By Keith Sharp
Roly Sandoval of Big Pacific always harboured aspirations of performing in a successful rock band. He had been a member in Calgary-based outfits like All The Rage In Paris (which dissolved when keyboardist Doug Johnson left to join Loverboy) and spent 20 years playing with local cover band TR3 . But it wasn’t until Sandoval moved to Nanaimo BC to work for the local Long & McQuade outlet that his fortunes took an upturn direction.
“As you can imagine, a lot of musicians come into our store so I started jamming with a couple of guys and that turned into Big Pacific,” enthused Sandoval from his Nanaimo residence as he and fellow members; Nick Dokter (drums), Wayne Veillet (bass) and John Hannah (keyboards) are celebrating the launch of the band’s second independently released album, `Welcome To The Party’.
Formed in 2015 with an alternative lineup which released the band’s first album, `Big Pacific 1’ Big Pacific settled on its current lineup with South African-born drummer, Dokter, (who spent time as a top session player at Pye Studios in London England) local Nanaimo bassist Veillet and keyboardist Hannah, whose credits include performing with touring bands for both Bryan Adams and Heart, all melding together as true veteran road warriors.
“You look at the local scene and it’s all about cover and tribute bands but we wanted to go In a different direction so we started performing our own music at local festivals,” explained Sandoval who admits that their five-year longevity has been spent mainly performing at venues on Vancouver Island.
Ten of the new album’s tracks are in the blues/RB rock vein with the album’s title number serving as the first single but Big Pacific also show their versatility with two bonus songs; “As We Go” and “Here To Yesterday” which present a more melodic texture. “We wanted a living room feel to those two songs,” Sandoval explained. “They were recorded live off the floor, we wanted to show another dimension of the band. This is what else we can do.”
Spawned in a blues hotbed of Vancouver, Big Pacific have so far been restricted to playing the likes of Nanaimo’s Summertime Blues Fest, Victoria Ribfest and the Port Alberni Salmon Fest as well as a number of local blues venues and the distribution of both albums has so far been restricted.
Yet Big Pacific is confident that once this current COVID-19 virus subsides, Sandoval, Dokter, Veillet and Hannah are set to spread the word across the country. “They say that patience is a virtue and yes, I have been patient all of these years but I got lucky,” he analyzed. “I am one of these guys who have been able to play music the entire time just for the fun of it. And that what makes this all worthwhile.”