For this month’s Stay Tuned, we chatted with a band from GANGGANG’s Next Up Fellowship. The fellowship is intended to provide Indianapolis-based artists with access to professional development opportunities. One of the fellowships participants, alt-rock trio Wife Patrol, made a playlist for PATTERN. We sat down with them to discuss fresh new music to know.
Wife Patrol is an alternative rock band consisting of Nicole O’Neal (bass/vocals), Natasha O’Neill (drums/vocals) and Greg O’Neill (guitar/vocals). In 2020 they released their first full-length album, Too Prickly For This World, and are currently working on their second album. The playlist they curated includes picks from each band member, which makes it refreshing in its diversity. The mix includes local artists like We Are Tribe Soul, who are another group in the Next Up Fellowship, Airport People, and Joy Caroline Mills. Listen to the playlist and check out the interview to get to know Wife Patrol.
Tell me about your music background, but as a whole rather than individually.
Nicole: We met through a mutual friend and we just kept hanging out and music always came up. We always ended up talking about music somehow. We talked about a lot of Devo, talked about a lot of Prince. We talked about a lot of grunge bands. We just always ended up on that topic. I played bass before, but I had stopped playing for a while because I just hadn’t had the time and I was wanting to pick it back up again. I had found a new bass and bought it. We all have the same last name. So the joke was, “Let’s start a family band.” We were like “Okay, let’s go practice!” It was meant to be a let’s hang out for fun and just see what happens thing. It ended up being really really fun. We all locked in together really well. We played Psycho Killer and White Stripes. It was just really fun. Here we are years later still playing together.
Where did you guys get the name Wife Patrol?
Natasha: There’s no incredible story behind it, other than just simply brainstorming some names. Being a very marketing and communications conscious band, we were sure to do our due diligence googling to see if it was a unique name and something that allowed people to find us. We ran through a couple options that were a play on the shared last name. Yeah, just landed on Wife Patrol and been Wife Patrol ever since. We love hearing others’ interpretation of the name, however simple or embellished that may be. It’s a great conversation starter.
Let’s talk about the mix you curated. What’s the mood? What should we be doing while listening?
Greg: The mood is eclecticism. We are a very democratic band, so we each chose four songs. It is appropriately all over the place. We tried to adhere to the local thing, that first song is from the Lamp Records Comp that I saw at Indy CD one day; I didn’t even know it was coming out. It’s cool to think of the through-line of music in the city. Indianapolis doesn’t have much of a musical style, like maybe Detroit or Seattle or whatever, but there is like… a coherence to it. As far as what people do during it– I think typically I’m usually doing the dishes when I listen to Spotify, or vacuuming.
Nicole: If they’re like me and listen to Spotify while they’re at work, I would hope they’d turn it on and be like, “Oh yeah, I could work to this,” and maybe every now and then perk their head up, like, “What’s that?”
Greg: Ideally, though, they would put on really massive headphones with a blindfold and easy chair and focus really intently on the hours we spent sequencing and the secret messages. (Laughs)
What artists, in Indiana and beyond, are you excited about right now?
Nicole: I love 81355. Their album was awesome. I love the Radar Gold albums that came out in 2020. I still like to listen to it on the regular.
Greg: I think being in the fellowship, I got to listen to some of that music a little bit more than I had. We had played with Tribe Soul a few years ago, but we found this song (“I Dream”) that we put on the playlist actually, I was like “Man this is so good.” I’ve probably listened to that song alone like twelve times now just in the last couple of weeks.
Natasha: Yeah, it’s so good. One of my local picks is Airport People. I just love their music. Since Covid appeared I definitely started getting more interested in ambient music. Like Mary Latimore, the harpist, and then before that I loved the experimental R&B of Oreo Jones’s Michael Raintree album that he put out that was phenomenal. I don’t know how I found Airport People. Maybe it was through Indy’s Black Bandcamp which was something Nicole led. It was putting together a list of Black Indianapolis artists who you could support who have music on Bandcamp. But yeah, I just love their music. We got to play a show with them last October, which was an incredible experience and a show with very good vibes and like no genre boundaries.
What music project are you particularly proud of?
Natasha: I would say it was a great feeling of accomplishment to put out a full-length record. Our record Too Prickly For This World came out on Nicole’s birthday in 2020. We’ve been working on it for many years and really labored over the recording process. We probably spent– not full-time, but on and off– eight to nine months recording and then doing overdubs and mixing additional work to it. We were fortunate that we got a great deal of listenership, in Indianapolis, outside of Indianapolis, even around the world; which was so pleasantly surprising to have people enjoying this music that we worked on. It was mostly three people in a basement or an office, but then also bringing in friends like David Hazel, who was the producer on the album; it was a very DIY effort. Great to see it be out in the world and enjoyed.
What are you working on right now?
Greg: A second album. We’ve written throughout the pandemic. And we have at least 11 workable songs and like five definitely ready songs, fully written and arranged. Now we’re kind of asking ourselves will this second thing be done similar to the first one? We recorded with a friend who had very, very nice gear but it was a very informal home recording thing. Or do we try to get on label, or get it funded somehow? I guess the next thing is just figuring out what manifestation this new batch of songs will take.
Nicole: And learning how to play them. (Laughs) We did a lot of the demoing over a program called Soundtrap, that’s like an online-based audio working situation. A lot of it was done separately, like adding our tracks and stuff from separate homes. So now we’re dusting some of those songs off and learning how to actually play them together instead of I played this part on bass seven months ago, and I sang these vocals in the bathroom. Oh, I have to play and sing these together now. It doesn’t quite make as much sense as it did when I did it separately.
Greg: It’s a weird way to write but it’s been kind of interesting.
What are some of your interests outside of music?
Nicole: I have a dog. I talk about her all the time, so I’d say that’s definitely my interest. Her name is Nora Bones. I care of my dog, and I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks. I used to read a lot more books, but over the pandemic when libraries closed down I had started listening to audiobooks. I really got into it then.
Natasha: I guess I would mention an interest I have is that I like to garden. It’s almost time.
Greg: Yeah, I like to read.
What book are you reading?
Greg: It’s called Born in Blackness. It wound up being a little more academic than I thought it was going to be. It’s a history of the transition from medieval to the modern world through Africa. It’s a little denser, so kind of going slower.