Finn Wolfhard on new band The Aubreys: “We wanted to mix the craziness of Flaming Lips with the earnestness of Wilco”
Finn Wolfhard’s new band The Aubreys have released their debut EP ‘Soda & Pie’ today (March 13), which the Stranger Things star has described as a mix of The Flaming Lips and Wilco.
Wolfhard has teamed up with his ex-Calpurnia bandmate and drummer Malcolm Craig for The Aubreys, and they debuted the project back in January with the track ‘Getting Better (otherwise)’.
Those who might be wondering about the origin of the EP’s title should probably check out the first 40 seconds of the Beastie Boys’ still-brilliant video for ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)’.
“We just thought it was a funny thing to call the EP, because we kinda wanted to do a callback to that video,” Wolfhard told NME about where ‘Soda & Pie’ came from. “It’s one of my favourite music videos and it’s something my dad would say a lot, so it’s kinda burned into my brain that it would be a funny title for an EP.”
As well as watching classic Beastie Boys videos, Wolfhard revealed that he and Craig listened to a lot of the New Zealand band The Clean during recording (“we loved how their songs were very bare bones, fun, easy to move to and gravitate towards”) while also naming Wilco and The Flaming Lips as influences. “We wanted to mix the craziness and catchiness of Flaming Lips with the earnestness of Wilco when we were writing,” he added.
Wolfhard and Craig worked on the record with Twin Peaks guitarist Cadien Lake James and producer R. Andrew Humphrey, both of whom co-produced Calpurnia’s ‘Scout’ EP.
“We didn’t go to the studio to record [the EP], we just recorded it in different houses around Vancouver,” Wolfhard explained. “We did our best to put it all together and then we’d send it to Andrew, who was in Chicago, and he would make it all sound amazing. He’s kind of the wizard of everything, and he played a few instruments on the EP.”
Wolfhard and Craig have been working on music together since the age of 11, with the pair most famously being a part of the short-lived band Calpurnia. Praising Craig as “an amazing musician”, Wolfhard said that their work together as The Aubreys has “been a long time coming”.
“This is the first time that we’ve collaborated on original songs together,” he continued. “With Calpurnia, it’s not like Malcolm didn’t have a say, but there were just more people so it was harder to do, and we’d have to answer to each other. Whereas with The Aubreys, all we were answering to was ourselves and one another.”
Wolfhard said that he and Craig are now “a little telepathic” with their musical understanding. “We know each other really well so we know our quirks, how we play the drums and what can be expected of each other, so it’s hard to overstep when it comes to things like that.”
Calpurnia announced their split back in November, and while Wolfhard says that the band was “one of the best things that’s ever happened to me”, he accepted that Calpurnia’s success happened too quickly.
“It was such an amazing thing, and such an amazing thing to learn on, too,” Wolfhard said. “I think the problem with Calpurnia is that it happened so fast, and there was no real stopping and seeing what was going on. We signed to a label right away, and then with the label deal you have all these commitments with touring and stuff.
“But first and foremost, I’m an actor and I’m doing a lot of different things, so it’s really hard for me to do these music commitments. The music part should be the fun part of my life. That’s why Calpurnia was hard and why we had to split up, because it became more like a chore than just playing music.”
The Aubreys have released ‘Soda & Pie’ through the Kobalt subsidiary AWAL, an approach that Wolfhard said enables the pair to work “DIY-style”. They’re now planning to record their debut album at the end of the year, with a release expected in 2021. Live shows are in the offing, too. “Not a full tour, but maybe opening for a bigger act and playing some festivals,” Wolfhard said. “Some one-offs, definitely.”
Asked how he’s planning to juggle his work with The Aubreys around his acting commitments — he’s currently filming Stranger Things season four, while he’s also starring in the forthcoming Ghostbusters reboot — Wolfhard acknowledged that his film and TV work does take precedence.
“[With acting], these are the stronger commitments in my life. But I care about music just as much as I care about acting, so it’s hard for me to say ‘no’ to some things,” he admitted.
“I’m learning to pick and choose what I should do, and what the best thing to do is — which is an incredible thing to have at 17 years old.”
Wolfhard also told NME about his personal surprise at Netflix’s first trailer for Stranger Things season four, which revealed that Jim Hopper was still alive and living as a prisoner in what appears to be Siberia.