This week, we’re featuring renowned country-rock quartet from Burlington, Waylon Speed. Having made a name for themselves after releasing two full-length records and one EP, Waylon Speed has released their latest effort in Valance. They continue their energetic nature of the good old-fashioned country and rock blend by currently touring around the US, making a stop at DC’s Bayou on Penn Ave this Saturday, 10/13.
We spoke to Justin Crowther of the band about their new record, the origins of their band name, their show in DC, and more!
Most bands have a special story about the choosing of their band name – does that work for you all too? If so, why Waylon Speed?
Absolutely. Chitwood’s son, Waylon renamed himself ‘Speed’ when he was three after the race car driver. We put the two together and there you have it. Also, how awesome would it be to be a little kid and have band named after you? Lastly, we couldn’t think of a better source for our name to derive from. The old adage states, ‘see the world through the eyes of a child, and you become truly wise’. We thought that was good start.
As stated in your bio as a “Brotherhood of past family and friends”, when was that moment you all decided you wanted to form the band you’re in right now?
Noah, Chad and I have played music in several projects throughout most of our lives. We met Kelly at a local Honky-Tonk in Burlington, VT and it was a perfect fit. The next night, we had our first practice. So I guess we knew when we were just kids.
Having formed in Burlington, VT – how did the music scene out there influence you all to make the music you make today?
Although we love every bit of the Burlington music community, we all came from different musical backgrounds that live and breathe outside of the Burlington scene.
Burlington’s Brett Hughes has influenced our ethics and style to a degree overall, but we never made a decision to pick a style and let it define the band. We embraced all styles that we each love. Maybe it was just the sincerity and friendships in Burlington-in addition to the landscape-that influenced us most. Creating music comes from an internal place. All external influences impact that place in us.
You’ve shared bills with the likes of Jane’s Addiction, Clutch, Little Feat, Reba McEntire, Elvis Costello, Primus, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – how was that experience for all of you in the band?
It’s cool to see how the old-school players do their thing. Its also interesting to see how the new operate. You can never learn enough. We are just grateful for the opportunities to play bills like these. It’s a really great overall experience, and fun to test our material on large audiences, which fortunately we can say: so far, so good.
The band has released two full-length records, one EP and the latest is your Valance, your third full-length record. Were things any easier recording the fourth time around? Were there any issues along the way?
Recording Valance was the best recording experience we have all had to date. It all gets a bit easier as time goes on. We have gotten to a point where we all know how each person operates, so it goes smoothly and fairly efficiently. We had the opportunity to record at Trey Anastasio’s (Phish) barn in Vermont, and the place is equipped with some of the best new and vintage equipment you can find. We took a very focused approach, and did not run into any issues fortunately. We prepared ourselves with thirteen songs. We hit the ground running and came out of the studio with ten of our favorites.
What was the songwriting and recording process like for Valance? Why Valance as the title of your record?
As we already mentioned, the songwriting process has never really changed. It works for us. The title came from the lighting in our first van, which had a warm set of Valance lights (limo style lighting), which we would switch on every night after a show. They lit up a lot of conversation over the years, and we thought it was a good fit.
You play Bayou this weekend in DC – what are you all looking forward to most when swinging by the nation’s capital?
Waylon Speed writes their music collectively. One person will present a song skeleton, and we create it together. With Valance, it was no different. We found a system that works well, and we intend on sticking to it. In DC, we look forward to dinner with the President. He did invite us right?
What does the rest of 2012 look like for Waylon Speed?
We have a full schedule up until New Years Eve. All dates can be found at www.waylonspeed.com, and all popular social networking sites.
Thanks for talking to us at Pick-Up Productions! Any last words for the readers?
Thanks for talking to us. We live for this, and without folks like Pick-Up Productions and the readers, we don’t think our world would be the same. We look forwarding to meeting everyone in DC!