianship and band off of strong friendship from the get-go. There was no business mentality here at any point. It was us four dudes playing and writing songs because that's what we had the most fun doing. Some people would go out and party, some would play sports, and some would do other things. But we always came back to music in our spare time. It's what gave us a rush, and helped us find meaning in our lives and our friendship. So, I guess our friendship is what has kept us together. And a mutual desire to really make something happen with our music. We're all kind of pushing for it together...fighting for it together, ya know?
How would you describe the local music scene in Reno?
In terms of our general field of music, the Reno music scene consists of a lot of hardcore/metal groups, some rock, some pop (although barely anymore), and a shit ton of bar-bands, haha. That's the best I can describe it off the top of my head, in terms of genre diversity.
We are not a “band.”
We are friends.
We are students.
We are employees.
We are game nerds.
We are procrastinators.
We are over-eaters.
We are weekend warriors.
And we are song writers.
Welcome to the family.
“With Love” was released a few months ago and it was funded 100% by your fans from around the country. With your fans help, you were able to do a full 4-song EP release with Kyle Black in West Hollywood, CA, and you were able to get the songs professionally mastered by Alan Douches of West West Side Music in NYC. Are you guys in awe of your fan support?
We were dumbfounded that our fans pulled that one off, haha. We launched the fundraiser as a "why not" kind of thing, because we were going to have to save up for a long time. In fact, With Love probably wouldn't even be out yet if we had saved up for it by ourselves. Anyway, our fans ended up donating enough to help us do two extra songs, and get it professionally mastered. We couldn't believe it! We can't say we were too surprised though- Wayward fans have always been incredibly trusting and giving to us in the past. We're very lucky. We're hoping to have a good response with our next fundraiser!
The week of Oct. 24-30 you were the band with the “most-played tunes” on Purevolume, that even beat Mayday Parade and The Ready Set, how did you guys react to that?
We were really excited about that. It's nice to get little payoffs like that after a lot of hard work. They really help us keep going. But on the other side of things, we also try and not let it get to us too much, because yeah, it's awesome that we were #1, but the reality of it is that it was only for one week, and we had a front-page feature that week, so it made sense to us, ya know? Not to say we weren't grateful, but we like to try and keep our feet on the ground. There will be a day when we can shamelessly celebrate and go nuts, but we don't think we've gotten there yet. =)
What inspires you to write music and keep pursuing being in a band?
Knowing the feeling on the other end. What it's like to legitimately connect with an artist or a song that speaks to you, almost as if it was written for you. It's almost a power trip, knowing you can harness that power. And I guess we get greedy for that feeling. We want to make every new song/album better than the last, and make it connect even better than the last. And the same goes for our outreach. We get greedy for fans to give that feeling to. That's why we love interacting and being a part of the whole experience with our fans. We just want to create music and relationships that people can find meaning in. And to be able to do that for a living would just be insane. We've got all the motivation in the world to try and make it happen, so that's what we're gonna do.
You guys are attending school while you try to play music at the same time. How do you juggle the responsibilities, and how difficult is it?
Eh, it kinda sucks, because it really took the fun out of college for us, because we'd always rather be doing music than class or homework. But on the other hand, we won't regret having degrees in the future, just in case, ya know? Plus, being tied down with school stuff tends to push us to do band stuff even harder, because it reminds us of what the "daily grind" feels like. And we would love nothing more than to never have to endure that to pay the bills. =P
Lastly, Any big plans for 2012?
Well, we're launching our Kickstarter fundraising project next month (Feb 2012) to raise money for our next release. The plan is to write and record a 3-song EP with industry heavy-hitters Andrew Goldstein, Dan Book, and Alexei Misoul (Hot Chelle Rae, All Time Low, Runner Runner, Selena Gomez, etc). It'll only be 3 tracks, but that alone will cost us upwards of $4000, not including gas, room and board. So we're hoping to raise as much as we can to make it happen! These guys are really big in Top 40 pop writing, so we're super excited to branch out and really hone in our sound to something even more marketable and relevant. We're all total pop freaks behind closed doors, hehe. And that's pretty much it for now. That will take us through summer, and who knows after that. We're working with a great management company called Collateral Artist Group, that has some great connections, and they really believe in us, so we'll see where that takes us! Oh, and one other cool little tidbit- we just got "With Love" licensed with Gas Can Music, so television networks, game companies, etc can shop our songs for placements in tv shows, movies, and video games. Super cool! We're crossing our fingers on that one.