Wax Wings

NARROW sits down with Wax Wings

By Valentina Sanchez

Wax Wings is a folk-rock band originated in Gainesville, Florida. They are the responsible for singles such as “Pioneer and the Boulder” and “Time the Bully.” I had the chance to learn more about the band, and its members; Brian Turk, Andrew Cook, John David Eriksen, Mike Dorsey and Chelsea Carnes; as they shared their experiences, milestones and even their favorite memories as a band, including a little Wax Wings offered “weirdness!”

VS: How was the band formed?

Chelsea: I started assembling musician friends for this project back in 2013. I had an idea for a project that would add complex orchestration to the fairly simple folk songs that I was writing at the time; I pictured a mini folk orchestra. Over the years, we developed a unique style together that drew on our various influences: my love for folk punk, classic country, and confessional poetry; John David's affinity for non-western music; Andrew's classical training; Brian's taste in classic anthemic rock n' roll and bluegrass; and Mike's eclectic indie pop sensibilities.

VS: Why the name Wax Wings?

Chelsea: It is a reference to the Icarus myth, hubris, a tragic hero who ignores good advice and meets his doom. I have since learned that the name is also associated with a silky-looking nomadic bird genus. Both allusions are fine with me.

Mike: Everyone loves a little alliteration

VS: How did "Pioneer & Boulder”come to life?

Chelsea: That song is about my mixed feelings in regards to setting down roots in a "college town." I use quotes because Gainesville means so much more than that to me, but I can't deny that the college-centered economy and youth culture here does lead to a lot of turnover and a transient vibe. So many of my friends have moved and it breaks my heart to see them go, but I'm also happy that I live where I do. I'm proud of my friends who have made bold steps to pursue their interests in other parts of the world, but I also recognize that there's something empowering and brave about staying- sticking around through the ups and downs of a relatively small scene, building community and staying with it and accountable to it through the good and the bad. "Pioneer & Boulder" touches on all these themes.

VS: What is your favorite memory as a band?

Chelsea: I like shows where we have a good excuse to get weird. We once played a Dolly Parton cover band benefit show for Gainesville Girls Rock Camp and all of us dressed up as Dolly and participated in a Dolly lookalike contest.

Brian: The very first time that Wax Wings played publicly in the living room of Fern Gully at Chelsea’s birthday party. It felt so magical for me to play on these beautiful original songs, and I remember thinking that playing them felt so natural and comfortable for me that I almost didn’t have to think at all about which chords to play even though we had only practiced a handful of times.

Mike: One time we showed up to a venue that did not have anything set up for us. We had to ask if they had a sound system and they were kind of unsure. "We might have something in that closet over there.." was about all we got. We ended up calling a venue down the road that let us borrow some mics and stands and such. It was all quite frustrating but hilarious at the same time.

 VS: What are some upcoming and future band projects?

Chelsea: We are currently recording a new song, "Good Man" at Supermoon Studio with Jacob Adams. We will be performing at Gamble Rogers Fest and the Florida Folk Festival in May. Also, all of us perform actively with other bands. You can find various ones of us performing with Uncle Mosie, Thin Skins, Palimony, Night Queen, Mourning Glories, and occasionally solo.

dave kosciolek