CATALYST: How did you get interested in music?
WOLFENBARGER: I’ve been doing music all my life. I started piano lessons when I was six, harp lessons when I was seven, and choirs all my life. I studied classical voice and did musical theater throughout high school. I was in bands ever since middle school where I played bass guitar. Now, I am doing acapella with Room 46.
How did you get into the music scene at Colorado College?
I was interested in the music scene before I even came here. I saw a video on the CC YouTube about the CC music scene and one of the popular jazz bands here that broke up who were big on campus. Listening to Funkdozer made me really want to get involved. I’m really excited about Llampalooza and hopefully to be a part of the Llama Committee next year.
Describe your music style.
I’m playing as a solo artist. I’m using a loop pedal to layer my voice to create what sounds like a one-man choir. Usually, my songs start out as a simple idea and then I layer different ideas on top of that. So, by the end of the song, you can barely even hear the initial idea. A lot of it is ambient music with reverb. Two years ago there was an Avant-garde music festival in my hometown called the Big Ears Festival. A lot of it revolved around minimalist classical composition and types of music that are influenced by that type of music. I was inspired by some of the groups that played there like Tim Hecker, Ben Frost, Tuneyards. A lot of these artists use loop pedals themselves to do a similar style of music.
What makes you stand out as a performer?
The fact that I’m up there by myself. It’s a super vulnerable style of performing, not only because you’re up there as a solo artist and there is no one else for the audience to look to. But also, when you’re working with loop pedal, if you make a single mistake you will hear that mistake for the entire song. It will repeat over and over. If you were singing out of tune with yourself, the entire thing will sound god-awful. Using a loop pedal can be disastrous.
Where did you grow up and how did that influence your interest in music?
I grew up on a rural farm raising goats and chickens. I had a pretty isolated childhood, so I spent a lot of time walking through the woods singing to myself. I’ve been making music on my own since I was really little. I’ve always just made it for myself.
Where did your artist name—Sea Eggs—come from?
In high school I was in a band called Sea Legs. I love coming up with words or phrases that sound like something else. For example, ‘death in Italy’ sounds like ‘definitely’ or ‘youth in Asia’ sounds like ‘euthanasia.’ Things like that.
What is your favorite part about the music scene at CC?
I love that music is so integral to CC life. I am a little upset that it is mostly dominated by men. I am so excited to see what Eboni [Statham] does with her Music Collective. I think that is super exciting and something that CC really needs. Interestingly enough, female artists actually mostly inspire me. Julianna Barwick is my go-to for the type of music I make.
What else do you like doing besides music?
Actually, my entire life revolves around music. I declared music major here the third day of class. I am taking one non-music class this entire year.
What other types of music do you produce?
I compose video game music using a visual programming language called Max MSP. I also enjoy making indie rock music. At some point I would like to be in an actual band here. Last semester, I was in the Bowed Piano Ensemble, so I’ve been involved in experimental music as well. I am also doing live electronics for a concert this week. And I am composing for a Southern Indian classical dance for DanSix: Intersect faculty.
What do you want to do with music in the future?
I want to go into composition after CC. I’ve been looking at a lot of schools in Europe. I think that there are some incredible things going on with music in Europe. There’s free tuition, and the government really throws money at their composers because they put such a high value on music there. A lot of the music that comes out of Scandinavia, France, and Germany is just really beautiful. I’ve always had an obsession with Iceland, particularly. A lot of the music that inspires me comes out of Iceland. Even a lot of American musicians go there to get that type of sound.