The Vinyl Dish recently caught up with the friendly & passionate Canadian indie rockers of Jammer’s Waffle House (a few breakfast puns may or may not have been involved in the making of this name!), a four–piece band from Mississauga, ON (Matt Hinojosa – Lead Vocals/Guitar, Colin Haugen – Drums, Keegan Porter – Guitar, Carmen North – Backing Vocals/Bass). We discussed the creative process behind writing their effervescent tunes, memorable band moments, Toronto’s music scene, favourite records (we couldn’t resist!), and of course, what JWH has in store for us next!
Hey Jammer’s Waffle House! Tell us a little bit about the band. How did you all meet?
Hello there!!! Thanks for having us! We are a four-piece indie rock band from Mississauga who are all about making music and making memories! We’ve been brought together over the past few years by a few funny moments: Matt and Keegan met at an open mic at Cuchulainns Irish Pub (one of our favourite places to play), Carmen had been performing with JWH as a vocalist and most recently hopped on bass, and Colin joined most recently after drumming with Carmen’s metal project (check it out, it’s really killer). We were all brought together through our love for music and are all really great friends outside of the band!
For those new to your music; can you describe your sound?
I would say we are a fun mix of indie rock and pop. We’ve been told we sound like Barenaked Ladies and The Beatles! We like to explore all sorts of genres and we all come from different listening/performing backgrounds, so it really is fun to blend them all together.
So, what’s the story behind the name, ‘Jammer’s Waffle House?’ As part food blog, we have to ask, does it have anything to do with a love for breakfast?
So glad you asked! It really comes from one of the first songs we wrote called “Biscuits and Waffles!” We were really proud of the fun, upbeat vibe of the song and we wanted to convey that through our band name. So, after several hours of tossing combinations of breakfast puns, we ended up combining our love of jamming tunes and breakfast! And thus ‘Jammer’s Waffle House’ was born!
You’ve just released your brand new single,“How Does it Feel?” and we dig it! Where does your band draw inspiration for music? What’s the creative process behind writing songs?
We are really proud of the new single and have been so happy our fans have enjoyed it! It’s funny because we have such a wide collection of subject matters in our songs. We’ve gone down the roads of love, break-ups, but I find people really enjoy our more “out-there” songs like “Zombie Girlfriend” or “Ninjas” where we kinda tie in these out-of-the-ordinary topics and put our own twists on them. Matt is the primary songwriter in the band and typically he brings a song structure usually with words and chords and the rest of the band jumps in and adds/contributes where possible! It’s a solid process for us and it brings out the best in all of us musically because we can all get engaged and all have a say.
You’ve already opened for various established acts, such as City & Colour, IllScarlett, and USS, and have performed at popular events and venues in the GTA. What’s your most memorable music moment as a band?
Matt: For me, personally, it was having the chance to perform for my musical hero Kevin Hearn (Keyboard player of Barenaked Ladies). He was so gracious to attend a few of our shows at The Piston and it’s pretty surreal to be on stage and see someone whose music you grew up with is supporting your own journey.
Keegan: Probably when we hosted the second Beatles tribute night at The Cavern. It was so great to play with so many of our friends bands and celebrate the music I love the most.
Carmen: I have really loved watching our audience grow and become more and more engaged at Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub in Streetsville. We have definitely grown as a band at that venue, and we have become almost like a part of their family.
In our opinion, local talent is the heartbeat of Toronto’s music scene. As a band from the GTA, how do you show your support?
We would absolutely agree! There are so many super talented artists in our scene and we love getting a chance to play alongside them and support! Getting out to open mic and trying to catch a show when we can! We are always buying physical merchandise; CDs, shirts and stuff like that often helps bands the most. ALSO, if you see a band that you really dig playing live, don’t be afraid to post them on the social medias. Show your friends this cool new band you just discovered!
What advice would you give to new artists wanting to showcase their talents and develop a genuine fanbase? How does one stand out?
Matt: It might sound cliché, but personally I would say be true to yourself. When it comes to being on stage it’s really important to be yourself and try to connect with the audience. Everyone who listens to music is trying to make a connection with something and it’s important to try to put your music out there for connecting. Being genuine is always the best way to stand out! The other piece of advice I would give is to play as much as you can when you’re starting out; hitting up an open mic or open jam or busking! The more mileage you get playing live will only make you a better musician and will open opportunities down the road!
What’s next for JWH? Any goals you hope to achieve as a band?
For 2019, we are planning on releasing another single and video! This is all leading up to dropping our 3rd album! As for long-term goals, we are hoping to get out and tour again – we had such a blast last time when we went on the road with Scratch Nasty, so we’d love to continue that! We’ve been very fortunate to have had some very special gigs the last few years and we are just hoping to continue sharing our music and have fun!
Finally, in true ‘Vinyl Dish’ fashion, are there any records you recommend we check out? Do you each have a personal favourite?
Matt: I’ve most recently been enjoying “The Superhero Suite” that was put together by Kevin Hearn and features several high profile acts like Barenaked Ladies, The Persuasions, Alan Doyle, Carole Pope and tons of others singing Superhero songs! If I had to recommend an album I’d also suggest “Egypt Station” by Paul McCartney, it’s his newest release and demonstrates his amazing songwriting.
Keegan: John Mayer’s “Continuum” is still teaching me how to play guitar. Other favourite albums would be “Lost In The Dream” by The War On Drugs and “Prisoner” by Ryan Adams – Both are great examples of how to be a great singer-songwriter.
Carmen: “Screaming for Vengeance” by Judas Priest. But you already know that!!!
Listen to Jammer’s Waffle House on Spotify!