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WAYLAND Interview with Mitch Arnold

Interview with Mitch Arnold

By:  Nina McCarthy, Senior Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio



(Photo courtesy of Wayland)


Mitch Arnold - Lead vocals/guitar
Phillip Vilenski - Lead guitar/vocals
Dean Pizzazz - Bass/vocals
Nigel Dupree - Drums/vocals


Wayland is a rock n’ roll band named after their hometown of Wayland, Michigan.  I had a nice chat on the phone with frontman, Mitch Arnold, after spending a year trying to touch base with him after we began playing them on Boston Rock Radio.  



BRR:  First of all I just want to say that I'm glad we finally get a chance to talk.  I was looking back and it was actually a year ago that I was supposed to interview you guys and see you at that Rhode Island show when the venue closed abruptly.


MA:  Oh yeah, that's right.


BRR:  I never did get to see you that day, so thanks again for this opportunity.  So now your latest album Rinse and Repeat was released on September 22nd with Mighty Loud / InGrooves  What's been the response?



MA:  Awesome, really great.  It's actually perfect.  It's actually been our biggest release to date. I mean the response has been fantastic.


BRR:  Great!  Besides making me think of washing my hair, can you enlighten me on the album name Rinse and Repeat?


MA:  We came up with that because we were looking for something that was catchy, obviously, and it kind of is.  When we were thinking about it, it was kind of a mantra.  It was kind of a mantra for us because there are so many things that happen during our day that you just have to shake it off and move on, shake it off and move on... rinse and repeat.  Like clean yourself off, dust yourself off, then come back and do it again.  Maybe it's a thing where you know halfway through the day you're dealing with certain challenges and you need to get in a better headspace about it. Take some time and you breathe a little bit and maybe close your eyes for 15 minutes then come back to the world, rinse and repeat.  So we just wanted something that was simple yet had somewhat of a meaning to us. What it means to everyone else, that's up to you. I mean my mom saw the cover and she wondered if the girls were washing their vaginas.


BRR:  (laughing hard)  I can see that now that you say it!


MA:  We're a rock n’ roll band and I feel like right now with bands in our current day everything is so serious.  Everything is so heavy and not fun and naked girls are fun and I think the artwork is beautiful. We wanted to do something a little psychedelic and bring it back to everyone not wearing fucking black clothes.


BRR:  And it's artistically classy.


MA:  Absolutely.  It's a piece of art and it can be interpreted in many different ways. You know, there is a little mushroom on the top right hand corner that you can interpret however you want. Maybe we've done mushrooms.  Maybe we haven't done mushrooms.  Maybe we're looking forward to doing mushrooms.


BRR:  I like when things are left to interpretation, yet I always like to get a little insight from the bands.


MA:  Absolutely.


BRR:  Now I'm not going to get into too much about the songs because I'm having one of my coworkers write up a review of the album. (link below)*  But we love it!   I'm a huge fan of rock, so I think what draws me to this particular album is the diversity in that one genre.  I mean I hear everything from modern rock, classic rock to southern rock.  Does this have anything to do with you having diverse musical backgrounds?


MA:  Yes. The four of us are attracted to different types of music and different genres. I think two things happened.  First of all, it took us two years to record this album. So you're talking about diversifying your taste through those years.  There's other bands that are coming out so you are being influenced by different things. You know,  just the four of us have very different musical backgrounds and I think the colors of the album really express that.


BRR:  You all grew up in very musical families from a young age.  Is that correct?


MA:  Yeah.  My dad was in musicals when he was a kid and sang in church whenever I was growing up and he actually put himself through college singing at funerals.  And when I was younger I was encouraged to pick up instruments.  I was encouraged to be in band and choir.  I come from a very athletic family but they were just as equally as excited about music as they were about athletics.  Phill's dad was a bluegrass guitar player and played in bluegrass and country bands his whole life.  Dean comes from a very musical background as far as musical theater and his parents always encouraged him to be in choir and band and all that kind of stuff. Then, Nigel Dupree,obviously the son of Jesse James Dupree, grew up on a tour bus.  Whenever he was younger he was being babysat by Aerosmith and AC/DC and the guys in Jackyl, so I mean he probably has the most experience as a kid being around this type of music for sure.


BRR: I can't even imagine the experience that must have been for him.


MA:  I can't image!


BRR:  Wayland formed in 2010 and I know you've been touring incessantly making a name for yourself.  I read that you have turned down some record deals over the years.  What made you feel that this was finally the right time to take that next step?


MA:  Right at the end of the year we were starting to see a big surge in people coming after us business wise and we ended up turning down four major labels at the end of 2016 and basically all the deals that they are offering, we would've gone broke on.  We would have gone on the road trying to find a way to pay the commissions and we would have probably gone even more broke trying to get out of the deal whenever we realized that it was bad.  Record labels are doing their best to make their money. Our record labels are doing their best to find a way to make a dollar just like bands are.  It's unfortunate though that a lot of the big major ones instead, of working with the band so that everyone is is winning, they're taking advantage of bands. It sounds great to sign to a major label and obviously you've got a big machine behind you, but that doesn't mean that you're going to have a success story.  We never wanted to work our asses off on tour and then come home and get a day job. That wasn't a success story to us. So we waited and we actually built a team around us; Thermal Entertainment, and we've been working invertibly with them throughout the years and Mighty Loud, which is Jesse's label, obviously we’ve been working with Jesse for a while.  We built this team up around us and when it was time to put out the record, we all put together a deal that was going to benefit all parties. And it's kind of an unconventional, definitely an unconventional way, about putting out a record and obviously it's a smaller machine than say Sony or Atlantic or something like that, but everybody gets to make a living.  And I think that's probably the most important because that's what we want.  We want to do this for the rest of our lives.  It would be really unfortunate if we weren't able to do that to make a living while we're working this hard.


BRR:  I'm hearing that more and more from up and coming bands, that they're doing a lot of things independent and finding the need to build a team around them.  Just like you said, because the labels don't pay for everything like they used to when they sent you out on tour.  Like you said, they're trying to make their money and it's certainly not the same way as they used to.


MA:  No it's not. I mean bottom line people aren't buying music.  I can sit around and bitch and moan and cry about it or I can get inventive  trying ways to make money in the music business.  If people aren't going to buy the songs okay, how are we going to get it out and how we are going to capitalize and make a career?  There's a lot of bands that threw in the towel and I don't blame them because they were making a great living selling music and then all of a sudden you can't sell music.  There's only so many times in your life you're going to find the energy to reinvent the wheel. And I'm just lucky to be a part of a team that continues to do it on a daily basis.


BRR:  That's great.  Now the album was all finished when your former drummer, Tyler Coburn, departed in January.  How did Nigel come into the picture as the new drummer?  


MA:  Nigel was with us last year.  Early last year, he called us and was at a crossroads in his career.  He was having a hard time keeping a band together because it is very hard to be in a band.  So he said, I want to take a break from all this.  And you know what, I don't even wanna play. I'll come on the road with you guys and roadie for you.”  He was the best guitar tech that I've ever had. Halfway through that tour our friend Kiefer Sutherland gave us a call and he actually found out that Nigel was this incredible tech and he kind of snagged him up for a couple of months. The pay was just too good for Nigel to stick around and tech for us.  So he went out with Keifer for a little bit and ended up coming back and started playing guitar with us. He was on a riser next to Tyler and he played guitar, sang on two mics, and he played keys So he's kind of like the utility guy. And whenever January hit and we were leaving January 13th, Tyler called on January 11th and said wasn't feeling like going back out and he wanted to make a life change, in which we supported, and we're really happy that he's happy doing what he wants.  We called Nigel up that night and said, “Hey man, we have to figure something out, Tyler left.”  And he said, “I'll do it,” without hesitating.  We asked him if we needed to spend a week at home rehearsing or anything like that. Do we need to take one week off and put this together and he said,  “Absolutely not.  We'll do it on the fly.”  Sure enough the first time that we played as a band we were playing to people in Peoria, Illinois and we never looked back.  Basically after that first week, we were playing better with the four of us than we had ever played with Tyler, and that's not taking credit away from Tyler. Tyler is an incredible drummer and an incredible person, but the chemistry that goes along with bands is very sensitive.  Just like putting a potion together in Chemistry class, those elements can either diffuse or explode something and whenever it was the four of us with Nigel on drums there was an electric feel to what we were doing.  We were literally getting ready to mix and master the album and we just couldn't move forward without putting Nigel's drums on it and it made a big difference.  It made a big difference in the feel of the record.  It made a big difference in the way the songs translated on tape.  I'd say that was probably one of the best decisions that we ever made as a band.


BRR:  My next question is about recutting the drums in with Nigel.  How was this  challenging?  I'm not really familiar with the recording process, but aren't drum tracks usually laid down first?


MA:  Yes.  More times than not drum tracks are laid down first and actually if you are not a great drummer recording drums onto an already finished record is nearly impossible because the drums are responsible for the swing and the feel of it all and that will make a make or break a record.  There are so many drummers out there that can't do what Nigel did and can't do it nearly as well as Nigel pulled it off.  I mean, bottom line, he is just a really incredible musician and past that he has amazing musical intuition and I think that's really where he shined when he put down those tracks on the record.


BRR:  You're lucky to have him then.  


MA:  Absolutely.


BRR:  The next question I had was about your undeniable chemistry when you play together, and you touched on that. I read in another interview that you said you guys don't even have to really discuss things, it just comes together when the four of you are onstage.


MA;  Yeah usually the new things that happen in the set, we don't talk about it, it just happens.  Then we'll talk about it later like, “Hey, I really like what you did there.”  You know we're in constant reflection both physically in the show, and mentally in our heads, and spiritually so we work really hard to try to reflect and move forward everyday and the music part is no exception.  So after the shows we're talking about it and if it's something that everybody likes, everyone will say it. If it's something that didn't work, everyone will say that too.  So yeah, most of the things we try are kind of off the cuff and it takes a great band to have that kind of freedom onstage.


BRR:  Right, is almost like being a family to have that chemistry.


MA:  Absolutely. I don't know if you have to be a “family” per se but we definitely have to have mutual respect for each other.  You've got to have trust with everyone.  We don't play back tracks and we don't play to a click and so you know it's up to Nigel to give that swing and it's up to us to nail our parts and that's what we do every night.


BRR:  Now the first single released that can be heard on the radio is “Through The Fire.” Can you give me a little background on that song and the inspiration behind it?


MA:  It was the first song that we recorded for the record, the first song we wrote for the album as well.  At the time we were dealing with a friend of ours that was dealing with anxiety and depression and we were trying to help this person kind of get out of this rut because they were close to us.  It was a situation that was like a person drowning and you through them a life float and they won't take it. They won't grab onto it and they'd rather drown and feel sorry for themselves.  So it was just like that.  It was kind of a love letter to this person that was in our lives that wouldn't take the help and it was literally like, “Hey man just grab her hand take it. We will lead you through the fire. We can help you through.”  That's where the inspiration came from.  The inspiration came out of frustration for sure. We were frustrated at our friend that wouldn't help themselves in the situation.


BRR:  That's a sad story made into a beautiful song.  I like to hear the stories behind the music because when you're listening to the songs it means so much more.  And now you're going to be coming back to Rhode Island on November 17th with Hinder, Josh Todd and The Conflict, and Adelitas Way.  I can't wait for that show and to see some of these new songs live.  Hopefully we'll get to say hello and catch up on how the tour is going.  And again, thank you for your time this morning and definitely congratulations on the new release. It's great and I think it's going to lead you guys to great places.


MA:  Thank you very much. I appreciate that.




* Rinse and Repeat Album Review by BRR





(A special thank you to Doug Weber of Thermal Entertainment LLC for arranging this interview.)



© Boston Rock Radio 2017



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