Written by Johnny Papan
VANCOUVER BAND BLENDS ELEMENTS OF GRUNGE AND PSYCHEDELIC ROCK
“Psychedelic grunge” isn’t a term coined often, but Wuji’s vast array of influences gets their sound as close to it as you can get. Taking influence from groups like Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Cream, Soundgarden, Tame Impala and genres like R&B, reggae, pop music and more, Wuji ranges from loud and angst-ridden to zen-rock.
“‘Wuji’ roughly translates to ‘without end’ but there are many meanings of the word,” says frontman Andrew Kashak. “The first meaning I read of it was ‘limitless void’, a Daoist belief of a primordial universe. Other than making music, I have found a lot of comfort in the practice of a Daoist style of Qigong and Tai Chi. The practice has helped a lot with managing chronic Fibromyalgia pain that arose when I was 19 while working in a coal mine in Northern Canada. I thought it would be a fitting name for a band that was essentially an empty glass waiting to be filled.”
The Vancouver four-piece consisting of Kashak, drummer Brain Maudsley, lead guitarist Tyler Dallas and bassist Ryan MacCoul dropped their self-titled debut EP in 2020. Produced by Michael Kraushaar, the four-track EP served as an emotional outlet for Kashak.
“I pretty much try to feel out what I want and then use my instrument or pen to convey those ideas and feelings,” Kashak says. “When I wrote the songs on our first EP, I started off sorta grungier because I was going through a lot of angst and heavy emotions at the time. Now that I have a band together, it's pretty sweet because it's like all of our musical preferences blending into a perfect soup.”
Kashak admits that, though he no longer partakes, experimentation with L.S.D., psilocybin mushrooms and D.M.T. have had a positive effect on his creativity. To date, Wuji has released a series of live rehearsal recordings and a psychedelic lyric video for their first single “Dreamscape”.
“This song is really about a series of dreams I had,” he continues. “They were non-sensical really but the images gave me something to translate into song. I guess it's open to interpretation? As for why I picked it as our single, upon showing it to some of my friends and family; they all liked Dreamscapes the most. It's definitely the most "pop" out of the stuff I've written, haha.”
Wuji is set to play their first livestream at Pandora’s Box Studios on April 8. This eerily marks the 27th anniversary of the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who passed at age 27. Kashak says this was unintentional.
“I guess the show can also unofficially be a tribute to one of my greatest musical heroes,” laughs Kashak.
He concludes: “Don't give up on making music or art because of societal pressures. Do what you wanna do because you love to do it and share those feelings with others. It's a great way to connect and constructively channel your emotions in a healthy manner and I believe that art can literally save you.”
Wuji livestream takes place April 8, 2021. Click here for free tickets.