The A List: On Their Way

A List groupNew band Wray is making musical waves.

Written by Lindsey Lowe Osborne


What do you do when you love something so much that it’s the only thing you can do? According to David Swatzell of up-and-coming Birmingham band Wray, you roll with it. “It’s something I’ve been doing my entire life. I don’t really have anything to fall back on,” guitarist/vocalist Swatzell says. “It’s the only thing I’m really good at.” His fellow band man, drummer Blake Wimberly, echoes that sentiment: “Since I was a kid, I’ve been banging around on anything I could get my hands on: pots, pans, my lap, other people’s laps. Drums followed. I recently uncovered my second grade journal. Allow 8-year-old me to explain: ‘I’m going to get a drum because I like drums. There (they’re) the best enstermeat (instrument) I have ever seen. I like the sound they make. It’s a cool sound. I wonder how they make drums. I rherly (really?) don’t know.’” For them and their third band mate, David Brown (bass/vocals), this destiny means that they make records and music and, these days, waves.

Wray, part of Birmingham label Communicating Vessels, recently won the mtvU Freshmen music video contest, which puts the music video for their song “Apacheria” in MTV’s video rotation for at least six weeks. They’ve been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, The Nerdist, and more and toured with Man or Astroman? in the summer and fall of 2014. When their eponymous album, recorded in Birmingham’s Ol Elegante Studio, was released last summer, it charted on the College Radio Top 200 list for eight weeks. In short, Wray is on their way.

The guys of Wray each have a decade of music under their belts, though Wray itself was born in 2012. Swatzell and Brown have known each other for some time; they joined with Wimberly and found that a star had been born. “The three of us came together with the hopes of creating something new,” Wimberly says. “Once started, we realized there was something there, something we could build on and push forward.” Boasting a rock sound that makes you feel instantly cooler just by listening to it, Wray “isn’t afraid to revel in repetition, churning (like butter) confident, seamless grooves firmly in the tradition of NEU!, Faust, or Can,” according to their website. Brown suggests that their sound might convey to listeners that they “keep their dreams,” but Wimberly has a bigger challenge: “I want our music to create something people listening to can get lost in. Stop thinking so hard,” he says.

Wray continues to push forward, currently working on a new album. They invite you to be an active part of the momentum: “This is not music for a passive audience. This three piece demands the attention of a real rock show. The band is Wray and the album is Wray and you can play it at a party and people will like it.”

You can find out more about Wray on Facebook (

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