Artist Spotlight: Wax Cowboy
Connecting with the community comes first for this jangle rock four-piece
Columns / January 31, 2018
The “bandmates first, friends second” mentality is at the heart of plenty of indie acts, but it means something special to Wax Cowboy, a Vancouver four-piece who have known each other since high school.
Together, frontman Atley King, drummer Eric Sanderson, bassist John Domenici, and guitarist Taliesin Mason-McCrea grew up listening to Billy Talent, fumbling with their respective instruments, and jamming out covers. Now, they present delay-soaked alternative hits inspired by projects like Melody’s Echo Chamber and Tame Impala.
“I have a lot of bands that I’m in, but this is the band of my friends,” says King. “I could spend a day hanging out with them and playing music or I could spend a day playing no music with them and it would still be the same.”
King and Sanderson were formerly in a metal band together but got bored of the lack of enthusiasm that they felt in that scene. Wax Cowboy was created to escape that atmosphere and start something fresh and positive. King taught Domenici bass and had him performing live sets in no time, and Mason-McCrea is an old friend whose musicianship has long been a part of his relationship to his now-bandmates.
Off the stage, non-members also helped nurture the band in its formative days. The title Wax Cowboy was picked from a list of potential band names written by Chris Pantazis, a close friend of the members who also creates artwork for their merch.
On Jan. 23, they started recording their next release, described by the band as “something to get you through the winter”, or the period between one album and the next. Likely to be an EP, but currently unrestricted by a track limit, the record will feature a more intimate approach than the group has taken in the past.
“To me, it’s like a night in that you wish [was] a night out. It’s bittersweet,” says King, about the tone of the tracks they’re currently recording. “Some of our other stuff was more to just jump around and dance to. But with this, it’s more so that you can hang out alone and groove to it. It’s stuff to listen to when you’re not doing stuff.”
There’s no use trying to predict what to expect from each Wax Cowboy show—the band places importance on mixing it up and hand-picking songs to suit the venue and other performers on the bill. They can be cozy hangouts or raucous moshes, depending on when and where you see them.
Wax Cowboy isn’t on a label, but they are part of a collective of other local bands called Soft Sun Records. Videos of their live shows, along with performances by groups like Club Sofa and Kai Bravewood, can be found on their Youtube channel.
“If there are any fans out there who want to say hi, say hi,” grins Domenici. The other three members laugh and nod in agreement.
The band will be playing on Feb. 2 at 333 with Thee Magic Circle and Bear Call and in the last week of February at Stylus Records with Highland Eyeway.