Wasteland Hop describes opening for Macklemore as “surreal”

Steph Jay, Wasteland Hop vocalist, and the rest of the band perform at Aggie Theatre on Sept. 6, 2013.  Photo by Cassandra Whelihan.
Steph Jay, Wasteland Hop vocalist, and the rest of the band perform at Aggie Theatre on Sept. 6, 2013. Photo by Cassandra Whelihan.

With a sound that combines hip-hop, folk, rock and spoken word, local band Wasteland Hop made their name known after opening for Talib Kweli and Macklemore during the ASAP Fall Concert. In an interview, the band members — Mickey Kenny (rapper), Steph Jay (vocalist), Adam Fallik (drums), Nick Scheidies (electric guitar), Liz Gaylor (violin) and Brian Weikel (bass) — talk about the experience.



CA: How did Wasteland Hop get started?

A: We started in my basement, my bedroom, actually; it was very romantic … I don’t know exactly how it happened, but we miraculously all ended up in my bedroom … and then started practicing a lot and started doing our own music and that was three years ago.


CA: How would you describe your sound?

A: We pride ourselves with the inability to answer this question because we have a variety of sounds that we bring to the table.

M: I’d say rock, hip-hop, spoken word, a little bit of blues feeling to it.


CA: How did it feel to perform before such big artists at a sold out show?

S: Surreal. Dream-like state.



CA: How do you think it went?

A: I think it went really well. You can’t ever plan for perfection when it comes to a live show. You do a ton of planning and practice beforehand but there is always going to be a moment where you mess up or the nerves are up, but, overall, I think we did a good job and people were impressed.

N: It went by really quick. Afterwards, I thought about it and I knew that we played songs and there were parts of songs that I think about normally and I couldn’t remember it. It was hard to believe.

M: I just felt numb, even that entire night after the show. I think now I am starting to process, but even leading up to it, I don’t think my mind was letting me process exactly what was happening. It was a giant thing to be doing, opening up for someone as big as Macklemore.


CA: What did you think of the crowd and CSU students in particular?

M: Best students ever.

N: It was interesting, I went to a show there…when I was a student at CSU, so it was pretty cool to come full circle and be the people on stage, and so I can sort of imagine being in those students’ shoes.

S: I thought the crowd was really receptive. I mean, it was obvious that they were there for Macklemore, but they were really friendly and they loved the free stuff we threw out to them.


CA: What is it like being a local band in Fort Collins?

S: The best.

M: I think it is probably one of the best cities to be a local band…music is definitely alive here, and we are very fortunate that we found ourselves in a community that thrives off of music.

S: The community really gives back to the arts, specifically music. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of it.

N: It’s a really supportive and collaborative community, too. We don’t ever feel like we are in competition with other bands or anything like that.


CA: What advice would you give to other local bands and artists that are just starting?

A: Just keep on keepin’ on.

M: Be ready to acknowledge and respect all different angles it takes to be a successful band besides writing music. You have to run a business. Be willing to go into debt…It’s not just the glory of making great music; you have to put in a lot of practical steps to get there.

N: I sort of had this thought that you can’t really be a musician, it’s not worth pursuing because it’s the barrier to becoming self-sustaining or financially successful…In order to make it, it’s a one in a million shot. We haven’t made it — we are not all paying our salaries, we have to work other jobs in order to support ourselves. But, in another more important way, we have made it because we have gotten to open for great shows, we get to go on tour, we get to share our music with the world. So, don’t think just because you’re not on the cover of Rolling Stone like Macklemore, that you aren’t making it as a musician because it’s about so many intangible experiences, not just paying the bills.