Baltimore musician Wes Anderson has ditched the concept of being in a band for collaborating with various musicians from different genres. The result is an eclectic sound that jumps between rock, metal, hip-hop and more.
He’s released a series of singles that will appeal to a wide range of musical audiences. But the most recent offering is very much on the heavier side of the spectrum, delving into the reggae-metal scene.
Mind Quarantine, released at the end of last month, sees Wes collaborate with vocalist Ted Bowne from reggae rock band Passafire, former Nothingface drummer Tommy Sickles and bassist Mark Lewandowski from Jugems Cloud.
And the track grabs your attention immediately with a big booming low-tuned riff over drums and a high-pitched synth sound. A funky little lick jumps in over Ted’s engaging, fast-paced vocals in a really fun opening verse. That feeds straight into more laid-back vocals “Breathe your own, breath, Be your own best friend, Treat yourself right, Be aware of them” over another cool guitar lick.
That drops straight into another verses, chorus, verse, before a section of drawn-out keyboards and moody background instrumentals over more laid-back vocals “It’s alright to raise your fist, Be cautious of what you missed, It’s not right to close your mind, Be open to what you find.” That ends on a big shout that ushers in the big low-tuned opening riff over repeated shouts and huge rolling drums to bring the track to a lively ending. Check it out in the video below:
We had a chat with Wes to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who is Wes Anderson?
WA: “I’m a musician living in Baltimore, Maryland. Originally from Toledo, Ohio then lived in Chicago before moving Baltimore where I’ve been since 2012. And no, I am not the movie director.”
GR: What’s the backstory to your music and musical collaborations?
WA: “I started this project to satisfy my desire to fulfil my musical visions without the strings attached of being in a band and wanting to constantly collaborate with new people. I had been doing the band thing for about a decade, which was super cool, but musically I wanted to do more.
“So by doing singles I have the freedom to go into any genre or style I want, whereas doing an EP or LP you should probably have some cohesion and flow to it. Once I have a solid demo ready I shop it to potential collaborators. It’s really as simple as that. Every one of my songs starts with just my guitar and me.”
GR: You just released Mind Quarantine, sounds very cool! What should people be expecting from the song?
“Thanks! People should expect a guitar riff driven song with big drums and very poignant lyrics. I had been sitting on the riffs in the chorus and verses for about 2 years, then got distracted by other singles that took form faster.
“When Ted Bowne committed to doing the lyrics then I got serious about getting the song properly arranged. Lyrically, this is the first single I gave the guest singer direction to because I think it’s a very timely an important message of thinking for yourself while also loving yourself.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
WA: “I’d probably say I don’t have a sound! I try to make each single very different. I will say though I think my wheelhouse is a riff driven fusion of funk rock and hip-hop. Lyrically all of my songs tend to carry a positive message, so there’s that too.”
What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
“I think one big influence on me is our shelf life here. Especially for artists. Our time here is limited so I want to make as much music as possible while I can. Regardless of my level of success I don’t want to ever look back one day and say ‘I could have done more.’ That’s my biggest fear and also source of inspiration.
“Musically there are few themes. I am big on stacking guitar harmonies, so almost all of my songs have those. I try to give each song a section for me to go a little crazy on guitar but I am also fine if that isn’t appropriate. Lyrically, most of the songs carry a positive message which I’m very proud of. I think music is intended to connect and heal people, and spreading any kind of negativity won’t help that.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
WA: “311 is #1 for sure. They’re the reason I started playing guitar in 1996. Beyond that it’s a rabbit hole – I studied jazz for a little bit, funk, hip-hop, metal, reggae… you name it. My biggest influences are bands that can fuse culture and sound into something unique and their own. That’s something I definitely try to accomplish with my music.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
WA: “Mind Quarantine just came out on 24 April, and I should have a summer release in July or August and then a 3rd single later in the year. I’m really excited for the summer release – it has a dubstep reggae hip hop vibe. Definitely hoping to play more shows, but I guess that’s kind of on hold for now.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
WA: “I hope people enjoy the variety of styles I’m trying to pull and look forward to new collaborators and more shows!”