Seattle Band Wiscon Breaking Up After Reaching ‘The Finish Line’

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Seattle Band Wiscon Breaking Up After Reaching ‘The Finish Line’

Seattle pop-punk band Wiscon is breaking up. The band’s final show is this Friday at the Lo-Fi performance gallery (tickets available here). At the show, the group will release copies of their new record, The Finish Line, an energetic four-song EP featuring synths, quick rhythms and lyrics about, among other things, The Wizard Of Oz. But why does a band break up? And how does a band form in the first place? These are a few of the questions we wanted to ask Wiscon front woman Taryn Rene Dorsey, just days before the group’s final gig.

Wiscon played its first show in 2009. Why did you all decide to play together?

I actually didn’t start with them. My partner was the drummer in that band and I used to go to their practice space and hang out and play drums. I was a total fan and we [Dorsey’s band NighTraiN] asked them to play a show with us. So they had to find a band name, put their songs together. That show was at the Funhouse and it was the first show for Wiscon. But I began playing with them later in 2011. Our first show was at the Faire Gallery.

Over the years playing together, what did you enjoy most about the group?

I love the band because of the songs, the content. Because they’re all about monsters and sex and video games and just nerdiness. And it was a punk band. I loved how the songs were poppy but could also go hard. That’s why we stayed together. We’ve had lineup changes, but the band has stayed together because everyone that came into the band was fans of the band. And we all grew. In the beginning, it was all fun and then we started to write a couple political songs. Because we changed, our songs changed.

You fronted the group. What did you learn about yourself doing so?

Oh my god! When I started I was a drummer. I loved getting in the back and giving that beat and I could sing all day doing backups. Coming to the front was a whole new thing. It was a childhood dream but it was also really intimidating. I remember watching videos of when I first started out. I stayed all close to the mic. I didn’t move a lot. I sounded a little nervous. But I was able to grow and let myself be a little more free and be in the music. It was everything to be able to be in the front. Even though I didn’t write most of the songs, I sang them like I did.

Why couldn’t Wiscon last?

Well, I’m going into a different trajectory in my life. I’m going into another chapter. I gave my mates about eight months notice that I was going to be leaving the band. I know what it’s like to have your band break up. And it’s heartbreaking. I wanted to be thoughtful and respectful. I love my band mates. I love what we do. But I want to be spontaneous again. I don’t know what it’s like to not have a weekend or a planned schedule. Trust me, it’s been such a blessing to have music be a part of my life. It’s kept me alive! But I want to go to school, travel, spend time with my family, be there for my friends and support their shows! But the guys – Stephen and Paul – they are starting a new project, they’re moving on, and it’s going to be awesome. I’m already looking forward to it.

Taryn Rene Dorsey of Wiscon. (photo: Tony Kay)

At the show on Friday, Wiscon is releasing its final EP. What did the group try to prove musically on the record?

Well, it’s called The Finish Line. So that’s pretty appropriate. Because we had eight months to play around with, we wondered if we should go on tour or if we should record. So we decided let’s do four songs – we could be in the studio for a weekend. The songs on the EP are a little bit different. Two are Stephen’s and two are Paul’s. They’re a mix of indie rock with punk, kind of like the Ramones. “Mr Do’s Castle” is very much a throwback Wiscon song. But “Surrender Dorothy” is a new and great tune – it’s from Toto’s perspective who wants to stay in Oz and doesn’t want to go back to the farm. That’s brilliant! We recorded with Steven Henry Fisk, we wanted to wrap up our last songs with a Seattle legend.

Wiscon in action (l to r: Paul Morgan, Taryn Dorsey, Steven Devine. (photo: Tony Kay)

You’re also the drummer in the great Emerald City band, NighTraiN. That band is also not playing shows right now. Do those two experiences of projects coming to their close have anything in common?

NighTraiN was an all-woman of color punk band. They’re my sisters. So in some ways it’s a whole different kind of experience. But I’ve had a wonderful experience with these guys who are all hilarious and brilliant. They let me be free and get out of my box. I told myself I had eight months. So I need to make sure I’m honoring every feeling every day. This week, I’ve been crying all week. I’ve been super emotional. It’s bittersweet – I’m sad but I’m excited too. It’s a new path. And to be real, it’s scary. I think that much of my identity was wrapped up in being a musician. Over the last year and a half I’ve had to cut out a lot of projects, slowly taking things off my plate. And this is the last project I’m taking off my plate. So, I’m processing a lot of feelings but I’m excited and I know that’s exactly where I need to be.

Jake Uitti

Jake Uitti

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