Wayword is a punk rock trio from Downey, CA with a sound that can be described as a blend of Joyce Manor’s sensibilities with melodies similar to The Smiths. Wayword releases music that transports the listener into the world that has been created by the Wayword soundscape.
With their first EP “I Didn’t Know What I Was Feeling But It All Went Away” kicking off with a dreamy introduction and ending with an anthemic rock pop number, Wayword is a band that demands to grip the listeners with their gritty guitar tones and upbeat drum beats. Wayword consists of singer and guitarist Albert Lopez, drummer Yahir “Rocky” Bobadilla, and bassist Erick Chavez.
ALTANGELES: How did you guys get into music and how did it lead to this band?
Yahir: I started a cover band at age 14 and was a bassist in middle school but did not meet these guys until high school. From then, everything started.
Albert: Erick and I began at the same time by having a competition on Rocksmith, a game that teaches you guitar. I got jealous that he was learning guitar so much faster than I was so I gave him a bass and he stayed with it. We got a friend to learn drums and purchased drum lessons for him.
Erick: As Bert said, I was 15 and spent time with him learning. We always watched live videos of Metallica and metal concerts, which we thought was awesome and we wanted to do what they were doing. We played our first gig a year later and it was the worst thing ever. We met Yahir at a house gig, and he became our [latest] member. In 2018, we became full on rockstars.
“Wayward” means “difficult to control or predict because of unusual or perverse behavior.” How does that translate to you three? Why did you change the “a” to an “o” in your name?
Albert: I liked the title of “Wayward Kids” from a song I admire, so we chose Wayward initially, but then found out that it was taken! After some frustration, we just changed the letter from an ‘a’ to an ‘o’—which is funny, because “Wayword” just kind of looks cooler with an ‘o.’ We are also hyper as fuck, so that helps us identify with the meaning of the word so much easier.
You guys play gigs seemingly every weekend, so you have a scoop on the local music scene. How is the state of the scene, and what about the scene stands out to you in terms of how it has shaped bands’ efforts for the last year or two?
Erick: Opportunity; for example, you book with bands you’ve never heard of and learn about new bands that way. Once you play a gig with them, you feel like homies which creates more shows and a demand for more exposure.
Albert: To me, the scene stands for inclusion. Anyone has a chance to be something and it’s not about being better than others, it’s about being included and making great friends. With that said, NO PEDOS IN THE SCENE.
Yahir: The scene is all about friendship to me.
Give me the history of your first song, “Daydreaming,” as well as the production all the way to the release of the first EP.
Albert: “Daydreaming” was the second song we put out actually. “Line” was first, and it was just absolute garbage, so we deleted it.
Erick: We were naive and brand new to the recording life, so we went through and trusted a terrible recording process. This studio basically grilled us for our money and we recorded for hours on a recording that none of us were happy with.
Albert: All of us hated it! It took us seriously 40 takes to get “Line” down. We record big band sessions, so one screw up from anyone means we have to restart from the beginning. We had a patient producer, but he gave up and tried to pull the best take from those 40, which was incredibly frustrating. We met Dan, our producer, who is real as fuck, and inspired us not to give up. Ever since crossing paths with him, we have played better and better every session.
Erick: Yeah, we booked a studio day in October of 2018, where we recorded terribly, and Dan cut us off in the middle of recording to give us tips for an hour and did not charge us for any studio time that day. We returned in February 2019, and recorded beautifully. We finished the EP in three days.
“Alone” is your first song to be released since your first EP, and it sounds a lot brighter and upbeat than your former releases. How has this upcoming EP changed from the first one?
Albert: Dan honestly inspired us to look into different genres for our music. This EP has more inspiration from Joyce Manor, Dinosaur Jr., and country music as well—funny enough.
What is your favorite song on this upcoming EP and why?
Albert: “Alone” because the sound of the song is the sound from all the songs I love meshed into this concoction. Everything I want to hear in a song is in this one, and that makes me happy.
Yahir: “McLovin’!” At first I thought it was cringeworthy because of the title, but the song reminds me of us back in the days when we would watch Superbad. The song is nostalgic and reminiscent of growing up to me.
Erick: “McLovin’” as well because it goes hard as hell.
One thing about you guys, you all are really young! How does that affect how you operate as a band?
Albert: There are limitations in the scene because we cannot drive to gigs on our own, which sucks.
Yahir: A personal story—I played a house show and a 20 year old girl asked for my number. I texted her saying I was 15 and never heard from her again. Sucks.
Give me a fun fact about y’all unrelated to music.
Yahir: I work with my dad at his Mexican record label. It is as fun as you think it is.
Albert: I work at Chick-Fil-A! My pleasure.
Erick: I sleep 24/7. I love my sleep. As well as Dragon Ball Z.
What are your plans moving forward when the EP is officially released?
Albert: When this Rona crap is over—play as many gigs as possible and branch out of the local scene. Enough LA County!
All: Write more music and go back to the studio in August for EP 3, or LP 1…
Overall plans for 2020?
Albert: Get a license, and get more involved in my local community.
Yahir: I want to get a car, my ID, my permit, and I want to go back to school.
Erick: I am probably going to quit my job at the flower shop and find a new job I actually enjoy.
Final message for ALTANGELES readers?
Albert: Stay real to the homies, don’t let shit get to your head, and love everyone more!
Yahir: Help us out and give us a listen! Show love to the ghetto, and contribute to the local scene. You won’t regret it!
Erick: Spread love and spread Wayword.
Wayword has an EP scheduled for release this month, with house shows lined up after the social distancing measures are through. You can catch up on their live streaming schedule on their Instagram @waywordca!
Photos by Martin Quintero