Four teenage boys stand in the Beaumont Club courtyard, waiting to go on stage. From inside, a deep bass pumps as the opening band warms up . Compared to the individuals in leather boots and ripped jeans, the boys’ gym shorts, sneakers, and tie dyed T-shirts seem out of place. However, they give off a casual confidence, with subdued nerves, and blatant excitement.
Graduates Jonas Birkel and Sean Cedillo along with seniors Max Hofmeister and Ryan Dugan make up the band Vela. Birkel is the lead vocalist and plays guitar, Cedillo is on drums, Hoffmeister on keyboard and Dugan on bass.
Although they are teenagers they hate being labeled a high school band. They want to be taken seriously. The faces of the eighteen and nineteen year old boys with two still finishing high school might throw off some audiences. However, when they play it quickly becomes clear, Vela is not a high school garage band. Their music is mature.
When asked to describe their style immediately they joke that it’s classical, like Mozart or Bach. However, one might argue that Vela’s music is the farthest from classical. Taking the question more seriously they answer that the band is punk rock, with some blues influence, and also maybe some grunge. Their keyboard adds another level of sophistication to their music.
“It’s nice because it’s not just a guitar, drums, and bass, you know there is a whole other top layer. It makes us stand out a little bit,” said Birkel.
“Kind of like the icing on the cake,” chimes in Hofmeister.
Over the summer the band worked on their album and played at First Fridays, The Beaumont Club and The Record Bar. In June, the band was offered a potential record deal for the upcoming year, by a company called Gorrilla Music.
[media-credit name="Photos courtesy of Vela" align="alignleft" width="300"][/media-credit]“The company that is doing this [show at the Beaumont Club] has given us an offer to tour,” said Birkel. “They would promote us and manage us, basically give us like a deal that we would basically give them a cut of our paycheck on tour.”
Although this is a big opportunity for Vela, they do not believe it is right for them. The boys like the idea of touring, but don’t like the idea of only taking a small cut of the ticket sales, believing that it could make living conditions on the tour not very enjoyable.
“We don’t want to live on two dollars a day, and sleep in the van,” Birkel said.
They would rather go on tour by themselves next summer. Birkel believes they will make more money that way. Their plans include touring the Midwest but also trying to make it to Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas.
For now, Vela is working on their new record at a home recording studio. Look for more from Vela, because whether it be their tour next summer, or their new album, this band is on the upkick.
Cigarette by Vela