The emerging Grand Rapids pop/rock band has a new management deal, a new album on the way and huge dreams. Check out the Local Spins video of an unreleased song. (Story, podcast, video)THE BAND: American WiFi
THE MUSIC: Pop, rock
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 7 p.m. Thursday at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids
For a young, up-and-coming pop/rock band, members of Grand Rapids’ American WiFi are nothing if not ambitious.
“Within the next two years, we’d like to be touring on some level. That’d be awesome,” lead singer Greyson Bos says. “We’d like to have (another) record or two out. Our five-year goal is selling out Van Andel Arena.”
After signing a recent management deal with the Los Angeles- and Las Vegas-based Rocktagon Worldwide and a show at The Pyramid Scheme on Thursday, American WiFi certainly appears to be ready to break out regionally and nationally.
“The ultimate goal is to be the biggest band in the world. That probably sounds kind of conceited, but that’s just the truth,” Bos says. “As opposed to saying we’re only going to be a punk band or a bar band – which is fine if that’s what you want to do – we happen to want to do more.”
“The mountain is there,” adds lead guitarist Sam Starkie. “We just have to climb the mountain.”
PODCAST: LOCAL SPINS LIVE WITH AMERICAN WIFI
The band – consisting of Bos (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Starkie (lead guitar), Levi Lilly (drums/backing vocals) and Cohen Padilla (bass / backing vocals) – is setting its sights high.
The band already has made a name for itself in West Michigan.
Fresh out of high school at the time, American WiFi won the pop/electronic category of the St. Cecilia Music Center’s ArtPrize song contest in 2014 and is constantly playing shows in the area, continuing to grow its fan base.
GETTING ‘MORE POP- AND FUNK-INFLUENCED’ WITH NEW MATERIAL
That motivation, devotion and passion that American WiFi has for its music shines through on tracks from an upcoming new album the band has posted online as sneak previews for fans, as well during energetic and powerful live performances.
“It’s a lot more pop- and funk-influenced,” Bos says of the new album, which doesn’t yet have a release date. “It’s just about being younger and the experiences that young people our age have. We just want our fans to have a good time when they listen to our music. That’s all we could ever ask for, really.”
The pop rockers have been recording all of their latest material in their home studio, enjoying the control and creative freedom that gives them.
Though their plans entail looking for a record label, right now the “DIY kings” are happy with how things are going with it all in their hands.
“No one’s going to have a clearer idea of what we want as a sound than ourselves,” Bos says. “It’s the most time efficient if we just do it ourselves. I’m sure that’ll change when we get a label involved, but right now that’s how we like operating.”
The writing process amounts to a team effort.
“Usually, I come up with the lyrics and kind of the idea of the song,” Bos says. “If it’s missing anything, I’ll go to the guys. Certain songs, I’ll literally write from front to finish and then bring it to the guys and we’ll just play it together.”
“Once we get the idea down and we bring it to the group, we just kind of knead it out,” Starkie adds.
The band’s songs have hints of influences from a broad variety of artists, including A Tribe Called Quest, Pink Floyd, James Brown, The Police, Maroon 5 and The 1975.
With a focus on social media and creating a strong Internet presence, the group has laid the groundwork for eventual release of its full-length debut album (after putting out a couple of EPs previously).
American WiFi also plans on unleashing some surprises at this week’s headlining show at The Pyramid Scheme, a set for which the musicians have been rehearsing hard.
Fans can expect to hear new material on Thursday, including tracks from the band’s “Loft Tracks – 13 Songs in 13 Days” that it released via Facebook. On top of that, they plan to record the show for a series of music videos.
American WiFi’s all-ages show begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Pyramid Scheme. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 on the day of show, with Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish, Half-Love and The Official Thieves also on the bill. Get tickets online here.
As for live performances, it’s all about the crowd’s reaction.
“Honestly, it’s the most overwhelmingly positive vibe we get,” says Bos. “As musicians and creators of music, there’s nothing more that we could ask for. It’s the greatest thing.”
“The live feel that we present is mostly just us. It’s a natural thing for us,” Starkie says.
On Friday, the band travels to Ohio to play a full weekend of shows on Middle Bass Island, with an eye toward more touring across the Midwest in coming months.
For more about the band, visit its new website at www.americanwifi.rocks.
VIDEO: American WiFi, “Invincible” (Acoustic)
Copyright 2015, Spins on Music LLC