Floater (band)

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Floater unionstation1.jpg
Background information
Origin Eugene, Oregon, United States
Genres Rock, alternative rock
Years active 1993–present
Labels Elemental, Typhon
Associated acts Drumattica, Riverboat, Rob Wynia & the Sound
Website www.floater.com
Members David Amador
Mark Powers
Robert Wynia
Past members Pete Cornett

Floater is an American rock band currently based in Portland, Oregon. The band was started in 1993 by Robert Wynia, along with Peter Cornett and David Amador. They are known for their progressive concept albums, stylized storytelling, intense live performances, and devoted fanbase. Floater routinely sells out local venues in Oregon[1] and periodically plays shows in the neighboring states of Washington, California, Nevada, and Idaho. Floater has played a variety of venues, including CBGB in New York and the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles.[2] The band was also a musical guest for Live Wire Radio on OPB radio.[3] The band was voted the "Best Band" in the Willamette Week "Best of Portland" reader's poll for 2009 and 2010.[4][5]


Formation in Eugene: Sink & Glyph (1993-1997)[edit]

The seeds for Floater were planted when Robert Wynia placed a musician-wanted ad in Eugene, Oregon and it was answered by Cornett, with Amador being added later.[6] By 1992, they had created Henry's Child.[7] Rob and Pete left Henry's Child after the musical direction was not headed where they wanted, and they formed a band called The Dog's. Sometime after, their guitarist got drunk and ruined a local gig, Dave Amador stepped in to replace him. The moniker of The Dog's was quickly shed and Floater was born. It was 1993 and they began playing small garage parties and eventually at the University of Oregon. In early 1994, Floater recorded their first four-song demo tape Stiff & Restless at Pro-Arts studio. Later in early 1994, Floater recorded a nine-song demo tape Sink, which was the four tracks off of Stiff & Restless, plus 5 new songs, which were recorded at the home of a friend in his studio. This tape impressed the indie record label Elemental, when Rob and Pete handed Jonathan Boldt a copy of their demo tape, who a short time later signed them. Floater's first full-length album, Sink, was released on September 9, 1994 and contained some songs from the demos. One year later in October 1995, a second full-length album was released, titled Glyph. This album increased the band's popularity in the Pacific Northwest and allowed tours further east, into Arizona, Utah and Texas as well as an excursion to New York in the fall of 1996.[8]

With the popularity of their song "The Sad Ballad of Danny Boy" and the help of then soon-to-be defunct national Z Rock radio network,[6][9] Floater's airplay increased greatly. The network shut down in late 1996, but not before acquiring scattered fans across the nation as in Georgia, Iowa, New Jersey, and even outside the U.S. in Quebec.[9] In another deleted internet article, it was mentioned that Floater also received play via Digital Music Express circa 1996.

During these first few years, Floater received nominations to the preliminary level of the Grammy Awards from NARAS in 1995 under "Best Rock Performance" for Sink and in 1996 under "Best Alternative Performance" for Glyph.[10][11] According to World Drum! a newsletter for CD World in Eugene and Corvallis, Floater sold 21,000 copies of Sink and Glyph combined.[11] The newsletter also mentioned Floater ranked in the top 5 of Pandemonium's Annual Readers' Poll for "Best Northwest Band on an Independent Label",[11] consistently in The Rocket's "Northwest Top Twenty Chart",[11] and having garnered the esteemed "Gavin Rocks" selection of the best band of all 300 participating in the NXNW Music Festival conference.[11] At this time, Floater was also playing popular venues like the WOW Hall in Eugene, and La Luna and the Crystal Ballroom in Portland.[12]

Wings to Portland - Angels In the Flesh... / Burning Sosobra (1998-2001)[edit]

Just before Floater released their third album, Angels in the Flesh and Devils in the Bone in May 1998, the band moved to Portland, Oregon where they remain today.[6] Coinciding with this move, the band's sound slightly changed with the release of Angels. In an article from The Rocket, it was mentioned the band was ready to "ditch some of [their more rude fans.]"[9] The album is noted for the college radio single "Mexican Bus".[13] Prior to and throughout this time, Floater was being visited by interested major labels including Zoo Records,[14] but they would remain unsigned by a major label.[1]

In September 2000, Burning Sosobra was released and it marked a shift in the use of samples that Floater was known for. Rather than sampling movies and television, the band began creating the majority of their own sounds for inclusion on their albums. Burning Sosobra represented a lifting of burdens for Floater, symbolized by the burning effigy on the cover of the album. With Sosobra, Floater moved into a new phase, having purged a dubious manager and beginning to work with Cassandra Thorpe, who bought Elemental Records on September 9, 1999. The sculpture in the cover photo was a collaboration between Floater and Mark Orme.[15] "Exiled" is considered the single of Burning Sosobra. Other notable tracks with "Independence Day" and "Waiting for the Sun," a cover of The Doors.

Alter & Acoustics (2002-2006)[edit]

Floater experimented with acoustic in-store performances throughout the late 1990s, but around the time of their New Year's Eve show in 2000/2001 at the Aladdin Theater, Floater began including entire acoustic sets in their performances. A part of the Aladdin show would be released on their second live album, Live at the Aladdin. Floater subsequently released Alter, their fifth full-length album in July 2002. The album was noted as a first step in altering their sound; however, the shift in sound was markedly less than expected. Floater's sound shifted from a focus on heavy riffs to a well-rounded and eclectic sound.

The band's exploration in sound fruited with their 2004 album Acoustics. This would coincide with an increase in acoustic performances abroad.[16] Floater regularly plays back-to-back shows with one electric set and one acoustic set.

Stone By Stone (2006 to 2008)[edit]

Floater's 2006 release, Stone By Stone, is their most critically acclaimed record to date.[17] The album bridged a familiar older Floater sound in the case of "An Apology" and coupled it with a new creativity infused in their songs like "Weightless," "Breakdown," and "Tonight No One Knows." "An Apology", considered the single of the album, has lyrical content suggesting a sarcastic apology: as one eye looks to the future and the other in the past.

The album also marks a time of increased effort to tour more extensively in the western United States. Floater has expanded greatly, playing larger venues in some cities, like The Showbox in Seattle, Washington and the McDonald Theatre in Eugene, Oregon. They also began playing more cities along their tours through Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California.

Wake - Setting a new course (2009 to Present)[edit]

By 2009, Floater started work on recording their eighth full-length album. Some of the tracks that were expected to appear on the upcoming album were previously recorded during the Stone By Stone sessions.[18][19]

By this time, Floater hired Alex Steininger as their new manager.[6] The band set its sights on achieving national recognition. Floater released its eighth studio album, Wake in 2010 and paid for it out of their own pockets.[6] The album received both positive and negative reviews from both the Willamette Week and The Portland Mercury.[6][12] Already, Steininger's influence can be felt as Floater has made appearances on PDXposed and OPB's Live Wire program.[3][20]

In the lead up to the band's ninth album, the band switched drummers. Mark Powers replaced Pete Cornette on December 31, 2017 when he made his debut at the Star Theater in Portland. Floater released their ninth album The Thief in May 2018 after a 8-year interval. Powers is also featured on this album.[21] Willamette Week's "Best of Portland Reader's Poll" selected Floater as Best Local Musician/Musical Group for 2018.[22]


Studio albums[edit]

Live Shows[edit]

Floater adds further variety to their live performances by adding various cover songs into their set list, and also integrating new verses into their own songs. They are also known for covering songs that do not necessarily coincide with their genre. Here is just a small sample of covers they have done:


Samples are used extensively in Floater's live performances and earlier albums. Samples from the early albums were primarily from movies. While samples are present on later albums they are not as common. Those that were included, occurred infrequently and were created by the band and local actors. Their albums Sink and Glyph included samples from movies such as Apocalypse Now, THX 1138, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Shining, The Last Temptation of Christ, Nice Dreams, various episodes of The Twilight Zone and old radio programs.

Associated Personnel[edit]

Guest performers

  • Keith Brown of Threscher, Two Minutes Hate, Drumattica, TV:616 and Sentenced To Life
  • Pianist for Burning Sosobra CD release tour
  • TV:616 for cover of Run Like Hell
  • Jen Folker of Dahlia
  • Jeff Chase; fire breather for 1998 performances of Mosquito
  • King Black Acid for 2009 performances of the Beatles' Helter Skelter
  • Unkle Nancy of Unkle Nancy and the Family Jewels

Anthropomorphic Personifications

  • Omar - Omar

Side projects[edit]

  • Sentenced to Life - Sometime around the fall of 1995, Rob Wynia and Pete Cornett collaborated with Keith Brown to develop a short-lived side project.[23] A cassette tape of this exists called Reminders of the Soul, with the first side being live tracks performed at the WOW Hall and the second side being studio demos. About 50 copies of the cassette tape were handed out according to Keith Brown, and around a dozen shows played in the Eugene area. At the time of this collaboration, Keith Brown was a part of the band Threscher. Keith would eventually go on to play several shows with Floater as a guest performer, filling in on acoustic guitar, bass and vocals.
  • Drumattica - A tribal/dance electronic groove band featuring Robert Wynia and David Amador.[24]
  • Riverboat - Peter Cornett's solo project.[25]
  • Robert Wynia / Robert Wynia and The Sound - The spoken word and solo music of Rob Wynia.[26]

Floater in the Press[edit]

Here are some examples of Floater in the media:


  1. ^ a b Jarman, Casey (2008-03-26), "Stone By Stone, An Elder Statesman Of NW Moss-Rock Reps Hard, With Or Without You.", Willamette Week, archived from the original on 2009-11-21, retrieved 2009-06-29 
  2. ^ Snyder, Chad (2008-01-18), "Homegrown and Flourishing", Mail Tribune, retrieved 2009-06-29 
  3. ^ a b Live Wire Radio (2010-03-25), Episode 111, retrieved 2010-04-16 
  4. ^ Waterhouse (2009-07-22), 2009 Best of Portland Reader's Poll, p. Ben, archived from the original on 2010-07-17, retrieved 2010-07-25 
  5. ^ Brown (2010-07-21), 2010 Best of Portland Reader's Poll, p. Ruth, archived from the original on 2010-07-25, retrieved 2010-07-25 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Jarman, Casey (June 23, 2010), "The Band That Wouldn't Die", Willamette Week, p. 23, archived from the original on June 26, 2010, retrieved 2010-06-26 
  7. ^ Henry's Child MySpace page Archived 2008-11-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Sun, Sky, Stone". Floatermusic.net. Archived from the original on 5 January 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2018. 
  9. ^ a b c d Hagestedt, Andre (August 12–26, 1998), "Teenage Angst Has Paid Off Well", The Rocket (Portland ed.), p. 23 
  10. ^ "ELEMENTAL RECORDS - Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Myspace. Retrieved 25 May 2018. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Angels in the Flesh and Devils in the Bone", World Drum!, 2 (2), p. 2, June 1 – July 14, 1998 
  12. ^ a b Caraeff, Ezra Ace (June 24, 2010), "Superunknown, The Curious Case of Floater", The Portland Mercury, retrieved 2010-06-26 
  13. ^ Brady, Pete (2001-04-17), "Cult of Personality is Dead, The Mind and Music of Floater", Synthesis, retrieved 2009-06-29 [permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Behind the Glyph", Volcano Magazine, 1 (2), pp. 34–38, February 1996 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Bearns, Melissa (2004-09-30), "Floater Rising, Power Trio Matures, But Still Rocks.", Eugene Weekly, retrieved 2009-06-29 
  17. ^ "Floater - Official Website". Floater.com. Retrieved 25 May 2018. 
  18. ^ Behind The Scenes DVD documentary included with the Stone By Stone album, 2006
  19. ^ Exiled forum Archived 2009-01-03 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 6-29-2009
  20. ^ PDXposed Press, Ben (2009-04-11), "Floater" Rocks the Crystal Ballroom, retrieved 2010-06-26 
  21. ^ "It Takes the Thief: Floater Record Release". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2018-05-02. 
  22. ^ "Best Local Musician/Musical Group". Wweek.com. Retrieved 2018-07-11. 
  23. ^ Sentenced to Life MySpace page Archived 2008-11-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ "Drummatica". Drummatica. Archived from the original on 2006-04-02. Retrieved 2006-03-19. 
  25. ^ "Riverboat". RiverboatMusic.net. Archived from the original on 2006-05-15. Retrieved 2006-05-12. 
  26. ^ "Robert Wynia". RobertWynia.com. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 

External links[edit]