Band Feature: The Discarded

Photo Credit: Rick McGinnis

Music feels good. Especially loud punk music with that raw straight-out-of-the-garage sound. Especially loud punk music played by an energetic family trio.

Enter The Discarded, a band from Orangeville, Ontario, Canada that is one part seasoned musician and two parts rambunctious teenage energy, and who are gearing up to release their debut self titled album on February 17th.

Fronted by the well-known drummer J.P. Wasson, who has played with bands like Fifth Column and The Snowdogs, The Discarded grew out of the turmoil that divorce creates within a family. Joined by his sons Jared Dean and Caden Jax, J.P. turned over the drums to his youngest son, 14-year-old Caden Jax, and is the singer and guitar player for the band. Jared Dean, who is 17-years-old, joins his father and brother as the face melting bass player. The result is face melting rockabilly punk music that is sure to get people moving.

Using music to bring them together as they adjusted to life in a new house, the trio soon found themselves at Pro Gold Studios last August recording their debut album with the legendary Sir Ian Blurton. Taking only nine and half hours, The Discarded recorded their nine track album. The album is set for release this coming Friday, February 17th, with the record release party set for February 25th at Toronto’s Duggan’s Basement ( Duggan’s Brewery– 1346 Queen Street West). For more information, check out the band’s website.

Recently, The Littlest Voice caught up with The Discarded to ask them about their album, their music, and the importance of music in their family.

The Littlest Voice (TLV): Thinking back to early childhood, what was your first experience with music?

J.P.: Our family was more into sports than music but we had a piano and my older brothers and sister had a ton of albums and 45’s that I would listen to. I was always into the drums and got a snare drum when I was eight and a drum set when I was fourteen. I started playing in bands then. I lived in Montreal and then moved to Peterborough. Even in public school we would pretend we were a band and mouth to records.

Jared: We always had a drum set at home, a piano, guitar, bass, P.A and amps. A music room so to speak and a recording unit. That and there was always music playing and dad playing guitar. I got a guitar when I was younger, a small scale electric but I didn’t use it much. A couple of years ago, I said to J.P. I regretted not learning the guitar and would like to try bass. The family was going through a transition at that time and J.P. thought learning the bass might be a good outlet for me and got me one.

Caden: Yeah there was always a drum set I could pound on. I have pictures from a very early age of me doing that. I remembering screaming for a recording my dad did when I was 4 years old. When I was five he got me a mini sized kit that I could reach everything for my birthday. Two years ago I got a regular sized real kit for my birthday. Dad had customized it with some of my favorite comic books covering it so it’s all multicolored and cool looking. That’s when I really started to get into playing.

TLV: What type of music did you hear the most growing up? Is it different from what you listen to now?

J.P.: The radio was always on at home or in the car so I am well versed in all the pop music of the ’60 and ’70. As I mentioned, my brothers and sisters bought a lot of albums and so did I from 12 or 13 on. I was big into the Beatles, the Who, the Stones, Zeppelin, and Arrowsmith. Then punk came along and it was the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, and The Jam. That moved into New wave and post punk and then Hardcore. If I like a band and a song I generally still do. I played in bands through the eighties and nineties in the Toronto punk hardcore and then alternative scene. So I saw and hung out with Nirvana when they played Lee’s to 50 people and played the side stage at the early Lollapalooza, opened for Sloan, Lowest of the Low, Change of Heart, 13 Engines, Jesus Lizard, Drive like Jehu and Dinosaur Jr slept at my house on their first tour. I was of that age and those band where my age and were touring like I was or were my peers in the Toronto scene at the time (early ‘90’s). I played drums in Fifth Colum too and got to play some cool shows that way. Still if I hear new music and if I like it I like it. I love early ‘50’s rock and roll too. Ironically, I still maintain an eclectic taste and listen to many different styles. Sorry I went on about this topic.

Jared: My parent exposed us to a lot of music because of my dad playing in bands. Instead of a Christmas album we would get a classic rock album at Christmas growing up to listen to around the holiday. Kiss, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Queen, The Sex Pistols, Iggy and the Stooges, and Hendricks. I went through a Green Day and a Guns and Roses stage when I was younger. I got into classic rock a couple of years ago, and like my dad got into the Beatles, the Stones and the Who. Though classic rock is my mainstay I don’t mind listening to electronic music, rap and other genres although quite selective to the actual artist in those genres.

Caden: Yeah, we always listen to music in the car and at home on some sort of device. We went to concerts, too. We went to Green Day as a family, The Sweet, Sloan, Eminem in Detroit, Kid Rock one year and the Riot fest with Rocket from the crypt, Dinosaur Jr, Iggy and the Stooges and The Replacements. This year we went to see the Buzzcocks. I’m fourteen so technically I’m still at the growing up phase.

TLV: What was the first song that you ever sang?

J.P.: Do you wanna dance- Ramones version.

Caden: I’ve belted out a few tunes in the back of the car, NWA and Eminem, but nothing in front of people. I think because there were swear words and I was allowed to swear if it was part of a song.

Jared: Nothing live yet, but hope to step up to the mic soon. But my earliest memory of singing was Yellow Submarine or Bungalow Bill.

TLV: What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

J.P.: We had a band and played a Christmas assembly at school when I was fifteen and everybody started cheering because we did Jumping Jack Flash. I was hooked after that.

Caden: Seeing my dad do it and thinking, “Hey, that’s pretty cool.”

Jared: Yeah, being exposed to it through my dad. Also, to create something lasting that can be listened to years later.

TLV: How did you become involved in the type of music you play/sing now?

Caden: All my life I’ve been listened to my dad’s punk influenced music. So when I started to learn I drummed along to a Cramps record because it was simple and rocking. When we started playing that’s how our sound was.

TLV: For those who have never seen or heard your music before, how would you describe your music for the public audience?

J.P.: Garage early punk sounding, rock and roll with an edge. We would play as hard and into it whether it’s five or five hundred people.

TLV: Would you rather play live performances or be in the studio?

J.P.: They both have their advantages. Live is a blast and exciting and to play to people is really a rush. It gives you instant feedback on the song if people like it. The studio is exciting to get your song down and to hear it take shape. Also, then you can get it out to reach more people to listen to then playing live. Recording is kind of like capturing the song forever for the ages. As well there is different things you can do in the studio. Getting sounds, mixing it. So far, we play pretty straight up, live off the floor in the studio with minimal overdubs. When you’re live, you hear the music from where you are standing. You are concentrating on playing your part. In the studio, it is kind of the first time you can sit back and hear the song mixed with all the instrument balanced and you can pick out other parts.

They are both very different atmospheres and exciting in their own way.

TLV: Have you ever entered any contests to enhance your musical career?

J.P.: I really don’t think we are the Star Search, American Idol type of band that would be considered for those types of contests. We have a bit too much edge for what they like to “package”. So, no, not yet. We’ve submitted songs to be considered for shows and such but not contests.

TLV: Have you been involved in any benefit performances?

J.P.: We did one two weeks ago, at the Hardrock café in Toronto for St. Michaels hospital and MS. It raised over a $1000 for the cause.

TLV: What do you think your greatest accomplishment has been so far in your musical career?

J.P.: The recording we just did and are releasing. We started playing together seriously just last February. We’ve written nine original songs and went into the studio with Ian Blurton and recorded those nine songs in one day and mixed the whole thing the next day. It came out great. It has an edge but it’s tight and energetic. It totally captured the sound of this band at that time. Then getting it mastered, and out on line, CD’s, vinyl. Getting it out to radio and the media. Pushing it for people to hear after only seven months to a year. Even then this process has been so exciting we have already written nine more original songs for the next record. The whole process feeds the development of the band and the individual musicians to develop.

TLV: If you had to categorize your music, what genre would it best fit?

J.P.: Garage- Punk – Rock and Roll.

TLV: What are your songs about and what general themes do they talk about?

J.P.: This first album comes after the breakup of our family unit and the three of us living together so there is a couple about that theme. Also about moving forward. Lately the majority of the themes of our songs have been about the inequalities in society. Calling out some of the bullshit that is going down of late. To look at the world intelligently and call it for what it is. We don’t think the world sucks we just think there are some aspects of it that that people accept as: no, that’s the way it is. No, that’s the way you accept it to be. There are many good people, good ideas, caring and compassionate to others. Of late the pendulum has swung to an Orwellian state of things. That doesn’t mean you should stop speaking the truth or what you perceive to be a better way. Nor should you stop striving for that even in small ways in your own world. To me it’s not all doom and gloom but there is definitely things that are pretty fucked up right now. That’s the themes of a lot of our songs of late. “Cheques on time” and “Feel the glow” are about that on our latest album. The entire next album will be about those themes.

TLV: Why do you choose to focus on these themes?

J.P.: Because they are real. Because there are enough songs about girls and boys and how I wanna be your lover. Because that is what is going on in the world right now and as an artist/musician your art and music reflects the world you live in or the world you want to see.

Jared: There is nothing wrong with those silly love songs but there is a distinct lack of those themes on radio, which is ironic considering the times we live in.

TLV: Are there any stories surrounding your songs that you’d care to share?

J.P.: “Cry Baby” words came from Caden when he was three years old. I was playing my guitar as he was getting ready for bed and I put it down and said okay time for bed now. He said, “Hey dad, I have a song. I’m a cry baby, I’m a cry baby, I’ll never lie down, I’ll never go to sleep, I’m a cry baby.” (As he was jumping up and down on the bed). I said, “Good words, how about, you better lie down and don’t make a peep cause you’re a cry baby.” Then after he went to bed I wrote an Elvis punk rock tune around those two lines. When we started playing together last year it was one of the first songs we learned together.

TLV: What has been your strong influence to continue performing?

J.P.: We’ve just started playing out live as a band over the last year. So we are all very excited to be doing live shows and playing these songs in front of people. For me, I’ve always been excited about playing live and still continue to be. The fact, I’m now doing this in a band with my two oldest kids makes it even that much more special.

Caden: Mine would be the drive to be a one hit wonder and never be heard from again. But seriously this is all so new and exciting to be on a stage and the atmosphere. And having a good time with the people I love.

Jared: I like our expanded new sound of our new songs. I like the thrill of playing live and I think it makes the songs, my playing, and the band better.

TLV: Does anyone in particular influence you?

Caden: Shawn Mendes!

Jared: Seriously! If you put that in I’m walking.

Caden: Don’t judge my inspiration.

Jared: We are not putting this joke answer into an interview! Dad erase that! Seriously, no one will get the joke. It’s stupid, he’s so lame.

Caden: I wouldn’t be dissing a million dollar recording artist. Alright- seriously, as a drummer I do enjoy Keith Moon. I like the drummer in the Ramones and admire the hard hitting basic beat of AC/DC. My dad is a pretty good drummer too. But he should get old and fade, and I will be able to surpass him.

J.P.: I think Caden has talked too much in this answer.

Jared: Agreed! You’re erasing the part about Shawn Mendes, right?

J.P.: Oh yeah!

TLV: What are your immediate music career goals?

J.P.: To release this album and get some attention about the band. Press, radio play, and people to buy it. Really at a small scale it is so important that people support a band by buying their music. If 100 people spent a $100 on a small indie band that would be enough to sustain them to the next recording and allow them to build on that for another record. By the time that number gets to 1000 people, then they can make a living at it. That is really how this DIY growth will work. We want to continue promoting this album for the next year and return to the studio and record the next one the following summer. But take a bit more time finishing it all up and release it by the following summer.

TLV: What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?

J.P.: Developing a following- fan base. It seems there are so many bands/musicians-“musical projects” out there all saying – “Hey listen to us!” There always has been, but now you can get an online presence – make some sort of recording and post up some music and images. So it seems tough to get a foothold or recognition.

TLV: What type of fan base do you have?

J.P.: Friends and kind strangers. I think if you’re into this type of music you would love the sound and songs we make. Part of why we are putting out this album is to develop this fan base, they need to have something to listen to for it to be developed.

Caden: We are currently very popular with the female baristas at the local Starbucks! Seriously, they like the band! (Would be open to coffee sponsorship, oh yeah and Zildjian for sticks and symbols if anyone is looking for 14 year old drummer poster boy!)

TLV: Music tends to appeal to everyone, young and old. Do you have any advice for the youth of today?

Caden: I’m fourteen, I am the youth of today. My advice: pick a music taste you like and don’t follow the herd of what you’re supposed to like.

Jared: Like what makes you happy but musical taste is subjective, so don’t take it personally if they don’t like what you do.

TLV: Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us?

Caden: I can do the wave with my tongue. Some Overwatch, I like to play lacrosse and hockey.

Jared: Being better at Overwatch than my brother!

Caden: 1 Vs 1!

Jared: Bring it on!

J.P.: I like to write.

TLV: What do you do with your time away from music?

Laundry, groceries, work, school, video games, sleep, the odd Netflix binge….

TLV: As an artist, is there anything special you hope to be able to accomplish?

J.P.: World peace, equal rights for women, an enlighten world view, and to blow up bigger than the Beatles or Jesus. (Mental note- “Bigger than Jesus”- possible title of third or forth album.)

Or being able to make a living playing, creating, and recording music.

TLV: Please feel free to add any other information you want to share with fans and readers.

For some of these answers, our tongue was planted firming in cheek.

Check out www.thediscarded.ca, buy our album, come to our record release, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, play one of our tunes for a friend, drop us a line.

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