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Q&A: Gus Dieker and Coleman Hickey talk everything Wolfman and the Airship Captain

Wolfman and the Airship Captain will play at The Spacebar on June 3. | Credit: Ada G. Matusiewicz

After several years in the Columbus music scene, local band Wolfman and the Airship Captain finds itself at both the climax and the end of its lifespan. For its closing statement, the band recently announced its album “The Deep Dark Mysteries of the Universe Left Unanswered,” and will play an album release show at The Spacebar this week.

Wolfman’s frontman Gus Dieker and synth player Coleman Hickey sat down with The Lantern to talk about graduating college, home recording and Facebook.

Wolfman and the Airship Captain will perform at The Spacebar at 2590 N. High St. on Saturday at 9 p.m.  

Q: Who is Wolfman and the Airship Captain?

CH: I’m a synth player; I play mostly bass parts and backing. We’ve also got a lead synth player named Jamie Watson; he’s got a microKorg and he does a bunch of cool stuff with that. Gus is our singer, he’s the frontman. Our guitar player’s name is Ted Langhorst –– he’s got some interesting blues background. And our drummer is Jack Lynch, and he’s really the rock of the band who keeps everything together.

Q: How would you describe your sound?

CH: We always refer to it as “electro-psych-punk.” People have described us as a rock band, and I feel like when people go to a show they don’t expect a rock band, but that’s what we are. I mean, in general terms. A lot of our friends listen to different types of music, and when they come and see us they’re like, “oh wow, this is really high energy.” Some people, when they go out, they want to chill and they don’t like to listen to it, but if you’re expecting a high energy sort of thing, then it’s more dynamic, I guess.

Q: Your Bandcamp page has albums going all the way back to 2012. How has Wolfman changed since then?

GD: We’ve definitely changed a lot, I think, from then to now. Style-wise, this last album is a lot different from anything before. I think we’re kind of maintaining that style that you’re talking about, while experimenting more with structure and some of the general emotions that are explored on the album. It’s a lot more dynamic than some of the other stuff, which was more angsty. It still has some of that, but there’s more contentedness.

Q: Your new album is called “The Deep Dark Mysteries Of The Universe Left Unanswered”. Did you have any unifying themes or ideas in mind when you were writing these songs?

GD: I think a lot of the inspiration came from last year. It was a pretty crazy year, and it had a lot of influence on a lot of these songs. Not just what was happening culturally, but there were also a lot of personal things that were happening. There were a lot of deaths in our lives too, and we graduated college recently, so we’re kind of figuring out our own paths, sort of. Going off of that, I guess these songs were kind of based around this anxiety from all those things, and also the pressure to have this optimism and to oppose that. I would say the album reflects that in a lot of the songwriting because you’re kind of forcing yourself to get yourself together, or to come up with something to these immediate problems. Structurally, in the songs, there’s a lot of endings that serve as epilogues, as opposed to the previous songs we’ve been working on which are more typical pop song structure. There’s not necessarily an ultimate conclusion, it just leaves more questions, which sort of relates to the title.

Q: What was the recording process like for this album?

GD: We recorded it ourselves in a bunch of different spots. We started out doing it at our original rehearsal space in Jack’s dad’s basement. We borrowed some microphones and equipment from some of our friends. We kind of sat on that for a little bit and then we did some more recordings at my house, and Coleman did some recordings at his house and then we mixed it at my house. We actually recorded “Models,” our album from 2014, in that house over there. I’ve noticed on Facebook, we’ve been using that since the beginning to promote ourselves and get ourselves out there and distribute music and tell people about shows, and we realized that now when you look at Facebook every single band has paid advertising because if you don’t it’s going to restrict the people who see your content to the people who actively go and seek it. We don’t expect to make money on (the album), but now we have to make money on it so that we can pay Facebook to distribute it. I know that Facebook can do what it wants, but we need to find other outlets to promote ourselves. We’ve never been interested in getting that big record deal –– we just want to create art, and we want people that can relate with the art to be able to find it. 

Q: What’s your favorite song off the album?

CH: I listen to them in my car to see how they sound, and just to kind of review them and make changes, and depending on how much road rage I have, my favorite changes. I really like “See If I Care” ––  I think that’s probably my favorite. It’s so relatable, there’s so much stuff I don’t care about.

Q: What does the future of the band look like?

GD: We’ve had brief conversations about maybe doing something under the Wolfman name, but something completely different. I’d say there’s like a 10 percent chance of that happening. But I don’t know, we’re all going to keep doing our own projects, so . . . I’m going to keep making music.

CH: I think what people want is, they want to do something new, something fresh. You have to be hungry for it, because there’s no sense forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do. I would say it’s like a hiatus. Technically we could always just get back together. I think we’re going to try and leave everything available for people to enjoy if they want to, but I think the live shows are definitely going to stop.

One comment

  1. “electro-psych-punk.”?

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