San Francisco based indie psych band, Wax Statues, have been buzzing for quite some time in the local music scene. I recently had an insightful interview with Wax Statues’ Vocalist and Guitarist, Cam Gibbons, ahead of the release of their newest single “Stranger,” available now. We spoke about the band’s musical influences, their surprising origin story, and their forthcoming debut album among other things.
Origins & Wax Statues
Gibbons started a band called The Singing Limbs with his current Wax Statues’ bassist, Dominic Colombini and former band members, keyboardist Josh Greenberger and drummer Mike Deluccia, who also used to play with fellow bay area based band MOSAICS. Both Colombini and Greenberger were found on Craig’s List. The Singing Limbs enjoyed a year of music, playing and writing songs before they began preparations to record songs in the studio. Gibbons shared the unforeseen events that changed the course of the band and ultimately, their sound.”We started writing a lot of songs together for a full length album, we put out an EP before that. This album was ramping up. We had studio time booked. We were ready to record a 10 track album live to tape. Our drummer Mike (Deluccia) got a really good break with his friends in a band called Valley Queen in LA. He went to LA and is touring with them now. Josh (Greenberger) had to go to Chicago as well for family.” The band was left with only two members, Gibbons and Colombini decided to find a new band member on Craig’s list once again. “We found our current drummer, Christian Miceli”. Gibbons had nothing but praises for his drummer; “He (Miceli) is an animal, insane dude. Within a month, he learned all the tracks and got them all solid.” Shortly after, the newly formed Wax Statues began recording in San Francisco’s “Tiny Telephone” music studios.
The sound of the trio changed by the departures of their former band members in addition to Gibbons rearranging and rewriting the album. “Losing Josh and Mike really changed our sound and frankly my sound, the way it sounded in my head, kind of pushed forward because I started playing the keyboard parts and I was rearranging the drums.”
In 2017, Gibbons was recovering from hip surgery when he made it his mission to see his favorite musicians live in concert. He saw two of his biggest influences that same year, “I saw Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, they are my all time favorite band.” He adds that it wasn’t only seeing them live but they were also part some of his pivotal life moments; ”I proposed to my wife to a Beach Boys song.” Gibbons also shares that he had a playlist for the other members of the band to get a better understanding of his vision of the album. “Mile High Club is one of my favorite bands right now, they were on the playlist, Dr. Dog, Real Estate and of course I listened to the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd.”
Songwriting Process & Stranger
Gibbons has a straight forward process to songwriting, “It’s easy. On Saturdays. I’m off and my wife goes to work. I will normally sit with my acoustic guitar and play all the songs I’ve ever written in a melody, so I can keep them under my fingers and out of that it always bares the next song.” Gibbons has a list called “Songs to Write” on his phone and every time inspiration hits he writes something down,m. ”The song title is the first thing that comes to me, reading and playing it on the guitar, it all comes together. I write the melody and the lyrics in one sitting and record it on Garage Band and I’ll play keys over it and I’ll send it to the band.”
Gibbons describes how their latest single “Stranger “ was a distinct writing and recording experience. “It’s very Pink Floydy and Dr. Dog inspired. The chorus was the first thing I wrote. That song has two choruses back to back, to me they have two different feels.” He recalls hanging out with Greenberger and finishing writing the song together; “That was one of two songs I wrote with someone else, I enjoyed it. He (Greenberger) wrote the verses, it was a slowed less psychedelic version.” Together they created an intriguing song intro or how Gibbons describes it as “poppy” intro to complete the track.
The recording session was a memorable time: “We did it in less than two takes, it was the most fun I had recording. We had a producer named Jacob Winik in Tiny Telephone, he was like the fourth member of the band for us. We did harmonies in the echo chamber, which is a tiled room with microphones on either end, when you sing out of a microphone, it comes out of a speaker in the room with your echo through the room.”
Exclusive / Reclusive
Wax Statues have released two singles, “It Was All a Dream!” and “Stranger” in support of their forthcoming full length debut album titled, Exclusive / Reclusive out next month. “All the songs tended to be about mental health and anxiety. It’s a very introspective record, kind of sleepy, dreamy.” Gibbons hopes that their listeners can relate to their stories, “Everybody has anxiety, depression. “It Was All a Dream!” was about how difficult it is to struggle with having and maintaining a dream and fulfill your other obligations. I want people to listen to the music and relate it to their own life.”
Advice & The Future
Nowadays, most artists have to manage creating their art while marketing themselves on social media platforms, it can be difficult and time consuming, Gibbons offers his own advice to aspiring artists. “It’s a full time job, if you want to play shows, it’s a lot of work, if you go into it knowing that, everything is easier. If you want to stay home and play music just to make you feel less somber do that too. I never took guitar lessons, I never set out and be like “I need to play music” it was something I had to do, so I did it. And that goes for anybody doing anything.”
As we conclude our chat, Gibbons shares a few details about the forthcoming future for Wax Statues. “I want to play all over the place, out of California, everywhere, It’s always been a dream of mine. We will be writing new music and recording our next album. I keep calling us a psych band and we are not. We are not strange enough. So I’m going to try to edge a little closer and cut off the clean and poppy stuff, a lot more of rock n roll.”
Catch all the latest news on Wax Statues available on their Official website