Fri, Mar 27, 2015 - Page 11 News List

Live Wire: For new shores

By Joe Henley  /  Contributing Reporter

For Californian post-hardcore band Being As An Ocean, faith is only a small part of the overall equation.

Photo courtesy of Being As An Ocean.

There are two different kinds of bands. One breed sits back and waits for opportunity to come knocking. They hold out hope that one day a label will send them out on tour, take care of all the organizational logistics and hold their limp-hanging hands through the whole inevitably short-lived process. Should that not happen, well, Kinko’s is always hiring. The short road to the middle is flat, straight and safe.

The other kind of band goes out and makes their own chance. When an opportunity presents itself, they seize it regardless of whether or not it makes economic, logical, or any kind of sense whatsoever, and take everything on themselves, DIY style. Why? Because the old cliche, “no risk, no reward,” is there for a reason.

Windsor, Ontario-based instrumental progressive rock group What Seas, What Shores resolutely falls into the latter category. When a chance meeting with a Kaohsiung bar manager evolved into talk of touring Taiwan and Japan, the band quickly decided to self-finance the eastward jaunt.

“Caleb’s (Farrugia , drums) uncle played in a band, Teaze, that was pretty successful in parts of Asia in the late seventies and we would talk about touring over there as if it were a pipe dream,” says guitarist Colin Wysman.

“It’s always been on our radar but was never something that we thought could be viable. To make a long story short, we met Mike Vair-Haley from Kaohsiung’s Rocks at a show out of town last summer and through the ensuing conversations, he convinced us that audiences in Taiwan and Japan would be incredibly receptive to our music and that we would have a great time out there.”

The band may find the relatively short distances they have to cover between gigs to be a refreshing change from the long-haul drives they’ve had to undertake on their many Canadian tours over the course of the past decade, as guitarist Kyle Mandleshander says.

“There are not a lot of cities to play in proportion to the size of our country. You are lucky to be able to book gigs that are closer than eight hours apart from one another. Touring Canada can be very daunting in that sense.”

One of the pluses of being an instrumental band is that there is no language barrier to overcome in terms of lyrics when heading overseas. This tour will likely be the last for What Seas, What Shores prior to the release of their third full length album, Spiritual Nap Machine.

On the record, the band’s dark brand of prog rock is described as being by turns rhythmic and aggressive, with lots of odd time signatures. The music has the ability to inspire personal reflection in the listener by virtue of instrumentation alone, and the meaning of each song is left completely open to individual interpretation, rendering the tracks virtually limitless.

“Since we’re an instrumental band, we aren’t necessarily writing songs about things, but we try to evoke some emotional responses and insinuate a type of vibe to our audience,” says Mandleshander. I think your lived experience will be reflected in the music you are making whether you are writing lyrics or not, as long as the music comes from the heart.”

■ What Seas, What Shores kicks off a string of dates in Taiwan on Thursday at Revolver, 1-2 Roosevelt Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路一段1-2號). Single-day tickets will be available at the door for NT$400. Doors open at 8pm and shows begins at 8:30pm.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top