It’s been 11 years since Gisto arrived in Nelson from London, Ontario.
He made the pilgrimage with Kangaroo (his band at the time) and since joined Wassabi Collective. But now Gisto has embraced a new chapter in his career, which has taken him to Jamaica and now to Vancouver.
“I can’t believe how time flies,” he told [Vurb] this week. “I always heard rumours of BC. It was this oasis you hear about somewhere beyond the mountains. I decided OK I’m going to go to BC.”
Even though Gisto has fallen into the world of reggae both as part of Wassabi Collective and in his own solo music, it wasn’t a genre he had always been involved in.
“It just sort of happened where I always loved reggae from when I listened to Bob Marley and Peter Tosh,” he said. “When I was playing with these different bands I was always learning these reggae songs.”
While on stage with Wassabi, Gisto was also performing on his own. He was playing with friends at what used to be The Wild Nectar (which is now Busaba).
“We would play there every Thursday and we were doing our own jazz thing,” he said. “We were jazz nerds so we were trying out all our new jam band style stuff, until one day when finally the reggae music was starting to seep into me more and more I said ‘why don’t we try a couple reggae songs next week?’”
The group had a decent following where the crowd would sit and listen, but when the group started to play reggae songs the dance floor would fill up.
“That was sort of the deciding moment when I was like maybe this is something I should focus on a little more,” said Gisto.
After The Wild Nectar closed the group became a strictly reggae band and began taking the stage at the former Reservoir.
“That was packed every week. It was an awesome night, but it became a bit over saturated to the point where instead of waking up where I was like ‘Yah! We’re playing music tonight!’ I was like ‘Oh no, we’re playing music tonight!” said Gisto.
The group was playing so often that they were lacking the time to put together new material, and they decided to take some time off, which paralleled the closure of the Reservoir.
Even though Gisto had taken the stage around town after the closure of Reservoir, he gained a lot of popularity for his annual Bob Marley birthday bash, which takes place tomorrow night at Spiritbar.
After the release of his first album, Gisto found himself travelling to Jamaica to further his reggae education.
“I had lots of Jamaican friends of mine and a mentor of mine John Godard – who died recently. He was a tall rasta man, he played drums for us as well. He was a huge influence on me to continue doing what I’m doing,” said Gisto.
Godard – who was also known as Biggie – was a tough critic because he had come from Jamaica and had been saturated in reggae music.
“He always said ‘you should go to Jamaica, Gisto,’” he said.
Since he first got on a plane to the birth place of reggae, Gisto has made some vital connections in the industry and had recorded new tracks including some that will soon be on a new album to be released in the spring.
But with 11 years in Nelson behind him, he’s decided to challenge himself and take on the music world of Vancouver.
“It’s time to bust out and for me to spread my wings,” said Gisto.
Wassabi Collective will still be touring together in March when they will be playing local high schools and middle schools.
Gisto said it is simply a new season for both him and the band.