Mississippi bred rock band Wavorly is one of the coolest new acts to stem from the Christian underground in 2007 and
we had the pleasure of sitting down with the guys for a candid chat about their debut album on Flicker Records,
Conquering The Fear Of Flight. Read on and get to know the rock quintet a little bit...
This interview took place on: 4/24/07.
Jesus freak Hideout (John DiBiase): How did you guys get started? I know you started
as Freshman 15...
Dave and I met in college and formed Freshman 15. We had an old guitar player and drummer, they
kinda went and did other things - which is cool, we're all still friends. Coon joined - he was our road manager when we
were Freshman 15, and we really wanted keyboard and stuff. Dave had started writing a lot of the songs on a piano,
and we thought we oughta do keyboard, so that opened up a whole new thing that we could do. So with the other guys
leaving, we added Seth on guitar first and then Jaime's our newest member. He's been in the band for about seven months.
We decided to change the name to "Wavorly" because we figured - three new members, and our sound kind of went from a pop/punk thing
to now just more of a rock [thing]. We like "Wavorly" better because it's just more of a mature sounding name. We didn't want to be
thirty years old and be like, "I'm in 'Freshman 15.' I have three kids." *laughter*
JFH (John): Why'd you pick "Wavorly?"
Well, there's a mansion in West Point, Mississippi, supposedly haunted. We wanted a name that reflected kind of Mississippi, where
we came from. It's hard when you're choosing a new name. We were so worried that we couldn't find a good one, and it took
Yeah, a couple months.
Yeah, we went through thousands... well, probably not thousands, but hundreds of names. (Dave: Hundreds of
millions!) *laughter* (Seth Farmer: We went through the whole dictionary.) We did! We're like
"Aardvark?" *pauses* No. (Dave: "Apple?" No.) *laughter*
JFH (John): How did the band get connected with Flicker and producer Rob Graves?
Yeah, we met somebody at GMA two years ago, and she ended up telling Mark [Stuart] about us and stuff. So Mark came and watched
us twice, and then Will [McGinniss] watched us at Ichthus Festival and we played the worst show of our lives (Matt: It was bad.)
- falling down, hitting microphones on the ground and stuff like that. And Will's out there going "Yeaaah!" (Matt: Will loved it!)
So he took us backstage, and we'd been talking to a couple of other labels, and he wanted to move forward. They're really
passionate about our music. They really believed in us. You don't want to work with somebody who doesn't like you.
It's good you guys came to us cause we like you guys! (John: Why's that?) Cause you're
Plus he has on a Family Force 5 t-shirt. (Matt: Yeeeah!)
JFH (John): How did Grave's production affect the album's outcome?
Man, he helped a lot!
Yeah, we got to put real strings on the CD. We might not have had that otherwise. That was a big thing for him. I wrote the classical
piano intros and outros on the CD. So that was almost accidental. I was just sitting there playing along on the piano and he's like
"What is that?" And I said, "Just something I came up with." And he said, "Play through everything you know!" So I just said "OK,"
and because of that, he wanted to put that on the CD, and it kind of gave it a "theme," I guess you could say.
I don't think any of us expected our first CD to be what it is. (Dave: Yeah!)
We're really happy with it.
It's more than we hoped for.
JFH (John): I read that you guys are inspired by the music of John Williams and Danny Elfman. Are
there any specific works of their's?
Man, we like the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. You can hear that somewhere in there. Also, Edward Scissorhands,
that soundtrack. John Williams - all his stuff.
[Elfman's] Batman stuff, if you go away from the actual theme, and just listen to the rest of it, it's just "Wow"
I love listening to that music. I majored in music ed. in college and stuff, so I listened to a lot of classical, and then
I listened to film stuff, and I really dig that.
JFH (John): Was it deliberate for the album to focus on C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce?"
It was. Dave and I both read it and we really liked the imagery. Lewis's descriptions of heaven and hell are different from an American idea,
I guess, but they're probably more accurate. *laughs* And we just really liked it. We split it up - "Part One" is
about this guy who's in a vision or something and he has a choice to make between heaven and hell. He can either choose hell or choose heaven.
And so we wrote one song about the choice of choosing hell and the other one's about choosing heaven. It's kind of a little concept
thing. And then the song, "Madmen," the title of that is based on a quote out of the book but the idea of it is a little different.
We really like C.S. Lewis a lot.
JFH (John): What else inspires your songwriting?
Matt: Life experiences. Love.
Dave: Loss. Hope. We just write honestly, I guess. Whatever we feel. Track number nine,
"Time I Understood," is just a really honest song. Everybody has questions for God. Everybody doubts God at one time or loses
something in their life where they wonder, "I don't understand why it's happening to me? "Why weren't you there?"
That whole song is from a time in my life where I was questioning and it goes all the way to the end when I realize that God's still
in control no matter what.
JFH (John): What musical influences - besides the classical mentioned - can you attribute to
the sound on the record?
Dave: Relient K. I like them a lot.
Ryan: Muse is one of them.
Matt: We really like Anberlin, Taking Back Sunday.
JFH (John): Do you have a favorite song on the record?
Ryan: Mine would probably be "Forgive and Forget." It's probably a lot of our's. I think just cause now it's our
favorite song to play live. It's just a rock song. It's got a dancing moment and I'm kind of into that whole field and
stuff. (Dave: He's loves to dance.) (Matt: We'll just be standing around and he'll start dancing!)
But it's got different elements in it that are just really cool.
Dave: I like "Part One" a lot, because of the whole "Great Divorce" thing, and the music's kind of different too.
Matt: I like "Forgive and Forget," but also "Time I Understood" is a really emotional song and means a lot to
all of us in the band. Because when Dave wrote it, he was going through a personal loss, but kind of all of us were going through...
It was a really uncertain time in the band for all of us, so that song kind of captures a big moment in our lives.
Dave: It's old, too.
Matt: The oldest song on the CD is actually "Praise & Adore." It was actually called "Some Live Without It." It's
like two years old.
Dave: Yeah, we kind of rewrote it with Trevor from Thousand Foot Krutch, kinda gave more life to it.
Seth: My favorite song is "Tale of the Dragon's Defeat," cause it's like an allegory.
Jaime Hays: They kind of named all of them, but I like "Forgive and Forget," too.
JFH (John): "Praise & Adore" has a very different feel from the rest of the record. You said
it was older, but it definitely is different...
Matt: That song, that was a real personal thing for you (*to Dave*)
Dave: Yeah. When I first wrote it, I wasn't really thinking about how I could make this song be cool or how it can
play in our band. It was really just going to be a personal worship song, kind of spontaneous, just sitting there, singing.
And then the words "Some live without it" just rolled off my tongue, and I was like "Wow, that just changes the whole meaning
of the song." It wasn't just a praise and worship song anymore, it was making me think of other people who don't have a relationship
with God - how I need to show love to them.
JFH (John): Yeah, it's cool, cause like the whole record's pretty aggressive and then that
song's a lot more tame and melodic...
Yeah, it was one of the local people's favorites around here. We've been playing it for awhile and we were like, "Well, it kind
of sounds like a praise and worship song instead..." To some people it is. A lot of people have told us how it moves them, and
there's something special about it. It's kind of weird for us cause it's old. But it's cool, people are digging it. That's good, we like that!
JFH (John): What's the story behind "Summer Song?"
That's my girlfriend! *laughs, followed by a chorus of "Awww"'s* Her name's Summer, we were dating about two years
when I wrote that. So it was our anniversary and there was this coffee house thing that night. It was cool because we sang it for her.
I came out by myself and sang a verse and then Matt would come up and play along with the next verse. We all came out and handed
her roses... Everyone thought I was going to propose, but me and Summer knew that I'm freakin' broke. *laughter*
We were the only ones that knew that wasn't going to happen. *laughs* It wasn't even going to be on the record. I
wasn't pushing for it, because I wasn't going to be like "This my girlfriend's song! I'm the lead singer!" But Rob said it was
definite and all of us were cool with it. We did some stuff new to it, too, and put it on there, so now my girlfriend's happy.
Flicker wanted us to write a certain amount of songs, and "Summer Song" was one that he had recorded and we were like "Put
that on there so we have 'that' many songs!" And it turned out that everybody liked it! We were all pretty surprised. I mean, it's
so cheesy! *laughter* (Dave: It made everybody cry!)
JFH (John): What has God been teaching you guys lately?
Well, the title of the record, Conquering the Fear of Flight, that's a big lesson we've been learning lately.
Number one, cause Coon is scared of airplanes. Number two, because that's just a point in my life, my opportunity maybe, to let
go of the past. When you reach a pinnacle in your life and you have to make a decision, and a lot of times it'll involve letting
something go, not knowing what's ahead. We're kind of at that place right now with our band. We've got all these wonderful blessings
around us, y'know? And none of us deserve them. We're just sitting back in awe wondering why we get to be a band that has this
opportunity. It's kind of about that. And He's been teaching us how to let go of our fears - to get ready for what's to come.
He's been teaching me a lot about loving people - going out of our way to love somebody else.
Another thing, too, is something would come up and we'd hear some news about something that
could happen - so far every little thing that's happened, the timing has been perfect and God's timing is perfect
and whether it's something He wants for us or not, we know to be patient and know it'll be for the better. Because we always
feel good about decisions and I think as long as you feel good about decisions, you know it's in God's hands. So far, it's been
really cool. We've been really blessed and everything just happens to happen at the right time.
Like Dave, I've been having to learn how to love people a lot lately - no matter what they do, to love them unconditionally.
And letting go of a lot of things that I've learned really don't matter in the big scheme of life, eternally.
The fact that we are signed and stuff now, I think God's been showing me that I'm part of impacting kids lives and
stuff. When kids buy the CD and listen to it and they associate me with the band, I'm part of that, y'know? The fact that I need
to grow in my spiritual walk and be ready to talk to kids and stuff and be able to let them know about certain stuff about our
songs - where are hearts are. That's what he's been teaching me lately.
We're also learning too that, nowadays, like where Coon was saying about connecting with kids, a lot of times when kids hear the
words "Christian band," they'll immediately reject it. So for us, we want them to realize we're not going to come up in their
face and say "This is how you have to live and blah blah blah" and shove it down their throats. And God's been teaching us, like
Dave said, to act in love. And sometimes that's just sitting down and listening to somebody. So whenever we play, we won't preach
from the stage, but we kind of throw it out there that if anyone wants to come talk to us, we'd love for it. We've gotten to meet
a lot of cool people that way. We try to stay really connected with people, like on our MySpace.
We get some pretty bad comments, though. We just try to add people, so they'll send us a message that we didn't find time to
get to know them, we just sent them a random 'add' or something. But we're just trying to reach everybody.
Wavorly's debut album Conquering The Fear Of Flight is available now!