The below interview with Wayland was conducted over email. It has been edited for clarity.
[Samantha Warren/AltWire]: I first wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you, can you tell us about yourself and the band?
Mitch Arnold/Wayland: My name is Mitch Arnold and I’m the lead singer and rhythm guitar player for the band Wayland. Our personal history with the four of us goes back a ways, but I would say the most important timeline at the present moment is between now and early January. Nigel was with us last year but when he jumped into the drummer’s chair on January 13th, 2017, that’s when the band really started to make strides. Because of the way we felt about playing together, we decided to re-record all of the drums on the album, which at the time was waiting to go-to mixing and mastering. The band itself has a deep history, but the four of us have only been playing together like this since January.
[AW]: You just dropped your new full-length album “Rinse & Repeat.” What has the reaction been like so far from the fans?
Mitch Arnold/Wayland: The reaction from Rinse & Repeat has been fantastic. The outpouring of love concerning the record has been overwhelming and so far, our fans have been ecstatic about the new album.
[AW]: Your music video for the song, “Get a Little” went viral back in 2014. How do you think social media has shaped you as a band? What advice would you give to up and coming artists about branding themselves through social media?
Mitch Arnold/Wayland: I can’t say we have been shaped by social media but our business and the way we run our operation definitely has been. Social media is an incredible way to keep in touch with fans as well as release continuous content. This poses both an advantage and a challenge for us as a band. Technology is moving so fast. Much faster than it takes a band to write, record, mix, master, and release an album. So every album cycle is different pertaining to social media. There is a science to study within it all so that you’re catching the waves and algorithms to have the largest reach and biggest impact. Like all things, most major sites have been corrupted by money and if you’re willing to pay, you can buy likes, views, and plenty of other strategic online commodities to help you and your band get ahead.
For me personally, it’s a frustrating battle. We just want to play music and share it. Navigating the path of self-promotion on the web isn’t easy. But it’s a necessary evil and you have to give it the attention it needs for your business to grow. If I had to give advice to bands just getting started I would start by saying that their main motivation has to be making music and sharing it. That has to be the number one reason they are starting on this venture. Not for fame and fortune. Not to go viral. Not to have a soapbox to air your dirty laundry and political views from. I think of it like this: So much of our lives is an illusion within itself.
We just got stranded in Cullman, AL. Not the most liberated part of the country and there isn’t a lot to do on a Sunday; however, breaking down now was far greater than breaking down last week or in the week ahead, where it would greatly affect our ability to play, make money and get this album out there. It was a blessing. But it could have been seen as a curse. This life is an experience and we don’t always see things the way they truly are: As opportunities to experience life and work through challenges. That being said, if real life is an illusion of sorts, that makes social media an all-out fallacy. It’s an illusion of an illusion that is physical life. It’s a great way to share your art and a wonderful forum to keep in touch with fans. But if you’re leaning too much on it and forgetting the fact that at the end of the day, you’ve got to get in your fucking van with your friends and your gear and go play a million shows, you’ll never survive in the long run and you won’t be playing music for a living. You may have a great career as an internet personality though. Who knows.
[AW]: In 2016 you released your single, “Bloody Sunrise.” How has your sound evolved since then? How can we hear the evolution in the new record?
Mitch Arnold/Wayland: Through the years, every band is either going to find themselves or fall off the face of the earth. We had incredible mentors when we were younger. From Jude Cole and Jason Wade of Lifehouse to Mike Gurley (Dada) and Jesse James Dupree. All of these people had a big impact on the way we learned to write and record songs. By the time we got to Justin Rimer at CrossTrax studios in Memphis, TN we were ready to write and record with our own voice, so to speak. I consider this our debut album because this is the first piece of work we really put together ourselves. Justin is an amazing songwriter and had a lot to contribute while writing the material; however, Phil and I probably brought 99% of the songs to the table. Justin used incredible intuition, guiding us with production and writing and what came out of it was a very honest and personal record. We wrote the entire thing while we were touring so its material is so fresh and close the heart that it couldn’t come out any other way.
Justin did an incredible job getting amazing rock n’ roll tones and I think we all did a fantastic job writing a beautiful, hard-hitting, melodic, and honest album. You can hear the evolution clearly on this record. Listeners will hear it both in songwriting and in how the band was produced. It’s our debut album because the band has been reborn, so to speak.
[AW]: You also have a bunch of shows coming up including Oktoberfest. What are you most excited about hitting the road? What’s your favorite part about being able to tour? Is there any exclusive new merch for the record that just dropped?
Mitch Arnold/Wayland: There are TONS OF NEW MERCH that go right along with Rinse & Repeat and we’ve got some really badass stuff at the merch booth right now. I’ve toured for most of my life so some of what I love is just because this is what I know. I love traveling and meeting people but we were all born to play and share music. Watching a song affect even one person makes all of it worth it. Watching the excitement roll through a crowd like a hot fire in a dry forest…seeing the fists shoot up to the sky…watching a girl in the front row wipe her eyes. She’s been crying since the concert started and because she’s so excited and moved by music, she can’t stop the happy tears from rolling down her hot, red cheeks. I’m most excited for fans to get to know this album and come back to Wayland shows signing the lyrics back to us during the show. I can’t wait to see everyone in Lacrosse, WI, and then the next night on Sept 30th at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI for the Official CD Release Party and then in Madison, WI the day after for Sonic Boom, opening up for Halestorm. This is just the beginning. We have so many big things coming up and coming our way.
[AW]: When you were writing “Rinse & Repeat” can you describe to us what a typical writing session would be like? What are your favorite songs from the new album?
Mitch Arnold/Wayland: My personal favorite songs on the album are From The Otherside, Follow, and Come Back. Writing the album was unique in the sense that the initial idea would usually take place on the road or during a short break. Anytime we would have time and space to be alone we would capitalize on it and pick up an instrument. Phil and I were recording ideas on our phones all the time. We would send them to each other and maybe shoot them over to Justin.
We would email a lot of ideas and develop the songs while we were out touring. Once we would get back to Memphis, TN we would usually spend the first day rewriting songs and getting two or three of them completed so we could use the remaining days to track drums on the new songs and start layering from there. There was no room for egos or hurt feelings. We wrote and moved really fast and the only way you can do that is by being open and literally taking the best idea for the song and using it, no matter who came up with it.
That’s why the three of us were able to work so fast and effectively. We trusted each other and at times we had to trust what the universe was trying to tell us. If you shut your eyes and mouth long enough, the universe will start to whisper…and it is always the truth. The more time you spend practicing listening to the stars, the louder that voice gets and the easier it is to hear. You can learn to live better this way not just write better songs.
[AW]: If you could give any upcoming band advice what would it be and why? What was the best advice someone gave you that stood out to you when you first started?
Mitch Arnold/Wayland: I always thought someone in a nice suit was going to come to see us at The Whiskey A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip, be blown away by the show, and sign us that night. We would be magically whisked away from our shitty apartment and into lavish homes, thrown onto a big bus, and leave for stardom, never to return to the mundane world of work and sweat and blood and disappointment. My vision (illusion) couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Jesse James Dupree gave us the very best advice we’ve ever received as a young band. He told us to pack up our gear in a van and go play shows in dirty little clubs every night, making fans one person at a time. If you’re a young band looking for a break, I suggest you take the time to develop yourselves. It’s like being teenagers all over again. It’s awkward and sometimes painful. And if it’s comfortable at all then you’re doing it wrong. I’m fortunate to be the frontman of one of the best live bands out on the road right now. We’ve earned that from playing for years in empty rooms, getting thrown on and off of festival stages, eating tuna packets because that’s all you can afford, and playing your heart out every night no matter who is there because you’ve discovered the true love of performance and honest passion for rock n’ roll music.
There is no substitute for honest sincerity. To truly be honest, one must first learn what he stands for. Where is your stance? Stance is not learned on a flat surface that doesn’t move. It is perfected by taking a stance on the ground that is moving and turning while dragons dive bomb you from the sky. Stance is learned through the pain of falling down. You’ll never achieve being bulletproof by sitting at home, planning your online attack.
No one is going to give it to you. You’ve got to take it.
Listen to Weyland below: