Listeners are quickly drawn into Waylaid’s distinct blend of reggae, rock, hip hop and rap music. Inspired by Sublime and The Dirty Heads, this Fair Lawn, New Jersey based band creates pop songs with a flair for grunge. The Pop Break had the opportunity to interview Waylaid to find out more about their unique sound, music influences, their fall residency at Maxwell’s in Hoboken and news of an upcoming EP.
Who is Waylaid? (Band members and the instruments you play): Waylaid is Dave Roccanova on guitar/vocals, Stephan Mash on vocals, Tyler Zerrenner on bass/vocals and Andres Santiago on drums.
You guys are based out of Fair Lawn, NJ, right? What’s the music scene like there? Where do you tend to play shows: Unfortunately, there’s really no scene to speak of in Fair Lawn, but that’s where Mash and I grew up. We’ve been friends for a while. Tyler and Dre are from Ringwood, where there’s a little more of an underground scene. Maxwell’s in Hoboken is our spot, but we’ve ventured down to South Jersey a handful of times. Much better music scene down there.
What year did Waylaid form: The original lineup formed in 2013. The current lineup got together in the summer of 2016. It’s been a great year so far.
Around the time that you were starting out, was there a specific moment when you knew you had to be in a band together: The very first time the four of us were in a room together, we knew we had something special. Again, this was in the middle of last summer.
What message do you want to convey to listeners with your music: For anybody who listens to us and comes to our shows, we just want them to know how much we love playing music for them. Our shows have been awesome. We have incredible friends.
From reggae and hip-hop to rock, what are the most recognizable genres present in your music: I think all three genres are pretty recognizable in most of our songs. Some songs tend to be more reggae-rock while others are just pure hip-hop, like “Girls In Calabasas.” It’s fun to see people react when we play that song live.
In your songs, what elements make up the signature sound of Waylaid: Essentially, we write pop music, but our sound is pretty grungy. Throw in some reggae and hip-hop, and you get Waylaid.
I see that The Dirty Heads and Sublime are major influences for your music. What do you like about these bands and how do they inspire you: Bradley Nowell is the godfather of reggae rock. Without Sublime, I don’t think our genre exists. It’s hard to explain how important that band is to so many people. The first time I heard the Dirty Heads I was like, “holy shit…you can rap over reggae?” I’m not entirely sure if they were the first to do it, but they’re a major influence for us. Tyler is also heavily influenced by punk music, which you can really hear in his bass lines, and his voice. He’s a major reason why we sound the way we do. Dre has roots in latin percussion, which you can also hear in some songs.
How often does rapping come into play in your music or during a performance? What tends to inspire those verses: Mash is a rapper, so you’ll hear a rap verse in most, if not all of our songs. It has really resonated well with our listeners. Hip-hop is HUGE right now, so the more we can implement that into our music, the better.
What themes or ideas are explored in your music: We sing about girls, and partying…and I guess whatever we do to escape the day-to-day bullshit.
What is your single “Touch the Sky” about? Do you think this track reflects who Waylaid is as a band: “Touch the Sky” is about just that; escaping the day-to-day bullshit. I have to be honest though, this song was written and recorded during the transition period between the old lineup and the current lineup, so it’s never been played live or anything. It’s a great example of that reggae-rock sound, but it’s not exactly OUR sound.
Which of your songs are most popular for your fans? What do you think listeners like the most about those songs: Our song “Feels So Good” seems to be the most popular. It has two great rap verses and a killer hook. First time we played it live, people were singing along by the second chorus…such a great feeling.
Thinking back on your time spent as Waylaid, what are some of your favorite memories or performances: Our first show at Maxwell’s, with the new lineup, was a special one. I think that was the moment we were like, “Oh wow…we might have something here.” It really got the ball rolling for us.
Do you have any upcoming music releases that fans should start getting excited for: We are hoping to have our first EP out some time in September. Unfortunately, unless your last name is Bieber, it’s quite difficult to get people to appreciate, and really latch on to new music. We wanted to play our new stuff live a few times, before doing anything in the studio. If you go on our social media, you can find little teasers here and there.
What are Waylaid’s goals for the rest of 2017: We start our Fall Residency at Maxwell’s (Hoboken) next month. The first show of that series is going to be on September 22nd. We’re hoping to use this as an opportunity to promote our new release, and create a little bit of a ‘buzz’ around Jersey. With the right help, and a little bit of luck, we think we can really start to grow our fan base. At the very least, were having a lot of fun being Waylaid.