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 guitars), David Amador (guitars) and Peter Cornett (drums, percussion, vocals, guitars and samples). Peter Cornett announced his departure from Floater on October 17, 2017. Mark Powers joined the band, taking over on the drums, percussion, samples and vocals.
Robert Wynia met drummer Peter Cornett in 1992, and they co-founded a band called Henry's Child with singer Andrew Smith, and guitarists Andrew Dent, Ed Cole and Rich Clinton. During this time no official Henry's Child material was recorded for a studio release, but there is an early 1993 four song demo tape that exists featuring Robert, Peter, Ed Cole and Andrew Smith.
Peter left Henry's Child in the spring of 1993, with Robert leaving a couple months later, and together they started another band called The Dog's with their old Henry's Child guitarist Andrew Dent. They formed Floater in the summer of 1993 after parting ways with Andrew, and teaming up with guitarist David Amador. In the early days, Floater played all around the Eugene/Springfield area, starting with small 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 released two demo tapes. The first demo tape, Stiff & Restless, was a four track tape recorded January 15 and 16, at Pro-Arts Studio in Eugene, OR. The second demo tape Sink also recorded in late January of 1994, contained nine tracks, the first four tracks being from the Stiff & Restless demo. Some tracks on the tape were later recorded and released on their 1995 album Glyph. 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 Eugene show on February 4, 1994 and gave him a copy of their demo tape. Shortly after 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.
Sink was recorded during the summer of 1994 beginning on June 26, and the first pressing of the CD featured 18 tracks, 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 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 only 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 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" featuring "Kill the Girl". The band routinely sold out the WOW Hall venue in Eugene with a string of shows, where they still play to this day, it could arguably be said 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 in Eugene featuring both Robert and Peter, the second side studio tracks featuring Keith Brown playing all instruments and Robert providing the vocals on one track, Gabrielle. They also played in a local jam cover band called Q around this time as well. 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 throughout the US, going all the way to New York and playing CBGB's 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. 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 on Elemental Records and Floater's own Typhon Records with different cover artwork 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 their fourth album, Elemental Records was purchased by Aaron and Cassandra Thorpe (Banton) on September 9, 1999, and moved offices to the Portland area, where Floater had also changed management 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 vocals, 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 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 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 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 restraints, 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, Eric Helzer, Brian Lehfeldt and additional vocals from Jen Folker. Floater was featured in another compilation, "Eclectic Eugene", featuring "Rocking Horse". Prior to Alter's release, Elemental created Pantheon Records specifically for Floater, but after some legal issues with the label name, dropped the name and they went back to Elemental Records. Alter and Burning Sosobra (first jewel case re-release) were released on Pantheon Records in the short existence of the record label name.
In August 2004, Floater released their sixth album, Acoustics, a mainly all acoustic album, with some additional players in the form of Rich Landar and Keith Brown. They also released Floater Lives later that year, a 2 CD re-release of their now 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 had also started playing entire 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 with Elemental Records, Stone by Stone. The first pressing 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. Later releases 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. Some songs recorded during the Stone by Stone sessions were later released on the next album Wake. Drummer Peter Cornett also released a solo album under the name Riverboat, entitled "On the Lam" during this time, recorded, performed and produced entirely by Peter.
Floater released their third live album, Acoustic Live at The WOW, in 2008 on their Typhon Records label. Recorded over a two night stint at the WOW Hall in Eugene 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 from 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 self-financed album Wake released on their own Typhon Records imprint. Released in a digipak as well, it was also well received as Stone by Stone, keeping with the straight forward commercial rock theme as Stone by Stone. 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 Rob Wynia & The Sound with a revolving set of musicians, with Peter Cornett sitting in on drums for his solo shows on many stops, as well as Robert Wynia's Triptych Trio with Don Henson and Skip VonKuske. 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".
In the years following the end of the Wake tour, 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 less shows, primarily performing locally only in the 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 on April 21, 2017. David Amador routinely joined Robert Wynia & The Sound on guitar, along with future Floater drummer Mark Powers, bringing some Floater classics into the setlist while Robert toured to support his new release during the remainder of 2017.
It was announced in July of 2017 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 on May 18, 2018, their first to feature Mark Powers on drums. Floater is also touring the Pacific Northwest this summer and early fall with David Langenes filling in for David Amador on guitar. Following the Floater tour, Robert Wynia will be headed overseas with his family for the remainder of the 2018/19 school year and will perform some select solo shows with Mark Powers across the world from Iceland to Japan before returning home in the Spring/Summer of 2019.
Of course there is always more to this Floater story to be told...