Interview – Komodo Wagon

KOMODO WAGON is a four-piece hard rock band from Alberta and British Columbia. Their “Canadian” debut EP Citizen Doe came out in 2014 which they supported by playing 45 shows across western Canada that year.  The band then spent the majority of 2015 working on things away from the live circuit and updated the line-up with both a new bass player and a new drummer.  Now they return with their Brand New release, Oral Obligation (the title track single and 5 song EP), available everywhere on April 1st.

We had the chance to ask the band a few questions about their music, future plans, and more in this interview.

First of all, can you introduce yourselves to our readers who may not be familiar with you?

Troy Perlic, Vocals, Guitar & Songwriter
Ryan Borodey, Lead Guitar
Dallas Heal, Bass Guitar
Vic Escoto, Drums

We’re just a bunch of guys who love heavy riffs, great songs, and getting sweaty on stage.  That is the simple part of being in a band.

You took a year long hiatus between Citizen Doe and Oral Obligation. Why did you decide to put the music on hold for a while?  

Troy: Well, in 2014 we toured pretty heavy across western Canada in support of the Citizen Doe release.  We had a great time and really got a foothold building a fan base out there; but sometimes life just gets in the way.  We all put music first in our lives, but once in a while things happen that just require your greater attention.  Obvious and unavoidable things.  We didn’t take a hiatus so much as we just took a break from the live shows and touring.

We also welcomed two amazing new players (and people) to the KOMODO fold and needed time to solidify things for this next chapter.  We needed to “get our house in order” so to speak, because when we do this – we simply can’t afford distractions.  None of us could stand to think we might be doing things half-assed, so we took the time needed to make sure we were all in the right place before we put ourselves out there again.

Dallas and Vic were learning and readying themselves on the KW Catalogue. I was doing a lot of writing, and Ryan was being Ryan, constantly working on his guitar playing and bringing all kinds of input to the table.   It was a really important and worthwhile step for the band and set us up for the present.  Now we are in a great place as individuals and as a band.  A place that we feel strong, eager, and excited to show KOMODO WAGON to many new people with this new release.

What is your writing process like?

Troy: I tend to be a pretty productive songwriter.  It is a passion for me. Something I must do to be happy.  It might sound cliché, but it really is like a drug to me so I tend to bring fairly complete songs in to the band.  Sometimes they are just vocal and guitar demos.  Other times I’ll lay down the other instruments as a guideline for the guys, a place to start from so that we are all on the same page.  Then everybody gets creative, they put their mark on each piece, you know.  That’s why each guy is here, cause we genuinely like what each other brings to the table.  Things inevitably solidify when we get into the room to jam them out, we get it happening and tweak structure, intricacies and background vocals.

How does Oral Obligation compare to Citizen Doe?

Dallas: I’m not sure you can compare the two as they are both awesome in their own right.  I see Oral Obligation as more of a continuation of what the boys had built before Vic and I were a part of it.  I want this to be a continuation of the hard work and fun that I feel this band represents.

Do you have any favourite songs off of the new EP? 

Vic: That’s a tough one.  I have a lot of fun playing all those songs. I guess it’s a toss-up between Nothing Special and Prince Charles.

Half of the band is in British Columbia, while the other half is in Alberta, how do you make this work?

Ryan: Since we are literally spread out over two provinces, it’s important that each of us are kind of perfectionists in our own disciplines.  That is not to say that we are better players, more skilled than, or better than others; just that we must put in enough individual work to be confident in playing tight and entertaining gigs.  Everything needs to be 2nd nature so that we can focus on our Live energy and enjoy the spontaneity of real live Rock n Roll.   As a guitar player I’ve gotta practice constantly, hone my skills., keep sharp.  I make sure that I am always on top of my playing and my parts for each song so that I am ready to go on any given day – should something come up.

We all need to have faith that everyone in the band is doing the same thing, working hard.  We may go 4-6 weeks without seeing each other and only have 1 rehearsal session before a set of shows.  Normally, bands have 2-4 rehearsals per week!   The funny thing is, a lot of previous bands that I have been part of, who had normal situations, really wasted a lot of time with all of those rehearsals.  You know, drinking beer, bullshitting, guys showing up unrehearsed.  So this situation actually makes every minute we are together a lot more productive.  We know that we don’t want to show up for any gig unpracticed, unsure of things, or sloppy; so we are all very disciplined about keeping sharp.  We also take great measures to communicate on a daily level.  We all agree that there is no use in doing something half-assed, so that keeps things really simple.  It’s all even more rewarding when other bands we play with comment on how tight or exciting our live show is.  They are usually shocked to hear how we do things and how little rehearsal time we actually have.

The other part of the equation is the travel.  How do we make it work?  We book flights, we rent rigs when we have to travel light. We pack a vehicle full of gear and hit the road when its GO time, and that goes both ways, whether its Dallas and I heading west or Vic and Troy headin east. The horns come out and The Wagon goes screamin into another town!

Do you have any upcoming tour plans to support Oral Obligation?

Troy: Absolutely!  We can’t get in to details right at this moment, but you will be seeing A LOT of us this year!  We hope everyone will keep their eyes peeled and come say hello when we come through their town.  Meeting all the Rockers and Punks out there is what it’s all about, Connecting.

What’s coming up next for you guys?

Troy: In the “immediate” here and now – we are Playing Studio Records in Vancouver on Saturday, April the 2nd with a Whiskey River Gun Club.  That’s going to be a hell of a night.  A perfect bill with members of the loud and debauched Rock n Roll Brotherhood.  We can’t wait and hope to meet a lot of new people and old friends that night.  Whiskey Kings are starting out the night and look to be a lot of fun as well.

After that, we’ll be focused on PR for about a month before announcing more live dates, some of which we are really excited about so we currently have four sets of fingers and toes crossed in hopes that they come to fruition.  We’re excited to build on the steam of our last EP with FM Radio nationally, so please everybody – if you dig what you hear, request Oral Obligation on your local station.  Don’t take No for an answer.  If local Rock scenes across the country are to grow and be healthy for up and coming bands and youth – FM radio needs to remember just how important they are to that process.

We also like to ask a few fun questions so your fans and our readers can get to know you a bit better:

What is the most random fact you can think of?

Dallas: A goldfish has a memory of three seconds………. wait, what was the question again?

What is your favourite thing about being a part of the Canadian music scene? 

Vic: Touring from coast to coast during the cold winter months. … ha ha Funny

Actually, all the driving means I get to sleep more while I’m on tour than when I am at home.  So it’s nice to catch up on zzzz’s

If you were in charge of a music festival, who would be on the lineup?

Vic: Vista Chino, Monster Truck, Clutch, Lionize, Lowrider, Unida, The Heavy, Baroness, Mastodon, Faith No More, Rancid, Down, Ugly Men.

Dallas: Oh wow, assuming that we can bring back people that have passed on? Me being a 70’s rock nut I’d have to say the standard Led Zep, early Sabbath line up, then some bands like Thin Lizzy, UFO, Bowie, Queen, Aerosmith, The Who and some 80’s bands like Motley and Guns n’ Roses. Of course we would like to headline!

Ryan: Guns n Roses, Faith No More, Clutch, Michael Monroe, The Tea Party, Headstones, The Cult, Iggy Pop, Hank III, Steve Earle and the Dukes, a lil bit of an eclectic line up I know and to top it all off I’d bring in midget wrestling between sets.

Troy: Slash, Motorhead (RIP Lemmy), Monster Magnet, The Backyard Babies, Michael Monroe, The Screaming Eagles, Monster Truck, Social Distortion, Janes Addiction, The Answer, The Lazys, Wolfe Mother, QOTSA, Airbourne and Komodo Wagon (of course 🙂 – just high energy Riffmongers with fist in the air tunes.

If you had the chance to interview someone you looked up to, who would it be and what would be your first question? 

Ryan: Slash. When is new Guns n Roses material going to be released?

Vic: Hmmm.   There’s so many people (drummers) that influenced me… I’m not sure if I could narrow it down to just one.   Maybe I’d have Josh freese, Danny Carey (Tool), Abe Cunningham (Deftones) all play rock paper scissors.  The winner has to answer my questions haha.  I guess the question I would ask is, what was it that directed you to play the drums?

Are there any Canadian bands or artists that you would suggest to your fans?

Troy: The Wild (great live band) out of the Okanagan, nice guys we’ve played some shows with who are really starting to make a name for themselves out there.  Also, Mob Machine from here in Vancouver – killer guitars man, just go see them play.

Dallas:  I’d have to say Monster Truck, I got to see them at a smaller club in Edmonton and they were great!  Another band that I would recommend would be Face First.  Great live show, deadly guitars and top notch people.  I’ve been lucky to have been able to share the stage with them and call them my friends.

And finally, do you have a message for your fans?

We just love them all.  They really do make our world go round and we just want to give them every last drop of ourselves when they come out to see us.  So… Thanks and see you all soon!!!

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I'm a Toronto girl born and raised but have been living in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick since 2010. Music and writing are my two passions, so what better place for me to be than a writer with Canadian Beats? I have been writing for the blog since May of 2013 and have had so many great experiences because of it. I listen to almost every kind of music but my favourites are pop rock, rock, indie, folk, and any other combinations of them. Concerts are definitely my favourite place to be, especially when you're right against the barricade and can feel the energy from the band and the crowd, everyone singing the same lyrics and moving to the music. I also have a college degree in Business Administration and hope to one day be able to publish a novel.

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