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Finn Wolfhard: No stranger to music

“Malcolm and I have a long way to go,” begins Finn Wolfhard.

While it might seem a bit odd for someone as young as Wolfhard to talk about “turning back the clock” with anyone, the 18-year-old child star is in a unique position to have a bit of a break. authority with that kind of language. . Thinking back to when he first met one of his best friends and closest collaborators, Malcolm Craig, the memories can easily seem to stretch back forever.

“We met making a music video for this amazing Chicago punk band called PUP,” Wolfhard continues. “After that we started playing music together… he was really the first guy I ever jammed with. Then we did this kind of day camp where you learn to be in a rock band, make music, and jam with people and stuff. It was great. ”The music video for PUP (and his first meeting with Craig) was back in 2014, when Wolfhard was just 12, two years before he became an international sensation for his lead role in Netflix. Strange things.

After this show kicked him into the limelight, the Vancouver-born actor and performer found himself with a full schedule. He had a starring role in Stephen King’s 2017 remake This, starred in a variety of other movies and TV shows, lent his voice to audiobooks and podcasts, and made a short film. In 2021 alone, he worked on the new ghost hunters, new Pinocchio, the new film by Jesse Eisenberg When you’re done saving the world, and more. Through it all, her friendship with Craig has been an invaluable outlet, especially creatively.

You see, although much of Wolfhard’s name recognition stems from his acting gigs, he’s done a good job of staying connected to his love of music. With Craig, he had a vehicle for these expressions, eventually getting the ultimate chance to capitalize on the momentum in 2017, when the two formed indie rock group Calpurnia with Ayla Tesler-Mabe and Jack Anderson.

“Malcolm and I met Ayla, who introduced us to Jack because they were friends from school,” says Wolfhard. “At first we were just going to do an EP in our basement for fun, but then this label heard us and signed us almost immediately. Basically they were like, ‘Okay, who do you want? make this record? ‘ It was amazing – Twin Peaks is my favorite band so we said ‘Twin Peaks’ and it all came together and happened. ”

Thinking back to how quickly Calpurnia fell together – and how fun it was working alongside her heroes in Chicago’s mainstay, Twin Peaks – the description Wolfhard conjured up was, “It was like a dream.” Although he has had a career that easily overshadows the accomplishments of people decades older than him, there is an admirable sense of conscience and humility in the way he talks about things. When an album or artist he admires is mentioned, he lights up with excitement, and when he reflects on how lucky he has been, there is a noticeable seriousness in support of his lyrics.

But Calpurnia was more than just a fun episode – as things started to progress and the project started to gain momentum, it quickly turned into a pretty important learning lesson.

“Life started to get really complicated,” Wolfhard said. “The tours got really tough because I was finishing filming on set at 3 or 4 in the morning, hopping on a plane, going into town and playing the show… but I would be exhausted, so I wouldn’t have too. a lot of fun as I wanted. We’re super privileged – the experience was truly amazing – but it started to take its toll. Eventually the pressure got too much and Wolfhard found himself too dispersed – after much deliberation, he made the difficult decision to disband Calpurnia.

“I’m glad I had the strength to tell myself ‘Yeah, that’s too much for me,'” said Wolfhard. “Otherwise, I think it could have ruined what I love about music. I wish I could tell some kind of crazy Oasis story or something, but the truth is we were just a bunch of teenagers in a bunch, I was kinda fed up and that’s it. ‘collapsed, so I called him quit. Not everyone was happy, obviously I would be pretty upset if I was in a touring band and one of the members quit. But you have to do what you want with your life and sometimes that means breaking up a group. I still love them all, however. I mean, I got to travel the world with my three best friends… it was amazing. I wouldn’t take anything away.

But just as Wolfhard’s life started to chill a bit in the post-Calpurnia period, the world changed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While a few months earlier, he longed for a break, he suddenly found himself with too much free time.

“In the first few months of the pandemic, I feel like I’ve gone through the equivalent of three years of growth,” Wolfhard said. “I spent a lot of time alone, which gave me the perfect excuse to start looking inside myself and asking the normal questions a lot of people my age ask. Existential questions, like “Why am I here? Then I had to think of things like, “Why do people love me?” Why am i I in this position? ‘ Until then, I had never had time to think about such things. Getting to finally dig this was really helpful – I wouldn’t say I was, like, a selfish guy before, but it certainly helped with my ego, making me a good person. I had time to find out who I am… what I still do.

This period, although born out of a turbulent one, ultimately ushered in a paradigm shift in Wolfhard’s life. Thinking about who he is and what he really cares about he started taking steps to start being more mindful of his schedule… and one of the first things he wanted to prioritize was something which he loved to do since before any fortune or fame: playing music with Craig.

“When Malcolm and I started playing together again, we were like ‘Oh, this is what it should be, ”he said. Removing any pressure or contractual obligation from making music, and simply making it a place where he could express himself and have fun with a friend, instantly brought Wolfhard back to the same joy he felt when he started out. play instruments. “That’s when Malcolm and I realized we just had to record everything and publish everything ourselves.”

It was the birth of Wolfhard and Craig’s new group, The Aubreys, which made their official debut last year.

Built on the principle of keeping things as tinkered with as possible, the freelance duo largely run business by texting ideas. “With most of the stuff, it would be like, I would send him a voice memo to see what he thought about it, then he would put some drums and stuff on it and do a full demo of it,” Wolfhard said. “Or Malcolm would come up with something – he’s amazing because he keeps all of his songs a secret.”

Here Wolfhard’s voice brightened again. “This is actually the thing I’m most proud of: Malcolm,” he said. “I’m over the moon proud of him. In Calpurnia he was lying down a bit and having fun as a drummer, but Malcolm is a real artist. It’s amazing to see. He writes songs that are so much more amazing and complex than anything I could have imagined. It’s so funny, though, because we were recording, trying to figure out what to do next, and asking Malcolm, “Do you have something? He said, “No, not really.” We’d say, ‘No, come on, you’re hiding something.’ Then he would open up his iTunes and play a song he was working on and we were like, “Holy shit, this is perfect! Why didn’t you show us this earlier? It was really fun.”

With this approach, Wolfhard, Craig and their team, consisting of R Andrew Humphreys and Cadien Lake James and Colin Croom of Twin Peaks, created Karaoke only, The first feature film of Aubreys, released on November 5. Written and recorded during the pandemic, Wolfhard feels like this might be his favorite thing he’s done to date.

“This is the first thing I wrote where I really wrote how I felt,” he explained. “I mean, to be honest with Calpurnia, I was 14 and I was like, ‘Oh man, that’s fun.’ The songs were fun, but they really didn’t mean anything. It’s the first thing where I write what I feel, which is more mature for me I guess. It’s not heavy lyrics or whatever. either, but I really mean them.

With songs that explore the trials and joys of youth – the loss of innocence, the dizzying impact of navigating a pandemic world while trying to become a person – the inventive independent arrangements and the memorable melodic lining Karaoke only make a truly awesome debut, dressed in dancing bops and moments of honest sincerity.

“The funny thing is now when I show this music to someone I’m sweaty,” Wolfhard said. “With the Calpurnia stuff, I was like ‘Look at this, this is cool.’ But with this record, if I show it to my friends or to my family, it’s really scary. It is completely different. I am really proud of it.

Between the lo-fi vibrancy of songs like “Blue” and the title track, and the ethereal soundscapes of tracks like “I Need To Leave The Theater” and “You’ll Have To Wait”, it’s clear that Wolfhard strives for a much deeper and deeper artistic level than one might expect. While on the surface the album is a lot of fun, it also carries a weight that makes it more than just a flash of superficial pleasure. Rather, it captures something deeper, something more revealing of who this modern cultural icon really is.

As we release this record to the world now, there is a healthy sense of relief and fulfillment in the air around Wolfhard. Finally managing to engage in music as he always wanted, he finally adapts his work schedule to his artistic impulses. And moving forward with Craig by his side, the future looks extremely bright.

“It’s really great to say that, but actually, I don’t really know what we’re going to do next,” he said when asked about his plans. “Right now I’m taking a few months’ break just to go out and be an adult for the first time. We don’t have a label that tells us what to do – we could do another single, another record, I really have no idea. What I do know is that we will continue to write songs. It was all really fun, so we’ll see what happens next.


Cooper Fox Pictures


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