THE WHISKEY WASPS

Published on November 9th, 2016

THE WHISKEY WASPS

The Whiskey Wasps | Noah Frank Photography

The Whiskey Wasps | Noah Frank Photography

For many, the holidays are often a mix of swirling, sometimes conflicting, feelings. There’s the excitement of the surprises that await us underneath the Christmas tree or on the other side of a New Year’s Eve hangover. That same excitement could very well translate into anxiety over an uncertain future. One band, The Whiskey Wasps, has managed to encompass the turbulent, and occasionally wonderful, wide range of emotions that accompanies winter on their new EP, Melancholy Holly. It’s fitting that around the same time as they celebrate the release of their latest record, they’re preparing for some very difficult goodbyes in their personal lives.

The Whiskey Wasps is a side project from one of South Florida’s most prominent alternative rock bands, Raggy Monster. Comprised of husband and wife duo guitarist Billy Schmidt and vocalist Rachel DuVall-Schmidt, The Whiskey Wasps began their stint of shows as a stripped down acoustic duo as a way to reconnect to when they first met in college and began writing music together. While that eventually blossomed into Raggy Monster and a successful career with the band, there was always another set of songs to showcase featuring the couple.

This past fall, Raggy Monster embarked on their first ever national tour to help build their fanbase outside of Florida, with an eye towards some big plans in 2017. Then, life happened.

wwcdThis past Thanksgiving weekend, Schmidt announced on his Facebook page of the couple’s decision to move to California in January. Originally the plan was set for a few years down the road, but the timetable was abruptly moved up “due to unforeseen circumstances.” Since then, The Whiskey Wasps have been playing a series of bittersweet shows, including their regular gig at Hullabaloo, to bid their home state and many of their friends farewell. At least for now.

As one might imagine, this sudden news wasn’t exactly well-received by all of their Raggy Monster bandmates at first, but the pair insist that this is not the end. In fact, not to sound overly dramatic, but this is just the beginning.

Of course, Raggy Monster and their over-the-top style has always have always had a flair for the dramatic.

Raggy Monster | Noah Frank Photography

Raggy Monster | Noah Frank Photography

And, even as toned down as their side project has been in comparison, The Whiskey Wasps are no wallflowers; in particular, this is true on Melancholy Holly, a gorgeous, ethereal, and at times, mesmerizing collection of Christmas covers and originals that simultaneously warm the heart and chill us with goosebumps thanks to an elegantly haunting quality.

In explaining the inspiration for Melancholy Holly, the duo said, “We tend to naturally lean towards melancholy music, and while we enjoy the holidays and the jolly tunes they inspire, we wanted to record an album that has a unique contrast.”

They’ve accomplished just that and as we get ready to say goodbye to Billy and Rachel, this isn’t a time to be sad; instead, it’s an opportunity to enjoy the gifts they’ve showered us with over the years, which includes Melancholy Holly in addition to all the memories, from both their bands, stuffed in our mental stockings.
~ Angel Melendez

RAGGY MONSTERCatch Raggy Monsters Album release show w. Rivers and The Inverted on January 28 at Respectable Street. A note from the band:
We’ve enjoyed a few months off after a long year of frequent shows and touring, but as we head into the new year we’ve found ourselves restless and ready to show you guys some of what we’ve been working on. We are extremely excited to announce that our album ‘…Wicker Flies‘ is finally being released on a beautiful multicolored double vinyl set with all new artwork and 3 BRAND NEW songs on January 24th, 2017. It’s now available for pre-order at www.RaggyMonster.com, and we’re throwing a party with our friends Rivers and The Inverted at Respectable Street on January 28th, 2017 to celebrate! We’ll also be debuting a brand new music video, filmed and directed by Brave Man Media/Skully & Mooey and starring…well, us. This will be our last Florida performance for quite a while as Billy and Rachel head off to beautiful sunny California with a few of Raggy’s other members joining in the Florida exodus shortly after. We love our state so much, our friends, our fans, and our community and we want to share this album, our new video and this night with the people we love most. Come celebrate local music and help us send Raggy Monster out into the world the right way.”

Video and photos by Noah Frank Photography

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