Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

WITF Music: Vulcans

Written by Joe Ulrich, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Jan 30, 2017 9:00 AM
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Vulcans performing in the WITF studio. From L-R: John Thomas, Aaron Spangler, Nick Lindsay

None of the guys that greeted me in the lobby had exceptionally pointy ears or flashed any weird hand signs. So Vulcans band member John Thomas explains the name.

"I remember before our first big coffeehouse gig that we booked we needed a name." They all laugh at their beginnings and the idea of a coffeehouse gig being big.

"More importantly we needed a facebook event," says bandmate Aaron Spangler. "And in order to make a Facebook event we needed to have something other than 'Nick, John and Aaron Play Music for Two Hours'."

John continues, "So we were sitting on Aaron's roof and Aaron threw out, 'How about The Vulcans?' because Aaron's a big Star Trek fan and we were like, 'Sure. Sounds good.'"

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John and Aaron along with Nick Lindsay all sing and play multiple instruments including guitar, banjo, fiddle and harmonica. Vulcans formed in 2011 after the guys returned from college. And since then they've made two recordings, played a number of festivals including winning the 2013 Philadelphia Songwriters Project contest. And that was kind of a crucial time for the band, because it presented them with some choices.

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"We were playing every week and sometimes more than once a week," Aaron explains. "And there was always that cliff that we could jump off of where if we wanted to go on tour, if we wanted to do all these things, and I think in that process we discovered the kind of musicians we wanted to be. We wanted to have the freedom to be able to choose and grow and not be chained to the road. Also we had families starting and serious relationships and things that we didn't necessarily want to sacrifice to be successful musicians."

Nick adds, "We only had a certain amount of time to dedicate to music. We had to allocate it differently."

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And this has had the interesting effect of giving the guys in Vulcans more room to breath and be more creative.

"This next recording project that we have coming up is really kind of liberating in a lot of ways," Aaron says. "We stopped thinking about writing music for other people, writing music that will be on the radio. There's no timeline, there's no deadline, there's no obligation, there's no pressure. This is all about creating music that we want to create. That's really liberating. It's a refreshing way to approach it after all these years."

Vulcans will be applying that new approach to a recording they expect to have ready by spring.

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