In terms of local music, there are so many different genre’s out there, it’s as diverse as the world we live in today. I’ve never thought about it in this light, but music is like cooking, some of the most unlikely combinations end up being the new best thing. San Diego band, Waldo, is breaking boundaries and claiming a place in the music scene with their unique and unreplicable sound, which they claim as “spaghetti skhlaw,” and live music mojo.
The group consists of Emmett Dreyer (guitar), Sam Fisher (bass), Francisco Garcia (vocals, clarinet, and banjo), Lucas Moore (drums, saxophone, and synth), and finally, Marc Van Thillo (violin).
(Full band, photo taken by Mia Samano)
First of all, how does a band like that even come together? According to Francisco, it was a very long process propelled by some serious sound evolution. “Lucas and I both met in freshman year,” he tells us in our interview. “We were like, ‘we’re going to start a ska band! You play clarinet, I play drums, it’s gonna be so sick, we’re going to get a trombone player!’ This idea was kind of in the back of our heads for around a year or so, and finally it was getting to the point where I was tired of being a classical clarinet player so I told myself, ‘I’m going to learn banjo.’ Then we became a band, Emmett, Lucas, and I.” Clearly, the current group we know as Waldo is not a ska band, it took a new member and a lot of additional time to get to where they are now. “Honestly, we were like a weird cover band that just played David Bowie on banjo until we found Sam,” Garcia continues. “When he first came, I’m not going to lie, we were a little shocked because of how different he was from us.” Sam Fisher had played in a punk band prior to joining Waldo, a far cry from the musical renditions the other boys were creating. Maybe that’s when this medley of contrasting ideas and personalities came together, each member bringing something different than the other, to form their current identity.
“What sets us apart is the fact that we have so many people that have really different ways of playing music, like everyone’s got their own aspects,” Emmett goes on to say. “We have two classically trained musicians who played in the orchestra, and we have Sam who’s a punk guy, and Lucas is a really good jazz drummer, and then I’m like a country weirdo. A lot of the far-aparts kind of get combined in a lot of our songs, especially the ones that have a lot of parts in them. We kind of break the mold,” he laughs, “I hope.” Trust me on this, Waldo definitely breaks the mold. In all the concerts and performances I’ve seen, theirs is one of the best I’ve experienced, not in terms of musical talent specifically (although they are pretty damn talented), but atmosphere wise. If you have ever been to one of their shows, you know what I’m talking about when I say that they have some wicked live music mojo. Every performance is laced with high-amp energy that’s nothing short of infectious; walls shaking with each note from the bass and bodies clashing together when the chorus is in full kick, there’s just something that makes it different. Maybe it’s the fact that the people you can find there are the nicest and most creative you will ever meet, maybe it’s the banjo talking, or maybe I’m just crazy, but you really have to see for yourself.
(Lucas & Sam, photo taken by band)
When I asked Sam what he thinks differentiates them from every other band in San Diego, in California, or even the U.S, he replies with, “I was kind of looking at all the different music scenes that we’ve been a part of as we started this band, really looking at every one from a different angle. It’s hard for us to fit in, like a puzzle piece, there’s not really a puzzle that we fit into, so I just want to make our own music scene and go on from there because I would also want to make this a community.”
Waldo’s shows weren’t always as successful as they are now though, Lucas told us about their first ever gig, “it was Rebecca’s open mic, a coffee shop. We played the song ‘Rainbow Connection’ by Kermit the Frog and our friend held a Kermit puppet,” this reminder erupts the room in laughter, Marc jumps in and adds, “we got booed out of the open mic!” Personally, I would have paid to see that performance, maybe at one show they’ll play it again for old time’s sake. (Hint hint if any of the members are reading this please make my dreams come true!)
Make sure to check out Waldo’s Bandcamp, there you can find their EP “Gold Town” and audio from their live session in Tijuana at JS Radios.
Article by Kyla Wyllie