Wait: Bangor punks to post-rock shoegaze

Long before they were a band, they were just five teenage guys, going to hardcore punk shows in the Bangor area. The five members of Wait, a Bangor area post-rock band, used to see each other in audiences and onstage for years before they started playing together.

“I would always see everyone else in Wait at shows, and see them in all of their bands throughout the years,” said Chris Mathews, who plays drums in the band alongside guitarist/vocalists Travis Davis and Mathias Hillborn, bassist Justin Kovacs, and keyboardist Dan Dawson. “I remember seeing both Justin and Dan’s old bands at my first show ever. I used to be obsessed with one of Marty and Travis’ old bands. It’s just crazy to think about that stuff especially since we’re playing music together now, eight years later.”

The five musicians formed Wait in 2015 with the specific intent to play music that was distinctly different from the hardcore bands they’d all been playing in for years. Instead of fast and aggressive, they wanted to play slower, orchestrated and, often, really, really pretty.

Hence, Wait, a post-rock band that draws influences from bands like Explosions in the Sky, Death Cab for Cutie and the Smashing Pumpkins.

“I see this band as a big step in a new direction for all of us simply because we’ve all been playing more chaotic and aggressive music for so long that it’s cool to just kind of step to the side and explore this other genre of music we all share so much love for,” said Mathews.

Wait’s debut album, “Higher and Dry,” came out in the spring of 2016, and though their music is carefully constructed and patiently orchestrated — no three-minute, lightning-fast hardcore songs here — the seven songs on “Higher and Dry” came relatively quickly for the band. They were based originally on songs Davis had written years ago, but fleshed out and developed by the full band over the winter and spring of 2015 and 2016.

After having been friends and musical collaborators for all those years, their musical instincts were aligned in the same sort of way.

“We’re all really really good friends. We understand how each other works. We’ve been through a lot together over the years,” said Hillborn. “I guess you could say we’re our own little family of sorts. It makes it much more productive and fun to work on things like structuring and writing a song or an album when you’re working with people that you trust and love.”

“What’s funny about Higher and Dry being finished rather quickly is that some of those songs were written by Travis when he was a teenager… it’s kind of like Travis’ brainchild. Not that I like to single anyone out because the record was still a group effort…but that’s how I look at it a lot of the time,” said Mathews.

All five bandmates credit Meg Shorette, director of the Central Gallery in downtown Bangor, with being a driving force behind their early coalescing as a band and a successful New England tour last year. Far from keeping to venues just within the Bangor region, Wait play throughout the state, including Portland, and point to Shorette as one of the big reasons why they’ve expanded their scope over the past two years.

“She’s the reason we get to keep playing cool shows,” said Mathews. “We’re eternally grateful and indebted to her for everything she’s done, not only for this band, but [for] the music scene in general. Meg created an amazing place for bands to play and for artists to share their work and that’s incredibly important to have. She supports the arts with everything in her and we need that as a scene.”

The band is getting ready to go into the studio this spring to get to work on its second album. They are hoping to have something ready by the end of the year.

Wait will perform on May 20 at the 2017 All Roads Music Festival in Belfast.

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