By Zach Barlow
Former Whatcom Community College student Erik Wallace, 24, is a man of many faces. During the day he can be found in Whatcom’s library where he works part-time. By night he may be playing a show with his up-and-coming Bellingham-based band, Fictions.
Ian Knight, a student at Whatcom, was at a recent Fictions show at the Underground Coffee House on Western Washington University’s campus.
“The simplicity of the bass lines and muddy guitar riffs mesh well with the technical style of Wallace,” Knight said.
Fictions is composed of members Nick Thacker on guitar and vocals, Katie Weiss on bass, and Erik Wallace on drums.
“Nick, the singer/guitarist, and I met in the audio recording program at Western, and Katie who plays bass, is Nick’s best friend and roommate,” Wallace said.
Weiss and Wallace have done the Bellingham Girls Rock Camp for the last couple of years, Wallace explained. He taught drums while Weiss held an administrative counselor position, he said.
“Next year she’ll probably be teaching bass,” Wallace said.
When the three first began writing and recording songs, Wallace said Weiss had little to no experience on the bass guitar.
Wallace said he drew on past experience and was able to teach Weiss how to play bass in only five months. He added that he has played bass for other bands in the past and began playing guitar when he was 13-years-old.
“Katie’s really smart. She just picked it up like that,” Wallace said, snapping his fingers. “There wasn’t really a learning curve.”
Although Fictions is too new of a band to have experienced any “crazy shows” or major “technical difficulties,” Wallace said he has had his fair share of memorable moments on stage.
“I was in a band, So Adult, for six months. It was like two years ago and we played in a flooded basement,” Wallace said. “It was a rowdy punk-house show and people were crowd surfing, the humidity, people were basically swimming in there. It was the middle of summer after some torrential downpour. That was really fun.”
Along with being a librarian for Whatcom and the drummer for Fictions, Wallace has recently founded his own record company, Shibusa Sound.
Wallace said the idea for Shibusa Sound came to him shortly after he graduated from the Audio Engineering program at Western Washington University. “I was looking for answers after graduation and finally decided to invest in my dreams by recording live music,” he said.
This passion for recording music has seemed to manifest itself in a record company that aims to “carve a niche” out of the local Bellingham recording market, Wallace said.
Instead of promoting a large high-tech recording studio, which most modern sound engineers use, Wallace said he prefers the methods of the new-aged “do-it-yourself” type of artist.
“Just having someone to make their recordings sound good and having someone who understands playing music to help them produce stuff is something that often gets overlooked with the whole ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude, which I’m totally into,” Wallace said. “But there’s nothing wrong, or not ‘do-it-yourself’, about having someone help you.”
Shibusa Sound approaches this “do-it-yourself” type of artist with its own grassroots style of recording. Shibusa Sound has recorded all types of music, from big band bazz to hip-hop, Wallace said.
“My company specializes in doing mobile recordings. The whole business model is built on being able to come to where musicians are playing and record them,” Wallace said. “I’m aiming for a very specific group of artists.”
As far as the future goes for Wallace and Fictions, everything seems to be “up in the air,” Wallace said, adding that the band and the company alike may make a move to the Bay Area or Seattle sometime in the future in order to “expand the pool of artists to work with.”
He said they also may stay in Bellingham and ride the wave that their recent success has created.
“One thing I think is very true about our sound is that it is rooted deeply in the topography and culture of the Pacific Northwest,” Wallace said. “I think the surreal beauty of this region is something that drives all of us in the band to create.”
Fictions will be playing an all-ages show at Make.Shift Feb. 1 and another one Feb. 7 at the bellingham Alternative Library.