Wolfman and the Airship Captain
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Wolfman and the Airship Captain

Columbus, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Columbus, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Psychedelic




"Local Limelight: Wolfman and the Airship Captain"

When they formed a band in 2010, the men of Wolfman and the Airship Captain added a theatrical layer to their live shows by dressing up in puffy shirts and leather. Frontman Gus Dieker even went by the stage name Constantine Xilver.

No longer.

“It was kind of a joke to start out with,” said Dieker, 23, who with the Columbus quintet will perform on Friday in Skully’s Music-Diner. “We’ve changed a lot.”

It is no surprise, then, that themes of growth — including the highs and lows of adulthood — reflected in the quintet’s recent EP, Models, now take center stage.

Dieker spoke about the group’s flight plan.

Q: What does your music sound like?

A: I guess a lot of it’s new-wave-y. They’re simple, melodic rock songs with guitar and keys. There’s something catchy and powerful, too, about them — emotions that we kind of emulate.

Q: What inspired the band’s name?

A: Jamie (Watson) came up with that; he’s one of the keyboard players. We all thought it was cool and fit our sound. It just matches the music and kind of the fantastical . . . exciting-sounding music.

And it evokes a duality, which is something that’s present in a lot of our stuff.

Q: How so?

A: Musically and lyrically, a lot of it’s about trying to find a balance between positive and negative forces. It can be anything — personal experience or introspection or possibly sometimes more metaphysical kind of vibes seep in.

Q: Beyond a changing lineup, what else has shifted?

A: I think it’s a little more focused now . . . the songs we write, whereas before they could be a little wilder or weirder. I just think now we have a better idea of what we’re doing and how to accomplish it. - The Columbus Dispatch

"Review: Wolfman and the Airship Captain’s “Eat Fire” single"

The structure of local band Wolfman and the Airship Captain has been chaotic over the five-plus years since the band formed at Upper Arlington High School.
Between members leaving and returning and experimenting with diverse instrument ensembles, WMATAC has still managed to grow with each passing track. For example, the band’s current lineup traded having a bassist in order to implement two synthesizers.
With the 2015 offering of “Models,” the band’s latest EP that released this past May, the presence of two synths was not overbearing. It was a welcoming accompaniment that often progressed into one of guitarist Ted Langhorst’s elevating breakdowns.
On Friday at Skully’s Music-Diner WMATAC will debut one of their most ambitious singles yet: “Eat Fire.” The synth players, Colman Hickey and Jamie Watson, are prominently showcased, further straying away from the darker sounds heard on the band’s first project, “Wolf Baby.”
The four-minute journey begins with a psychedelic synth-led intro, which sets the stage for one of WMATAC’s boldest statements yet. It is not until vocalist Gus Dieker’s voice is first heard on “Eat Fire” that one can see the ensuing growth of the group.
The use of lo-fi vocals on the single compared to their previous work paints a much fuller sound. WMATAC also has a way with really building up the climaxes of their songs, but “Eat Fire’s” end may have been their most creative and powerful one yet.
WMATAC will also be releasing a B-side to go along with “Eat Fire’s” debut. “Cannibal,” a track that the band has held onto without an official release, delves into the mind of a psychotic flesh-eater backed by dreamy dueling synths.
“I’ll put you in the oven, put butter on your skin and I’ll eat you up,” Dieker calmly sings.
You can catch these songs live Friday at 9 p.m. at Skully’s. Admission is $5. - The Lantern

"Locals: Reality sets in for Wolfman & the Airship Captain"

When Wolfman & the Airship Captain first launched in late 2010, the group's concerts were often as fantastical as its imagination-stoking name.

Onstage, the band members tended to dress in outlandish outfits — red military jackets that looked like holdovers from a holiday production of “Babes in Toyland,” excessive leather, and the kind of puffy, pirate-style shirts that were the scorn of Jerry Seinfeld — and frontman Gus Dieker performed under a mystical stage name: Constantine Xilver.

“It was more escapist. [Constantine] was kind of a character, and I wore crazy rock star stuff … and lots of leather,” said Dieker, 23, who joined drummer Jack Lynch, 23, for a mid-September interview at a downtown coffee shop. “But we've been doing this so long it's become a part of me, and it doesn't feel escapist anymore. It's just a part of my life.”

As the band's stage presence has tamed — comparatively, anyway — its music has grown wilder, taking on increased complexity and character. So while early efforts sometimes sounded like by-the-numbers Strokes retreads (“Crystal Earth,” off the 2012 three-song teaser Wolf Baby), the music on Wolfman's new EP, Models, is far denser and more atmospheric, shifting from dreamy numbers like “Nobody Breathe” to comparatively urgent tunes like “Slave,” which builds on a shaggy guitar riff and electronics that mirror bursts of steam escaping pressure release valves.

Throughout, Dieker sings about living on the edge and growing anxiety, his claustrophobic words often running counter to gorgeous soundscapes that open up into airy vistas — a dichotomy the band purposefully built into its music, according to Lynch. “I want that all to come out in the music: happiness and sadness, pressure and laid back [vibes],” the drummer said. “Because that's the way it works in life; life is never just one thing.”

“It's trying to find balance in this storm of all these weird things that are going on,” Dieker said.

For the bandmates who perform Friday at Skate Naked as part of Worst Kept Secret Fest, this includes everything from the normal stressors associated with navigating one's early 20s — “Some of us were just finishing up school at that point, and friends were moving away. [Models] was a way of exploring those feelings,” Dieker said — to broader concerns over things like the lack of privacy in the digital era.

“[The EP] speaks to the general unease or paranoia people might feel but don't know how to express,” Lynch said. “It's such a new feeling, and people have never been so exposed.”

“We’re not thinking about where we're heading with some of these advancements,” Dieker continued. “I feel like we're just going along with it and building something we don't understand. I don't know. Maybe I’m just too paranoid.” - Columbus Alive

"Wolfman and the Airship Captain, crafting the pack from cinematics to sonics"

“Passing through the 4th year” sounds as if someone has just received the much sought-after delicacy of a college degree. Most of us don’t describe ourselves after such an achievement as being a bigger, better version of ourselves, yet essentially static in spirit. It’s typical to go through some growth or change.
Back in the summer of 2010, a young Wolfman and the Airship Captain might have agreed. The band members left for college a year later, spreading out across the country. Yet they all eventually ended up back at Ohio State, where all but one member are now seniors.
But the musicians involved have never lost the memory of a 2011 talent show performance that occurred toward the end of their time at Upper Arlington High School.
“I remember seeing (Wolfman and the Airship Captain) when I was in high school — we went to the same high school but I didn’t play with them in high school. Gus was all over the stage, he was running off the stage … everybody was panicking because they didn’t know what he was gonna do,” guitarist Ted Langhorst said.
“They actually cut my mic in that talent show,” vocalist Gus Dieker said. “(After being cut) I came through the back of the stage and jumped off of somebody’s little practice amp.”
“I love that s—,” he said, smiling.
Even while adding the higher education variable into the mix, there was never any halt in the band’s progression. In — and eventually beyond — Columbus, the Wolfman project has prevailed through a number of personnel shifts and academic obstacles.
“We’ve had people leave and come back like Jamie and Colman. We’ve had a few different bassists — now we have none,” Langhorst said.
At one point, the band’s keyboard players, Colman Hickey and Jamie Watson, went to New York for an internship and Chicago for schooling at DePaul University, respectively, but the band continued on with friends of old.
“Since we all went to Upper Arlington High School, I’d say way above 80 percent of our (mutual) friends are from UA. We don’t have many ‘from-college’ friends,” Dieker said.
Hickey and Watson’s absence gave the opportunity for another member to join.
“I joined while Jamie was gone, Colman left, Jamie came back,” Langhorst said. The current incarnation has been together since summer 2013.
The electro-psych punk collaborative is currently armed with two keyboard players, a guitarist, a drummer and a vocalist. In a world where such a format generally opts out of the human factor for a means of a less-argumentative, computerized source of sound, Wolfman’s catalog delivers the product of pure deliberation.
Everyone in the band has some sort of impact on the sound at whatever time, Dieker said.
While it’s tough to define “eras” for a band that has “been playing the same songs for a long time,” the shifts in musicians have still allowed for a surprisingly permanent style.
“There’s been (songs) that have gone through all four years (of the band) … they’re all different now, though,” Watson said.
As old material prospers and new material flourishes, there still isn’t necessarily a principal song/riff-writer in Wolfman. Every member delivers a personal flavor to the overall sound.
“Jamie comes up with the most intense, dark riffs (that) turn into our most intense songs,” Dieker said, laughing.
All the same, Watson is equally willing to stick on a rhythm to any of Hickey’s leads, which might be the factor that sets this Columbus band apart from the undying worship of interwoven guitars.
All Wolfman had to do was replace the utility of the lead guitar.
In terms of the dueling synthesizers, Dieker noted, “You can listen to the songs and tell who’s who … it’s very clear.”
In the beginning, Wolfman was just as much a visually glamorous endeavor as it was a musical act.
From the first outside-of-high-school performance at The Basement in the winter of 2011 to a Franklin County Veterans Memorial fundraiser show the following summer and beyond, the band originally opted into elegant costumes of leather, gold, makeup or all of the above.
Dieker said the band’s “look” has evolved with the sound and the way the music has morphed into what it is now.
“We just became more aware of where our strengths were,” Dieker said. “Some sort of self-awareness came about ‘cause we’ve been around for a while.”
Regardless, there’s definitely still a subtle fashion statement deployed from the band. At the recent Sept. 19 Donatos Basement show, half the band appeared in abnormally bright clothing: Lynch in a blue shirt/blue pants combination, Hickey in a simple-but-gnarly abstract shirt, and Dieker in a vibrant Hawaiian shirt.
As a pairing to the flash of the original Wolfman wardrobe, Gus Dieker used to be listed under the stage name Constantine Xilver.
“I still think that’s kinda funny, and if people wanna say that, it’s cool,” he said. “But I wanted to just stop doing that because I felt like our music was trying to be (more) honest … having a stage name is just some sort of falseness.”
But with that original stage name complex also came a “fantasy world” ideal toward the Wolfman style.
“Some of (the songs) are more story-based or character-based,” Dieker said.
For example, one of the band’s ballads titled “Cannibal” is about a protagonist who is “tortured” by the fact that he is a cannibal and can’t help but continue on through life as he always has.
Yet, even with the song’s concept being one of several in a fictional WMATAC universe, the reality-rooted listener should take at least one idea: “you always have a choice,” Dieker said.
While Dieker writes and performs most of the lyrics, the rest of the Wolves have interpreted the songs’ meanings individually and rarely talk about it, Langhorst said.
One Wolfman track, “Crystal Earth” features a lyrical progression in the hook of the song: “I want to be free like a movie star tryin’ to change the world / If he could.”
Upon the request for personal meanings, the non-Dieker members of the group grew silent in thought over the lyrics.
Eventually: “It feels a little dark, a little bit like these movie stars — or whatever artists — are trying to change the world, but they’re not,” Watson said. “Maybe you’re pretending you’re trying, but you’re not gonna do anything.”
During fall 2012, Wolfman and the Airship Captain released a three-track EP titled, “Wolf Baby.” Granted, the record does not completely feature the current cast, but the short run still represents the band’s fresh take on new-wave music styles, borrowing from modern Britpop and dance themes.
It’s been two years since that release and the Wolves have been taking their time on a debut full-length album.
“I think we’ve been working on (the record) over a year and a half… it’s certainly not rushed,” Langhorst said.
“Deadlines are a strange concept,” Dieker said.
Langhorst has a connection with a small recording studio called Guitar House Workshop on Chambers Road, which is where Wolfman’s upcoming album is being constructed.
The release is to be released “when it’s done.”
“We just want the songs to sound good in the end … we don’t wanna rush anything out,” Lynch said.
Beyond Wolfman and the Airship Captain, the band’s singer and a fourth-year in art and technology Gus Dieker has already made a feature-length film and plenty of experimental art.
“I’ve been going to very dark places with my art, but I’ve come to some sort of epiphany,” Dieker said. “And I think I’m gonna explain that with my new art.”
To explain a “dark place,” Dieker described a project of his where an ugly, abrasive Styrofoam head would basically spit up hair conditioner and suck it back up through a tube leading back to the mouth of its face, from which it would be spit up again and again continuously.
“It smelled really nice,” Dieker commented.
Dieker said his influence comes from the world we live in today. The influence is providing a template for a new film idea of which is “about being meta.”
“We’re just living in such a weird age, and such a weird time,” he said. “It’s this new world that we’re being born into that no one has been born into (before), where you are so exposed and your privacy is so obsolete.
“Everyone has so much information on you. It’s such a paranoid age to grow up in,” Dieker continued. “I think I’m coming up with something that’s really cool … So, just you wait for this thing that’s gonna happen next.”
Dieker confirmed that the aforementioned ideals seep into the music made by Wolfman, among which is one of the earliest songs created, “We Rob Banks.”
In terms of the Wolfman endeavor, Dieker said “Pay attention, ‘cause there’s a lot more to come … we got a lot of stuff you haven’t seen from us.”
“We’re becoming more ‘gecko,’” Dieker said, confusing his bandmates.
Becoming “gecko” — along with the oncoming feats of Wolfman and the Airship Captain — is Dieker’s secret plan for a new culture, for which he will only tease: “Just you wait.”
Wolfman and the Airship Captain will be performing at Worst Kept Secret Fest VI main stage at 10:05 p.m. on Oct. 11 at Dude Locker as well as RAW: Axis on Oct. 14 at Shadowbox Live. - The Lantern


Wolf Baby, September 4, 2012
Models, May 1, 2015
Eat Fire Single, January 15, 2016



Wolfman and the Airship Captain is a five-piece rock band from Columbus, Ohio. Currently consisting of Gus Dieker (vocals), Colman Hickey (keys), Ted Langhorst (guitar), Jack Lynch (drums), and Jamie Watson (keys), the band has been actively playing shows in and around the area since 2010. Highlights include: opening for Oberhofer, Man Man, Howler, Painted Palms, playing Comfest, and Worst Kept Secret Fests VI and VIII. In May 2015, the band released the self-produced 6-song EP, "Models." This January, they launched a new single, "Eat Fire" in conjunction with a headlining show at Skully's Music-Diner with locals The Receiver, Betsy Ross, and Blond. Their next scheduled show will be opening for Sunflower Bean at Rumba Cafe in April.

Band Members