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Wing & Tusk Wants To Show You A Story

 Alexandra Kelley Fox
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A lot can happen in one year. Since the members of Columbus band Wing & Tusk formed last May they’ve weathered the ups and downs of songwriting, performing, recording, filmmaking, and not wanting to kill each other.

“We all feel pretty lucky to have come as far as we have in a single year,” said Josh Rea, the band’s singer and guitarist. “It has been intensely interesting and stressful as all hell.”

The band, which includes Daniel Bennett on bass, Roseanne Claiborne on keys and vocals, Nat Hagey on guitar, Chris Manis on drums, and Sally Polk on violin, attributes part of their anxiety to being a close group of friends who had to get reacquainted as artists. “We’re working through the rough parts and still hang out with each other on a very frequent basis,” Josh said.

The band’s name symbolizes having equal parts of freedom (wing) and discipline (tusk) when approaching artistic endeavors.

Wing & Tusk will release its first album, “The Secret of Toadflax Tea,” later this summer. It’s a narrative folk soundtrack with a beginning, middle, and end designed to mimic the experience of watching a movie. Recorded at Ante Up Audio in Cleveland, Oranjudio on Summit Street, and in sound engineer Aaron Nierman’s attic, “The Secret of Toadflax Tea” follows the lives of two monks and a doctor on a European island during the Black Plague. It exposes the good and not-so-good traits of society, humanity, and the church, and in many ways relates to the state of the world today. “If you think of these characters as archetypes, you can see our story in theirs,” Josh said.

The band is creating an animated silent film to complement the album that will play on a backdrop during live performances. The movie will have the same run time as the album and will visually bring the story to life. Josh, who studied filmmaking at the New York Film Academy, began planning the film with Nat before they composed a single note of music or wrote a single lyric for the record.

Wing & Tusk experimented with several sounds and techniques when recording “The Secret of Toadflax Tea.” They tinkered with noises from Chris’ iPhone, ran vocal tracks through guitar amps, and used electromagnets on piano strings. They’re still deciding what will make the final cut on the record.

Looking ahead Wing & Tusk hopes to release more narrative albums and achieve world domination through touring. “We aren’t greedy or materialistic, but we’d like to make a decent living from making music so that we don’t have to do boring things like work,” Josh said.

Wing & Tusk will play at the Ravari Room on June 16 with Cap City Deluxe and Brundlefly and at Comfest on June 26 at the Offramp Stage. Visit WingAndTusk.com and myspace.com/wingandtusk for more information.

Alexandra Kelley does freelance writing, marketing, and public relations and can be reached at alexandra477.com.

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