In the Limelight

Wasteland Hop Mish by Samantha Hanus Photography

When we see a band that goes on a low budget tour of the US, barely surviving on minimal funds, sleeping in a van at night in sketchy alleys, we call that adventurous. However, one band is working hard to redefine adventure and “life on the road.” This sense of taking the road less traveled is not new to Wasteland Hop, a hip hop-infused cocktail of rock and folk; they have been working nonstop to redefine the genre and their course. However, feelings of stagnation and repetitive motion have had them stuck in a rut; the cause not being the local music scene itself, but more a desire for something they have yet to fully understand. At the height of these frustrations, fate has intervened and provided them an opportunity and a bold new mission to provide transparency in the music industry.

I spoke with lead vocalist and emcee, Mickey Kenny, about what the band is experiencing in terms of needing change. Kenny explained that it had nothing to do with the scene locally, more with the personal expectations of the other band members. A void is present, the need for a change imminent and going somewhere for a few months to explore a different market seems the best option. “Previously, there was a lot of talk about moving to the Northwest,” Kenny stated. “We saw it as a midpoint between our already established markets in Alaska and Colorado.” Even with this logical and safe proposition on the table, still something was missing. Some of the band members were not fully on board. “Severing ties wherever you live and uprooting your life for months at a time is never easy, so of course there are going to be some difficult conversations that are going to have to happen for it to work,” Kenny added. Thankfully, these difficult conversations did not lead to any sort of lasting tension. In fact, what happened next is remarkable.

At the near tipping point of all of these tensions within the band, an old friend called Kenny out of the blue; someone whom he had not spoken to in a long time, offering a fantastic opportunity and a solution to the tensions all in one move. It was an offer to come to Ecuador to live for a few months and perform. Call it fate, or the “universe” or whatever you want; serendipitous opportunities happen more often than you think. Kenny explains, “The key is to be open to them; when they happen, entertaining the possibility is huge.” This proposition was instantly accepted by the rest of the band. Revitalized and ready for action, a six-month plan was drawn up by the band to manage the projects and goals they would be setting for themselves.

The plan was aptly named “Greater Glaciers & Equator Saga,” with travel to include a stop in Alaska for most of September, a short return to Fort Collins, a trek to California and then off to Ecuador. When I asked why South America and not Southern California, Kenny answered, “The average margin for success for bands that go to major hubs is so small, and so many bands have tried and failed. So we figured, why not try something crazy.” While in Ecuador, an already bold move, the band plans to add even more to their plate. “Our goal is to break the fourth wall; we want to lift the curtain between the band and the public. We are planning a podcast and some other extras that are going to give our listeners a deeper look into who we are as people.”

Wasteland Hop is not ordinary in any sense. From their music, to their behavior and tour planning, Wasteland Hop is bold. Their desire to break down the stage between the listener and artist, the desire to tour in unknown parts of the world, boldly stepping into territory not unexplored, but ignored; if there is any lesson for other bands out there, it’s likely to reside in a fact that was clear to me when I hung up the phone with Kenny. The desire for adventure is key; never lose your curiosity. Here’s to the pending Saga, the sense of true adventure, and to you, Wasteland Hop. Safe travels.

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