Known for its infectious jams and barnyard noise lyrics, Ponytail is a Baltimore Art School four-piece with the pomp and preposterousness to become the next buzzing indie darling.
Most bands meet naturally through shared favorite venues, scenes, posted member request flyers or mutual friends, but this may be the first band required to play together for a grade that has made a career from a classroom assignment. After being selected at random by professor and poet Jeremy Sigler at an art school in Baltimore, the members of Ponytail enjoyed playing together so much, they continued their efforts outside of the school of rock. “He basically selected everyone from first impressions,” Seeno said. “We had a goal of doing one performance at the end of the semester,” but it resulted in much more.
“We never had a concept for the band,” guitarist Ken Seeno said, which the group said helped create a marriage of tight instrumentation and loose vocal styling.
Originally a five-person band, Seeno, guitarist Dustin Wong and drummer Jeremy Hyman were learned musicians, while Molly Siegle and a former keyboard player were less polished. Siegle initially played xylophone, but it was suggested that she would be more influential as a lead singer.
“There was a duality of them vs. us at first, but also two things going on at once,” Seeno said. “When the keyboard player left, the band became a platform for Molly’s experimentation.”
That freedom to experiment vocally comes from a democratic work ethic in the band, an ironic twist considering they were chosen as band mates. “Each of us has the freedom to explore singular interests,” Wong said. “There are four different things going on at all times…We are equally excited about them and it takes a long time to unify that excitement.”
The band has been writing its sophomore record for over a year with an expected release date in April on We Are Free Records. Hyman described the writing as “taxing” as it tries to capture the band’s live energy, in which anything can happen with each progression. Siegle’s quirky vocals of squeals and bird calls may seem improvised and spirited, but her work is not as incidental as it may appear on record. “Her approach to recording is to single out the more inventive performances she conceives,” Seeno said.
As a small treat for anticipators of the new Ponytail record, Seeno said Molly would be creating dolphin sounds for one of the songs. The band is also debating its next album title. “We have really awful ones we are tossing around,” Seeno said. Look for a new Ponytail album in April, titled Ice Cream Spiritual.
Touring for the record might have to wait until the summer, as most of the members are still dedicated to finishing their art school degrees.