By: Molly Berg
With their new EP “Taste the Words”, Boomfox invites you to dine on their melodies.
The band, made up of four UGA undergrads, started with lead singer Hannah Zale and bassist Derek Terry jamming together as freshmen. They soon brought in Christian Gerner-Smidt on guitar and Joe Shanoltz on drums. They played regularly together, but it wasn’t until the introduction of new drummer Matt Martin that things took off.
Since then, Boomfox has played venues all over town, including the 40 Watt, Caledonia Lounge and the Melting Point. They have even played in Atlanta at the Vinyl, the Earl and most recently the High Museum of Art.
“The High Museum is probably the craziest place we’ve played at,” Zale said. “Imagine 350 microbiologists in suits trying to get into some pretty raging Boomfox tunes. They had us sitting in the green room with super white modern furniture. We felt so famous.”
Zale, who is classically trained in opera, helped foster Boomfox’s new image. Originally called the Sunlight Alchemists, the group decided it was time for a name change with the introduction of Martin.
“We were covering Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” for a while because my bandmates used to joke that I was their foxy lady,” said Zale. “I would come out and dance before I sang the opening song. We kind of toyed around with Hannah Zale and the Foxy Caucasians and from that came Boomfox.”
Despite the new identity, the band is more confident than ever in their music. They have matured in their image and sound, which has been solidified by the use of Martin’s drums.
This confidence exudes from lead rocker Zale, whose earnest voice guides the band into its own rock-n-roll territory. Zale, whose voice sounds like a mixture between that of Amy Winehouse and Adele, creates a soulful sound that compliments the hard-rock guitar of Gerner-Smidt, a skilled musician in his own right.
The band, which fuses blues, grunge and alternative rock, brings high-energy performances to all of their shows. With Boomfox, it’s impossible to stop listening. The response to their new EP “Taste the Words” has also been overwhelming, sparking a greater interest in the local band.
“The response has been so amazing,” said Zale. “I find people all over campus that stop me and ask me if I’m the girl from Boomfox.”
On “Taste the Words”, the five songs are a mixture 90s grunge-rock and blues; they are fierce, emotional and are ready for you to listen. Standouts on the EP include “Dom Song”, which has a catchy, bluesy beat that makes you want to sing “Na na” over and over. The chorus also rocks, with the heavy mixture of Terry on bass and Gerner-Smidt on the guitar. Another strong track is “Station 9”, which showcases the fine-tuned drumming of Martin.
Recorded in the span of 48 hours, all five songs have a raw, live feel to them. The EP, which is available for free on their Facebook, can also be found at any Boomfox show. The tracks can be a perfect pump-up mix as you make it through the day in the Classic City.
Now that the EP is out, the band continues to look for bigger and better things. They continue to play plenty of shows, but they hope to release a full-length album and tour in the future.
“Three of us graduate in May,” said Zale. “This is all of our dreams.This is what we want to do when we graduate. This is what we want to do forever.”
Want to see Boomfox in action? Catch them tonight at the 40 Watt for UGA’s Music Business Battle of the Bands. The two-day event starts tomorrow, with doors opening at 8 p.m. and Boomfox going on at 10 p.m. All proceeds go to the Music Business Program, while the winners get to play for a national act.