Some musicians try to make it big by recreating the sounds of others. This band is leaving its mark with a sound that stings.
Wasp Factory creates music that is hard to define, so it forged its own genre called “clout punk” to fit its one-of-a-kind sound, Logan Kuhn, vocalist and bassist said.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, the band includes Kuhn, drummer Sam Gilton and guitarist Julia Jeffers, a fourth-year in computer and information science.
“We are the only clout punk band in the world. That’s our genre. It’s our claim to fame,” Kuhn said. “We sound like our own, so may as well make our own thing.”
Jeffers said the genre was born from the laid-back basement shows that gave the band its start and where the members engage their audience with loud, goofy antics.
“I feel like a certain part of that was trying to self-deprecate ourselves. So we called ourselves clout punk. Like, we’re obnoxious,” Jeffers said. “Being, like, really corny Tik Tok, Instagram influencers. Basically take all of the worst, cheesiest things we could imagine and apply them to ourselves.”
Kuhn said their music juxtaposes post-punk instrumentals with lyricism that celebrates unabashed idiocy. Sometimes it’s fun to just be dumb, he said.
“I did this for a really long time, too. I was like, ‘If you want to start a band, you have to have something important and interesting to say,’” Jeffers said. “It’s like, ‘No, what?’ Where are all the bands that have absolutely nothing to say?”
Their energizing and uncommon sound stems, in part, from a pedalboard Jeffers said she fashioned using an Ikea shelf and Velcro.
Kuhn said the pedalboard allows Jeffers to layer sound effects, taking up sonic space that is incorporated in the tracks as much as possible.
“We have three people. There’s only so much you can do with a guitar, bass and drums. How do I make this interesting and different and weird?” Jeffers said. “That’s a big part of how I play guitar, is that I crank a lot of effects on it. So I’ll do a bunch of distortion and guitar feedback and little weird things to make it terrifying and loud and sounding not very normal guitar-ish.”
Wasp Factory’s DIY quality has allowed the band to find community among other local DIY musicians. This support has helped propel the trio into a hot streak, Kuhn said.
“I feel like, especially in DIY, there’s levels of support,” Kuhn said. “And, you know, you can support all of your friends, but I feel like there’s a big difference between, like, ‘Hey, I really like your music. I’m going to come to a show,’ and, like, ‘Hey, I like your music enough that I’m gonna kind of stick my neck out for you and get you on one of my shows or recommend you to other people or get you on shows at another venue.’”
Kuhn said this networking, coupled with the band’s own efforts, has allowed the band to go from being the best in the lineup at mostly house venues to performing alongside bands they’ve looked up to.
“For a long time, it kind of felt like a big fish in a small pond, and then all of a sudden, a small fish in an ocean,” Kuhn said.
Despite becoming more successful in the Columbus music scene, Kuhn said Wasp Factory has stuck to its roots, striving for its shows to be a welcoming place for audiences.
“I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to be the cool guy or girl at our shows,” Kuhn said. “They can just, you know, be dumb with it. Get nutty.”
Wasp Factory will play Nov. 21 at Dirty Dungarees Laundromat and Bar at 2586 N. High St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, although a $5 donation is suggested.