Fusing everything from indie pop to art rock, Baton Rouge five-piece Wumbo will share its sounds with concertgoers over a few shows next week.
The band first performs Monday at 524 Studios, 524 N. Foster Drive, with New Orleans punk trio Gools and Ruckzuck, a touring group from Pennsylvania. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door.
Wumbo will also headline KLSU Radio’s Fundraiser Kickoff at Tin Roof Brewing, 1624 Wyoming St., on Saturday, March 10. The fundraiser party runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and also features food from Secret Lair Taqueria. Local artists will also display and sell their works during the event.
Simply put, Wumbo is not your average college rock band. The group produces intricate, original songs smothered in layers of lush soundscapes.
Vocalists Jake Heflin and Mitchell Mobley both contribute smooth, dreamy guitars, while former bassist Tanner Yeldell now adds extra synth and percussion to the mix.
The three musicians enlisted the help of drummer Kevin McCabe while he and Mobley studied at LSU’s School of Music. After McCabe joined, Wumbo was born.
“We played gigs around town through that next summer, and eventually (Yeldell) had to move away,” Mobley said. “There was a scary month or so where we did not have a solution, but we saw Zak Ocmand at a show and realized he would be perfect to play bass.”
With Ocmand on bass and Yeldell back in town willing to play other instruments, the band was able to explore new sonic territory and write more complex compositions.
“(Mobley) and I always wanted to expand to a five piece to add more to our sound, and we couldn’t be happier about the personnel we have,” Heflin said.
With two lead singers and a willingness to switch instruments live, Wumbo can "reach a wide range of sounds," McCabe said. “The sound of the band changes drastically from song to song.”
It’s difficult to describe Wumbo’s sound in a single word, and that’s largely by design. When asked, the group reverts to a mixed bag of genres, like “space indie-pop jazz rock.”
“We attempt to combine ambient, left-field sounds with fairly straightforward songwriting structures,” Heflin said. “We’re definitely a guitar-based band, but we try to use the instrument in less traditional ways.”
With an EP released in December and a full-length debut in the works, Wumbo hopes to bring its unconventional sounds and style to a wider audience.
“We talk about the record being a space country concept album, only half-joking,” Mobley said. “We also plan to tour this summer, which is slowly becoming more concrete as far as plans go.”
Despite its aspirations, the band remains loyal to the Baton Rouge scene and local fans.
“The scene is full of promise and good people,” Heflin said. “We’ve made so many great friends, and they’re all incredibly talented. I constantly find myself surrounded by helpful, friendly, talented and hungry people who deserve to be heard.”
“It's a great community,” Mobley added. “It feels like most people in it are supportive of each other and each other's art, and that’s a great thing.”
Wumbo with Ruckzuck and Gools
WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday
WHERE: 524 Studios, 524 N. Foster Drive, Baton Rouge
KLSU Fundraiser Kickoff Party
featuring performances from Wumbo, RiaRosa and Waste Man
WHEN: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 10
WHERE: Tin Roof Brewing Co., 1624 Wyoming St, Baton Rouge