Interview with ROAD WAVES
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I've been into music since as far back as I can remember. I remember singing along with the radio as a young child. If I wasn't playing music I would likely be doing another arts like acting or painting.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I'm not playing music, I like to create art in Photoshop and Premiere Pro. Other than that, I enjoy hikes around the escarpment and long walks. This influences my creativity greatly, because playing music is “emptying my well” and my other activities “fill my well” of creativity.
How long has your band been around?
Road Waves Has been around since 2014. It'll be nine years in July
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based out of Niagara Falls. I think, being so close to the border of Buffalo definitely affected our music because it's not exactly Americana music but it pulls from that source of inspiration and has a touch of the north in it.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The name actually was thought up by our old bass player, Yo Izumita. I love the name Road Waves. To me, it means so many different things. It could be an analogy for life. It encapsulates life as a touring band. It could be the heat coming off the road on a hot day. It can be a metaphor for getting through life riding the wave/road. I used to be a skateboarder so it reminds me of that, too. So many things.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Opening up for David Wilcox earlier this year was amazing. The energy in that place was wild. Also, playing on a rooftop in the middle of Cleveland, OH was amazing. It felt like we were The Beatles for a second, there.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favourite venue to play, so far, has been London Music Hall. It's a huge room that sounds great, which isn't as common as you’d think. They have an amazing team, as well. A room that I want to play that I haven't already is, probably, Horseshoe or Danforth Music Hall in Toronto.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Phish, Medeski Martin & Wood and Road Waves
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Focus on having great tunes, but make sure you treat the band like a business. Good songs are the bare minimum in this industry. If you can treat the band like a startup company, you will get far. But, you must always stay the music lover you were when you first started. It's easy to get jaded or cynical in this industry. Don’t let the gatekeepers get to you.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
That’s a great question…Either ‘Shine’ or ‘Small World’. They are timestamps in my life that can transport me back to a certain moment. Songs like this are a special kind of magic.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Lately, our song ‘Hometown’ has been my favourite to play. The improv section at the end is really fun, as it's 2 chords in 2 different keys. Yet, it's still super soulful. So it can bring out the feels heavily, while still keeping it interesting for my brain. The most requested is definitely ‘Lake Shore Drive.’
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Over the years, the general writing process is that I (Ji) write the main song and then bring it to rehearsal. From there, we will craft parts, and if I hear anything specific with any instrument then I will work with them on the side to craft that part. As the band changes personnel, I'm interested to see how this will change. I'm always encouraging more writing from all the members.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
My main themes end up being themes of hope, belief, and overcoming disparity. But, I like to write about everything.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
All the time. As a band that improvises about 75% of our set, there are a lot of moments that clash and you can find us debating what went wrong and right, as we wrap our cables after a show. We talk about everything.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Plans for the future are to tour more than ever and release our 3rd LP, in either 2023 or 2024 depending on how things go. We have a big show on Nov 18th in London with My Son The Hurricane and then we are hibernating for the winter. That's when we get back in the studio and book our 2023 tour dates.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Pretty much any social media or media platform you use, we’re on there. @roadwavesband is our tag almost everywhere. There's www.roadwaves.ca or www.roadwavesband.com for our main website. You can find us on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube etc.
Please follow us and share around - it all goes a really long way!