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A Full Picture of a Band

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Waker: A Full Picture of a Band

Jake May on October 21, 2021

Nashville-based band Waker’s debut record, Fresh Out, dropped in early May of 2021, but the LP’s roots actually stretch back quite a bit further.

“We just started writing songs around 2017 and that kind of morphed into making this album,” explains frontman Chase Bader. The six-piece band made “basically a whole record,” he recalls, before scrapping most of it. Bader notes that, as they were finishing up the album, they wrote some newer material that they felt was superior, including Fresh Out standout “Already on the Ground.” “We had written that song but it wasn’t gonna be on the record, and we were like, ‘This song is better than most of the stuff on there, what do we do?’” Bader says. “We decided to pivot and just completely start fresh with Lincoln, and it turned out to be the best thing that we could’ve done.”

“Lincoln” refers to Lincoln Parish, former guitarist in Cage The Elephant, who produced the record. “With Lincoln, it was so much more about the energy in the room, and so much less about the perfect take,” Bader reflects, before adding with a laugh: “In a band of six guys that all study their instrument very proficiently, and spend a lot of time getting better and caring about their gear and tone, there’s a lot of opinions that sometimes distract you.”

Fresh Out is a fitting debut; it not only showcases the musicians’ ability to blend as an ensemble without stepping on each other’s toes, but it also highlights their palpable, big-band energy. “For so long, we’ve only had several singles and an EP [2015’s This is Waker] out— those [releases] gave you a snapshot of what we could do, but they were mostly just reasons to come and see us live,” Bader says. “Now, it’s kind of twofold, where you can listen to the record and have a complete experience all the way through, and then come and see us live and have a completely different experience with the same songs.”

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