Wachman is a singer, songwriter and musician who released 9 tracks in early 2018. Forming a 3-set collection, the tracks are included in 'Six String Stories,' 'Love/Lack Thereof,' and 'Indigo.' Through collections of originals and covers, the Berklee College of Music graduate pulls from his early influences fusing pop, soul, and singer-songwriter stylings. While keeping it cool, but not afraid to say what’s on his mind, the Orange County native, creates an honest and authentic style of music connecting classic singer-songwriter sensibilities with soulful vibes.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
As a child and into my early teens I didn't have many friends and couldn't partake in a lot of the normal things kids do at that age, as a result playing guitar and writing songs was what I had. It didn't cost money and I didn't need anyone else to participate so it was easy and accessible. It was a great outlet to get out all my emotions and express how I was feeling, especially early on when I was too afraid to use my words. It created a way for me to say what I needed to without feeling so vulnerable.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I haven't had any positive crazy things happen to me in my music career, but I've seen my fair share of failures. I was in a 3 year artist development project with a producer who was connected with Warner/Chappell, Mercury Records, etc. only to find out he couldn't do what he said he could. I then had to fight my way out of the contract with all the ugliness of lawyers and accusations of being in breach of contract, etc. I kind of lost my voice in that project since I ended up singing other people's songs and it wasn't truly me. Although I didn't see it at the time, it was for the better in the long run.
I then got involved with an independent label here in Orange County for about a year and a half. That story is a little more in-depth, but after testing of product (my original songs), poor planning on both sides, and not everyone on the team being able to pull their own weight, the label gave up on me. Morale of the story is do everything yourself, create your own brand, and let the people/companies come to you and become a part of what you have created rather than the other way around.
What has been the high point of your music path?
The past year and a half has been exciting taking the failures of my own and those I've worked with in the past and using them to my advantage for my own brand. It's been fun getting to know the business side and getting more in touch with my audience. Knowing what they like and making sure to deliver, essentially wearing every hat and running my brand like a business with 100% control. No one telling me how to write, dress, speak, what to do, what not to do, etc.
Please take a moment to check out the Trailer to Wachman's new single, "All I Need."
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
This is a case by case basis. Sometimes I write a cool riff and then have the song develop off of that, there are times there is a topic that I really want to address so I work at finding music that compliments that topic, and sometimes I find myself humming a melody that I think is catchy and run with it. I've always been a bit of a theory nerd so coming up with music is never really a struggle since I'm well versed due to my studies and wide variety of influences. If anything sometimes I have to dumb it down as I get caught up in wanting more or challenging my own ear rather that doing what's best for the song. Lyrically I have a natural personality of being a listener and constantly observing so you'll find I'm always taking notes in my phone, writing down sayings I like, notating thoughts to expand on, etc. Combine the two and more or less I'm always practicing/in my creative process.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I think the very thing that makes being an indie artist beautiful is the biggest challenge of all. You get the pleasure of being in control, doing what you want, how you want, when you want, but then it's also on you to come up with something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Everything is available but then that also means everything is heavily saturated so it becomes a challenge to do something unique when everything has already been done. The one thing I'd ask the music industry to change is having the streaming platforms pay out more than a fraction of a penny per stream. The time, money, mental stress, planning, and investment it takes to create the product should match the return at a better rate.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I grew up a big John Mayer fan and he had the biggest impact on me musically at a time where I was the most heavily influenced. I always loved his mix of pop blues and acoustic guitar playing, he's an unbelievable lyricist and songwriter, and is a once in a lifetime type of musician. He's stood the test of time over what is soon to be 20 years. He's also well versed in the music he plays/writes, is very adaptable to his surroundings/knowing his place playing with anyone from D'angelo to the Grateful Dead. He seems like a funny guy that would be easy to get along with and there would be a lot of opportunities for creating together through writing, playing guitar, or putting a unique spin on something that's already been done.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Really depends on the gig. A lot of the times I'm accompanying myself, playing with tracks, or supporting myself in some kind of way, so practice doesn't take that much organizing which is nice. I'll simulate the environment as best as I can in my home studio and run through my set as many times as I feel I need. I then focus on what needs to be cleaned up and make sure all is ready and presentable.
When doing bigger shows I'll get some kind of combo together. Usually that consists of me on guitar/keys, a second keyboard player, bass, and drums. It's always more fun playing with other musicians and I wish I had the opportunity to do so more often, but it also can be hard organizing schedules and such. When it works out though, there's nothing that compares.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I have a song that I'll be re-releasing in November as part of my current project called 'With You'. Musically it was something that was challenging because I wanted to it to be semi unpredictable harmonically while being immediately accepted. I wanted the harmony and melody to reflect the lyrics I had written and the turmoil I was going through while still making it pop. Lyrically it was tough because I wanted to speak my truth without hurting the feeling of the person I was writing it about due to how much I care about them.
Writing can be difficult because even if you don't give names, those in your inner or not so inner circle will know who/what it's about. That can be a tricky process, but it also creates the best and most authentic art.
What's coming up in the future?
Right now I'm in the midst of a campaign I'm running via social media in prep for my album release in the new year 'Unamused'. I'm doing monthly song releases with weekly videos to promote each song of the month. These videos contain insight on the creative process, unplugged versions of the songs, music video trailers, and a cover in style of the release that month. All these songs will be included on the album as well as 1 or 2 that have not been released. Some of the songs from this campaign are brand new to fans and listeners while others have been re-done from past EPs I've released. I'll be performing live locally once the album is done and looking for creative partners to help promote and collaborate with.