Funkadelphia Exclusive Interview: The Wonder Bars

Wonder Bars

by Kyle Taylor |

There’s no argument that the Philadelphia music scene is still well alive and thriving. The most impressive aspect is perhaps the eclectic nature of the city’s extensive list of musicians. This Friday, March 20th, three of the city’s finest acts will come together at Kung Fu Necktie to showcase this very aspect.

Headlining the show is four-piece electronica group The Wonder Bars. The group exhibits a modern dance flavor, infused with clear classic music inspirations. Speaking with lead vocalist and songwriter Tom Phoolery, he named “Frank Zappa”, a master of experimental fusion music, as a primary influence for him; and that influence certainly shows.

The Wonder Bars will also be debuting a great amount of new material off their newly completed EP. About the EP, Tom Phoolery had to say: “It’s been in the works for a year or so now. We have five tracks; three by me and two by Alex the Great”, further noting that the EP will be released sometime this April.

While The Wonder Bars’ music has traditionally revolved around house beats and time measures, Tom Phoolery further disclosed that their new EP experiments with a much wider range of genres, including, “funk, deep trap”, and, “UK garage”.

Read more about what Tom Phoolery had to say about The Wonder Bars and their upcoming EP below; and catch them live this Friday at Kung Fu Necktie alongside fellow Philadelpha musicians Sexy Black Female and Agent Zero, who will be debuting his new full live experience.
Get complete event details HERE.

The Wonder Bars Website // Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter

The Wonder Bars – “After Hours” — Buy on Beatport

The Wonder Bars – “Just the Start” — Buy on Beatport


Funkadelphia: “The Wonder Bars is technically a four-piece group; can you tell us about your role in The Wonder Bars, both in the studio and in your live performances?”
Tom Phoolery: “I’m the lead singer in The Wonder Bars for our live performances, and I’m one of the composers of our released material. There are two other members of the band who compose tunes now, but when we started I was the only one.”

Funkadelphia: “The Wonder Bars are currently based right here in Philadelphia- are you a Philadelphia native yourself?”
Tom Phoolery: “Yes, I’ve lived in and around Philadelphia my entire life.”
Funkadelphia: “How do you feel the city of Philadelphia and its music & art scene has played a role in your music?”
Tom Phoolery: “I don’t believe The Wonder Bars could have existed without Philadelphia’s vibrant and unique music scene. There’s something really interesting going on in Philly right now…more and more live bands playing house and other forms of electronic music are popping up, and that definitely wouldn’t be possible without the multiple jazz music schools and venues that Philly has to offer.
Agent Zero and Worldtown (as well as us) are examples of where I believe the Philly music scene is headed.”
Funkadelphia: “When did you first develop an interest and passion for making music?”
Tom Phoolery: “[Hah] I’m not sure…I’ve been singing my entire life…can’t remember a time where I didn’t sing. But I started actually writing my own tunes at around age 14. I’m 26 now so that was 12 years ago.”
Funkadelphia: “Is The Wonder Bars your first musical project, or were you involved in any other projects preceding it?”
Tom Phoolery: “I was in a horror/hardcore punk band called The Onslaughter when I was in high school. It disbanded when we all went to college for various reasons. We played a lot of house shows and some DIY venues, but never got to the bigger venues unfortunately.”
Funkadelphia: “What musicians, artists, or albums would you say have been an influence on your music?”
Tom Phoolery: “Definitely Frank Zappa. I probably wouldn’t even be making electronic music if it wasn’t for him. Freddie Mercury from Queen is a huge influence on my singing voice, and Daft Punk is a major influence on my production style.”
Funkadelphia: “That’s a pretty diverse list of influences- do you try to let that variety show through in The Wonder Bars music you make?”
Tom Phoolery: “I think so. We try to be as eclectic as possible, pushing the boundaries of music. Almost all of us are graduates from music conservatory as well as DJs, so we understand what is “right” for a given time in the night. We’re primarily a house/garage band but we play all kinds of music from trap to drum & bass. Additionally, we’ve been experimenting with creating dance music at alternative time signatures like 7/4 or 10/8.”
Funkadelphia: “Do you have any special plans for your upcoming performance at Kung Fu Necktie this Friday?”
Tom Phoolery: “Yes we do. Every single Wonder Bars performance brings something new and special to the table. We’re going to premiere our latest EP as well as debut our stage set and costuming. With each show, we’re adding more to our stage decorations and theatrics. Expect more skits and silly interludes between tracks!”
Funkadelphia: “So you’ll be debuting a new EP; can you tell us a bit more about that?”
Tom Phoolery: “It’s been in the works for a year or so now. We have five tracks; three by me and two by Alex The Great, that we’ll be releasing at some point in April. The tracks are all melodic and soulful, but span multiple genres like funk, deep trap, and of course UK garage.
This is the first album we’ve ever made that doesn’t feature a single house track, actually. But don’t worry, we know our roots and we’ll be back in action with more deep, soulful, funky house in the future.”

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