Fire it up. Not only a song by this next band, but a perfect way to describe their jumble of funky, fun, soulful, rockin’ sounds and what it will do to you when you hear it. This next San Francisco based band will get you grooving in no time flat, scope out Badass Band 63, Solwave.
Solwave brought themselves to my attention via a live video for ‘Voodoo at High Noon’ a few months back. The band, consisting of Joe Collins-Lead Singer-Songwriter/Keyboards, Danny Ferdon-Bass Guitar /Backing Vocals, Tommy Ferdon- Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals, and Moise Seri-Drums/Percussion, drew me in via their heavy rhythms and the energy in which they rage. Soon after viewing the video, I found myself purchasing their EP ‘Out of the Mayhem’. The EP features four diverse songs, which contain some of the similar characteristics that drew me to ‘Voodoo at High Noon’ on first listen- heavy handed rhythms and powerful, sharp vocals. The whole album seems to be a hybrid of 70’s style surfer-esqe rock tunes interlaced with some funky grooves, hard beats and even a little synth. ‘Fire it Up’ is the first track for a reason, it definitely draws you in. The lyrics are easily relatable, ‘I’m on fire from all your lovin…flames of desire…I’m breathing out my demons, and breathing in the scent of your fire…’ it is catchy and it is pretty much impossible to sit still listening to this funky song. ‘Ride’ might be considered the ‘slower’ (this is in quotes because the actual tune is still upbeat) song of the four, mostly because of the slightly drawn out vocals and more insightful lyrics speaking of ‘finding my way’. This whole EP is killer, and definitely worth the purchase.
The guys of Solwave were kind enough to take some time to split up answering questions for BBB, so read on and find out the thoughtful story behind the name, why they will pleasantly surprise you, and who gets busy bombing the hills of SF on his skateboard when they aren’t making tunes. Be sure to scope them here in LA at BBB’s home base, Silverlake Lounge, on February 5th, 2013!!
When and why did each of you start playing? (DANNY)
Tommy and I first picked up our guitars when we were in 5th and 6th grade respectively (we are brothers). During that time Jo and Mo were honing their chops on drums. eventually joe switched to singing and keyboarding. AND If I am not mistaken Mac Daddy (5th member/ manager) has been picking up the acoustic every once in awhile
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you listen to now? (TOMMY)
When Danny, Joe, and I were growing up, we all listened to bands like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Stratovarius. We got into some really heavy prog stuff too, and I’ll tell you playing that kind of music did wonders for our instrumental skills. But that was awhile ago. After not playing music together for a while, we eventually re-bonded over bands like Muse, The Strokes, and The Killers some time later.
Nowadays, we all listen to different kinds of stuff. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, but I’ll listen to Mac Dre and then put on some Elvis Presley right after it. I really couldn’t tell you how my taste differs today, Iron Maiden is still one of my favorites too. I would just say that I listen to a way wider range of genres now.
Which musicians do you admire? Why? (JOE)
I admire so many musicians for many different reasons. To name a few: I admire Otis Redding, who is probably my favorite singer, for his ability to convey emotion in such an honest and palpable way through his voice. I admire Jim Morrison for his rockstar charisma and stage presence. I admire all of Led Zeppelin for their musicianship and versatility as songwriters. The list could be endless but basically any musician that is expressing their music with a true sense of honesty in a genuine manner I will respond to and admire regardless of genre or time period.
Why the name Solwave? (JOE)
Before we settled on the name we had decided that we wanted a one word name that is powerful and simple. Originally we were called just Sol because it can mean various things that we respond to. It means sun in spanish and it is also a homophone for soul. I was drawn to this name because the name represents something so much larger than us (sun) but also something that is us (soul). I also think this reflects in our music. Then we needed to change the name due to other bands being called sol. So instead of throwing out Sol out all together we added wave to the end of it to make up our own word. Wave supplements the notions behind sol nicely to me. Everything in our universe are just waves of light so it is an all encompassing word. The name definitely has spiritual undertone, to me at least , which I enjoy. I think having a new word that is free from preconceived ideas or baggage that other words inevitably have is a advantageous because it allows listeners to form a new fresh connection with the name through the music. Ultimately I’d rather let the every listener decide their own meaning of the name through their own experience of the music but this is what it means to me.
Describe your show visually & musically for those who have never been. (MOISE)
Energy. If there’s one word I hear from people after our shows, it’s energy. People can feel the vibe that we create and it is a contagious positive energy. If you’re looking on stage you’ll see a lot of dancing, a lot of messing around, and above all you’ll hear some good music. We have 4 tall, handsome young lads doing what they love and it is surely a positive experience to watch. And if you are a musician, you’ll will be pleasantly surprised with the sophisticated musicianship you hear as well.
How does your creative process typically work? (JOE)
On a personal level my creative process is varied. The way songs arise is always different which is good because it keeps things fresh. I am perpetually writing many songs at once in order to give ideas space but ensure that I am always writing. In terms of the band, we are collectively and individually prolific writers and the way songs are written vary. Some songs are completely collaborative that arise out of jams and we sculpt them from there. Some songs are collaborative through two members. Other songs are written by other members alone and then brought to the band. A majority of the songs at this point though were written by me. I bring a blueprint and vision of the song to the band and we would give life to them. However songwriting in Solwave is getting more collaborative though which is exciting and adding new elements to our sound.
What do you think your biggest break or greatest opportunity has been in your career so far? (TOMMY)
I think the best thing to happen to this band is when we got our fifth member, Mac Walker. He’s a virtuoso in several instruments- including the telephone, the computer keyboard, and the whiteboard. Dude is the best manager a band could ask for. He’s got the business prowess of a 40 year old and the personality of a 12 year old- just like us. He’s a blast to have on the road and most importantly he makes things happen, no matter how big the task.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far? (DANNY)
Maintaining a strong work ethic in spite of what other people think of our career path and the inherent risks.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you the rest of this year? (MOISE)
We’ve played a lot in San Francisco over the past year and have had the blessing to have built a decent draw. We hope to have the same luck as we focus on an out-of-town tour intensive schedule in 2013. We will also be announcing some exciting news about our next producer/ recording plans pretty soon.
Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique? If your band had a slogan, what would it be? (TOMMY)
We don’t rely on flashy effects or gimmicks to make our songs stand out. We tirelessly rehearse and write songs like madmen. We defy genres, but in a good way- not for the sake of defying genres, but just because we’re on our own creative wavelength. We start with a well-written song and we each bring our gifts to the table. Danny brings the energy, Joe brings the voice, Moise brings the style, and I bring the knowledge. Together, we have a musical relationship that you can feel when you listen to the music, especially if you watch us play together live.
If I had to think of a band slogan, I would probably have to quote the great Reese Bobby in saying, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!”
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be? (DANNY)
As musicians we strongly wish that good music always spoke for itself and that some of the other facets of the industry didn’t play as large of a role in pushing a band further. There are a lot of necessary marketing skills that most musicians probably overlook in trying to achieve their goals.
Many people argue that the Bay Area music scene is very much run by a few ‘staple’ bands, do you believe this to be true or do you feel that all bands get a fair amount of bookings around SF? (JOE)
To be honest I am not sure. We don’t really think about a music scene much. We just like to find other good bands who are making great music and play with them and support them. And above all make sure that our own shows are a good experience for new and existing fans. In terms of a scene or whose getting booked that is a little beyond me. There are a ton of great bay area bands out there to check out and a lot of awesome venues so that’s all that is important to us.
One song you never get tired of.
I won’t see you tonight-Avenged Sevenfold (Moise)
These Arms of Mine -Otis Redding (Joe)
What is the best live show you have ever gone to? (TOMMY)
When I was in high school, I saw Rancid play at the Warfield two nights in a row. Those were the two best live shows I’ve ever seen from a band. Those guys were upwards of 45 at the time and they were jumping around on stage like they were 18. That high-energy live performance is something that I try to emulate every time I go on stage.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related. (DANNY)
If I am not at band practice or at a show I am usually just at home, flickin’ my bean – Danny
When I’m not playing music I like bombing hills on my skateboard, watching some 49er football/Giants baseball, or experimenting in the kitchen on some gourmet feasts. And at the end of the day, I like to reflect on my experiences with some fine herb. -Tommy
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be? (JOE)
Hank Moody yo – danny
What kind of jobs did you have before (or currently) you were in the music industry? (ALL)
Tommy and I were slangin’ meat at a butcher shop. Moise was an excellent shtupsman Abercrombie and Fitch and Joe split his time between an insurance job and an ice rink.
If you ran Badass Bands Blog, what is one band you would feature? (Exempting yourselves of course.) (MOISE)
The Reckless Kind
FIND SOLWAVE HERE: