Writer Michelle DeShon spoke with Ben Gfell and Aiden Matney from Bewarewolves, a local indie/alternative garage rock band, one of two groups scheduled to perform at Live @ Lock 4 on Aug. 18. This interview has been edited for length.
Michelle DeShon: How long have been making music together as a band?
Aiden Matney: I think it was fall of 2014. Yeah, it was the year after we graduated high school. We’ve actually had several groups previously, involving many of the same people. But Bewarewolves started in October, roughly. We weren’t entirely sure what we were doing at that point — we just kind of came up with a name.
Ben Gfell: Michael joined a few months after… he has hung out with us for years. We actually didn’t really play music with him until fairly recently. When we started back in middle school, he wasn’t really interested in… I mean, he was interested in music, but he wasn’t playing much. He’d come to our shows a lot. We hung out with him all the time. So eventually he joined up.
BG: Andrew Walsh, he goes to college in Michigan — he goes for music therapy, actually. So he’s been playing with us about as long as anybody has. Myself and my twin and Aiden and Andrew were in a band, like our first main band I guess. When he went off to college, it was evident that we couldn’t really practice with him. But it was definitely clear that we wanted to keep doing stuff when we could, so we’d jam and stuff. But this summer, specifically, he’s been helping us out a lot.
AM: We decided to list him as a summer member because we just want to keep having him come back, pretty much. It’s fun. And even when he’s out of town, we send him recordings; he sends us stuff he’s working on. So he’s distant, but he’s part of the group still.
MD: Describe a typical Bewarewolves show for me.
AM: (Laughing) Probably at a dingy bar or a basement somewhere. House shows and stuff. I mean obviously we play Annabell’s, uh, Stone Tavern just closed, that’s kind of where we set up most of the last year. I mean, we probably played there a few times a month. It’s really whatever. We have had some trouble finding exactly what, you know, genre and crowd we fit in with. So we kind of bounced around a little bit. We’re playing a couple new things that we’ve never [done], AdamFest out in Peninsula, things like that. And it’s just crowds that we’ve never experienced because we’re trying to find exactly where we fit.
BG: Recently, we’ve been playing with a few bands, it seems like. Like Shag, we’re getting closer to them, and we’re playing another show with them. We used to play whatever shows we could get, basically. And it would range from like, I don’t know, like hardcore emo stuff to like folk stuff, and we we’re just like somewhere in the middle — or not in the middle. (Laughing) We’ve been trying to find our spot. But I feel like more and more, kind of, we’re being placed with people who we actually fit with.
MD: What inspires you to make make music?
AM: We’re not a political band, but a lot of it comes with a political air, you know? Especially now. It’s something that’s easy to be passionate about. Whenever we’re writing, it just tends to come out.
BG: My dad has been a big influence. He builds and repairs instruments, so he’s always definitely encouraged music to be a part of our lives. I mean, he’s helped countless times as far as moving equipment and repairing equipment and stuff. I probably can say this for everybody in the band: Music has just been like something that we always really looked up to and looked up to people in that field.
AM: It’s almost like the music itself is the inspiration. We’re motivated to make music because music inspires us a lot. It’s also been part of the bond between the group. I mean, we have a group of friends who, most of them, we’ve known since middle school. And not all of them play music with us, but even among the ones who don’t, music has always been the bond. So we spend a lot of time going to concerts, and that just feeds into the music that we play. We go to these shows, we feel inspired by what we see and other people do, and that sort of fuels what we want to do.
MD: Tell me about the work that you are doing right now.
AM: So, part of our deal with recording is, well, we’ve struggled for a while. With past groups with these people, there have been actual studio recordings and stuff. But we, you know, it comes from the jam culture that drives us is that we really want to do it ourselves. So we are home recording our stuff. And we have in the past. We find that it gives us that extra creative control.
BG: Yeah, I would say we’ve had good and bad recording studio experiences. I think it’s hard to find somebody in that field who you really feel like gets what we’re trying to do. Like, they can record it well and everything, it just kind of like… in the mixing process, it doesn’t really come out the way that we feel that it should or like it does when we’re playing it live.
AM: And I think that’s important, too, because our live sound is what defines our recorded sound. I mean, I always think that we sound better live than recorded just because there’s an energy to it. And we’re trying to experiment to figure out how to make that come across in a recording accurately. Which is hard. (Laughing)Especially given that none of us, I mean, we’ve all been in music but none of us have been doing recordings and stuff. This is our first home recording, with this group. With Summit, the band we played with previously, there’s quite a few things recorded.
AM: But “Mystery Cult” will be the first album with this set of people.
MD: What do you think the future of this band holds, and what do you hope for the future?
BG: Well obviously I’d love — I think we’d all like — to keep going with it and just experimenting more and pushing our sound more. Obviously we’d like to be successful in the public eye, but I don’t think that will stop us from just keep playing shows and jamming.
AM: I mean, it’s one of these things where what I kind of look for, and the reason I like our live sound, is even if it’s not a big crowd, it’s the people who are there. They get it. They understand what we’re trying to get across, and that’s sort of what we feel when we go to shows. It’s just we want to share in that experience and create it for someone else.
MD: What are your hopes or expectations for the upcoming show at Lock 4?
AM: I’m pretty excited for it, just because it’s just a much different experience than what we normally do. In the past, we played a farmers market, we played a couple outdoor events, but for the most part, we’re playing in bars late at night or in people’s basements at 1 in the morning, which is fun, but it’s just not the same. Going to a Lock 3 event — or in this case, a Lock 4 event — it’s just a different energy, and we’re excited to see what we can do with that.
BG: I think it will be interesting just because it will be, not necessarily a different group of people, but there will certainly be people who, I don’t know, wouldn’t necessarily go to see us. So I think it will be some good exposure that’s good for everybody.
AM: People you wouldn’t normally find at Annabell’s at 1 in the morning. And I think that’s good. I mean, we did PorchRokr last year, and that was one of the best shows we’ve done. It was a lot of fun, just ‘cause it’s a different vibe, lots of new people, especially talking to them afterward. It’s a really interesting experience.
Ben Gfell: drums, backup vocals
Noah Gfell: lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Michael Brown Jr.: lead guitar, soloist
Andrew Walsh: bass, backup vocals
Aiden Matney: “bit of everything,” bass, guitar, synthesizer, auxiliary
Music by the Bewarewolves is available for free on Soundcloud at soundcloud.com/bwrwlvs. Follow them on social media to find out more about their upcoming EP, “Mystery Cult.”
(Featured photo of The Bewarewolves performing at The Hoe Garden courtesy of Chandler Mack from the Bewarewolves’ Facebook page)
Michelle DeShon is an aspiring journalist with an unhealthy obsession with antique cameras, french fries and vinyl records.