Earlier this month saw the release of Comedian on Prosthetic Records, the third album by Chicago’s Without Waves. With the release showcasing elements of alternative, avantgarde and prog metal, all with a modern sheen, there are plenty of stand-outs on the record. I caught up with guitarist Zac to find out more about the release and the band.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview for Blessed Altar Zine. First of all, who is Without Waves and what does each member contribute to the band?
Zac: Thank you for having us! Anthony Cwan, vocals & guitar, Zac Lombardi, guitar, John Picillo, bass & backing vocal, Garry Naples, drums.
The band’s new album Comedian sounds great. What was the process like making the album and how happy are you with the result?
Zac: We’re extremely happy with how the record turned out. We spent a lot of time making it, especially on guitars and vocals. Our engineer/producer, Rollin Weary, agonized over every detail with us and kept us on track to realize our vision and produce something that we are truly proud of.
You do a great job of fusing different musical elements into your own style. I hear many different sources of inspiration on Comedian. Is each member of the band coming from a different musical direction, or do you all just have very eclectic tastes?
Zac: Ha! Probably the eclectic camp, but our tastes do vary a lot between members. For the most part I think we collectively approach writing with a fairly open mind and simply pursue what feels right.
I think Day 15 might be my favourite track from the album at the moment. Very lush and dreamy. Are there any tracks that you’re especially happy with or would that be like choosing a favourite child?
Zac: This is a tough one. I’ll probably say ‘Seven’ as it somewhat encompasses the record as a whole. I also love that the longest song has the fewest amount of words.
It’s been five years since the last Without Waves album, Lunar, what has the band been doing in the time between these releases?
Zac: Mostly writing, recording, and simply surviving. While it has been a long time, the last two years feel like such a blur. We played 70k tons of metal in January of 2020 which was absolutely amazing. I remember getting back from that and thinking 2020 is going to be a good year…
How did the band first come together? Were you all involved in other musical projects before?
Zac: We’ve been playing together in one form or another since we were in high school. As we aged and changed, so did our tastes and eventually we found that we needed to expand our sound. We then started Without Waves in 2010 with the idea that nothing was off the table sonically.
We live in an age now where a lot of people listen to music on Spotify and not necessarily whole albums so often. How important was it to you to have the album released on vinyl and CD and how do you prefer to listen to music?
Zac: I really love the idea of people listening to the record from start to finish and I hope the vinyl and CD will help facilitate that. I also really like what we did with the artwork and layout for the tangible mediums. While I mostly stream myself these days, I usually just pick an album and go with it. I’ve never been a playlist guy. For a preferred method I’m going to say live.
For our readers, what’s one book and one record they might not be familiar with that you’d recommend they check out?
Zac: I 100% recommend the composer Arvo Pärt. Fratres and Tabula Rasa are a fun place to start. His approach to writing has personally influenced me quite a bit over the last couple years.
With restrictions hopefully starting to relax now, are there plans to do live shows over the coming months to promote the album?
Zac: Yes, we’re looking forward to hitting the road again soon.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Zac: I’d like to mention the engineer/producer we worked with again, Rollin Weary. He’s easily one of the most musically talented individuals I’ve ever met and we couldn’t have made this record without him.
Interview: Tom Osman
Band photo: Matthew Hollis
Thanks to Zac for his time. Comedian by Without Waves is out now on Prosthetic Records. Pick up a copy from the links below and follow the band on social media to stay up to date with future news and releases. Also, couldn’t agree more with Zac about Arvo Pärt and Tabula Rasa. Amazing music.
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