Michigan-based rockers Wayland released their debut full length album with Mighty Loud / InGrooves called “Rinse & Repeat” on September 22nd. The first single “Through The Fire” is currently charting at Active Rock Radio.
Wayland consists of Mitch Arnold on vocals, Phillip Vilenski on guitar) Dean Pizzazz on bass and Nigel Dupree on drums. The band’s previously released self-titled 2010 album Wayland, and 2012 EP Welcome To My Head were well received and the band enjoys a loyal fandom.
Some bands are one-trick ponies, good at honing and polishing a singular prong of their meager talents. Other bands are more like diamonds, consistently and readily displaying multifaceted approaches to their music, whether it be via a finely layered mesh of acoustic and electric arrangements, clever and catchy songwriting chops, or having an inherent knack for knowing exactly how to bring audiences to their feet while subsequently continuing to pack them in night after night on the road.
Very much in the latter diamond category is the Michigan-bred rock foursome known as Wayland. All facets of Wayland’s musical prowess shine bold and true on their first full-length album Rinse & Repeat, which is being released by Mighty Loud Entertainment on September 22, 2017. Producer Justin Rimer (12 Stones, Breaking Point) made sure to highlight all of the band’s deeply rooted textures, from the foot-stomping, fist-pumping lead single “Through the Fire” and the hard-charging “All Rise” to the intricate interplay between acoustic guitars, fiddle, and violin on the earnest ballad “Follow” to the aurally encapsulating otherworldliness of “From the Other Side.” Indeed, what Rinse & Repeat shows fans of Wayland’s massive good-time YouTube and Spotify hit “Get a Little” is this is a band who can deliver the sonic goods on many different fronts.
“Wayland is a total anomaly in the music industry,” believes Jesse James Dupree, the head of Mighty Loud Entertainment (whom you may also know as the ferocious frontman for Jackyl). “This band is defying gravity by playing 300-plus shows a year. They’ve been active in their own rescue. They’ve grown such a following by going out on the road and packing them in everywhere. Because of that work ethic, they’ve got an incredible album to get behind. While other bands will throw things against the wall to see if something sticks, this band makes sure they’re sticking because they’re building a career. Trends can come and go, but a band that stays out on the road and does it the way Wayland is doing it — that’s a band that will be around for a while.”
Rinse & Repeat reflects the mindset of a band that’s had many life experiences in a short amount of time. “I wish I could tell you there was some sort of master plan, but I think that plan was made by the universe,” believes vocalist Mitch Arnold. “This album is a collection of what we’ve been through in the last few years, a culmination of all the events that have led up to it. It’s music and it’s art, and it’s a beautiful thing to see art move the people I love. Ultimately, on a small scale of things, that’s why I do it. Sure, I want commercial success, but on that most basic level, when you can play a song and move someone to tears, man — that’s it.”
Having everyone in Wayland on the same page has only helped get the band’s message across even better. “I feel so lucky to be in a band with people I trust. It seems like it would be hard to be a solo artist or even an actor,” Vilenski observes. “It has to be about accomplishing something with your best friends. When we get back on the bus every night after we just killed it onstage, there’s no other feeling like that — and only the four of us know what that feels like, you know? Our only goal every night out there is to win. That can be as simple as getting a great reaction to a certain song, having an overwhelmingly long meet n greet line, or know we had some truly magical moments on stage together when everything just clicked. That’s when we feel like we won.”
The Arnold/Vilenski songwriting axis bore much ripe fruit for Rinse & Repeat. “Every lyric on this record is a personal one, and that’s something I’m really proud of,” Vilenski admits. Agrees Arnold, “It’s a blissful thing when you’re connected to the material like that. Whenever you’re going with it and moving with that inspiration, there’s really nothing like it. There’s no other rush to match it.”
Adds Vilenski, “These songs tell the story of our lives over the past five years — our life on the road, our personal love lives; everything we’ve been through, really.” As examples, Vilenski notes
“Through the Fire” was written about a close friend of the band who was struggling with depression, while the emotions and vibes of the acoustic-laden “Follow” demonstrate how the band has no problem confronting their feelings head-on: “Like I said, this record is personal, and this record is honest.”
The album’s most heartfelt song is the haunting “From the Other Side,” which is about a dear friend of the band who passed away after battling a long illness. “As soon as we started writing it — and I’ve heard other writers talk about this — I felt like we had her assistance, coming from the other side,” Arnold reveals. “If that’s not our favorite song on the record, well, it’s definitely one of them. I pray every day of my life that I am able to have the level of understanding and peace she had. She didn’t say anything about heaven or hell; she just knew. She knew she would be OK, no matter what happened. Our conversation about it all was a profound moment in my life, and I wanted not only to pay homage with that song, but also explore that option of connecting from beyond.”
Both Vilenski and Arnold cite the bonds they share with their bandmates, bassist Dean Pizzazz and drummer Nigel Dupree, as positive song-making fuel. “You have to be a band.” intones Vilenski. “You have to remember why you started out to do it — to express yourself! You get together with other friends in your hometown, you make noise in your garage, and you don’t try to be a follower. And for this album, we just wanted to stretch ourselves: ‘Well, let’s try to write a country song. Here we go! We’ve been listening to Mumford & Sons; let’s try to write a song like they would. OK!’ And while some of those songs didn’t make it on the record, they’re not dead by any means. I’m sure they’ll be heard in the future.”
Putting in the hard work and seeing the results is what keeps Wayland going. “Most people don’t realize what you sacrifice to get here,” Arnold acknowledges. “But I really do believe this record is going to speak to people on a big level.” Much of that connection comes from the album’s honest presentation. “We love having our music sound more real than precise; we’re not that kind of band,” Vilenski details. “We don’t like our records to sound too perfect, at all. Playing guitar is a human thing, not a computer thing. We don’t ever want it to sound that way.”
Being able to connect with listeners on a grand scale is its own reward: “That’s an amazing thing for a songwriter,” Vilenski notes. “And that’s just a goal. When you find out a song you wrote in your room has now affected someone or multiple people around the world and has influenced their life — that’s like the biggest thing ever.” Concurs Arnold, “We write about things that are pertinent to what’s happening in the world today. I feel there are a lot of people who totally get that when they hear songs like ‘Revival,’ for example. They connect with that feeling.”
Having everyone in Wayland on the same page has only helped get the band’s message across even better. “I feel so lucky to be in a band with people I trust. It seems like it would be hard to be a solo artist or even an actor,” Vilenski observes. “It has to be about accomplishing something with your best friends. When we get back on the bus every night after we just killed it onstage, there’s no other feeling like that — and only the four of us know what that feels like, you know? Our only goal every night out there is to win. If it’s making sure all the people at the show buy a t-shirt, then we won. Or by the time Mitch says, ‘Are you ready for so-and-so?’ — the big headliner of the night that’s coming up after our band — and people start yelling, No!’ … then we won.”
Wayland performs the same way to five people as they would to 5,000. “We’ve always felt we’ve had to play with all of our heart and soul every time we go out there onstage,” Vilenski admits. “You know what our worst fear is? That somebody would walk away from our show and say, ‘Yeah, we just saw Wayland. They were OK. They were alright.’ That’s my worst fear: ‘They’re just OK.’ We’ve gotta be great, every single time we get onstage.”
Arnold is up to that challenge. “It’s an incredible journey we’re on right now,” the singer observes. “We are living a great life every day, but it comes with a great amount of sacrifice and a great amount of faith. It’s either all-in, or nothing. I want our music to be provocative, thought-provoking, and make you want to rethink what you’re doing here on earth. I want people to ask questions. All of that is important to me.” Concludes Vilenski, “It’s about nothing else. It’s determination, brotherhood, and the music.”
And that says it all right there. If there’s one thing Rinse & Repeat proves upon recurrent listening sessions, it’s being an album that shows how Wayland songs and the band’s overall songwriting abilities hold up to regular spin cycles. Just press play & repeat, and you’ll find many aurally pleasing diamonds and pearls await your ears.
WAYLAND TOUR DATES
- Friday, 1-19-18 in Dundee, IL at RocHaus
- Saturday, 1-20-18 in Beloit, WI at Boundaries Bar & Grill Big Red’s Birthday Bash
- Friday, 1-26-18 in Los Angeles, CA at NAMM
- Saturday, 1-27-18 in Los Angeles, CA at NAMM
- Wednesday, 1-31-18 in Sturtevant, WI at Route 20
- Thursday, 2-01-18 in Waterloo, IA at Spicolli’s
- Friday, 2-02-18 in Altoona, WI at Northwest Wisconsin Winterfest
- Saturday, 2-03-18 in Davenport, IA at Wapsi Willys LLC
- Tuesday, 2-06-18 in Westland, MI at Token Lounge
- Wednesday, 2-07-18 in Muskegon, MI at Unruly Brewing (Acoustic)
- Thursday, 2-08-18 in Ft Wayne, IN at Piere’s Entertainment Center
- Friday, 2-09-18 in Saginaw, MI at Dow Event Center
- Saturday, 2-10-18 in Kalamazoo, MI at Bells
- Thursday, 2-15-18 in Akron, OH at Empire
- Friday, 2-16-18 in Huntington, WV at V Club
- Saturday, 2-17-18 in Marietta, OH at Adelphia Music Hall
- Wednesday, 2-21-18 in Asheville, NC at Mothlight (Jeff Santiago)
- Thursday, 2-22-18 in Concord, NC at Amici’s
- Friday, 2-23-18 in Savannah, GA at Stage On Bay (Blue Oyster Cult)
- Saturday, 2-24-18 in Florence, SC at Livewire / 507 Live
- Sunday, 2-25-18 in Spartanburg, SC at Ground Zero
- Wednesday, 2-28-18 in Naples, FL at Southside Grill
- Thursday, 3-01-18 in Jacksonville, FL at Florida Theater (Blackberry Smoke)
- Saturday, 3-03-18 in Lakeland, FL at Mason’s Live
ARTIST BIO – BY MIKE METTLER
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