Floater was formed in the summer of 1993 in Eugene, Oregon and for 24 years consisted of the three founding members, Robert Wynia (vocals, bass and guitar), David Amador (guitar) and Peter Cornett (drums, percussion, vocals, guitar, samples). Peter Cornett announced his departure from Floater on October 17, 2017. Mark Powers joined the band, taking over on the drums, percussion, live samples and backing vocals.
The musical seeds of Floater were planted when Robert Wynia met Andrew Smith at their mutual friend Rich Swanson's house in early 1992 and the two started talking about putting a band together. They were looking for band members when Peter Cornett responded to a musicians wanted ad, posted at a local Eugene music store by Robert Wynia. Soon after, Henry's Child was formed consisting of Robert Wynia on bass, Peter Cornett on drums, Andrew Smith on lead vocals, and newly added guitarist Ed Cole. During this time Henry's Child recorded a 4 song demo tape which was recorded at Rogers Recording Studio in Glenwood, OR that features this original lineup. Henry's Child never played any live shows during this time, but the band wrote music and rehearsed often at the warehouse Robert, Peter and Andrew worked at. Guitarist Ed Cole was replaced by new guitarist Andrew Dent shortly after the demo tape was recorded, and then Andrew Dent was replaced by guitarist Rich Clinton in March 1993, who alongside the original singer Andrew Smith, remains in Henry's Child today.
Peter left Henry's Child in April of 1993 and kept jamming with Robert for a few months, with Robert then also leaving Henry's Child a couple months later to focus on their new band called The Dog's, with their old Henry's Child guitarist Andrew Dent. They recorded a demo tape Seed on June 8, 1993 of early Floater material. Robert and Peter formed Floater in the late summer of 1993 after parting ways with Andrew Dent, and teaming up with guitarist David Amador after a heavy round of guitar auditions, completing the Floater lineup that existed from 1993-2017. In the early days, Floater played all around the Eugene area, starting with small parties and shows at surrounding venues like John Henry's and Max's. Playing anywhere and everywhere, Floater shows drew the crowds and they quickly moved from an opening band to headlining shows in a matter of months. During January of 1994, Floater recorded and released two demo tapes. The first demo tape, Stiff & Restless, was a four track tape recorded on January 1, 1994 at Pro-Arts Studio in Eugene, OR. Their second demo tape Sink also recorded in January of 1994, and contained nine tracks, the first four tracks being from the Stiff & Restless demo. Some tracks on the tape were later re-recorded and released on their 1995 album Glyph. On January 1, 1994 Floater also played their first show at the historic WOW Hall opening for Two Minutes Hate and Gashdig. Later in the show, Robert and Peter joined Two Minutes Hate onstage with members of Gashdig for a cover of The Revolting Cocks' "No Devotion" which was released on the Two Minutes Hate cassette EP a month later. The Sink demo tape caught the attention of independent label Elemental Records, owned at the time by founder Jonathan Boldt. Peter and Robert approached Jonathan at a local Jollymon show on February 4, 1994 and gave him a copy of their Sink demo tape. A few months later, he signed Floater and they got to work on their first album, Sink. On May 2, 1994, Floater won the local Battle of the Bands V competition at Swingers Nightclub in Springfield, OR, capturing the $1000 prize. This show was also professionally filmed in full, and broadcast on a local public access show Live Music Northwest, with only four of the nine tracks being shown.
Floater's first albumSink was recorded during the summer of 1994 beginning on June 26th. The first pressing of the CD featured 18 tracks, and the artwork on the CD was the sink photo from the Sink demo tape recorded earlier that year. 500 copies were initially pressed in September 1994 after a rush to mix it and get the album ready for CD release shows already scheduled. Then the album was partially remixed by Drew Canulette in late 1994 and released again with different disc artwork, and only 17 tracks. "Summoning (II)" was omitted from the track list on all later releases. There were also 500 cassettes made of Sink in early 1995, the only cassette release in Floater's official discography. The cassette lists only "Summoning" on it, unlike the CDs that list the song as "Summoning (I)". Floater began playing up and down the I-5 corridor between Washington and California as demand grew for the live shows. An Elemental Records compilation entitled "Northwest Post-Grunge" was released in November 1994 featuring "Godgun (Post Edit)", Floater's first compilation appearance of many to come. After Sink was released, Robert Wynia created his own record label, Typhon Records. This imprint was on all releases alongside Elemental Records (who was now distributing their albums and promoting the band) from Glyph through The Great Release, and then again from Acoustic Live at The WOW to date, and is both Floater's and Robert Wynia's current record label.
Their second album Glyph was released in October 1995. The first pressing was only 500 copies before there were some minor changes made and it was re-released in early 1996. Track 4, "Midnight Ride" replaced "Silt" on the previous version of Glyph, and a short intro to the song "Dead" was also added. The cover art was changed slightly, font and CD artwork as well. Two promotional compilation CDs were also released around this time, "N.A.I.L. Fall/Winter 95/96" compilation featuring "Thin Skin" and "Hits Rock New Sckoool Volume 1" compilation featuring "Kill the Girl". The band was routinely selling out the WOW Hall venue in Eugene with strings of shows, where they still play to this day, and it could arguably be said that it is their favorite venue. In late 1995 around the release of Glyph, Peter and Robert played some live shows as part of a side project with Keith Brown called Sentenced to Life. A cassette tape of this project exists, with the first side being live tracks recorded at the WOW Hall featuring both Robert and Peter, with the second side connsisting of studio demo tracks featuring Keith Brown playing all instruments and Robert providing the vocals on one track, Gabrielle. They also played in local jam and cover bands called Q and Horse around this time as well with rotating musicians of the Eugene scene. Floater released an early version of "American Theatric" on the compilation CD "Subject to Change" in early 1996, a shorter version without the intro or extended outro. The song "The Sad Ballad of Danny Boy" received some national airplay thanks to Stephen Woodward of Elemental Records, and was played on the now defunct syndicated Z-Rock radio station, garnering the band some nationwide recognition all across the US. They toured on this single throughout the US, going all the way to New York and playing CBGB for the final show of the tour in the fall of 1996, and making fans all across the way. Both Sink and Glyph earned the band preliminary Grammy nominations for the albums. They released a promotional CD single "Danny Boy plus three" that included three radio edit tracks from Glyph, and an unreleased outtake from the 1994 Sink recording sessions "Alcoholic", which was re-recorded and released 6 years later on the Burning Sosobra album. 1000 of these discs were pressed.
Floater released their third album Angels in the Flesh and Devils in the Bone in May of 1998 after months of delays and production issues. Another promotional CD, Angels in the Flesh... radio edits was released just prior to the records release, containing 4 radio edit tracks, and a couple added lyrics to the end of "Minister" that was not released on the record shortly after. Only 500 of these CDs were released. Angels in the Flesh & Devils in the Bone was later re-released in 2000 on Elemental Records and 2008 on Floater's own Typhon Records with different cover and CD artwork. The band had also relocated from Eugene to Portland, OR at this time, where there were more venues to play and by far more exposure than in Eugene. Floater had been courted by major labels, turning down a stalling offer from Capitol Records, and Zoo Records as well, but stayed with Elemental Records. The band and record label were about to go through some major changes.
In March of 1999, a Southern Oregon public access cable show called "Iron Mike Presents" recorded and broadcast a Floater performance in Medford from March 6, 1999. Later that year, Floater released their first live album The Great Release. As Floater began writing for their fourth album, Elemental Records was purchased by Aaron and Cassandra Thorpe (Banton) on September 9, 1999, and they moved the Elemental Records offices to the Portland area, where Floater had also changed management to Cassandra as well, having recently parted ways with manager Paula Vail. Released in September of 2000, Burning Sosobra featured a cover of The Doors' "Waiting for the Sun", as well as the re-recorded version of "Alcoholic". The CD was originally released as a digipak, and was later released in jewel case versions. Having moved to Portland, and the changing of label owners and management, it was a fresh start of sorts for the band. Floater began playing acoustic sets at some shows, and exploring new ground with their sound. Keith Brown (from Two Minutes Hate, Sentenced To Life, Threscher, TV:616 and Drumattica) would at times perform with the band, filling in on guitar or bass when Robert picked up a six string. It is not uncommon for Floater to play two nights back to back in the same town or venue, playing an acoustic show one night, electric the next, or even both in one night. Floater was featured in 2001 on a mainstream CD-ROM media disc "LAUNCH 46", in which a Floater video for "The Marriage of the Black Sheep" was included, as well as a short clip of Robert talking about the Portland music scene, and a short promo for Floater featuring Robert. By this time, Floater was playing much larger venues in Portland, Seattle, and ventured to Northern California quite often. They would trek as far south as San Diego, east to Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico, Montana, Colorado and Utah. With a great fan base in Chico, CA, The Brick Works also became a favorite stop for the guys. In 2001, Elemental Records released a second live Floater album, Live at The Aladdin, recorded December 31, 2000 / January 1, 2001 at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, OR, with only 2000 copies being pressed. The label chose the CD track list and designed the album's artwork.
2002 saw the June release of Floater's fifth album, Alter. The album was mixed in only 3 days and released due to time constraints, but a "director's cut" of the album was mixed after the album's release, and may eventually see the light of day. Robert was also playing often in a side project band called Drumattica which released their first album "A Part of Something" in 2003, also featuring Keith Brown (TV:616), Eric Helzer (Wehrmacht), Brian Lehfeldt (Sweaty Nipples/Wehrmacht/Cryptic Slaughter) and additional vocals from Jen Folker (Black Dahlia). Floater was featured in another compilation, "Eclectic Eugene", featuring "Rocking Horse". Prior to Alter's release, Elemental Records created a label called Pantheon Records specifically for Floater, but after some legal issues with the label name, they were forced to drop the name and went back to Elemental Records. Alter and Burning Sosobra (first jewel case re-release) were both released on Pantheon Records in the short existence of the record label.
In August 2004, Floater released their sixth album, Acoustics, a mainly all acoustic album, with some additional players in the form of Rich Landar (King Black Acid) and Keith Brown. They also released Floater Lives later that year, a 2 CD re-release of their out of print live albums The Great Release and Live at The Aladdin, with three additional bonus tracks. Known for playing their new albums from beginning to end at the CD release shows, Floater started playing entire classic albums at select shows starting with Sink on December 31, 2005 at the McDonald Theater in Eugene, OR.
In October 2006, Floater released their seventh and final album under contract with Elemental Records, Stone by Stone. The first pressing of the album also included a bonus DVD "Behind the Scenes" which included some live footage and a brief history of the band, but concentrated mainly on the recording sessions of both Acoustics and Stone by Stone, with various live clips throughout. Later releases of the album were the CD only. This album saw Floater shy away from their normal sound of swirling guitars, driving bass lines, primal drums and heavy samples, and go for a more straight forward commercial rock sound with the hope of being signed by a major label. Some songs recorded during the Stone by Stone sessions were later released on the next album Wake. Peter Cornett also released a solo album under the name Riverboat, entitled "On the Lam" during this time. The album was written, recorded, performed, mixed and produced entirely by Peter. Floater also released their first official video for "In Transition" in 2007.
Floater released their third live album, Acoustic Live at The WOW, in 2008 on their Typhon Records label. Recorded over a two night acoustic stint at the WOW Hall in February 2008, it was also released as a digipak, keeping with the green theme of digipak releases. Bonus songs from those shows were also available for sale on Floater's website during its initial release. A couple cover songs, Elton John's "Rocket Man" and U2's "Seconds" were given to the Street Team members. Additional live electric tracks were available to the Street Team members around that same time, about a whole disc worth of live material. A second Drumattica CD was also released this same year entitled "Train Out of Time", also now featuring David Amador on guitar. Floater was featured in another promotional compilation CD "Promo Only Modern Rock Feb 08", with "An Apology".
June 2010 saw Floater's eighth and first completely self-financed album Wake released on their own Typhon Records imprint. Released in a digipak as well, Wake kept with the straight forward commercial rock theme as Stone by Stone as the band continued to try and get some major label support. This was Floater's last big tour before settling down to only local Northwest shows between Chico and Seattle.
In 2011, Robert Wynia released his first solo album Iron By Water, a stripped down approach far from Floater. Robert routinely played solo shows as Robert Wynia & The Sound with a revolving set of musicians, with Peter Cornett sitting in on drums for his solo shows on most stops, as well as Robert Wynia's Triptych Trio with Don Henson and Skip VonKuske. Robert released his first solo video for "Only You" in 2011. In 2012 Floater made their most recent compilation appearance on the "Rise & Shine" charity CD set put together by Burgerville Records, featuring their track "Wondering".
Following the end of the Wake tour in 2012, the band slowed it down and concentrated on taking care of things in their personal lives, and spending more time with their families while playing far less shows, primarily performing locally only in the Pacific Northwest. Floater took most of 2015 and 2016 off for personal reasons, while playing only a handful of shows. Robert Wynia finished writing and recording his second solo album Brave The Strange, which was released in April 2017. David Amador routinely joined Robert Wynia & The Sound on guitar, along with future Floater drummer Mark Powers, which allowed them to bring some of the harder Floater classics into the setlist while Robert toured to support his new release during the remainder of the year and into 2018. Robert also released two new solo videos for the tracks "Dark Water" and "Down Among the Thornbushes" in 2017.
It was announced in July of 2017 in the middle of Robert's solo tour, that Floater was to be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. Floater was officially inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame on October 14, 2017 at the Aladdin Theater, in Portland, OR and played a short three song set with Peter Cornett, which would be his last with the band. Three days later, Peter Cornett publicly announced his official departure from Floater. Mark Powers officially joined Floater following Peter's leave from the band, with his first official show being on December 31, 2017 at the Star Theater in Portland, OR. Following the OMHOF induction, the band now with Mark Powers on drums, went back into the studio to finish writing and recording the new album that had been put on the backburner for the last few years. Floater released their ninth studio album The Thief in May 2018, their first to feature Mark Powers on drums, and toured in support of the album through September 2018. The album was produced and mixed by Robert Wynia and was a return of sorts to a lot of the classic sound that put Floater on the map. Floater also released their second official video, for the track "Handcuffs" in 2018. Robert then headed overseas with his family in the summer of 2018, coming back for a few scheduled Floater shows in September. He then immediately returned to Europe and rejoined his family for the remainder of the 2018/19 school year, and performed some solo shows across the world from Iceland to Japan before returning home in May of 2019. Floater kicked off their 2019 return with a string of west coast shows starting May, and concluding the decade with a New Years Eve show in Portland to ring in 2020.
Throughout 2019, Drumattica mastermind Keith Brown started writing and recording new music that led to Robert Wynia, Mark Powers and Jen Folker contributing to a new Drumattica album scheduled for a release in 2020.
Of course there is always more to this Floater story to be told...