By Alex Molten
VANCOUVER — After band practice, Vancouver-based Waingro talked shop while drummer Benjie Nesdoly and bassist Nate Pennell gulped their beer and guitarist/vocalist Brian Sepanzyk sipped at the somewhat sensible choice of a hot toddy. They have a lot to discuss as the trio is starting out 2016 with a bang. They are about to release a music video and have released their second LP Mt Hood.
The music Waingro plays is undeniably heavy but it leans on good old-fashioned rock and roll. They set out to play the riffs that they want to hear and this has freed the music from pretension, which makes it almost too easy to like. Almost, but not quite. It’s not over-thought and Sepanzyk’s vocals are harsh and heavy which contrast nicely with the smooth riffs.
The band was initially just Nesdoly and Sepanzyk and once they had fleshed out their project they went searching for their bassist. Pennell was the obvious choice; they had sort of known him for a while from meeting at their jam space and had seen him playing shows with a former band.
“Benjie was like ‘what about Nate?’ And I was like ‘sounds great’! We texted him and he was like ‘yeah I’m totally down to check it out’ and then I was like ‘wait do you play your bass with fingers or pick?’ and that was the true test. And he [said] pick and I was like ‘oh okay then!’” laughs Sepanzyk, “I just like bass players who play with their pick.”
“[Otherwise] it’s too muddy for rock and roll,” adds Nesdoly.
“I’m not saying I’m anti-finger bass, it’s just not Waingro,” concludes Pennell.
As they chat over their drinks the three are noticeably buds and their comfort with each other is obvious. “I think it’s nice to have a level of familiarity when you start playing with someone because it’s pretty disarming, I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but you’re a little bit vulnerable when you play music with somebody,” Nesdoly explains the benefits of playing with friends.
As they have grown older they have found that they have less and less free time. This has made their free time more valuable but their playing in Waingro is definitely still worth it. They play music they really like and they do it with friends.
“That’s the challenge. Finding something worthwhile to do, but also worth doing,” says Benji about making the time, “Ninety-nine percent of being in a band is just hanging out.”
Waingro has nothing but good things to say about their new album. Recorded at Rain City Records with Jesse Gander, it was a dream to record by all accounts.
“Rain City moved to a new place. It’s beautiful. You walk in and you feel like you’re a huge band… which were not,” muses Sepanzyk, “And Jesse has it set up for him, it’s perfect for him. He deserves that.”
“He was the first choice for our last record too,” says Pennell.
“It turned out exactly how I wanted it to sound,” says Sepanzyk about the finished project.
“Brian doubled all of his guitars. And he didn’t do any rhythm; he straight up doubled every solo. It was pretty much like here is your second try, here is your second track, and he just did it. There was no needing to go back to fix [a] part. It was just done,” praises Pennell.
The impending music video is for their song “Black Eagle” and is something the band is looking forward to but they are determined to stay tight-lipped about it until its release.
“This video is great because it kind of encompasses the community in Vancouver, I’d say. It shows a lot of the people, a lot of the good spots. The Salmon Derby, rest in peace,” is all that Sepanzyk will say about it.
Waingro performs at the Rickshaw on January 8th.BC, British Columbia, Rickshaw Theatre, Waingro