WAXCAT — A Child of Psych-rock and EDM

Psychedelic rock is a genre that ebbs and flows with time, but its wavy nature seems to resonate with Denver’s most exciting musical acts more and more each day. WAXCAT — a local psychedelic rock and indie-dance music group putting their own spin on the riff-heavy rock music of the late 60s — is a perfect example.

Unafraid to stand apart, WAXCAT chose their name to represent their unique sonic adaptability as a group. “Cats are one of the most interesting animals on the planet because they exist in every biome,” guitarist Nick Nord said in an exclusive interview with 303 Magazine. Equally important in meaning is the former half of their name, “WAX,” which brings a whole new sensory aspect. It serves as yet another metaphor for the group’s ability to adapt alongside the ever-evolving music world. WAXCAT observes this adaptability with much thought and is working to create music that will captivate audiences and persist in the same fashion.

READ: Q&A – WAXCAT Talks Coming to Denver, Breaking Out and Their Random Namesake
Photo by Shelby Moeller.

WAXCAT currently consists of Jobe Wagner (drums), Nick Nord (guitar), Jake Myers (vocals) and Chris Comisar, who, in addition to making his own music, produces and serves as a “DJ” for the group. In his solo project, Comisar creates experimental bass with a melodic twist.

Back in 2013, Comisar and Nord met at school in Ohio where the pair began making music together. Nord met Meyers and Wagner while working with the nonprofit Up With People before moving to Denver in 2018.

Shortly after moving to Denver, the group completed their most iconic song to date: “Oceans.” This spurred the band to make things more official and begin publishing their music under WAXCAT. “Oceans” caught the world’s attention and eventually spurred an entire album of remixes.

WAXCAT’s older tracks definitely have a more electronic-focused sound, partially due to the accessibility of the tools used to record electronic music versus recording live instruments. But, with time, the group evolved into a full band and with a more rock-leaning atmosphere. Purchasing equipment and honing in on their recording skills have given the band fresh confidence as they sink their teeth into their newly developed, striking sound. 

Heavily distorted vocals still play into the electronic aspect of their newer material, accompanied by a mesmerizing fluidity throughout their production. Lo-fi aesthetics and effects still hold their live rock sound together, which often takes a turn towards harsh reverb or intense, drippy effects. It feels obvious that WAXCAT does not fear experimental sound, which is much to Denver’s liking. 

WAXCAT in Wax Trax Records, photo by Shelby Moeller.

“We’ve settled into a new way of recording, where we write nearly the entire song and then bring in the electronic aspects,” Wagner said. Each song moves with buzzing energy, a direct result of Comisar’s dance music background and experimental mixing techniques, which work in harmony to build tension around the instrumentals.

WAXCAT has established itself in Denver’s local scene, building relationships with fans and countless artists in our Mile High City. The group’s most recent single, “Sunshine,” is out on Spotify as of last Friday. An alternate version will also be released exclusively on the 303 Music Vinyl Volume 5. The artwork for “Sunshine” keeps true to form, showcasing a hairless cat shrouded in sunlight with groovy sunglasses and a gold chain.“That’s Mr. Wax,” Wagner said jokingly.

READ: Introducing The 303 Music Vinyl Volume 5 — Featuring WAXCAT, N3ptune, The Mañanas, Shae District, + More

Despite the goofy nature of the artwork, the song has a much deeper meaning. “Sunshine is about building a positive relationship with yourself. As well as maintaining that relationship at all times,” Nord explained. “It’s about the process of making peace with yourself, or making peace with your own existence,” Meyers added on.

As uplifting vocals discuss this philosophical dilemma, abrasive effects move in and out of the soundscape. Meyers references these “heavy topics with a lighter sound” showcased across their discography. The balance between difficult discussions and the group’s ability to make beautiful, lighter sounds is present in each member’s mind.

Symbolism in WAXCAT’s lyrics can become very physical, referencing the darkness you see with closed eyes, and the light that shines bright when they’re open. Discussion can also move into the non-physical realm as emotional concepts of happiness, joy and pain are often referenced. The connection between these concepts and the physical world is a realm of exploration for WAXCAT and their fans.

“We are really proud of our lyrics,” Nord said. Rooted in a more communal form of songwriting, the group usually comes together to agree on a song’s lyrics after one member pitches a basic idea. Harmonies often help bring the listener’s attention to the content of the lyrics, which on first listen might be overshadowed by the rather consuming instrumentals.

Photo by Gabriel Wickline.

WAXCAT prides themselves in producing a griping psychedelic rock-EDM fusion. Their confidence shows in each new track they gift to the world, and they have their eyes on a larger label to help widen their audience.

This stage in the band’s growth has family, friends and fans alike on the edge of their seats. Each member has shown serious commitment to their musical aspirations and intends to keep it that way. Their mutual understanding that music brings fulfillment and taps into the real world around them seems to be a large part of what holds the band together.

WAXCAT is also working hard to stay true to themselves while becoming a larger force in Denver and beyond. Myers described the group’s passion around the idea of “honoring the moment,” rather than just trying to please a crowd for popularity’s sake. This energy also results in musical variety within the group’s discography. Stylized singles bring a refreshing new sound with the same building blocks. “Each of us will peek out from a song with our own style,” Wagner said.

WAXCAT continues to roll through local venues, house parties, and anything that strikes their creative fancy. On May 7th, the group’s music will serve as a soundtrack for a fashion showcase by Your Mother’s Favorite Stain. Check out the rest of their discography on Spotify or follow their Instagram to stay updated.

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