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Wyland On The Rise

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 03/19/2015

“We’re very good at crowd participation. We take crowds that don’t know us and win them over,” says Wyland front man Ryan Sloan. “We never plan it out, if we need to get the crowd going we know what to do. A big part of our band is getting people to come together. That is the beauty of music.”

The band has plenty of opportunities to do just that in the next month.  

After several shows in Austin during the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival, Wyland will open for Everclear during the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival on March 21.  Then in April they have shows in Boston, Albany, and Asbury Park, NJ where they will perform during the first Asbury Park Music In Film Festival on April 10 at The Wonder Bar on a bill that includes The Creeptones, The Hive, and The Porchistas.

The Atlantic City gig came as somewhat of a surprise. “We never expected a yes,” laughed Sloan. “Essentially, we had done the “Skate and Surf Music Festival” in Asbury Park, NJ and from there we were invited to do other festivals; we are heading to SXSW in Texas on our own and we’ll be gigging in the area of the festival. We reached out to the Atlantic City Beer Festival; we figured that we’d just take a shot at it and we’ve now got the opportunity to open for Everclear! We are definitely very excited by this.”

The band name of Wyland itself is as different as the members which make up the unit. Sloan says that it is actually a misunderstood line from a song. “We took the name from a song lyric,” he explained with a chuckle. “We heard the lyric wrong; it’s essentially “Why Land?” without the “H.” Meaning that we want to take this to the highest level possible and never come down; we want to perform and write and record at a top level for as long as possible.”

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Formed from “All over,” the band was born from Ryan’s music and a desire to do something more. “I was a singer/songwriter doing the whole coffee house/shop route. I was getting good feedback on my material but I wanted more. I had written some things but I needed some help.” This is where things took a turn of good fortune for Sloan as he reached out to his friend Pablo Techera who he’d bumped around in several bands with over the years. “I wanted Pablo’s help. He and I had worked together before and he understands my thought process, he always had a way of helping me make things work. I reached out to him and we began working on my music which eventually led us to want to start the band. We had no solid band at first; I mean we didn’t have anyone really in mind or a specific structure, so we put an ad on Craigslist,” he stated with an uneasy laugh. “I know that may sound odd but it found us our guitarist Mauricio Salazar. He was living in California at the time, he liked what we were trying to do so he moved here and began to go to school and pursue a career in music therapy. Through him we found our bassist Kara Delonas; they met in a classical music class. Kara and her upright bass are the best ever! I mean she was studying classical music and really had no idea what we were doing but she fit right in with us and now she’s like our little sister; we take care of her.”

According to Sloan the band was having difficulty finding a drummer who they were all comfortable with or one who could put the feel into the music that he was looking for. “Yeah, we were kind of having drummer issues. We just couldn’t seem to find the right guy to do what we were looking for. We wanted to record so we booked some studio time and we were using a studio guy and he was very good but it was just not working out the way we had envisioned it. Our producer knew our now drummer Matt Pana and recommended him. Matt came in and did the parts and we just knew that he was the guy we needed. We asked Matt to join the band and that solidified it; all of the pieces came together like a puzzle. So since December of 2013 we’ve been like a family. We are like that even when we go on the road; no fights, no egos; we all look out for one another.”

Wyland’s music is a group effort, a definite democracy according to Sloan but he also admits that it is he who is the group’s main songwriter. “Our music is a group effort,” he offered. “I’m the principal songwriter but this is totally a group effort; a democracy for sure. When I was a kid, I remember riding in my dad’s pick-up truck and listening to U2; he was a huge fan of the band and I felt an instant connection to them and their music. Not that I really understood them lyrically as I was young but their music touched me. When I started writing music it was in an alternative style and the rest of the band embrace that. I’ll get an idea and play or hum it into my iPhone voice memos and I’ll use that to bring it to the group and we build on it together; I get the ball rolling so to speak but I can’t do it without them.”

Their self-titled debut EP, followed by their latest six song effort called “You’re In The World Get off Your Feet,” are both doing very well with the latter spawning the singles “Wait,” “Shine” and “Lifeboats.”  The unit combines Sloan’s modern vocals with a Pana’s great backbeat punctuated by Delonas’s bass, Salazar’s guitar and Techera’s enhancing keyboard work into a unique sound that ranges from acoustic pop to cutting edge offerings that would make Linkin Park blush.

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.

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