When Michael Hopp and Kameron Gonzales were kids, they wanted to play music. But they didn’t yet have the chops, so they had to use their imaginations.
“It started out with air guitar,” Hopp said with a laugh. “It went from there.”
The friends have long since graduated to real instruments. And they’re finding success, with their band Badland Nomad about to release an EP and take off on tour.
The guys are in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to help with the costs. They’re more than halfway to their $2,300 goal, with about two weeks to go.
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It’s great to see the support so far, and they hope it keeps coming, they said.
“I hope we reach the goal not just for ourselves. I hope other (local) bands think, ‘Maybe we can do this, too,’” Hopp said. “If we get it, hopefully other bands will do the same.”
Along with Hopp and Gonzales, Badland Nomad includes Kevin Laws and Ekelemchi Okemgbo. Jansen Leggett also played on the EP.
The Badland guys have known each other for years. Hopp previously played under the name Badland Nomad as a solo act.
The music they’re making together is special. It’s been described as Bob Dylan-meets-Nirvana — thoughtful, lyric-driven, folk rock with some edge.
Hopp handles songwriting duties, and his bandmates said he has a gift.
Instead of typical tunes about breakups and the like, Hopp uses imagery and weaves stories that speak to relatable themes, Okemgbo said.
“Storytelling is a good way to put it,” he said. “Michael is like, ‘Let me take you to this land (through a story). This is my world, and you get to be part of the world through this song.’ ”
Gonzales called Hopp’s writing style “captivating,” adding that, “(his writing) traps you in a world.”
Hopp said the whole band makes the sound work. He comes in with the bones of a song, and each member adds to it.
On stage, the guys have fun. They dance, they banter, they try to take audiences on a roller coaster ride, they said.
They look forward to releasing their EP. Called Nobody Knows, it’s a collection of personal songs, Hopp said. Watch out for some Tri-City references, such as a mention of Goethals Drive.
The EP was recorded last year and a portion of the Kickstarter campaign money will be used to make physical copies.
The money raised also will help cover a tour. The guys plan to play around the Northwest and perhaps beyond, depending on the campaign’s success.
For Badland Nomad, it’s an exciting time. A lot is poised to happen.
“It’s been a lot of work put into it. Sometimes it was very strenuous. But the end product we’re looking at right now — I’m very proud of it,” Gonzales said. “We learned playing air guitar and air drums, and now we’re (about to have) our own physical CD. It’s amazing to see what you can actually do.”
To support the band, search for Badland Nomad on kickstarter.com.