Smile Politely

Loud feedback and riffs: get to know Edna

I feel like I’ve been writing a lot recently about hardcore/punk/heavy music, but it’s hard not to when we have such a great scene. So many killer active heavy bands around here, and Edna is one that I’ve been really digging. With one EP out, Insuperable Bastardand another one out this Friday, The End Times, I wanted to check in with the band and gain some insight into the group. Guitarist Jake Kelley was kind enough to answer some questions for SP.

Smile Politely: Can you tell me a bit about the band? 

Jake Kelley: Edna is a band from CU that draws from a wide-range of influences. You could probably call us a Sludge band, but that wouldn’t really give you the full picture. We usually just say “heavy and loud.”

We are Austin Powell on guitar and backing vocals, Chris Wahlfeldt on drums and lead vocals, Derrin Coad on bass and backing vocals, and Jake Kelley on guitar.

Chris and I met at work and started jamming in 2016 with my cousin Addison Ellis on guitar. After writing a few things we got our first bass player, Kyle Moe, and played some local shows. In 2017, we recorded and released our first EP Insuperable Bastard.’Shortly after, Derrin joined on bass, replacing Kyle. We continued to play shows and write more material until 2018 when Addison took a position in Mexico City and had to move. Fortunately, our good friend Austin who was in the band We Must Dismantle All This with Chris was available and joined the band.

Photo provided by Edna. 

SP: Where did the name of the band come from?

Kelley: We were joking around and realized Chris, Addison, and I all have a great Aunt Edna. We thought it sounded old, decrepit and sludge-y, but also liked the idea of it being a feminine name. Heavy music is powerful and strong but often too masculine.

SP: What was it about hardcore/metal that initially drew you in to the genre? What was appealing about it?

Kelley: All of us fell in love with heavy music as teenagers, most-likely for differing reasons, but I’m sure we were all enthralled with the power and ability to express ourselves in a way that is loud and distinct. You’re pissed off about things and heavy music helps you release some of that frustration in a healthy way. As you get older, you start to see the nuance that heavy music can have outside of angst – that you can use it to express all kinds of different points of view. There is really no limit to what metal or punk is and we all love that freedom.

SP: Where do song ideas come from? What’s the writing process like for you all?

Kelley: When we work on new material, typically someone will have an idea for a riff and we will just jam on it for a while until we get a good feel for it, then try to structure it out and add more parts. It is a very collaborative writing environment and our differing perspectives keep our songs from being too on the nose for any one genre. To that end, we are definitely guilty of adding way too many parts to songs, so cutting out the fat is always an interesting part of the process.

Photo provided by Edna. 

SP: The new EP that drops this Friday, The End Timescan you tell me a bit about it?

Kelley: The End Times was recorded in February of 2021 by Matt Talbott at Earth Analog in Tolono and mixed and mastered by James Treichler.

This thing has been in the works for quite awhile. We had two songs already written prior to Austin joining the band and wrote the rest after he came onboard.

The lyrical and thematic content on this EP is very influenced by the alt-right and conservative reactions to the BLM movement, the pandemic, and just Trump-ism in general. In fact, most of our material is written to speak out against conservative politics. Like a lot of other people, Trump’s election really solidified the need to express our dissatisfaction with the political landscape. We all already kept up with the news and current events, but the recent rise of the alt-right has been a huge catalyst for our songwriting. Even if we’re just shouting into the void, we feel like staying silent is not an option.

SP: Describe an Edna show in three words.

Kelley: Loud feedback & riffs.

SP: Any local artists you are enjoying lately?

Kelley: There are lots of great local bands in our area! We are good friends with Death Call, Power of Dusk, and J.U.G. That new Thotcrime record is NUTS. Airacobra always kills. Karat’s Gold is up the road in Bloomington but they absolutely rip.

SP: Where can readers keep up with the band?

Kelley: People can find our music on Spotify, Apple Music, or on Bandcamp, and they can follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

Enda will be having their EP release show at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 12th at Tolono’s Loose Cobra. They’ll be joined by Death Call and Gonzo Diablo. You can find information on the event here.

Top photo provided by Edna. 

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