Wash of sound: Minneapolis shoegaze band Waveless

The local ambient and shoegaze-inspired trio is releasing their debut, “Spirit Island,” this summer.

Jared Hemming

For Waveless, the band’s northern location suits its sound and sensibility.

 “Someone in the South told us that we sound very cold,” singer/guitarist Dustin McChesney said.

While touring the country, he said, people would find it easy to pinpoint where the shoegaze band is from.The wintery impression is perfect for McChesney, bassist Hannah Kathleen and drummer Jared Sather, who said they refined Waveless’ slow, sad sound after disintegrating their previous act, Total Trash, and simultaneously experiencing hard times.

“When we started the band, we were all really depressed,” Kathleen said. “It was the middle of winter, and it was fitting to where we were at and what we wanted to explore.”

Inspired by post-rock and shoegaze bands, Slint and Slowdive, Waveless incorporates a measured pace that’s absent from Total Trash’s punk thrash.

“This band is a response to that band,” McChesney said. “We were playing really fast and noisy, and we’d write songs in about 10 minutes.”

For Kathleen, Waveless’ style of songwriting came with patience.

“Our old set was like, 15 songs in 16 minutes,” Kathleen said. “Patience is a different nature than speediness.”

Waveless’ restrictive nature comes off on the band’s upcoming debut, “Spirit Island,” which it hopes to release this summer.

In the studio, McChesney said the trio played with dynamics in ways they hadn’t been able to perform live.

“Our new record gets really quiet at parts,” McChesney said. “When we play live, we’re loud — in a basement or a bar, you need to be mean.”

Sather agreed.

“You can’t really get quiet in basements,” he said.

Band members said the aura of “Spirit Island” continues Waveless’ wash of sound that’s on their first release, a four-track, self-titled offering.

The first release isn’t abrasive, Kathleen said, it’s more enveloping than piercing.

In the song “Dark Day,” which is on “Spirit Island,” McChesney recounts the story — an American Indian legend — where a woman drowned near Minneapolis’ St. Anthony Falls.

After hanging out near the falls one night, the frontman said he heard the haunting voice of the woman, who drowned after her Mississippi canoe turned over.

“I think the land talks, and we need to humanize that,” McChesney said.

He said the band named the album after a nearby island, which is not there anymore, that was used for mining limestone.

Throughout the creation of “Spirit Island,” band members said the shoegaze tag felt general enough to describe their sound without confining it.

“It showed me that I don’t have to play punk, but I can use that D.I.Y. method whenever I want,” McChesney said.

Sather echoed McChesney, saying Waveless had a communal attitude and a do-it-yourself ethic.

“It’s like doing it together — D.I.T.,” Sather said.

 

 

What: Waveless

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Where: Hexagon Bar

 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis

Cost: Free

Age: 21+