Most of the members of Awaiting the Answer found each other online, mostly through random posts on Kijiji. They come from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, but they’ve come together with the common goal of bringing a new sound to Winnipeg’s metal scene.
Kevin Toporowsky is the guitarist for the band. He and Dave McDougall, the vocalist, sat down to talk about how their diverse backgrounds change their sound.
“(Dave’s) a rock vocalist. In his mind, he’s going to hear something a lot different than we will,” Toporowsky says. “We all think in a different way. It just kind of pushes things in a different direction … It pushes the sound in a unique direction, instead of, say, four guys who listen to Metallica.”
“We argue about what our style is. I want to say alternative metal, they want to say metal core,” McDougall says. “We have that riffy stuff that’s not all just chugging on the low string … I think (the guitarists) do that very well.”
The influences and favorite bands of Awaiting the Answer change between it’s members. Dave is more of a modern metal fan, citing alternative metal bands like Tool, where a few of the other members take inspiration from classic metal bands like Pantera.
In order to fit in with Awaiting the Answer, McDougall had to change his vocal style to fit with the harder sound required for the metal genre. And that meant learning how to scream.
“I had to learn how to scream when I started, ’cause I didn’t know how to, and I’m still learning how to. There’ll be a gig where I won’t do it properly, and I’ll hurt my voice and have to take a month off.”
According to McDougall, proper screaming is using more breath than throat, because when you use your throat, you’re scraping air across your vocal cords, damaging them, and then you can’t sing anymore.
When creating their music, Toporowsky and guitarist Aaron Davis usually send riffs to each other and just write whatever they feel like. Then the other members help structure the song into the final product.
“Usually Aaron and I will come up with a riff or even half of a song and send it through the chat, then we get into a room,” Toporowsky says. “Then Jordan rewrites it because his drums extend a certain way, then Dave rewrites it again to put in the vocals.”
“That’s one thing I had to show these guys. They knew how to play really cool riffs, but they didn’t know how to put it together worth shit,” McDougall says with a laugh. “Couldn’t structure from a riff to a chorus or something like that … It’s not just 20 minutes of one riff and then screaming.”
When creating their EP, their entire writing process depended on tacos.
“The whole EP was taco-fuelled,” Toporowsky says. “Every Tuesday of every week – and I’m not kidding, this is for three months straight – Dave would come over to my place, and I would just play the riffs over and over again, and he would write lyrics to it.”
“Pen in one hand, taco in the other,” McDougall says.
Connect with Awaiting the Answer at facebook.com/awaitingtheanswer.
Published in Volume 71, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 19, 2017)