A Chat with WAXEATER (25.11.2020)

WAXEATER are exploding out of your speakers with their third full-length album Extra Medium. Rob Montage (vocals, guitar), Elliott Turton (bass) and Aaron Sortman (drums) swirl their infectious and savage sounds for a listening experience you are not going to forget. We sat down with Rob Montage to talk about their album, vinyl releases, creative processes and much more!

OSR: How did the band first get together?

Montage: I started the band in 2006 in Bloomington Indiana. I started writing “weirder” songs than what my old hardcore band was doing. After the original bassist and drummer moved on from Bloomington in 2010, I recruited Aaron and Elliott from Louisville. I had played countless shows with their other bands and we always clicked. In 2014, I relocated to Louisville as well.

OSR: You have a very explosive sound, is this something that happened organically or was it a
conscious decision?

Montage: When I first started writing songs for this band, I was definitely shooting for that sound that people called “angular” at the time. I’ve always liked songs that have really sharp transitions and a sense of controlled chaos, so that’s what we go for. that, big dumb riffs.

OSR: You have released your thord full-length album Extra Medium. Is there a theme or story to this release?

Montage: Our last album, Baltimore Record, was a concept album about the Wire. While it was fun to have an overarching theme to write about, we definitely didn’t want to have that kind of restriction on this one. Extra Medium is mostly just “the next 12 songs we wrote”! That’s not to say we won’t go back to the concept well, we have talked about a couple of ideas.

OSR: The album has been released across the digital platforms, but you also have a Limited Edition 12” vinyl. Why is this?

Montage: Well, the digital and physical releases were supposed to be a lot closer together, but COVID. We don’t really see the need to have non-vinyl physical media since no one ever buys it from us! We’ve sold tons of digital copies of our first record, but I still have a basement full of those CDs. The way I see it, the streaming is to get it to a large audience and the vinyl is for the collectors.

OSR: Is there a track on the album that holds a special place for you?

Montage: I wrote the final song, ‘(No) Doubt (About It)’ about the long weird path my now wife’s relationship took over time. I proposed on stage in front of a packed club in Chicago during the first live performance of the song back in 2016.

OSR: What was your creative process for the album?

Montage: Our songwriting usually starts with me coming to practice with some loosely strung together riffs. Aaron helps give the songs structure and proper transitions. Ell basically noodles around on bass and never plays it the same way the first 40 times, then eventually settles on the perfect parts without any guidance from me. He’s a mad genius who is in love with his bass delay pedal.

As for lyrics, I usually start with a title or theme and build from that. For instance, ‘Give/Earn’ is about my experiences at my day job as a high school teacher and ‘We Aren’t 138’ is about how we don’t feel especially “punk rock” anymore now that we’re all pushing 40. Lyrics are always the absolute last thing to get done and the least important part of any of our songs.


OSR: How do you feel this album compares to your last two?

Montage: I think it’s the best sounding one we’ve done, as we continue to get better gear and a better grip on how to capture our live sound, which feels impossible most of the time. Elliott is a sound engineer and radio producer by trade, so this time we just let him produce the damn thing rather than try and tell the studio dude what we wanted. Overall, I think it’s really balanced record that doesn’t linger or wear out it’s welcome.

OSR: You have toured extensively in the past, what was the best gig you have played?

Montage: The aforementioned engagement show was obviously really special for me, and we’ve played a lot of awesome shows as part of the PRFBBQ series (check out prfbbq.com). I think one of my personal favourites was playing a filthy basement in Bloomington on my birthday with one of my favourites ever: New Brutalism from Knoxville.

The worst show ever was the one where Elliott was shocked on stage in Austin because the venue thought breaking the third prong off the power strip was a tight idea. He was in a coma for two days!

Also, props to the bands we’ve toured with multiple times: GIRLFIGHT, JabberJosh, IfIHadAHifi, Powerlifter, and Police Teeth.

OSR: If people could feel only one thing while listening to the album, what would you like that to be?

Montage: HYPED. So many aggressive noisy bands are all really serious. We are not that band. We want people to party, chill and have fun with our records. We try not to take ourselves too seriously, we do the band because it’s fun to do it, we want that fun to shine through on the records and at the shows.

OSR: What else do you have planned for the next 12 months?

Montage: Well, we had several tour and festival dates, but you know. Right now we are practicing and writing for an EP we want to record at Russian Recording in Bloomington. We promise not to go 7 years between records again. I reserve the right to renege on that promise.

We will be doing a live stream in January as part of Art Sanctuary’s Late for Dinner series here in Louisville as well. Merch is available at waxeater.bandcamp.com.

Other than that? Catch us crushing beers, chilling and making inside jokes with our dogs, cats and kids.

Thanks to Rob Montage for chatting with us! You can find more about WAXEATER on their Facebook and Spotify.

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