By Kelsey Green
Many up and coming bands have called Athens home, bands like R.E.M and the B-52s. The members find each other, build up a sound, and then make their debut here. Athens’ newest progressive rock star, Honeywheel, is no different.
The members of Honeywheel are the University of Georgia’s own Jacob St. Amand, a 20-year-old economics major from Sandy Springs, Georgia, Blake Kole, a 20-year-old marketing major from Johns Creek, Georgia, Jake Pokalsky, a 20-year-old finance and management information system major from Atlanta, and Shaubam Kadam, a 20-year-old public relations and political science major from Johns Creek, Georgia.
St. Amand and Pokalsky have known each other since sixth grade, but it wasn’t until the Sigma Kappa formal last spring did they find future band mate Kadam. During some small talk, they discovered that Kadam and St. Amand both played guitar while Pokalsky played bass, and they would be living near one another starting that summer. Then the all too expected phrase, “we gotta jam,” was exclaimed by Kadam, and they did just that.
Then, a few jam sessions later, Kadam brought long-time friend and drummer, Kole, to play as well, and the group fell into place. “We had no intention of forming a band, but it happened so naturally” St. Amand said. So, in May 2015, the band Honeywheel was born.
Since then, the guys have been working on their music non-stop. Picking up gigs wherever they can, and, when they can’t, they go to Live Wire to help get their name and music out to the Athens community. At their first gig, Honeywheel had a crowd of 20 to 30 people, “which for a first gig is pretty incredible” said Kole.
When asked what inspired their music, a range of answers were received, from soul to pop and rap to bluegrass. “We see ourselves as a melting pot,” Kadam said. “The commonality in our music, [progressive rock] tastes helps us make a base layer for our music, and then our extreme tastes influence us and our unique individual style within our songs,” said Pokalsky.
New fans can find a taste of their original music through their newest demo, called “Desert,” on the official Honeywheel facebook page.
Hoping to minimize outside influences on their music that might come with a manager or studio manager, Honeywheel looks at the band as a start-up business and divides up the duties within the band. For example, Kadam follows through with his training from Grady and handles the band’s public relations affairs, St. Amand runs the financial side of the band, Pokalsky works to find gigs in and around the area, while Kole runs their social media sites.
The band even goes so far as to self-produce their own music. Through their side business, Ruth Street Productions, Honeywheel hopes to have an EP out sometime around February 2016. Right now, they are working on their fifth original song, and, when they aren’t playing gigs downtown or practicing, they are working on recording, not only their own material, but also helping other new bands as well. Honeywheel opens Ruth Street Productions to other Athens bands to come in to mix. “It’s a tough industry; not a lot of money is made off loyalties. So this is our way of trying to help other great bands to start recording,” Pokalsky said.
With aspirations of one day playing at the Georgia Theatre and hoping to be able to go on a tour before their senior year, Pokalsky explains that Honeywheel is willing to take it “as far as we can go,” but, as long as the fans come, they promise to stick it out. For now their hopes are to continue to draw crowds and have their fans leaving their show with a strong, positive emotional response.
For more information, visit the bands Facebook site and look forward to their new EP in 2016!
By Ashley Dozier
New Year resolutions always follow the same routine, every year we focus on getting slimmer (for about a month), changing our styles, and letting go of stressors. As 2016 rolls around, try breaking the cycle and finding a new perspective this year through the unique Art museums and studios that Athens have to offer. Immersing yourself in art and art culture is a great way to relive stress and expand your knowledge of new and classic artists, learn a bit of history, and get in touch with your creative side. Candace Ibori, a freshman, Biology major, from Asheville, North Carolina, says, “Art is important to me because it’s a constant reminder of the beauty of the human mind and the blend of cultures that surrounds us today.” Get to know some of the up and coming artist of this year; and who knows, you might even get inspired to become the next great artist of Athens yourself.
Here’s a list of five Art Museums and Studios around Athens to help you see and understand art in new, creative perspective for the New Year.
By Emma Korstanje
The Classic City has made a name for itself in the history of Georgia in many ways, the most obvious being that it is the home of the beloved University of Georgia. For many people, the knowledge of Athens ends somewhere between football and education related statistics.
This limited view of the city leaves out one of its main contributions. With a history dating back to the 1950s, focusing especially on the 1980s when two bands pulled the city to the forefront of the rock music scene, the Athens music scene is not one to be ignored.
With this history in mind, it is understandable to want to explore the live music scene in the New Year. By visiting any of the following five venues, from the well-known to the hidden gems, a curious listener will easily be able to discover new music and possibly even stumble across the next B-52s or R.E.M.
After finally settling on a location off of West Washington Street in 1991, the 40 Watt Club quickly made a name for itself in what could be referred to as Athens’ underground music scene. In the years since, the club has hosted a slew of local bands and emerging artists, as well as many highly popular artists such as Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, Run-DMC, Dierks Bentley and John Mayer, to name a few in a list of many. “It’s one of those hidden nooks of Athens that is such a unique wealth of life,” says Ruth Ann Traynelis, a freshman public health major from Atlanta, when asked about her experiences in the club. “I am so impressed by the wide variety of music that is shared there.” Regarding the music played, Traynelis is entirely correct as a night in the entirely general admission, standing room only venue could be spent listening to any of the multitudes of genres classifying music today. After basking in the dimly lit, mysterious atmosphere that radiates history, a music fan may just find themselves checking the venue’s website for the next upcoming event.
Located in a parking lot behind 40 Watt and off of West Clayton Street, the Caledonia Lounge is one of the most physically unique venues on this list. “It’s a shady steel shed with rowdy punk shows, and that’s about the best you can ask for in a college venue,” says Brian Chenard, a freshman English major from Cumming. Chenard’s remarks form a fairly good description as the venue has been serving a unique sound to eager listeners, due to its metallic-influenced architecture and outdoor space, since forming in 1999. While it does welcome many different genres, this particular venue focuses on emerging, alternative bands. The venue’s website keeps an up-to-date list of upcoming events and pricing for those ready to experience new music.
Lumpkin Street Station:
As one of the newer venues to join the Athens scene, Lumpkin Street Station is a great choice for the live music fans who are fairly familiar with the town and are desiring a new location to visit on Friday nights. After the owners of Ashley Street Station in Valdosta purchased the building, located just off of North Lumpkin Street and previously known as The Green Room, the space was reworked to resemble its southern Georgia predecessor. As it is technically a bar, all shows have a minimum attendance age of 21 years or older, although the main focus of the site is live music rather than bar-hopping. This particular venue advertises a wide variety of acts, ranging from rock ‘n’ roll to singer songwriter and everything in between. For a full listing of upcoming events, visit the Lumpkin Street Station Facebook page.
Flicker Theatre & Bar:
For those looking to experience more than just a night of music, the Flicker Theatre & Bar located off of West Washington Street is the place to visit. Described as a bar that “just has a really cool aesthetic,” by Bianca Shamim, a junior mass media arts major from Lilburn, this venue’s unique interior of warm tones and ever-changing art displays creates a friendly, artsy and cozy atmosphere. A visit to Flicker could be spent in either of the two halves of the building: the bar side more aimed at socialization or the theater-slash-stage side where they show local movies and more often, bands. This particular venue has also built a name for itself in other mediums, such as poetry readings, art shows, local variety acts and of course, its famed free popcorn. Due to this variety, it is helpful to check the event schedule found on the venue’s website before planning a night on the town.
As one of the biggest and most popular indoor venues in Athens, the Georgia Theatre is a regular in conversations regarding the live music scene. With a history dating back to 1889, when the building located on North Lumpkin Street was first built, the venue served many purposes ranging from the local YMCA to a furniture store. After being rebuilt in 2009 following a fire that completely destroyed the interior of the building, the venue was redecorated using a creative juxtaposition of modern accents and classic exposed brick that acts as a reminder of the building’s rich history. As a larger, more well-known venue in Athens, it has built a reputation of bringing larger acts to the Classic City. Of these, there have been a wide variety of acts such as indie band, Moon Taxi, country star, Kenny Chesney, and metal group GWAR. A full list of upcoming events as well as past performers is available on the venue’s website.
From artsy to punk-rock, small-town to Top 40 hits and everything in between, there is a venue for every listener. With just a bit of research and inclination towards adventure, finding new music to accompany the New Year can be an easy task.