The Waxines: Interview with Bassist Ryan C

Ryan Cunningham, bassist for The Waxines, gave us the honor of answering a few questions about himself and about the band for which he is currently known. Enjoy!

When did you establish this band?  Has this specific band been known by other names?
The Waxines have been a band since 2010. Originally it was a garage rock cover band, but we now play all original music with a couple of covers thrown in for good measure.

Who are the founding members of your band?  How did the band change with the addition of new talent?
Connie and Stacey are the founding members who remain. When I showed up to play bass, we started writing more originals and getting more professional in our approach. When Bob joined on guitar, we became more tight musically, as well as more versatile in our musical style. Also, we became heavier and more aggressive.

Do you have any technical/formal training to do what you do?
I have a degree in Audio Production, and am working toward a Masters in Music.

When was the day you realized that this was what you needed to be doing with your life?
I was working as a temp in a little office by myself, when I decided to go back to school for music.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years, as a band or as an individual?
As a band, we seem to have a pretty good station playing around Grand Rapids and West Michigan, and we will continue as long as we’re happy with the music we’re writing – this isn’t a band which we can take on an extended tour, as we are all entrenched in our lives – kids, careers, etc.  What it is doing for us is ensuring that we can play music semi-professionally in town for as long as we choose – we continue to write music together, but also to build a network of musicians who we can work with individually or as a group. Luckily we all have something to offer – Stacey is a great session drummer with a music degree, Bob can pull all kinds of songs out of his butt for any occasion and has an incredible ear for writing, and Connie is a magnetic addition to any performance project. 

If you didn’t have the music, what would you be doing?
I’d be writing fiction and voice acting.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?  Post-show?
Pre show, I like to sit around and be slightly nervous. Post-show I like to frantically pack up and worry about getting off stage in a timely manner.

How do you think being signed to a national label would change your life?
If a national label decided to pay me a bunch of money to make music, I would go do that instead of what I’m doing now. It’s not a goal for me.

How has the digital age affected you band?  Do you still see much with physical album sales?
We don’t sell albums. We’re not making a living off of original music, and it’s unlikely we would recoup the cost of a full-scale physical CD release. We allow people to download our music for free, and even give CDs away at shows with our web address stamped on them to drive traffic to our social networking pages. The recordings are professionally done, but for this band we don’t do packaging; the recorded media is more like a poorly designed business card.  That’s not to say we won’t package and sell something in future, but this works for us right now.

What do you feel is the best way for the fans to support music these days?
Go see shows. Then go see more shows. If you like a band, buy their CD instead of just downloading it for free. Better yet, mail them a check directly.

Has there been a local venue that stands out to you as a great place for bands to play?
Jukes and Mulligan’s are great for rock n’ roll. Very appreciative, usually.

Have you had the chance to tour around the area or beyond?
We’ve played as far out as Detroit, Chicago and Toledo. Up north near Traverse, too. Audiences outside of GR tend to be a lot more into being entertained. 

Which cancelled TV show do you miss the most?  Why?
Arrested Development. Because everything about it was of the highest caliber.

Which film do you think should have had a sequel, but didn’t?
Green Hornet (though most would disagree)

What now deceased celebrity or other person of note do you miss the most?  Why?
Phil Hartman. He always added so much to any comedy act.

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?  Why?
Bear. Fits my personality, I think.

If you were a cocktail, what kind of cocktail would you be?  Why?
Gin and Tonic. I’m slightly pretentious and slightly sour.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of the interview process?
I like talking about myself. It appeals to my vanity.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Everyone should play music, all the time.


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