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The Wonder Revolution: A Roomful Of Walthers

Justine Nordine
Left to right: Ben Hunt, Sam Hake, David Lord.

Musicians Ben Hunt, Sam Hake and David Lord have teamed up for a new album, one that draws from some unusual sources.

The Magic World is the latest in a series of releases from The Wonder Revolution, a large collective of musicians loosely based in Wichita. This new recording is the result of seven years of work from musicians David Lord, Sam Hake and Ben Hunt. Lord says that the album’s origins can be traced to a moment several years ago when he and his friends decided to plant a garden.

“Each vegetable we named as a different land, so each song on there is representative of a different vegetable,” Lord says. “Then it kind of turned into this story of us shrinking down and into our magic world--into the garden world, which became the magic world. So we were writing all these songs while we were making this garden and it turned into a way bigger deal than it probably should have.”

Hunt says that the group's members are fascinated by nature and the day-to-day surprises that living brings. The community garden became a launching point for The Wonder Revolution.

“We’re just kind of amazed with everything,” Hunt says. “We see all the little intricacies of life. So, this garden was kind of our of beginning to cultivate that idea of how we can see the beauty in the tiniest of things.”

One of the more unusual elements of The Magic World is that Lord, who has been central to the writing of other Wonder Revolution albums, wrote this new record’s lyrics but left much of the music writing to Hunt and Hake.

“We all wrote it together, but a lot of times my role in the song was just the lyrics. They would do the melodies or Ben would bring in a guitar part,” Lord says. “Then I would do just a lot of electric guitar colors and overdubs. It’s pretty different. I think that’s why it sounds a lot different, because it was a total collaboration, rather than me bringing in stuff and me adding parts to it, which is how it’s been in the past.”

The collaborations behind this album went smoothly, and Lord credits that to he and Hake and Hunt being Walthers. You might ask: What’s a Walther? And Lord is only too glad to explain--sort of.

“Well, one thing you need to know is that Sam’s birthday is October 1. Ben’s is October 5 and mine is October 9,” Lord says. “Four days in between each. So we asked Sam what our name should be, what we should call ourselves and he said, ‘Walther.’ So we started calling ourselves Walthers.”

Lord elaborates on how one might recognize a Walther: “One thing about Walthers is that they can’t do accents,” he says. “So if you asked me to do an Irish accent—any Walther—we’d have trouble. We can’t even get close. So far we’ve found five Walthers for sure. You have to have a birthday that’s between October 1 and October 9 or possibly October 13 and you have to have these certain personality traits to be a Walther.”

As happy as Lord is with his new album and collaborating with his friends, he says that there’s something that he’s even more impressed with.

“To be honest it’s probably the biggest discovery of our lives that we’ve found this type of sub-Libra,” he says. “I don’t know that anybody in the history of the world has found it. It’s pretty mind-blowing. It gets deeper and deeper as time goes on. Just this week I think I found two possible Walthers.”

Hake adds that, all joking aside, the bond that he and Hunt and Lord have formed is one that’s difficult to break, and sometimes difficult for others to understand.

“We always felt pretty close when we’d get together,” he says. “So, this was a pretty good way—and joking way—to talk about ourselves. Sometimes our wives and significant others didn’t really know who we were talking about. It was really just a joke at first but it took a different shape as we realized that we had more commonalities than we thought.”

And about that garden that helped launch the whole wonder revolution and inspired The Magic World? Well, Lord says that maybe another Walther trait is that they lack green thumbs.

“We’ll start one and then as soon as it gets hot and the chiggers come out, we just forget about it. It’s not that we’re actually gardeners or anything,” Lord says. “It was a success because it made The Magic World. But other than that it was a real elaborate, huge garden, and it just got overgrown with weeds as soon as it got hot.”

The Wonder Revolution celebrates the release of The Magic World this evening at the Fisch Haus.


Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.