By Kate Benedetti
The student soul band Wolvski is an eclectic bunch: two sophomores and three juniors, with not a shared major between them.
Lead singer Brady Heyen is a sophomore philosophy major, and synth player Evan Estes is a sophomore advertising major. Bassist and drummer Joe Dresser is a junior cell biology major, and Jay Griffith, junior French major, plays guitar and synth. Griffith’s twin brother Rob is an English major who plays drums and bass for the band.
The group began playing together more than a year ago, when Estes’ freshman roommate Andrew Clark bought a couple of cheap keyboards and a drum pad. The two plus Heyen, who lived upstairs, began “playing around” with the instruments and performed on a friend’s online radio show, “Wyatt Keener’s Power Hour,” based out of a dorm room.
Eventually, the trio invited Dresser and Jay and Rob Griffith to team up with them for an Open Mic performance at Barefoots Joe.
“We really came together as a band whenever we wanted to play at an Open Mic,” Heyen said, adding, “the rest is history.”
Clark, who has since transferred, is no longer a member.
The band’s unusual name is a result of much time spent browsing “random Wikipedia pages,” Heyen said, looking for “words that we liked.” The group covered an index card with various possibilites but eventually settled on an altered spelling of the name of a professional hockey player, Wojtek Wolski.
Since joining forces, the group has completed six original songs and is working on recording an album. In addition to numerous Open Mic performances, demos, and their opening show for Knoxville band Yung Life on Sept. 15, Wolvski was featured in a video series by Barefoots Joe called Sound on Film, featuring live recordings of various musical artists hosted on campus.
The band credits 98.7 Lane College Radio, a station broadcast from the historically black college in Jackson, as their chief inspiration.
“[98.7 was] why we wanted to do soul music in the first place,” Heyen said. Motown music had been an influence, he said, while Dresser cited Stevie Wonder, but group members agreed they don’t have many modern influences.
“We just play what sounds happy,” Jay Griffith said.
Estes confessed many of the band’s early songs were inspired by “different [Brewer Dining Hall] workers.” Their later work has taken on a more fanciful twist, based on “things we have no idea about,” Dresser said.
The group listed songs about the Wild West, starship bandits, and building railroads while Heyen joked, “[We wrote about] having jobs — we don’t have jobs!”
Members of the band said they hope to continue playing together throughout college.
As for future endeavors, “I think we’re all hoping that it takes off,” Dresser said.
Estes added, “We don’t really talk about it that much, but of course it’s in the back of our minds.”
Find more online
See more of Wolvski at http://www.facebook.com/Wolvski and at http://twitter.com/wolvskimusic.