Wayne Szalinski

9 Jun

Wayne Szalinski

Ever heard of Wayne Szalinski? No, no. It’s not the dude who you’re thinking of, the one from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. It’s actually a band. A really great band from East Lansing, Michigan. Four guys – Andy Milad, Andrew Adams, Ian Siporin, and Nick Galli formed together in April of last year, picked a badass name for their band, and have been making music ever since. The guys first self-titled EP came out in September of 2013, and recently just released another EP, Fondly Truly. What struck me about these guys is their sound. It’s quirky, it’s unique, and each song has so much character. From first listen, I was a fan and I was super excited to interview the quartet for the blog. So, here it is. Meet Wayne Szalinkski.

Q. Are you big Rick Moranis fans?

A. We are, we are! Probably not the most learned fans, but obviously we’re quite fond of him in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. I can’t wait to hear My Mother’s Brisket and Other Love Songs. I can only hope Rick Moranis is as talented a musician as Steve Martin or Jeff Daniels. Agoraphobic Cowboy was a hoot.

Q. Your band recently released an EP, Fondly Trutly, which contains five songs that truly showcase your bands talent. Tell me how the concept (if any) of this EP came about.

A. I was just laughing the other day about this. Despite all my attempts to stray away from lyrically traditional topics, I still find myself writing love songs. The Fondly Truly EP is a wholeheartedly melancholy work; although, I suppose our debut EP Wayne Szalinksi isn’t too happy either. Fondly Truly takes a resigned approach to love and sadness. It’s reluctantly accepting of those things that you cannot change. “Will you be there in the morning? And every morning? “Today I exist only in consequence” “Selfish and faultless” These lyrics stand out particularly because of their struggle with those impossibilities. Can anyone love unconditionally and forever? Do I exist only in my relativity? Where do we find the balance of loving oneself while considering another? These are the kind of questions I grappled with in writing. I discovered places within myself that I didn’t know existed and a duality that I struggled with, perhaps most evidently in “Two and Two”.

Q. If you were trying to describe your music to a person who has never heard it, how would you describe it?

A. We like to imagine ourselves as Smiths inspired indie-rock with a sprinkling of math-rock to taste.

Q. Your band hails from New Lansing, MI. Do you receive a positive response in the music scene there? Are there any other cities you’ve visited where you have a big following?

A. We have a great musical community here in East Lansing and Michigan as a whole. We’re looking to expand further into the Great Lakes. We always love visiting Chicago and really enjoyed Cleveland on our last tour. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to make it out to Pittsburgh and Milwaukee soon, those are two cities we’ve been trying to break into.

Q. Tell me about some of the places your band has played? Which venues were your favorite?

A. We had such a fantastic time at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Cleveland. The venue is this incredible multipurpose location not only are there great stages and sound, but the location features these spectacularly groovy 70’s style bowling alleys. The Tree Bar was another favourite of ours. The venue used to have a huge tree growing out of it; unfortunately it still had to be cut down, but the stump remains and the bar has a great vibe to it.

Q. Every band has dreams of playing with a specific artist or band. Is there someone out there who you guys dream of sharing the stage with someday?

A. Oh wow. I feel absurd even answering this question, it would be such an honor to perform with any of the artists we idolize. Most are completely unfeasible and out of our league, others are opposite our genre. We’ll never even have to opportunity to perform with the Smiths or Anathallo, both bands that no longer play and are simply too legendary. I’d love to find myself on a bill with Two Door Cinema Club or Darwin Deez, Jens Lekman or Toro y Moi, all  artists I really enjoy. We were so close to finding ourselves on the bill with This Town Needs Guns (TTNG) and Tokyo Police Club but we missed the opportunity. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to play with both bands in the future.

Q. You’re currently touring the Midwest. Do you have future plans to tour other parts of the US?

A. We dream of making it out to the West Coast, but it’s far from realistic at this point in time simply due to cost. As we build a fanbase and stretch tendrils into other parts of the country, hopefully we’ll be able to make our way out there. More realistically, we’re aiming to hit the East Coast much sooner. I’ve always wanted to explore Boston and Philadelphia, I hear great things.

Q. My favorite song off the new EP is probably Sweetness. It’s super upbeat and holy cow, Andy’s voice is incredible. Tell me the idea behind the song.

A. Thank you truly for the complement, it’s always great to hear our music has made an impact. Writing this song was very organic for us as a group. I think the strain of the vocals and dynamics of the song complement the lyricism quite well. I’m rarely satisfied, but with “Sweetness” I am content. All of the songs on the EP nod to specific individuals in my life, but Sweetness is perhaps the most specifically referential of anything I’ve ever written. I know exactly each instance, each moment where the corresponding lyric derives from. I still remember that fragile line of poetry, something sprung unexpectedly from the backseat on some spontaneous venture to see Mayer Hawthorne in Royal Oak. I remember debating whether to drop by that person’s apartment and wondering who else I might find within. And the recurrent feeling of sitting silently in complete darkness at 4am in the morning sinking in the sadness of knowing that all things would end. In my heart, “Sweetness” is still a love song. Next to “Some Collagist” it’s the saddest love song I could possibly envision. “Sweetness” begins with the notion of nothingness, the feeling that you only exist in the mind of another, and all the while wondering if you’re even present. It’s about being far from that person, even as you love them so, grasping onto every word once said, waiting to at last hear their whisper at the end of the night that you’re unsure will ever come. “Sweetness” expresses that hopelessness in knowing that despite everything, things will end before their time.

Q. Quirky question. What’s your favorite song playing on Top 40 radio right now? I know that a lot of what’s playing is crap, but there are actually a few songs I could pick at this time.

A. There’s a lot of great music being made, I’m not a huge lover of Top 40 but there’s something wonderful about the popularity and commonality that brings people together in mutual knowledge of the song. I loved being able to sing Beyonce’s Countdown with friends for that reason. Currently, I’m really into Justin Timberlake’s new album, he’s always been an inspirational figure in pop culture and has had a truly remarkable career.

Q. What is your favorite part about touring?

A. The people. Touring is made out to be such a dream, but in reality, washing yourself with hand soap in a public bathroom and eating PBJ every day isn’t what makes it such a thrill. The thrill lies in the risk, knowing that in each location, you’re counting on the hospitality of the locals for a place to sleep, to help fund gas to the next location, and to support you in your musical ventures. We have been so lucky to develop such wonderful relationships with everyone we’ve met on the road. Every single night we’ve had a roof over our heads and a place to sleep, which is more than anyone could ask for. Music is an essential part of the human experience and it connects people in beautiful ways.

Listen to their new EP, Fondly Truly:


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