Arts and Culture Music Wheaton

Phazed and Confused: An Exclusive Wheaton Woodstock Interview  

How about Wheaton Woodstock, huh? Wasn’t that just a flurry of good vibes and excitement? If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Wow! Those music people are just the coolest! I wonder what they’re like off the stage?” Then look no further. I had the lovely opportunity of getting to know four of the wicked bands that graced our ears with their sounds. Here is one of those interviews, but be sure to check out the audio recordings as well. Those are really something else!

This interview features Walker on piano, Adrian on bass, Thomas on drums, Charlotte on mallets and auxiliary, and Andrew on trumpets. Missing are members Gardy (guitar) and Ben (on piano). 

Venus Anani: So, pretty obligatory opening question: How’s the preparation for Woodstock going?

Thomas: I mean, I think our preparation is a little bit different than other bands for Woodstock because we’re a more, like, official school band, so we’ve been playing together, some of us, for multiple years, and this crew, the whole year.

Walker: And we have, like, set faculty-led time, every Friday, at least. Along with this block that we, like, have always been rehearsing with.

Andrew: And, a lot of the music we’ve been playing, we’ve been playing the whole year, so it’’s not–we haven’t just been preparing the last month, it’s been like, it’s been a whole year of weekly rehearsals.

Adrian: There’s nothing, like, totallyyy new for Woodstock. Yeah.

VA: Nothing totally new for Woodstock…So, you said that you guys have been–some of you, at least, have been rehearsing together for a few years, so–

AN: Thomas, Walker, and I all joined at the same time, and Adrian, this was the year before that.

A: I’ve been playing with the combo since Freshman year, so.

W: So has Gardy and, basically, Ben. They’re not here, but…

Band Members: [overlapping conversation and laughing] Ben only joined–He joined this year, but he was in the jazz band, he knew the music.

AN: [half-jokingly] Ben was at more performances than some of our members!

W: Exactly! But he came to the Mockingbird show…

T: That’s right! That’s so funny. That’s so weird to think about cause he wasn’t, like, playing there.

W: He was just talking to the audience, yeah.

AN: Honestly, it felt like he was in the band.

W: That’s what I’m saying…

AN: There were times when I would, like, ask Ben about the combo and then be like, oh crap, you’re not actually…!

W: Exactly.

AN: But now he is, so it’s okay!

VA: OK, so this is really just, like, a ‘get to know you’ interview, so I would love to know what your musical histories were in the past, growing up…if you had, like, parents that really were champions of playing music all around the house, or, kind of, I don’t know, I guess forcing you into school band is less of a fond memory, but maybe it could be, so…

AN: Well, my whole family is very musical, my sisters were doing, like, classical music lessons when I was a wee child, but then I started playing trumpet when I got into like, when I came of age in the elementary school, like, public school system, and then I did private lessons basically right away. And then it’s just been private lessons and now music major ever since then. So, I compose music, and I’ve mainly done Jazz, so.

A: I started playing bass kind of on a whim in eighth grade because there was a, like silent auction thing at my synagogue for charity, and, uh, they had bass lessons with, I think, a bassist for like a local Irish rock band, and I still haven’t gotten those lessons, by the way! I won them, I still haven’t gotten them! My dad…lost his phone number, I think!

Charlotte: [jokingly] That’s what they all say–

A: But, um, they were like “Well, if you’re getting lessons with this guy who’s, like, fa–lowkey famous, you should actually know the instrument beforehand” so I started taking private lessons, borrowed a bass from a family friend, and got really into it– [laughing] and then, I did some pop and rock stuff, stuff like that, I did that through the music store that I was taking lessons in, and then sophomore year of high school, I joined the high school jazz band, and I have been playing jazz ever since.

AN: Crazy way to start playing.

W: I know, right, yeah.

VA: Hope you get those [Irish rock band] lessons soon.

T: Um…yeah, my family, and extended family, very musical, so I’ve grown up with it…for my whole life. I started playing drums–like, I’ve played drums for basically all 20 years of my life, and then, 8th grade as well, I picked up bass for the first time and I’ve added instruments, um, basically every year since, um…all the stuff I bring to this crew is based in my own…more jam-band centric tastes rather than jazz, but, there’s some cross over there.  

C: Um, my family is pretty musical, my dad has a drummer for-EVER, and he actually, um, sophomore year of college, he dropped out to tour with his band across the country, it was really amazing, and I have a lot of wisdom from him in that way, and I followed in his footsteps, um–not by dropping out of college–

T: [jokingly] Not yet.

C: Um, but I’ve toured with Drum Corps International for two seasons with the Spartans, so I have a very big marching background. I’m kind of new to this whole jazz thing, um, and hopefully–I feel like I’m contributing something a little new, at least a little texture, um, but yeah.

W: She is.

C: Thank you, Walker.

W: Um, my mother played the piccolo in the coast guard band, um, but other than that, that’s all the music in the family, I would say…

VA: That’s where it ends?

W: Yeah, that’s where it ends…I’ve been playing in, like, jazz bands and regular school bands all this time, and that’s just kind of where I found my love for it and was like…

AN: Why didn’t you bring that up in senior sem today? We were talking about military bands!

W: I know! But it’s a coast guard band–

AN: I literally talked about the Coast Guard specifically! 


W: Well, yeah, other than that, I didn’t take a lesson until college, which, I wish I took a lesson sooner after taking a lesson in college, um, but yeah, now I’m here, and I’m gonna graduate.

VA: Good luck with that. 

W: Yeah! We’re both gonna graduate [referring to Adrian]!

VA: How many are–you both are seniors? Is it just you and–

AN: And Gardy–I’m not. I’m just doing it early [referring to senior sem]. I’m a junior.

VA: So what have been, um, your favorite performances so far? In the last six months? What has really stood out in the last six months?

T: To see or to play?

VA: Let’s go with both. Let’s go–to play, first.

A: Uh…Walker’s recital was very fun–

W: Yooooo! I mean, that’s gotta be mine.


A: I-I mean, I’m happy anytime I get an excuse to pull the upright out.

W: Yeah, right, right. Good excuse, sounds great.

A: I feel like it was cool that we had, like, similar jazz first–

W: You knew it so well, too!

AN: I–my favorite performance was probably the concert we did with Will Mason, um, because he stepped in to direct the jazz band for a little bit, and, oh, I guess that technically wasn’t us, that was The Jazz Band, although we did perform in that concert–

T: No, yeah, I think it was just any performance he did.

AN: Yeah, so I would pick that one, just cause for me it was a very eye-opening experience. And working with him is always amazing…and then, favorite concert I’ve been to, um, so I recently went to my FIRST EVER pop music concert…

VA: How was that?

AN:…um, technically not first ever, but, first ever pop music experiential concert. So, I went to an AJR concert and my sister got us pit seats. Which is way different than the concerts I’m used to. I think the reason I really liked it was ‘cause as a band, they put a lot of emphasis on, like, the performance aspect vs just the music aspect, and their music is also very unique compared to a lot of other pop music, which is why I like it ‘cause I usually don’t like other pop music, and the construction of it is very interesting, too.

A: In terms of favorite I’ve seen here recently–we all, like, as a band, went to Will Mason’s live recording–

[Lots of “sick!” “so cool!”]

VA: Could you guys talk a little bit more about Will Mason? You said it was an eye-opening experience. What got revealed?

You can learn all about Will Mason, Phazed and Confused, and three other amazing bands through the attached audio recordings on Give them a listen – I’m sure you won’t regret it!