In this interview, Renier Fee, Director of Marketing at Music & Arts, sat down with Christian Seda, whose band Wait and Shackle won the Music & Arts’ 4th annual Battle of the Bands competition. Most of their music is self recorded and produced at the band’s house, and Christian handles all recording and mixing himself. They have music available on Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp, and put on a great show at the Battle of the Bands event. Fun fact: Christian started taking lessons at Music & Arts over a decade ago, and now he works as a Senior Sales Associate for Music & Arts in Lindenhurst, New York. We’re excited to have had you in the family for so long, Christian! Congrats on the win!
Your performance at the Music & Arts 4th annual “Battle of the Bands” was full of tight songs and high energy. It was easy to see why the judges selected your band as the winner. But the other bands were great too. What went through your mind when your band, Wait and Shackle, was announced as the winner?
At first it took me a minute to process. When we stepped on stage to receive the big check it had been a moment where I realized that all the struggle we’ve each individually been through was worth it in the end.
Fender, D’Addario, P. Mauriat, Zildjian, Vic Firth and Flying Dog Brewery hooked you up with tons of prizes and Music & Arts came through with the cash. What are you going to do with your winnings?
Utilize all of the gear in future recordings and also fund new recording gear for us to use. Also time for one of us to learn trumpet!
After having played the Battle of the Bands, what tips do you have for the bands in the 2019 competition?
What I’d say is to just go in it with no expectations and just give every ounce of energy you have into your performance.
Let’s start from the beginning. You told me you took lessons at Music & Arts over a decade ago and that “it was the best decision I ever made.” Why are lessons important to a beginner musician?
Lessons are important because it trains you to be an active listener and that is essential to playing in a group setting. It also hones in on your ear and teaches you how to get around certain problems within composing your music.
Who’s in your band and where did your sound come from?
Dave (guitarist) and I met back in high school when we played in separate bands. He was really into surf/punk music. Quinn(drummer) and Kevin(bassist) are also in a band called Alset Alokin and already had a preexisting chemistry playing Funk/Jazz music. When Wait and Shackle was originally conceived, I was the drummer so the earlier tunes are somewhat more based in the punk realm. I was always into progressive rock and wanted to create a new sound from all of our respective influences. At some point we decided to implement Quinn into the mix and move me onto guitar to play the songs I had composed. As a collective we now have a no idea off limits approach and contribute to the writing as a whole.
You guys played barefoot on stage. Is that a nod to your beach lifestyle?
It essentially is a means of grounding us to our surroundings and getting comfortable within whatever place we are in. But also who doesn’t love the beach?
You call your music “progressive/math rock” but is it fair to call it emo?
There are definitely hints of emo in there with the lyrical content we have going on.
Any of these bands an influence on you: Fall of Troy, At the Drive In, American Football, Into It Over It?
Oh man, The Fall of Troy hands down changed my approach to music and guitar. Thomas Erak inspired a legion of new guitarists with his fast riffing and intense live energy. At the Drive In unmistakably influenced that band as well so they are definitely big inspirations to me. American Football definitely is an influence on our more laid back songs and vocal harmonies.
My friend Shawn Burke has been listening to your music and sent me a question for you: New York and New Jersey has such a great history of being a DIY breeding ground. How do you think the scene compares now vs the early 2000’s when it fed an entire genre of post-hardcore/punk musicians?
I would say that the post hardcore/punk scene is still very much alive. What I’ve noticed prominently though is the amount of math rock bands that are consistently pushing the envelope to take music to new horizons. The sheer talent that comes from this island is very humbling to be a part of.
What gear is your band playing on? Talk to me about your set-up; your guitars, pedals, drum kit, mics, amps, etc.
So my setup consists of a Les Paul Doublecut Plus, A PRS SE Custom 24 that has been modded with Seymour Duncan Pegasus and Sentient pickups, A modded Marshall JCM 2000 DSL, a Line 6 M13 as my main board, an EarthQuaker Devices Palisades for overdrive/distortion and an EarthQuaker Rainbow Machine. Dave plays on a Les Paul Doublecut Plus as well, a Warmoth custom built telecaster with 24 frets, a Traynor amp that had a modded circuit from our good friend/gear tech Jesse Davidson, also a Line 6 M13 as well and the Palisades as well. He also uses a Boss RC-30 for samples and certain loops. Kevin plays on a Fender J Bass with Wylde pickups, an Acoustic head through a Mark Bass 4×10. For Pedals he uses a Boss Tera Echo, Boss EQ, and a Bass Big Muff pedal. Quinn plays on a kit that’s made up of different shells including Pork Pie and Tama. For cymbals he uses mainly his Meinl extra dry hats, ride and crash and has a Zildjian Dark K Crash. For his stack he uses a few Wuhan and Zildjian cymbals.
And you use loopers too, right?
Our main looper unit is the M13. Has lots of cool features and is a great all-in-one device. Further sampling is done using Dave’s RC-30
Wait and Shackle has released three albums: “Get Loaded” in 2015, “The Cantilever” in 2017, and “Happy 26th Birthday” in 2018. Since you handle the recording and mixing, how has your recording process evolved?
I’ve just learned from constant experimentation with recording that environment is everything. The latest record had the drums tracked with James Meslin over at Cove City Sound Studios in Long Island. We did everything else ourselves at home just using Reaper. “Get Loaded” was all done with our good friend Jesse Chason. He runs a production company called Glasswave Productions and has a studio upstate. The Cantilever was my first take on recording ourselves and I was the drummer back then. It’s definitely been a learning process and I’m always trying to learn something new in this digital recording age.
What studio gear do you use to record and mix?
We use FocusRite’s Scarlett 18i20 interface to capture everything. Our primary DAW is Reaper and we also run BIAS AMP software for some tone blending with our real amps.
Where can fans get your albums?
Thanks Christian. Want to end it with a few shout-outs?
Shout out’s to all of of friends and family for being our support all these years. This band would not have survived without help from all of you. Shout out to Jesse Davidson for always fixing our stuff, Don Scherr for helping us get onto streaming platforms, Waffle Dowila for helping us with merch, Reunite Pangea, It Came From Space, Necter, and Kaelyn McParland for always taking amazing photos of us.