Angus Rowe photo
Name (from left): Cary Parker (organ & vocals), Sager Johnson (guitar), Ryan Johnson (vocals & guitar), Devin Jannetta (drums), Nic Oliverio (bass)
Occupation: Rock musicians
“Playing music is a part of who we are. It’s something that we’ve done for so long now. It would feel unnatural not to.”
The picture says it all: Independent rockers eyeing the bright lights of success.
However, unlike most struggling rock bands, shortwave might have a good chance at making it. Its trump card is producer Malcom Burns, a fellow Canuck based in the U.S. whose body of work encompasses Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo and Emmylou Harris (work with the latter of which garnered him a Grammy).
“Malcolm sent us an e-mail out of the blue. He was directed to our music online and loved us right away,” says singer, songwriter and guitarist Ryan Johnson.
Don’t say miracles don’t happen. The next thing you know, Burns invited the band to New York where it recorded its self-titled sophomore album in rapid time: One week.
“(Our) ethos was to capture the live energy of five musicians recording their parts together — a rarity today,” elaborates Johnson.
The finished product features six original tracks, which was debuted to a packed house at The El Mocambo this past weekend.
With the help of Burns championing the band, shortwave has already sparked the attention of other producers in the U.S. as well as record label interest from down south and in the U.K.
Meanwhile, Stereo — one of shortwave’s featured singles — is being shopped around by a Hollywood publisher, and a director in La La Land is itching to direct a video for another track entitled, Esther.
Musically, shortwave’s sound is contemporary, but also reminiscent of early U2, The Clash and The Jam, whilst Johnson’s vocals hark to a young Bruce Springsteen.
However, it’s not all rock ’n’ roll. The band doles out the dollars from its own pockets to cover recording, promotional and management costs.
The guys also write and arrange all their own material. Staying focused and remaining driven are key, says Johnson.
“Playing music is a part of who we are,” sums up Johnson. “It’s something that we’ve done for so long now. It would feel unnatural not to.”
For more on shortwave, log onto www.myspace.com/shortwavetheband.
Upcoming gigs include Feb. 8 at The Rivoli (334 Queen St. W.) and March 1 at The Mod Club (722 College St.).
An award-winning and multi-faceted media personality, Lawrence’s career spans journalism, television (hosting, acting, producing) and public relations (event management, publicity). Log onto lawrence-chau.com for more buzz.