By DAVE SCHWARTZ
There are bands who announce the name of their upcoming record long before it’s close to conclusion – Guns N’ Roses with Chinese Democracy, anyone?
Then there are bands like Waterbodies.
“We have an idea for a name, but we don’t want to let it out before the album is done,” says Shane Turner, drummer of the St. Catharines-based group.
“We’re protective of it, like it’s our newborn.”This will be the first full-length album for Waterbodies.
Lead singer and guitar player Mike McGean says the most recent recording process was entirely different from their previous EP releases, 2008’s Sleep Like Submarines and 2010’s Floresta.
“There has to be a certain flow to it,” says McGean. “If you’re writing four songs, they can be kind of random songs.”
“[With] a full-length, you have to be a little more focused with your style and really hone in on it so that listeners understand what kind of band you are.”
Dylan Turner, who plays guitar alongside McGean, says he thinks of the upcoming record as a “perfume advert.”
“I can use all of these descriptive words and hope that you visualize them the same way that I do,” says Dylan, 21, “but until you actually try on the perfume, you won’t actually know what it smells like.”
Shane, 23, grins and adds, “It’s longer.”
“When we were writing the songs, we weren’t even thinking of a full-length. Or at least I wasn’t thinking of a full-length,” says Shane. “The more we were writing, the more a lot of the songs we were putting together fit one sound and one image.”
“I think that’s why we decided to do a full-length album.”
McGean and Shane started Waterbodies in 2007 with then-bass player Josh Korody.
“It wasn’t a conscious decision to play the style we’re playing,” says Shane. “And I feel like if it was a conscious decision, [the music] wouldn’t have turned out as good as it is, in my opinion.”
Shane says his musical influence ranges from Tom Waits to Fleetwood Mac to Devo to Deftones to Glassjaw, leaving Waterbodies with a unique sound.
Korody left the band following the release of Sleep Like Submarines. McGean, 23, says they decided to add a second guitar player in addition to replacing Korody, which led to Dylan joining the band.
“I had just parted ways with my old band and was looking to do something new,” says Dylan. “Mike said, ‘You should come out and jam.’”
The bass player duties, meanwhile, changed hands several times before John Neadow took the reins. Neadow, who is the band’s fifth bass player, says he joined the band because of “dumb luck.”
“They emailed me saying they needed a bass player. I didn’t see it until a month-and-a-half later,” says Neadow, 23. “By the time I emailed them back, they needed a bass player again.”
McGean says the band has yet to tour extensively, mostly playing in the Niagara area, but says they’ve gotten a good response everywhere.
Shane says he doesn’t mind having not gone much farther than Toronto or Burlington.
“I’m glad we haven’t gone out because I feel like we’re still maturing as a band,” says Shane.
Lyrically, McGean describes Waterbodies as “bittersweet” with a lot of “self-reflection.” Neadow says the lyrics are “very relatable.”
“If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you can relate,” says Neadow.
McGean says the whole band was involved in writing the upcoming album, which he says is “really cool.” Shane says he agrees.
“Without anyone else’s input, [McGean and I] would be just writing Sleep Like Submarines over and over and over again,” says Shane, “which would be boring, so it’s good that we have other people’s input.”
Dylan says he and McGean “come from very different writing positions” and says they help each other when writing.
“My old band was fairly stressful because I did write a majority of the music,” says Dylan. “I was used to writing and I think that part of me was eager to get out.”
“The part of me that wants to write escaped.”
Dylan says the band’s new music is more rock influenced.
“Before it was very ambient sounding,” says Dylan. “You’d tune out and just kinda feel it. Now you wake up and focus on the music.”
“It still has that shoe-gaze element, but it’s more upbeat.”
Shane says Waterbodies’s new songs are “grittier.”
“It sounds like a water body that’s three years older. Think of it that way,” says Shane with a laugh.
“I think any time when all four of us are either jamming or playing a live show, we’re just stoked to be creating something together, you know?”
For more information on Waterbodies, visit www.waterbodies.ca.