The Data Waves talks new EP, playing live shows again


Photo Courtesy of Mohul Varma

Aditya Kashyap from The Data Waves performs bass. The Data Waves are performing in Bloomington Sep. 3 and have an EP coming out this fall.

By Julia Youman, Staff Writer

On a hot June night in the back alleyway of Nola’s Rock Bar, the energy of the crowd for The Data Waves builds as the final chorus approaches. Aditya Kashyap of the band grabs his bass, steps up on the amplifier and begins to clap. In a matter of seconds, almost everyone in the crowd is clapping along as the drumming intensifies. Kashyap leaps off the amp signaling the crowd to mosh for the song’s final seconds. 

The Data Waves guitarist Sammy Gessesse said that though the band receives positive feedback from fans on social media, hearing that feedback live is much more meaningful. 

“Being able to look out in the middle of a song and look that one person in the eyes and see how much they’re enjoying that moment and then knowing that you’re providing that for someone, there’s nothing that compares to that experience,” Gessesse said.  

It was the first time in over a year that all the members of The Data Waves were in the same room playing music together. When the pandemic hit in March in 2020, they were forced to put a pause on live shows. 

“I think people were just so ready to get back into live music that the energy was unmatched,” Kashyap said. 

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While they couldn’t physically be in a room together, the band never stopped making music. In November they finished up and released their first album, “Revolution.” The shows they played this summer marked the first time they’ve been able to play that material live. It also marked the return of keyboardist Joey Parker, who briefly left the band, and the return of Gessesse, who moved to Chicago in 2019. 

“It was pretty sick,” drummer Shravan Raghuram said.  “Those were probably some of our most energetic shows of all time.”

All four members said they agree that the response to their new work has exceeded their expectations. While Raghuram said that every show they play has great energy, the Urbana scene always brings out the best dancing. 

In June, they did a series of outdoor shows at Nola’s in Urbana, just a couple miles away from where they all met at the University of Illinois. They did another show at The Safari Lounge in Rogers Park, which Raghuram said featured another “classic Aditya moment” where he lept into the crowd and got everyone to clap along and jump in unison. 

“The most important thing is that we get people dancing,” Parker said. “It’s all about getting people to move and keeping energy up and I think that has become the motto over time.”

After three years of playing house shows in different Urbana basements, the band has officially relocated to Chicago and are hitting the ground running. 

Though the band is moving back to live shows, they said they’re currently putting them on pause to focus on their new EP, which they made entirely without ever being in the same room together. In between graduation, grad school applications and moving, they sent voice memos and recorded pieces back and forth. And for the first time ever, they are featuring background vocals from Mick Hutchins, another former University student. 

Kashyap said that while it’s different from anything they’ve ever done, it’s one of his favorite pieces of work so far. He describes it as a studio R&B project with full instrumentation and synthesizers.  

“It sounds like the end of the summer on the hottest day of the year when the sun is just on your face, but you’re also just a little bit tired cause the heat kind of tires you out,” Kashyap said. “It’s very laid back, very low energy, but it’s still warm and it’s soulful.

Before they focus on finishing up the EP, they have one last scheduled show on September 3 in Bloomington, Illinois where people can hear songs from “Revolution” live and even be featured in their upcoming music video. 

As of right now, they don’t have any more shows on the schedule as they settle into the Chicago music scene and finish production of the EP with frequent collaborator Allen Xu. Raghuram was careful to emphasize that even though they are in Chicago, they aren’t done with Champaign-Urbana just yet and plan on coming back after releasing new work. 

Kashyap said they are looking forward  to picking up from where they left off. With their saxophonist, Kevin King taking a hiatus while in graduate school, they’ve been able to reintroduce Parker to the group. And with being in Chicago, Gessesse was able to jump back in as well.

“When college was happening, we would just jam endlessly, sometimes two to three hours on random nights and it’s times like those that I really missed,” Parker said. “Being able to play with these guys again, it gives me a really nice taste of those times and is just so much fun.”

The Data Waves’ show in downtown Bloomington will take place at Nightshop on Sep. 3 and will begin at 9 p.m. It will feature visuals by Trenton Perry and music from four other groups as well. Tickets are $10 and are limited to those who are 21+.   

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