Galapagos: True expression

by Alexa Peters

Bellingham band Galapagos classifies their music as “…explosive, wild,” and without a doubt, the band’s sound is nearly as ever-evolving as their namesake implies.
Comprised of Kendra Hackett on keyboards and vocals, Ryan Nutter on guitar, Matt Taggart on bass, and Nick Robinson on drums, the group combines the grandiosity of progressive rock bands like Yes, Rush, and Pink Floyd, with a conception of funk grooves and a jazz improvisation often ascribed to artists like Herbie Hancock. But really, their style won’t—and can’t—be pigeon holed, a fact that keeps the band inspired and their listeners coming back for more.
“When we started this project [in 2012], we basically decided to throw out the rulebook and express ourselves purely and honestly without worrying about what other people think… Rather than picking one genre and sticking to that category, we decided to use all of our collective knowledge and inspiration to create multi-genre compositions with many surprises around every corner,” the band stated.
This approach is confirmed by each member’s diverse background in music. Kendra Hackett, the group’s keyboardist and singer, grew up studying music in Boise, Idaho. She has played piano most of her life, initially focusing on classical then branching out into jazz and composition in high school and at the Albertson College of Idaho. Hackett later got into the funk-rock scene in Boise, and played in various successful bands around town. A little over three years ago, Kendra moved to Bellingham in search of a more diverse music scene and began jamming with bassist Matt Taggart.
Taggart, too, has been playing music for most of his life. In that time, he has entertained the masses in multiple musical endeavors ranging from ska, punk, metal, funk, rock, reggae, to hip hop. He has recorded three studio albums and won the 2002 Bellingham Band Slam. Taggart also played in Mellow Green and Sway, two notable projects from around the area.
After meeting Hackett, “[We] spent over a year looking for the right unique and serious players to come along that had the same musical vision [we] did.” Once they became acquainted with Nick Robinson and Ryan Nutter through the hip-hop group Dead Reckon, everything fell into place.
Nutter and Robinson grew up playing music together, and shared a similar progressive artistic vision. Nutter has played guitar for almost 11 years now, and in that time has performed with various bands whose styles ranged from classic rock, hip hop, jazz and beyond. Nutter has also been involved with several musicals performed at several different venues, including WWU. By his side, Robinson has played drums for about 16 years, playing in an afrobeat band called Ruzivo, a rockabilly group named the Scott Greene Band, as well as multiple projects with Nutter.
After just one jam session, it became very apparent that the four of them had stumbled upon something very special, and Galapagos was formed. Within only a year, the band has developed an impressive resume in Bellingham and around the Pacific Northwest. “We’ve played shows at venues like the Wild Buffalo, the Shakedown, and… events around the area including the Urban Music Festival, Worthy Festival, Downtown Sounds, and Harvest Festival,” the band said. “Galapagos has also been branching out to Seattle and Idaho, and played the Idaho-down Music Festival in July 2013.”
After winning the 2013 Road to Rockstar competition hosted by 92.9 KISM Classic Rock Station and Checkmate Music, the band was awarded studio time at Blue Frog Studios in White Rock, B.C. They’ve been recording their first full-length album entitled Symposium, and will have a release show on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Wild Buffalo, with openers Mr. Feelgood and the Firm Believers.