Wassabi Collective tours Maritimes this fall 

Trip hop, hip hop part of new soundscapes

Who: Wassabi Collective

Where: Boot Pub

When: Oct. 7

They’re still hot stuff.

In fact, bassist Scott Milne says the six-piece Wassabi Collective is like a family, with the amount of tour time they’ve been spending on the road recently.

The Victoria-based band have been promoting their debut CD, Masquerade Sessions , while on tour this summer.

"We’re on more of a modern electronic dance style, with African and Latino rhythms," says Milne, who established the band four years ago.

Since that time, they have been switching up their sound styles to include trip hop and hip hop.

"It’s nice to focus on different types of music."

The new rhythms mean the band can slow down to the tempo, to a more mellow vibe.

"Most of our beats usually range from 125 to 140, getting into the trance range."

Milne says what really adds to the vibe of their music is not only the ensemble element, but the cross-section in ages which range from age 21 through 35.

"With the different generations you feel the differences, which is a good thing," notes Milne, who says now the band moves towards trip hop and hip hop.

Wassabi Collective features Jennifer Grindlay on vocals and baritone marimba, Jeremie Doiron on guitar, and Stephan Moore on vocals and drums.

Melissa Meretsky plays congas, djembe, and vocals, while Derek Book oversees vocals and tenor marimba, which he hand crafts along with Grindlay. The two customize the marimbas to suit their needs, and have adjusted the instruments to a more Westernized scale.

The Irie Island/The Drop is one song which blends two tracks into one another with a "real Caribbean feel."

The chorus was written in relation to being by the Caribbean Sea, but the band realized it also relates to their home environment in Victoria, B.C.

"There’s one section in The Drop where it also gets really jazzy – we continuously play but jump around," adds Milne.

Meanwhile Blue Women/Foi blends Portuguese touches with a funky rhythm pattern.

Mixing it up is nothing new for the former fine arts student from Hamilton, Ontario, who switched to music and established a band about six months after moving out West with Harry McGovern, and a person named Rainbow.

Milne feels working as a collective is not a hindrance to the progression of the band, and the nature of its sound.

In recent years they have added dancers to their shows, who might perform in black light or with fire twirlers, depending on the venue.

"If your goal is to find the things that work for the band, then it will be successful."

While they manage themselves, they do have some promotion assistance from Vancouver’s Hipstar Productions, as they work towards increased visibility on Canadian soundscapes through their next tour, booked for the Maritimes beginning in Sydney, N.S. on Oct. 17.

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