Wavy Cunningham – Interview – Thanks for Asking

Written by on January 8, 2024

Wavy Cunningham – Interview – Thanks for Asking – Interview by Liam Sweeny.

We found Wavy Cunningham in the aether, trying out some tasty new grooves. He agreed to open up his world for us. After you.

RRX: Every comic book hero has an origin story. What is the origin story for the band? (points if you tell it like a comic book origin.)

WC: Two separate origin stories. Rapping at my high school senior year pep rally in front of the whole school was the official start to my music journey. I started looking at music in a whole different way. I’ve been working solo, with bands & other amazing artist ever since. Part 2 is when the band comes into play. Kurt Common, a local & talented multi-instrumentalist, was playing sax at a show that I was performing at No Fun in Troy with DJ Mercy. Jive Hive saw a video that was reposted and invited us to do a live recorded performance. That was inspiration for me to reach out to other talented musicians (DJ Mercy on drums, Kurt on Sax & Keys, Hino (Sonny) on guitar & Josh McDonald on bass). We are going by Playa Protocol. After our first practice (as well as the Jive Hive performance) I knew we were meant to great things. It’s a different feeling when you have your own band opposed to being a part of other projects. It was definitely a fulfilling feeling. Kinda like Nick Fury assembling The Avengers. We’ve done a huge show at The Whiskey Pickle in Troy as well as No Fun, & we have events in the works for 2024 that will blow everyone away!

RRX: Every band’s first song is a milestone. But so is the latest song. Describe the first song/album you recorded, and also the latest song/album you recorded; what are the differences?

WC: I have recorded so many albums as a solo artist, that I have lost track. I released my first official album, Catch Me if you Can in 2016.  Once I met DJ Mercy in 2017, we recorded a ton of albums. Some released, some in the vault. Our first album, Welcome to the Wave, was performed live on the radio (WCDB) by DJ Mercy & I. In 2020, my single Whattup?, off of Club Wavy, was featured on EQX, as well as a few other tracks. That song was produced by Phil Dreisin. I just finished recording my next album, Vol. 2, a few days ago. It is my best work yet. Essentially, the band that I assembled has been reconstructing the tunes on this album for live performances! The difference between my first few projects & now is really just paying attention to what’s relevant, being confident & staying true to myself. It reflects in my lyrics, cadence, flow, and beat selection. I went from trying to prove myself, to building a world that people can visit when they listen, helping them feel confident & motivated when they hear what I have to say.

RRX: Like songs, every band has a unique feeling about their first show. What was your first show like? Was it your best show? If not, what was your best show like?

WC: My first “show” was horrible. I had no idea what I was doing. I was dehydrated, out of breath, & nervous. I was also going by Concept back then (like 2010 ish). I had to rebrand, & even that was just the beginning. When I started opening for acts like Riff Raff @ Jupiter Hall inside of Lucky Strike in Crossgates Mall (2017), I unlocked a different confidence in myself… but I still had a lot to learn. What helped was seeing a ton of other shows. Seeing how other artists performed. It helped me look at myself from an outside perspective. Eventually (Especially with my upcoming project), I started catering my songs toward live performances. Timing, breath control, choruses, captivating lyrics. I don’t want to waste time. My best show was the 2nd to last show we performed, at the Whiskey Pickle. It was packed. We were loud. I was feeding off of the crowds energy. The difference between the lucky strike show & the whiskey pickle show was not only my confidence, but the energy in the room.   At Jupiter Hall, I remember having to take a deep breath before I went on stage just to keep my hand from shaking. 100 shows later, walking into the Whiskey Pickle felt like home. I knew all my lyrics like the back of my hand & we rocked two sets back to back. It was a party. People knew the show was going to be amazing before we even started playing, then we executed perfectly. As a musician, I feel like we all live for nights like the one we experienced. You just had to be there.

RRX: Music genres are difficult for some bands. Some strictly adhere; others not so much. What is your perspective on the genre you play, or the genres you hover around?

WC: I feel like with this project, especially reworking the tracks with Playa Protocol, we are leaning towards Hip Hop Jazz. Playing with genre names I’m trying to settle on either Luxury Rap or Yacht Rap. With the subject matter & our range, we can generate a ton of different vibes. However, in its composition, it certainly has a jazz feel. Especially given how the tracks evolve with each performance.

RRX: It’s a lot of fun living in the present, but we all collect memories and give birth to dreams. We’re talking dreams here. Where you see yourself next year? In the next five years?

WC: Within the next year, my goal is to book penthouse gigs in NYC. I am speaking with a new collective currently who is working on setting up events. With the amount of effort & $ that went into this upcoming album, I am going to take a few months off from recording & focus on rehearsing with Playa Protocol as well as figuring out our first single as a band. When we grow collectively as a band & release some bangers, I will start my next solo album, which will probably be my last rap album. I will be venturing into R&B music.

RRX: We all get a little support from those around us. And we also can be impressed by our fellow bands. Who do you admire in your community, and why?

WC: I may be biased, but I really admire DJ Mercy. His work & contributions to the community & local scene are an inspiration to me. I’ve learned a lot from him & I’m not sure if I would be where I am today as an artist if it wasn’t for him! He is opening a Book/Magazine store in Downtown troy which will be the new base of operations for all the vibes. Stay tuned!


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