A few hours before up-and-coming indie-pop band Argonaut & Wasp headlined Redhawk Radio’s spring concert, incoming Music Director Michael Reimer and incoming Senior Editor Meg Matthias sat down with the band to talk about their musical influences, their new album, and the DIY scene in Brooklyn.
Michael (Redhawk Radio): So who’s in the band?
Trey: Myself, Chris [drums], Theo [keyboard], and Alec [bass]. It’s a four piece band.
Michael (RR): Who writes?
Trey: Theo and I write most of the music.
Meg (Redhawk Radio): How did you guys meet?
Trey: We met in school, actually, at the University of Vermont. Four years ago when Theo and I first met, sophomore year of college. So four years out.
Meg (RR): What were you guys studying then?
Trey: I was studying English.
Theo: And I was studying Anthropology.
Chris: I didn’t go to UV. I went to NYU. Music tech, so like recording/engineering.
Meg (RR): So when did the whole band get together?
Trey: Maybe a year and a half ago now?
Michael (RR): So who picked the name?
Trey: So Theo and I met in school and we were two friends who enjoyed listening to music and making music and messing around. We were making some stuff together and not taking it too seriously, then we started to get serious and make more serious stuff. And at that point, we needed a name, so, I was in a journalism class, and I was learning about this guy, Ambrose Bierce, I found out he wrote for one column called The Argonaut, and one column called The Wasp. So I just smashed ‘em together.
Michael (RR): At the time, was it just SoundCloud you went to first?
Michael (RR): Speaking of, is there an upcoming album?
Trey: Yeah, actually. So that first EP we were talking about doesn’t actually exist, our first EP online is actually called Future Protocol. That one was our first legit push as an entity. And then we followed up with another one called Ha! Fiction which we released in Summer—or late fall. And since then, we’ve been writing and tightening up our chops. And now we’re onto a full length record. We were going back and forth, thinking, do we do more singles? What’s the next step for us, you know? But then we decided [on a full-length album] literally 3 days ago.
Michael (RR): I was gonna say, it’s EPs and singles right now—
Trey: Yeah the most logical step is the full-length. We’re excited, I think it’s gonna give us a lot to work towards. We have most if not all of the songwriting done. That’s what we’ve been doing over the last five, six months.
Meg (RR): Do you usually come to college campuses like this?
Trey: We actually just came back from a show at Tulane [University] with T-Pain, there, so it’s funny, that was something else.
Theo: The college scene is cool, man.
Trey: People from all over the country, the world, all in one place. If you get something buzzing, everyone hears it.
Michael (RR): Musical influences, who do you guys listen to?
Trey: They span, man, between all of us, it’s quite drastic. But we all love the same stuff. I’d say, Bowie, Talking Heads, The Cars. Theo loves Bob Dylan,
Theo: I love Bob Dylan. [Laughs.]
Meg (RR): You guys get compared to Talking Heads a lot, do you like that comparison?
Theo: I don’t hate that comparison, I actually love that.
Chris: David Byrne is the fucking man.
Theo: He’s one of the coolest guys there is.
Chris: One of the dopest artists of all time, easily.
Theo: Kind of like what we’re doing right now, we’re shooting for the same thing. What we do is dance music. When people ask us what we do, we say dance music. Theo and I come from a rock background but I got into electronic production when I met Theo, so Theo was doing a lot more DJing before then, so we try to infuse some of that live energy.
Meg (RR):What’s the music scene like there [in New York]? Are you involved in Brooklyn?
Theo:Yeah we’re trying to do more smaller venues, in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We’ve been focusing on these bigger shows last year but I think it’s time now to just dive in and play small shows like every day.
Trey: Yeah when we started in the city, we were doing 85 [capacity] rooms, and throughout the year, we went from doing shows with 100 to 700 people. We’ve been making sure we’re playing bigger and bigger rooms. We’ll play a show, then a month and a half goes by and we’re just hyping up the next show because it’s bigger. But now we need to be playing [smaller]. The DIY scene in Brooklyn is pretty fun.
Michael (RR): I was gonna say your first EP, Future Protocol, sounds super house-y. Lots of house influence.
Theo: Yeah and then with Ha! Fiction it got like all over the place. And what we got coming out now, it’s gonna be a good combination of the two. I think people are gonna like this music.
Michael (RR): How much of your sound has been balancing what you want to make and what people want to hear?
Theo: That’s actually a really good question, I ask myself that every day. It’s always on my mind.
Trey: For me, I went through a phase. I need to really pay attention to what people want to hear. I haven’t been really writing anything but what I want to write.
Michael (RR): Truthfully, people say that’s the right way to go.
Meg (RR): How would you describe the sound you’re going for now?
Theo: A little more dancey overall.
Trey: Sexy. [All laugh.] What we’re doing is we’re cultivating a good-ass time.
Theo: Dance party. Lose your inhibitions.