Born from the undercurrents of old-timey sounds, Hello Wheels brings a self-described "stomp-folk" sound to the Austin music scene that is equal parts classic and modern. A convergence of four songwriters, Hello Wheels' interpretation of the four-part harmonies that drove popular music in the '50s and '60s fits in just as well at Cactus Cafe as it does the Parish.
As a finalist in CultureMap's Last Band Standing competition, Hello Wheels will play the Last Band Standing Pre-ACL show at the Parish on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Before the show, CultureMap caught up with Nick Garza and Peter Schultz from the band to find out what drives Hello Wheels — and where stomp-folk gets its roots.
CultureMap: What sparked the four of you to venture down a relatively under-the-radar sub-genre of folk?
Hello Wheels: Hello Wheels began as the collaboration of four songwriters — we used our voices to sing the songs and our instruments to drive them. The stomping just came from fun and feeling. We named our sound "stomp-folk" because that's what it sounded like to us… Fortunately the name stuck and we've had the pleasure of making it something all our own.
CM: Who are your foundational influences — the pioneers that led you to this sound?
HW: As musicians, we have studied in the traditions of American old-time, jazz, rock 'n roll and classical music. As fans, we were shaped by the music of our parents and peers. But our most fundamental influences have been each other, and the unique voice we each bring to Hello Wheels.
CM: Any modern bands that play a role in the music you write?
HW: We have the pleasure of belonging to a great family of bands in Austin: Marmalakes, Whiskey Shivers, Shakey Graves and Wild Child. We’re both friends and fans.
CM: The four of you all write and sing. How does the Hello Wheels creative process work?
HW: Pretty democratically. We work together to help each other realize musical visions and curiosities. We explore what we want each song to achieve and collectively decide the best way to do it.
CM: If you hit a road block, who do you listen to/read for writing inspiration?
HW: We try all that we can to turn our obstacles into our strengths. We look to our lives for inspiration. Sometimes you can capture a moment in a song, sometimes you miss it.
CM: What's your favorite spot to play in Austin? And when you're not on stage, where do you venture to hear new tunes?
HW: The Parish has the best sound around, and the lights make you feel cooler than you are. Really, we'll go anywhere that promises good tunes and good people, but the Cactus Cafe, the White Horse and Mohawk are all hot spots. House shows are awesome on both sides of the coin.
CM: If you win the Last Band Standing competition, you'll get Artist badges to ACL. So, let's close this out High Fidelity style... What are your Top Five ACL bands for 2012?
HW: Wild Child. The Eastern Sea. Neil Young and Crazy Horse! Father John Misty. Andrew Bird. Jack White. Red Hot Chili Peppers. M Ward. The Black Keys. How many is that? Iggy and the Stooges.
You can catch the stomp-folk sounds of Hello Wheels at CultureMap’s Last Band Standing show at the Parish on Wednesday, Oct. 10. The night will include sets by Hello Wheels, The Bare Feat and Marmalakes, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians).
During the show, the winner of CultureMap’s first ever Last Band Standing Competition (voted on by our readers) will be announced. Voting is open through midnight on Oct. 2.