IN DEPTH with Wakata: “We’re excited to get out there and play some music!”

After Amber Caitlin Sammut met Cryptic Street yesterday (the interview can be found here); Joe Paolella caught up with musical band Wakata for an interview ahead of Rock the South this weekend.

Wakata are a three-piece band consisting of Marcus Ganado on drums, John Spiteri on the bass, and Dan Ganado on guitar. Being brothers, Marcus and Dan have been jamming together in their basement for years, always searching for other members to add to their jam sessions, but none have stuck around quite long enough, until they met John. Since forming in 2016, the three have been hard work practicing, writing and recording, and the trio will be debuting their progressive groovy sound at Rock The South this weekend. I had a chance to meet up with the boys and ask them a few questions in lead up to their first gig.

Simple question first, why did you choose the name Wakata?

Dan: When you mute guitar strings and run the pick across them three times, what sound do you get? WAKATA! We also found out after we decided on the name that ‘wakata’ means “I understand” in Japanese.

How did the three of you come together as a band?

John: I first met Dan at a Ranch gig at Funky Monkey. I was sitting outside with a friend when Dan approached me and asked me to jam.

Dan: It might sound like an accident, but I knew John was a great bass player and I knew I had to find a way to get him to come to jam with Marcus and I, and luckily it was as simple as just asking!

Have any of you played in other bands before? If so, what bands?

Marcus: Well me and my brother have been playing together for years, but we also had a rock band called Mantra. We had a few different members join at different times, but at the end of the day it always came back to Dan and I.

Dan: Apart from jamming with my brother and playing in Mantra, I played in a few different bands whilst in England at boarding school.

John: I first started playing with a church community, it was good because we’d play the worship songs for the sessions, and when we were done we’d just play whatever we wanted together. I’ve also played with two other bands, namely Plan Zero and Vake.

Who do you look to for inspiration?

John: For me, any kind of artistic self-expression is one of the most inspirational things.

Dan: One of my favourite bands ever are Tool, I love everything about them and all they stand for. Other big influences on me would be Jack White, Protest the Hero and Snarky Puppy among others. I even look to local bands like The Ranch for inspiration.

Marcus: At the moment, I absolutely love The Contortionist and Tesseract, but one really big inspiration to me are jazz artists such as Oscar Peterson.

So, Rock The South is your first gig as a band; how do you feel about debuting at quite a well-known local festival?

Marcus: Well we’re playing pretty early on in the day on Friday, so I’m not expecting a giant crowd. Personally, I’m excited to just get out there, have some fun and play some music.

Dan: We’ve been practicing a lot and I can’t wait for people to hear what we’ve written together. This is very much a ‘testing the waters’ kind of gig since it’s our first as a band, so there’s no real pressure. I just love playing gigs.

John: I feel that it’s a mixture of both. The three of us have been in bands before, but it’s been a while for all of us since we played live. Regardless, I’m still eager and excited to play.

After Rock The South, what’s the next step for you as a band?

John: Just get to practicing, writing and learning from one another.

Dan: We’ll definitely be writing a lot and looking for gigs when we can.

Marcus: Priority is always writing and practicing together, gelling all of our different influences together to create the sound we want.

What do you guys think of the local music scene?

John: I’m quite happy that in the past few years there’s been in a rise in bands and in different genres. It’s good to see that there’s a growing scene on such a small island.

Dan: The scene has been very good to us so far, so much so that big bands like The Ranch have offered to help us out with whatever we need, we’ve even had a few jam sessions with them. One of my favourite things to do is go to Fra Ben on Thursday for their jam sessions, as it’s always packed with talented musicians playing into the night.

Marcus: I think the local scene is great if you know where to look. If you were a tourist in Qawra and passed by Fra Ben on a Thursday, you could be treated to hearing some of the best musicians the island has to offer, and I absolutely love that.

Lastly, is there anything you’d like to sign off with?

Dan: Thank you for reading this far! Come watch us on Friday, like us on Facebook, and support local talent!

Marcus: Thanks for reading, come down to Rock The South!

John: Wakata, coming soon!

You can catch Wakata at Rock the South on Friday 21st April at 7:30pm on the Red Stage!


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Joe Paolella

Twenty-two year old musician and self proclaimed movie buff. My aim is to get you to see what I think is the bigger picture mainly regarding music and film, with the occasional rant about day-to-day life. I've been told I'm a friendly, likable guy who is pleasantly opinionated. Don't believe any of that though.

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