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From Explosions In The Sky, to At The Drive-In and Sigur Ros – top eclectic inspirations for shoegazin’ post rock act WANDER

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Wander is a post-rock group composed of Filipino-American musicians hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area: Ryan and Christian Francisco, Joseph Aguda, and Bernard Barcela. Creating a grand and cinematic soundscape through their instrumental compositions, their music showcases a seamless transition between peaceful and explosive, combining clear, melodious guitar playing with impactful, groove-oriented explosions.

Wander has performed alongside comparable artists such as Tricot, El Ten Eleven, and Covet, and has produced four full-length albums thus far, titled Mourning (2016), Glass (2017), March (2019), and their latest full elngth offering, “Home”, released last year via Dunk!RecordsChurch Road Records, and A Thousand Arms

The gazey-instrumental bay area rockers join us today tog give you their well-balanced list of influential bands and albums that stirred their souls and inspired their artistic creation. Check it out below.

The band’s current album HOME was inspired by the coastal beaches that are unique to California and derived from the experience of being present in the real world. The sonic landscape is expressed by the natural California lifestyle and cultivated by drive, intensity, & beauty.

The latest single featured in their new music video, ”Promise”, is an energetic instrumental piece that embodies the spirit of friendship, fun, and community. Its uplifting melody and driving rhythm evoke a sense of excitement and anticipation, as if something great is about to happen. The music builds and swells, conveying a sense of momentum and forward motion, as if everyone is moving together towards a common goal.

The song captures the essence of friendship, as the music seems to call out to everyone to come together and join in the fun. It’s a celebration of camaraderie and togetherness, with the music conveying a sense of inclusivity and belonging. As the beat intensifies, it feels like the group is pushing each other forward, urging each other to keep going and never give up.

Ultimately, “Promise” is a song about the power of community, and the joy and excitement that comes from being part of a group of like-minded individuals. It’s an anthem for those who believe that anything is possible when we work together and support each other.

With its bright and colorful imagery, catchy tune, and upbeat atmosphere, the “Promisemusic video is the perfect encapsulation of the band’s energy and chemistry with their friends by capturing the perfect carefree summer day

Wander is scheduled to tour the West Coast with instrumental post-rock trio Infinity Shred this coming April & tour Europe with fellow instrumental quartet Where Mermaids Drown this coming May.

Top inspirations and influences, by WANDER:

Explosions In the Sky: The Rescue

Probably not on many top ten lists, this EP was our introduction to Explosions. It was just really raw and the recording style lent itself to do more experimental things the band doesn’t usually play live. The second half of Day 6 is just beautiful. Plus how could you not love an album with dogs on the cover?

MONO: Hymn to the Immortal Wind

MONO was the first band we saw live together in our initial lineup, and I guess is one of those bands many would consider a classic “post-rock” band. We had been fans of theirs for a while before this album, but this one probably had the most repeat plays. Particularly the song “Ashes in the Snow” had a lot of impact; composition that could be sentimental, but also grand and sweeping.

Kow Otani: Shadow of the Colossus: Roar of the Earth

Fun fact: We took our name from the main character in this videogame. For those who are unfamiliar, Shadow of the Colossus is a videogame where a boy named Wander travels to an unpopulated, sealed off land where he has to fight enormous creatures called Colossus in an attempt to revive his dead lover, named Mono (who coincidentally shares a name with the band mentioned above). The game had a way of communicating the epicness of facing insurmountable odds that was extremely unique, and was perfectly matched by its excellent soundtrack and sparse dialogue. Experiencing this game alongside our discovery of instrumental rock music caused something to just click in us and inspired the beginning of the band.

Nobuo Uematsu: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack

This was a video game that we all played and grew up with. Its soundtrack features many memorable tracks, often evoking a sense of nostalgia, melancholy, or fervor which encompasses its overall tone and highlights the time period of its release (1997 PSX era). These themes are captured in some form or capacity in our music.

toe: the book about my idle plot on a vague anxiety

Our first introduction to “Math Rock”. Kashikura Takashi’s style of drumming really paved the way for us to believe that even drums can “sing”. This album showed us just how to provide intensity in a nuanced and intricate way.

Te’: It is the thought of trying to to “sing” a realistic sound from the ringing world.

Specifically, the music video for the first song on this record inspired us pretty heavily in our early days. The energetic performance and exploding, relentless rhythm of the song were more akin to some of the hardcore bands we were listening to at the time. This is an energy that still sticks with us today, though the way that is expressed has taken slightly different forms over the years.

At the Drive-In: “Relationship of Command”

Speaking of hardcore energy, it doesn’t get any more energetic than this era of At the Drive-In. Many bands have spoken about the influence of this album, and we’re no exception. Putting on an energetic live show has always been an important part of what we do. We used to watch a lot of live footage of these guys, and it definitely had an effect on the way we express ourselves live.

65daysofstatic: The Fall of Math.

The unique blend of electronic music elements, post-rock, and progressive rock gave this record so many layers. The lack of lyrics on this record also helped to really make you wonder what action sci-fi adventure this record was trying to score. There was an explosive exciting new sound that we haven’t heard in Post-Rock which I think The Fall of Math was redefining the genre. To this day not many albums can compare to the raw chaos of 65’s electronic rock hybrid masterpiece The Fall of Math.

Sigur ros: Heima

With lush arrangements oozing with ethereal beauty and catchy pop song structure, I think this band’s impact outside of the post-rock world and into general pop culture has left a lasting impression on the heights a band can achieve. The song “Hiema” off their documentary was exceptionally inspiring for our first album title track “Mourning”.

Infinity Shred: Sanctuary

The four of us first saw Infinity Shred live 11 years ago, opening up for Anamanaguchi under the name “Starscream”. Their presence was something that inspired us and stayed a reference point over the years. Because of that show we became closer friends to Bernard, who would later join as a guitarist in Wander. After our Audiotree session in 2019, we were fortunate enough to meet Damon (Infinity Shred’s synth player) after our NYC show and had the courage to ask if they were interested in setting up some shows together. We’ll finally be hitting the road together next month!

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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