Papak can be forgiven for having an overt sense of enthusiasm towards the record. Having played in and around Melbourne for years, it took some time for him to find a chemistry within band members and move forward. But like so many opportunities in life, Waverley originally began as a family affair.
“The band originally started with just my brother and I,” says Papak, on a break from his day job at a label company. “We were living in the suburbs at the time, and we had absolutely nothing on. We both had a whole bunch of songs that’d we’d written over the years and we eventually started jamming on all these different songs. We just used a drum machine – just the two of us playing for hours and hours in this little studio we built at home. We then recorded these songs onto an EP, which started making its way around and then we started getting a few gigs in town.”
There were still obstacles that Papak and his brother would have to face. Though commonplace in the music industry, Papak and Waverley have seen more than their fair share of line-up changes. It might be tough for outsiders to work their way into the synergy that Papak and his brother have created, yet Waverley have managed to find a line-up that’s firing on all cylinders. When asked about the band’s members, Papak’s answer serves as a testament to the band’s dedication.
“There’s the current four. When we first started, one of our housemates was playing with us, but he left. Then we got another set of drummers who played bass and drums. It was a very different band at the time. We didn’t necessarily have any direction; we were just playing just for the sake of playing. It was great while it lasted, but it was clear there was no direction. Girlfriends getting involved and that sort of thing. And then we got our old housemate back in the fold. Our bassist used to play with The Wellingtons and said, ‘Hey, you need someone to play with you guys?'”
With their line-up settled and strong, Waverley were ready to move forward and record Challenger, their debut full-length. Full of soaring choruses and equal parts grit and emotion, it’s a record that has both staying power and a sense of immediacy. In taking their time, Waverley surrounded themselves with people like producer Craig Harnath (Franz Ferdinand, Jet) and Jack The Bear (Silverchair, Eskimo Joe) who mastered Challenger. The band then chose to release two singles, Where Were You? and Paper Walls before its release. Papak admits that these two tracks should represent what Challenger has to offer.
“They’re quite representative of the record. Where Were You, the first song we released has a lot of energy. It’s not necessarily all going to be anthemic but with the song it shows that the album has an arc to it. But Paper Walls, the second song we’ve released should really be considered more representative of where the album stands.”
Though Waverley have endured enough line-up changes to make many consider a life outside of music, Papak remains determined and focused on the future. He understands that for his band to get better, one thing needs to happen. And suddenly, the title of Waverley’s debut makes a hell of a lot more sense.
“The biggest thing that keeps this line-up strong is how much our bassist and drummer challenge my brother and I when it comes to writing songs. We’ll never go at a song half-assed, because we know those two will really be ready to pull us up. Having that kind of challenge keeps us strong as a unit,” says Papak. “By the end of the rehearsal, the song could do a complete 180, because someone had the guts to say, ‘Let’s try something a little different.'”