Nanaimo blues rock band Big Pacific – keyboardist John Hannah, drummer Nick Dokter, guitarist Roly Sandoval and bassist Wayne Veillet (from left) – recently released their second album, ‘Welcome to the Party.’ (Photo courtesy Doug Fetherston)

Nanaimo blues rock group Big Pacific releases sophomore album

‘Welcome to the Party’ unveiled at sold-out concert at the Queen’s

Nanaimo-based blues rock band Big Pacific have released their second album, a collection of 12 songs designed to get people on their feet appropriately titled Welcome to the Party.

Drummer Nick Dokter said the band – Dokter, guitarist Roly Sandoval, keyboardist John Hannah and bassist Wayne Veillet – started working on Welcome to the Party right after their first record, Big Pacific 1, came out in 2018.

“The main thing was to write songs that would transfer to live performance…” said Sandoval, who wrote eight of the album’s 12 tracks. “The lucky thing for us is when we first began one of the first things we did right at the offset was a couple of festivals, so we got the idea of what it feels like, looks like and what we wanted to put across.”

Sandoval said he aimed to write relatable lyrics with “grabby” hooks and strong choruses. Like their first album, Welcome to the Party was recorded at Dokter’s studio south of Nanaimo with the musicians recording their parts separately, an approach that Dokter said is much quicker as there are no distractions.

Sandoval said “just about everything” on the album was road-tested before making it on the album. Dokter said it’s important to see how audiences react to a song and “if they cram the dance floor” they’re on the right track.

“All you have to do is go play at the Queen’s and [the audience] will let you know right away if it suits their needs,” he said.

Upon release, the album landed at No. 3 on the Top 50 Canada Album Chart compiled by the Utah-based Roots Music Report, which bills itself as “the No. 1 independent music chart in the world.”

On July 25 the band debuted the album at a CD release concert at the Queen’s. In adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols, Plexiglas ‘spit guards’ were placed in front of microphones, the show had limited capacity and viewers were required to stay seated at spaced-out tables.

Dokter said it was “a little strange” at first to be performing in front of a Plexiglas shield – he said he could see his own reflection when lit from behind – but the show went well and the audience was respectful.

“I had so much fun,” he said. “The whole band, we weren’t as sure in the beginning, but the whole band just went, ‘Wow, we’re just really having a lot of fun.’”

Although COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in touring plans Sandoval said their goal is to continue to “spread the gospel of Big Pacific.” He said they may have a music video in the works and on Aug. 18 they perform at Waterwheel Park in Chemainus.

Welcome to the Party is available in CD form or as a download from the Big Pacific website.

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