No Waves montreal band interview

No Waves spoke with us about manifesting destiny

The Montreal nu-punk trio invited us into their rehearsal space to discuss their upcoming Osheaga gig, their DIY MO and being mentored in the local scene.

No Waves and I are outside a commercial building surrounded by professional-looking people in suits and dresses who are just getting off work. As we all walk into the elevator leading to the Montreal band’s jam space, guitarist and vocalist Angel Parra Vela tells me the band sometimes feels slightly off entering this building. 

“People will sometimes be in really formal clothing early in the day and we’ll just be here doing our thing in our band t-shirts and tattoos,” he says. “All you can do is smile, but we have very different lives.”

We take the elevator up a few flights, walk through the warehouse entrance, and are greeted by a huge artist loft with a kitchen area and many painted windows above a dusty couch. On the right is a door with an Atelier sign, the solo space of a solitary woodworker. Vera and drummer/vocalist Sam Sussman immediately feel at ease here. And how couldn’t they? The young indie surf punk three-piece has a jam space right in the back of this DIY artist commune, one that’s filled with canvases, guitars, spray paint and the aroma of wafting joint smoke. The No Waves boys feel creative and at home here, surrounded by collaborators and friends. 

“We’ve always loved DIY spaces ‘cause it’s kind of where we started,” Sussman says while we get settled in the rehearsal space. “We were 14 or 15 years old, so we would be too young to play bar shows and have to set up our own all-ages things like house shows.”  

No Waves on the cover of the July issue of Cult MTL

The band also remembers getting fake IDs to get into the 18+ shows and meeting other younger artists who wanted to play real sets. “I remember it being very frustrating to not play anywhere as a younger band,” Vela says. “Now, we’re really blessed with places like la Sotterenea, who are having all-ages shows and lots of under-the-bridge shows for the all-ages scene.”

Since they started playing shows, No Waves have been consistently grinding, carving out a name for themselves across Eastern Canada. And it’s paid off. They’re soon off on a mini-tour of Ontario, and the big talk of the Montreal music scene a few months ago was that they managed to get onto the 2024 Osheaga lineup. This is a huge accomplishment for any local band, but No Waves is treating it like any other show.

“We used to joke about playing Osheaga all the time because it didn’t seem like it would ever be a reality,” Sussman says. “We would do that for other things like playing MTELUS, and then boom, we’d get a show booked there. The same thing happened with Osheaga. We manifested it, but now that we have it, we’re not making a big deal of it.”

A few minutes into our talk, bassist Cy Musngi joins us, but remains silent during most of the conversation, nodding with his bandmates while holding a poutine. Earlier, outside, there had been talk of edibles on the menu, and Musngi now seems to be in a completely zen state. I can tell the quiet, well-dressed bassist can’t wait to dive into his poutine, but doesn’t until the interview concludes. It’s a sign of respect for the process. One that needs to be admired.

When No Waves was just starting out back in 2016, it was touch and go there for a bit, but everything changed for them after they saw a little band called Crabe. 

“They were totally our mentors in the scene,” Sussman says. “We didn’t know shit and they showed us the scene and let us open their launch party and really took us under their wing.” 

“Crabe is the GOAT,” adds Vela.

Crabe is a band that is constantly reinventing itself, and No Waves is taking that theme as inspiration for their next batch of recordings to follow up the 2023 Postcard EP. This is a band that listens to a lot of music and loves to be inventive and be able to take risks. 

“I think we will definitely always be a loud band, but we’ve been experimenting with a lot of the sounds so it’s not only straightforward punk,” Sussman says.

“And we can’t wait to get into the studio and really take our time with the next one,” Vela says. “It’s going to get weird.” ■

No Waves plays the Green Stage at Osheaga on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2 p.m., individual single-day tickets $165, $320 Gold, $685 Platinum, individual weekend passes $395/$745/$1620. This article originally appeared in the July 2024 issue of Cult MTL.

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