Wave Array
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Wave Array

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"Performer Mag: Wave Array"

It's apparent from the get-go that Wave Array has a vision. From the writing in all 12 songs on their debut album Cheapjack Moon, to producing the entire CD (not to mention drummer Alex Curran's eye-catching album art), these guys know exactly what they want. Cheapjack Moon is an alternative, psychedelic rock album that follows in the footsteps of experimental groups like Radiohead and Pinback.

Although the album comes across as introspective, the band doesn't shy away from meshing garage-like rock with rhythmic melodies. For the most part, inner-directed lyrics ride on vibrant, edgy guitar riffs while Johan Castillo's strong bass lines keep the songs moving along. The first track on the album, "Future Tense," bursts with jamming guitar (courtesy of Strom Lee and Nick Pak) that's tempered by Curran's popping drum beats. And while tracks like super groovy "Cruise Control" and uplifting "Lullaby" are ambient, dreamy rock, "In The Peel" leans towards more experimental and textured sounds.

On songs like "Footprints" and "The Allegory," Lee's lead vocals freely explore their range with shifting pitches that at times echo a young Neil Young. But then "Tell Us Tonight" surprises by heading in a Stone Temple Pilots direction with hard-focused guitar, reverb and crooning vocals. "Paper Wings" is the album's most cohesive and composed song with symmetry at each turn; a perfect think-piece for any road trip.

Aesthetically, Wave Array has created music that defines and transcends barriers of privacy that harbor human emotion and self-reflection. They are not a trendy band, nor is the music they make intended as background-conversation filler. Edgy and experimental, Cheapjack Moon may not appeal to the top 40 masses, but certainly to those who value artsy think-rock. (self-released)

- Tanya Fuller - Performer Magazine


"Bandwidth:Wave Array"

Wave Array There's a deep fluidity in the songs of Wave Array that makes the group not just another drop in the ocean of psychedelic garage-rock bands. "Between the four members, our individual tastes in music come through in our songs," singer and guitarist Strom Lee says. "Add in some psychedelic echoes and noises to layer on top of those sounds, and you get an 'array of sound of waves.' " The band was formed in 2006 by bassist Johan Alfsen and guitarist Nich Pak, who played together in the band Echolocation. "There was a period of about four months in '06 when everything seemed to be going wrong," Lee says. "Our rehearsal space flooded so badly that all of the walls, insulation and carpeting were torn down to the bare frame. We had to prop up a broken mattress against the window just to keep quiet enough to play the drums at night." After weathering the early storms, Wave Array soon played drier venues, including the unconventional Bay Street Mall in Emeryville and the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/28/NSQO12G3F5.DTL#ixzz0S6jbzUPq
- SF Chronicle - Delfin Vigil


"Wave Array's sound evolution"

The musicians of Bay Area indie rock band Wave Array don't want to fit neatly into any stylistic category. "For every genre that comes out — emo, pop-punk, whatever — there's a hundred other bands that try to catch that sound," vocalist/guitarist Strom Lee told The Daily News. "But to succeed in the music industry, you've got to find new things


"If you're not already part of that scene, you're just playing catch-up. So instead of trying to cater to any particular audience, we're trying to create something for ourselves, that we think other people would like ... and trying to get it out to those people."

Lee, guitarist Nich Pak, bassist Johan Alfsen and new drummer Alex Curran create a powerful, fresh sound that builds on the past and adventurously anticipates the future. Psychedelic flourishes enhance intricately layered rock. Hear for yourself on Wave Array's self-produced and self-released debut album, "Cheapjack Moon" (www.myspace.com/wavearray).

Alfsen, Curran and Lee share a Pleasant Hill house, where the band recorded the album. Pak resides with his wife, a nurse, in San Jose.

They'll be playing their dynamic songs live at San Jose's Blank Club and Los Gatos' Mountain Charley's next month. Friday night they serve up a hot acoustic set at Mountain View's Red Rock Coffee Co.

Lee said, "Our songs are more rockin', but we believe that good music can be played in any kind of style, as long as it's got the basic elements to it. Someone said, 'You know it's a really good song if somebody plays an elevator music version and it still sounds good."

Wave Array's sound exploration began in 2006. Lee was a singer-songwriter looking to flesh out his sound. Pak and Alfsen were hunting for a vocalist. Craigslist brought the three together.

They began writing together. "Everybody brings something different to the table," Lee said. " I originally started out playing Dave Matthews-type stuff. Johan and Nich, who were in a band together before (Echolocation), had played more Interpol-type heavy rock. As we played with each other, we learned from each other. Everything evolved.
"Everybody in the band has their own favorite music. Wave Array is an array of sound waves. There's all these different ideas floating around. We try to consolidate them into a refined idea."

Lee played trumpet growing up in Walnut Creek. As a high school senior, he switched to guitar. He studied electrical engineering and computer science at UC-Berkeley.
"After college, I had the idea that I didn't want to work for anybody else. I wanted to do my own thing and accomplish my own goals in life. I thought I could do that through music. I really loved music ... and I still do."

From the beginning, Lee was confident Wave Array could make an impact, even though there are so many aspiring bands. "It's kind of polluted in the sense that everyone can get out on the Internet, so it's hard to wade through all the bad music to get to the good music.

"We just have to play out and show people that we're good music. The process is, the good stuff rises to the top and hopefully people will notice."

Lee describes the band's creative process: "Somebody will come up with a basic idea and then we throw it to everybody else and they all come up with their ideas.

"We toss it around until we find something we like. We're always trying to find new, imaginative ways to record things and find weird noises and stuff. We kind of have a Pink Floyd-y type, experimental sound."

On the song "Future Tense," Lee recorded a portion of the vocal through a spring drum.
"We always want to do something out of the box, something unconventional that would make it special for us and for the people listening."

Cold-calling and networking have paid off. Airplay on XM satellite radio provided a breakthrough. Wave Array is carving out a niche in the crowded music scene. "It's now so competitive. In the past, bands formed coalitions. Now it seems like bands are out for themselves.

"We'd like to get back to a place where it's not viewed as a competition. Everyone can like more than one band. So bands should help one another. We're open to having all sorts of good music around. It's about the art for us."
Wave Array's appeal crosses genre lines. People come up to us and say, 'You don't really play my style of music, but you guys are great musicians and I like what you're doing.'"

Wave Array has played not just bars, but unusual venues such as Emeryville's Bay Street Mall and Oakland's Chabot Space & Science Center. "Our parents' friends tells us they love the music, that it sounds like their favorite '70s bands. Little five-year-olds dance in front of the stage. It's great to see that children, in their innocence, like it, too."

Wave Array should soon establish a national presence. They've applied to South By Southwest.

"Our goal is to make the music accessible enough to draw people in and then have deep lyrics and complex song structures that they can dig into. So there are multiple levels of enjoyment. The key is for the band to continue to evolve." - San Jose Mercury News


Discography

Wave Array (EP) - 2007, "Dream Sequence" played on XM radio

Cheapjack Moon (LP) - 2009,
(April 2010) UCLA Radio "Top 30" for 3 weeks and running, currently peaking at #11.

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Bio

"Aesthetically, Wave Array has created music that defines and transcends barriers of privacy that harbor human emotion and self-reflection."
- Tanya Fuller, Performer Magazine

"Like a more psychedelic Spoon or a more shambolic Pinback...The East Bay band’s debut politely ignores prevailing trends"
- Nate Seltenrich, East Bay Express

"A powerful, fresh sound that builds on the past and adventurously anticipates the future. Psychedelic flourishes enhance intricately layered rock."
- Paul Freeman, San Jose Mercury

"There's a deep fluidity in the songs of Wave Array that makes the group not just another drop in the ocean of psychedelic garage-rock bands."
- Delfín Vigil, SF Chronicle

Wave Array's debut full length, Cheapjack Moon, is a sign of things to come. Propelled by the success of “Dream Sequence” from their self-titled EP (2007), which garnered XM radio play and internet buzz as the #13 song of 500 in Ourstage's national Noisepop competition, the San Francisco Bay Area rock foursome aimed to record a watermark in their musical evolution. After arriving home from their Pacific Northwest tour, singer/guitarist Strom Lee, guitarist Nich Pak, bassist Johan Alfsen, and former drummer/vocalist Will Halsey spent the next two years gathering their thoughts and throwing them shamelessly onto a blank audio canvas. The results were refined through live performance, recorded in their “No Hassle Castle” home studio, and finalized into what is now Cheapjack Moon.

“We always want to do something out of the box, something unconventional that will make it special for us and for the people listening,” Strom explained to Paul Freeman of the San Jose Mercury. And the band has done just that, using unusual techniques like spring drum vocals layered over droning guitars in “Future Tense”, synthesized chaos on tracks like “In the Peel”, and vivid lyrical imagery found in “Paper Wings” and “Leave Me In” to push the boundaries of genre lines and musical creativity.

If you take a look at Wave Array's previous performances, you will see that the band plays anywhere and everywhere because they know potential fans are listening anywhere and everywhere. Untraditional venues such as outdoor malls, space observatories, dance clubs, and eco friendly fashion shows have all served as stomping grounds for these four journeymen. The same musical passion that transformed these Craigslist acquaintances from strangers to best friends and housemates in just a few months can be seen in every performance, and the audience knows it; children who can barely walk suddenly learn to dance, older folks are subtly reminded of the good old days, and concert goers put their conversations on hold for a brief moment to observe the dynamic soundscape before them.

However, don't think that the band is going to be resting on its haunches with the milestone of their first record. Shortly after the release of Cheapjack Moon, Wave Array and Will Halsey decided to part ways, and Strom, Nich, and Johan reformed with current drummer Alex Curran. Within a matter of weeks, the new quartet began exploring different sounds and textures, which led to the single “Rest Easy”. This new track showcases a completely different side of the band than previous recordings, and indicates Wave Array's desire to evolve and create great music without boundaries.