Fictions: Love in the northwest, true story

by Jake Werrion

One of the most recent additions to the Bellingham music scene is Fictions, a group of friends who share a love for northwest indie sound. The band is comprised of Nick Thacker (Guitar, Vocal), Katie Weiss (Bass), and Erik Wallace (Drums, Vocal), and since their inception in August, they have been hard at work playing shows and recording at a remarkable rate; November saw the release of their first single, Sleep Right b/w Blank City, and they have already graced the stage at the Shakedown, the Alternative Library and the Business (in Anacortes), as well as various house shows around Bellingham. The sound that Fictions is making is akin to the indie greats (think Pavement, Beat Happening, Sonic Youth, etc.), following the DIY philosophies of crunchy, dirty guitars, simplicity, eerie and emotional melodies and lyrics, intense pop hooks and, most importantly, love for what they are doing.
Perhaps the seed that would grow into Fictions was planted during Nick and Katie’s freshman year at Western, when a mutual love for the Smiths poster hanging on Nick’s dorm room wall inspired an impromptu dance party the first time they met. Or maybe it was when Erik and Nick first met in June of 2012, working together on an extracurricular sound recording project for the Fairhaven Audio Program. In any case, it seemed to take root when Nick, Erik, and Katie found themselves working together during last summer’s Bellingham Girls Rock Camp, where Erik and Nick produced the BGRC recordings and Katie did administrative work. Some of the creative energy must have lingered with them after the season ended because Erik and Nick began working on original material shortly thereafter. They invited Katie into the mix, essentially teaching her to play the bass as they went (she had little to no experience with bass until then). She has proven confident and capable in very little time, because her performance doesn’t betray her inexperience, but strengthens the band’s philosophy of implementation being the main qualifier for musicianship.
“I never thought I was cool enough to be in a band until I started listening to DIY, punk music… none of those guys really knew how to play their instruments but they did it anyway,” Nick said.  “You just have to want to do it, and actually do it”.
And they are actually doing it. As they prepare to release their second single “Broken Water” (early 2014), it’s important to note the band’s ambition does not eclipse the quality of the music they are making. Their recordings (and live shows) are well thought out, interesting, and well produced, which makes sense because they are focused on the music. Erik just completed a sound engineering degree through Fairhaven and founded his recording studio, Shibusa Sound. Nick is the current music director for KUGS and co-hosts Teenage Riot Radio. Katie has less of a musical background, but her deep interest in Olympia’s Riot Grrrl movement inspired her to say yes when Nick and Erik shoved a bass into her hands.
The chemistry that these musicians share is what makes their music so charming, but their sound has been shaped by the area. “Something that I like about a lot of music from the Northwest is that you can tell that the sound was somehow derived in part from the environment… I just really enjoy how a lot of northwest music captures that strange, slightly spooky, eerie David Lynch vibe,” Nick said.
This bioregional influence is certainly present in their work thus far, giving us happy melancholy, emotional punk rock, poetic social commentary. Fictions is tapping into the heart of the Pacific Northwest, and it is very exciting.