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!