In The Studio: Wholesome (FKA Chocolate For Dogs)

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Welcome to In the Studio, a feature dedicated to exploring the fantastic independent musicians at Kenyon. This week, we showcase Wholesome, a four-piece band consisting of Shane Wells ’22 of Nashville, Oliver Pearson ’22 of Los Angeles, and Eli Haberberg ’22 and Elijah Newman ’22 of New York.

What’s your origin story?

Eli: Oliver mansplained what a band was.

Oliver: Well actually, Elijah came up to me at a Horn meeting and said, “One of your arms is bigger than the other, you must be a drummer,” and I said, “Yeah,” and that’s how I got here.

Elijah: On move in day Eli was playing some Bowie down the hall, and I was like, “I wanna boogie with this guy.” That’s how our friendship started, and then we decided we wanted to start a band.

Shane: Eli and Elijah found out I have a bass, and they asked me to be in their band. I only recently became more than the bass player.

Elijah: We found out he’s good at it, and he’s friend material too.

What’s the story behind your name and your recent name change?

Oliver: Right now we’re Wholesome.

Elijah: Chocolate for Dogs is a whack name. My dad wouldn’t look at me. 

Eli: The problem with Chocolate for Dogs was I always felt like it was too cutesy and everyone else was like, “No it’s a name about death,” and I was like, “2/3 of the words are chocolate and dogs.”

Oliver: We just kept saying Wholesome over and over again and it manifested itself.

What’s your sound?

Elijah: We haven’t really found our sound yet.

Shane: We all listened to different records growing up. I listened to a lot of post-punk and Smiths.

Eli: I was more of a Punk and British Invasion guy.

Elijah: Peter, Paul and Mary, Bach Goldberg Variations, and Brooklyn stuff.

Oliver: Lot of Young Thug. 

Eli: We kind of just bring together all of our favorite music and run it through a broken meat grinder.

Shane: A big orgy of mediocre white men

Elijah: We mix it all together and put it in a little package of love. It’s very Wholesome. Right now it’s probably a cross between glam rock and punk.

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(Standing on the seal – very punk)

What’s your creative process?

Shane: We jam a lot. Someone will bring in a few chords or some lyrics and we’ll jam on it.

Eli: Sometimes Shane just brings in full songs.

Oliver: And then I throw some drums on it

Y’all formed Wholesome very early into your first year, how has being a first-year band affected the experience? 

Oliver: There’s definitely a benefit in being a first-year band. It gives us some attention because we’re so new and it happened so fast.

Elijah: By the time we’re seniors we’re going to have found our thing, so I’m glad we have that time.

Has the Kenyon music community been welcoming? 

Shane: Yeah I think so, especially PEEPs and the other established Kenyon bands like Day Moon and Booty Robbins. They’ve been super chill and helpful and allowed for us to create a space for ourselves.

All: We love Day Moon.

Oliver: My favorite song of theirs is The Chain.

Eli: Our time slot got really messed up the day before PEEPs Halloween but Day Moon and Booty Robbins worked with us by moving around their sets so we had the perfect time and that meant so much.

Elijah: When Eli told me we were playing at 1 I started crying in Peirce. I was so happy.

What has been Wholesome’s biggest moment so far?

All: PEEPs Halloween.

Eli: Watching people crowd surf and mosh without us telling them to was incredible.

Elijah: We had the cast of Rocky Horror come up on stage for Time Warp, but the best part is while they were dancing someone accidentally stepped on the off button, and there was so much energy in the room that no one even cared.

What is next for Wholesome?

Elijah: World tour.

Shane: We’re trying out some new stuff and I’m getting involved with the recording studio, so hopefully we can record an EP by the end of the year.

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