Waingro: Heavy is as heavy does

Monday 24th, November 2014 / 12:42
By Milton Stille
Photo: Taylor Ferguson

Photo: Taylor Ferguson

VANCOUVER — As far as newer bands asserting themselves in their local scene goes, auspicious starts can come in many forms. Perhaps your first recordings are well received. Perhaps your live performances turn a significant number of heads. Perhaps your peers in more firmly established bands can’t stop saying nice things about you. While achieving this trifecta isn’t an occurrence that might be considered commonplace, it certainly appears to be the case in the instance of Waingro. Formed a little over a year ago, and with a handful of local shows and a brief jaunt to Alberta under their collective belt, the band will be releasing their debut full-length on November 29th.

Waingro comprises singer-guitarist Brian Sepanzyk, bassist Nate Pennell and Benjie Nesdoly on drums. The consensus among the trio is that the band’s formation was somewhat organic – when Brian and Benjie’s former project reached its end, Nate just happened to be in the right place at the right time. “I thought [Nate would] be the perfect man for the job, so we tried him out and it’s been nothing but killer ever since!” states Benjie, emphatically. This easy-going enthusiasm appears to carry over to other aspects of the band as well, perhaps best exemplified by the way Brian describes his approach to writing songs: “Basically, I just write what I would want to hear when I’m with my friends having a couple drinks.” Benjie elaborates, “Brian brings the riffs to jam, then we jam a bunch to decide what we like and what we don’t, and before you know it, there’s a tune! It’s really fun and easy.”

This happy-go-lucky approach seems to stand at odds with Waingro’s music, a vitriolic-yet-controlled compound of heavy groove, thrashy vocals and catchy riffs. When the topic of aggressive music is broached, Brian clarifies that, “…for this band [he] really wanted to explore the more rock side of things, and years of listening to Fu Manchu and Queens of the Stone Age snuck in there.” This is arguably a pretty apt description of the band’s sound, even if it seems to downplay the aggressive aspect. The band is quite comfortable playing in diverse settings, with Brian citing one of Art Signified’s ten-band, multi-genre shows as an example. He finds those more diverse bills to be the most fun, even though they present a different set of challenges. “People are excited for certain bands and may not be familiar with you, so you just have to play a really good set that represents what you’re about.”

Whether expectations for the band’s earliest performances existed or not, the impressions they made were lasting ones. Waingro came out swinging, with a masterful energy and stage presence that immediately turned heads across the board. Nate explains that this was mostly unintentional – they have never had a conversation as to how they wanted to present themselves live. “We all just genuinely enjoy the music we play, so I guess we’re just happy that it translates when we play shows.”

Waingro’s compelling live performance has seen them onto some fantastic bills, including sharing a recent trip to Alberta with Vancouver heroes Baptists. “It’s always interesting, especially when playing with someone like Baptists, who have a totally different feel. They deliver such an intense hardcore set and they just have a fucking amazing live show, but it didn’t feel weird or anything opening for them even though we’re two different styles,” Brian says.

On the subject of further touring, real-life obligations rear their ugly heads: Brian presently works as an assistant director on feature films, an industry known to be less than accommodating as far as creative or social pursuits are concerned. In spite of this obvious setback, the band intends to tour more in future, at least locally, when and where circumstances will allow. While an exact timeline hasn’t been worked out thus far, Brian assures us that, “…we really want to get on the road with this band and play as much as we can, so I’m making some decisions to make that a reality.”

Waingro perform at the Astoria November 29.

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