Unless you're a serious heavy-metal fan, you've probably never heard of Yanic Bercier. But Bercier—former member of Quebecois prog/death-metal outfit Quo Vadis, among many others—is nonetheless one of the busiest guys on the local music scene.
A physics grad who designs nuclear medical scanners by day, Bercier has worked with a wide range of local and international outfits as a drummer, producer, engineer, and manager over the course of a nearly two-decade career in music. And on May 10, Bercier will showcase some of his projects and proteges when the Bijou Theatre hosts the WaveTransform Festival, an all-day, 11-band event featuring acts who have recorded at Bercier's local WaveTransform studio.
Bercier says the festival came about because several of the bands he was producing at WaveTransform were on the verge of releasing new material. "I thought, ‘What if we created an event and had one festival for all of the album releases?'" he says.
So where did Bercier come from? Born in Canada, he's actually been in Knoxville for 11 years, having moved here in the early '00s to take the aforementioned job in medical tech. His long career as a mover, shaker, and hotshit snare thrasher in the world of underground metal has earned him features in the likes of Modern Drummer magazine, his own entry in the online Encyclopaedia Metallum, and a handful of endorsements from drum manufacturers.
His studio skills were acquired through years of recording with his own bands. "We would go into the studio to record, and, as a scientist, I was very interested in the technical end of things," he says. "My background helped me understand mixing, engineering, all the technology involved in recording."
The WaveTransform Festival will be divided into two sessions—an afternoon performance featuring five bands from the lighter side of the musical spectrum (blues, Americana, and indie rock); and an evening show, featuring six heavy-rock and metal performers. The afternoon program beginning at 1:30 p.m. features Calvert Station, Runaway Sidecars, Joe Beeler, Exit 62, and Black Dog Hill.
The evening show at 7:15 p.m. features Across April Skies, Gone in April, Johnny Newman, Nuclear Symphony, Marchenbilder, and the Creatures in Secret. Of the aforementioned, Beeler, Runaway Sidecars, Nuclear Symphony and Across April Skies are all debuting new albums the day of the show.
Though Bercier works with a number of international artists, he says as much as 60 percent of his business comes from locals—Nuclear Symphony, Across April Skies and the Creatures in Secret are but three of the area metallions who have passed through WaveTransform.
The Saturday shows will be recorded for possible live and DVD releases. Advance tickets are available at knoxbijou.com.