by Eric Baylies
WAY OUT is a pretty amazing and fairly new band based out of Providence. The bassist plays in Daughters, one of the biggest bands to ever emerge from Rhode Island, but this modern new wave, no wave, and punk powerhouse sounds completely different from Daughters. I caught up with guitarist and singer Derek to learn a little about one of my favorite newish bands.
Noise: Who is in the band and what do they play?
Derek: WAY OUT is Nick Sadler on bass, Anna Wingfield on drums, and Derek Knox (myself) on guitar and vocals. We all play other instruments though and we might be exploring that in the future.
Noise: How did the band start?
Derek: It was kind of a long time coming. I moved to Providence in 2011 with the sole intention of starting a band, so at that time I constantly worked on songwriting and would record all sorts of little demos in my tiny bedroom. After about a year I started playing with some people and formed what became the initial incarnation of WAY OUT, but it didn’t feel as coherent or productive as I wanted it to be, so I ended up taking a musical detour and joined a friend’s Boston-based band for a while who I toured and recorded an album with. It wasn’t until 2014 that I met Anna, who had recently moved to Providence from Arkansas, and we clicked with music right away. Then I think it was February 2015 that she suggested we try playing with Nick, who I only knew slightly through Anna, but we tried it out and once again, it felt good right away. After that it was on.
Noise: What was the band that you detoured with?
Derek: I played lead guitar in my friend Erica’s band Littlefoot, and I played on the debut album Night of the Living Dreams. They’re still based out of Boston and actually have a new record coming out really soon, so you should check them out. They should be on Twin Peaks.
Noise: Did you start out with a sound in mind or did you jam and come up with your sound?
Derek: In the beginning I just wanted to form a rock band that was melodic and catchy but not boring live, and with some kind of ‘dark’ undercurrent, whatever that meant. I’m pretty sure I was listening to a lot of David Bowie, Wipers, Crystal Stilts and random 60s garage records. Since I never viewed songwriting through any kind of genre lens nor played in a band prior to that time (age 22), I think the initial incarnation of WAY OUT had a certain spontaneous and original quality, but was overall scatterbrained and not super cohesive in terms of sound. I’d write one song thinking about Bjork and another thinking about the B-52s, and then the same band would be covering these ideas. It wasn’t until Anna Nick and I started playing together that the band started to form a truly cohesive sound and identity, and it happened pretty quickly. I think our visions for the band were just aligned and the chemistry took over.
Noise: Do you have any recordings out?
Derek: Our self-titled debut EP is on bandcamp (wayoutband.bandcamp.com) and available on cassette through Cercle Social Records (http://cerclesocialrecords.bigcartel.com). We recently finished a new EP entitled Arc of Descent which will also be coming out on Cercle Social and we are extremely excited about it.
Noise: Have you been playing Boston or Western Mass?
Derek: We’ve played Western Mass (I’m also from there) and we play Boston quite a bit. We recently had a big show with Chameleons Vox and Soft Kill at the Middle East Club which was maybe my favorite show we’ve played. Soft Kill are amazing, we’ve been tight with them since we played Providence together a couple years back.
Noise: What else do you guys do for jobs or school etc?
Derek: I work at a local coffee roastery, Nick manages a rental rehearsal studio, and Anna is an art and percussion teacher to grades 6-12 at an all-girls school.
Noise: What are some of the main influences, besides Bowie etc, individually and collectively?
Derek: I think we all have influences that are quite distinct from each other, but as a band I’d say some main ones would be Chameleons, Bauhaus, Wipers, Wire, The Fall, The Cure, Siouxsie, and other similar assorted ’70s/ ’80s postpunk and art rock. If I was to make a broad, reductive characterization of each of our roles in the band dynamic, I’d say Nick is the most experimental/explorative and has the most sonic know-how, Anna keeps things fun and lively with her rhythmic instincts, and I’m like the embarrassing sentimental/ feelings songwriter guy, a classic Cancer. We all have really different personalities that I think complement each other pretty well.
Noise: Where did you do them and with who?
Derek: We recorded, mixed and mastered both records with Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets studio in Pawtucket, RI.
Noise: What other bands are you guys in?
Derek: Nick is also the guitarist and a founding member of the Rhode Island band Daughters.
Noise: WAY OUT have blown my mind each time I have seen them. Go check them out and see if I have any mind left!