Bands to Watch: Way Yes

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From the Bands to Watch: Way Yes edition

To arrive in the sad cyborg tropics their music inhabits, Way Yes had to seek out sounds the world over. Eventually that journey led back home.

"The Columbus music scene has been a bigger influence than even national music for me," said Glenn Davis, who rejoined longtime collaborator Travis Hall to form Way Yes last year.

"I was thinking about the songs that I write," Davis said. "I feel like I match the dynamics of Shin Tower Music, and then you've got the samples of Monster Rally, and then trying to write a song that's as pretty and as impactful as Saintseneca. And even if we miss the mark, it still ends up being something worthwhile."

The duo's 2010 EPs, "Herringbone" and "Walkability," were certainly worth the effort. Fusing melancholy Paul Simon pop with sample-heavy electronics and festive percussion, they captured an essence at once foreign and familiar.

Pretty much instantly, Way Yes became one of the city's most buzzed-about bands. Ears are perking up outside 270, too. Glowing reviews for both EPs are emerging in cyberspace. Reputable publicity company Crash Avenue approached Way Yes about promoting their music. And their gleeful, goofy live show, now featuring multi-instrumentalist Max Lewis, is making its way around the region.

Much of the Way Yes sound springs from a fascination with African and Brazilian music. For a band that plays live without a traditional drum kit, they've compiled quite the stock of percussion instruments - everything from shakers to toms to an old automobile wheel they found in Hall's basement.

Despite all the international flair, Davis isn't kidding about his Columbus fixation. Way Yes brought in Maza Blaska's Sam Corlett and Yoni Mizrachi to add haunting background vocals to "Singing," and they hope to work with more locals on future releases. Davis has also taken to remixing songs for locals (Joseph Anthony Camerlengo) and nationals (Oberhofer) alike.

"Doing remixes and working with samples is really what started the new direction for what we did with 'Walkability.' It's so sample-based," Davis said. "It's nothing that hasn't been done in hip-hop and R&B for years, but it's more like doing that with world music and doing that with Columbus music - not a whole lot of people are doing that."