Wim Tapley, lead vocalist and guitarist of the Athens band Wim Tapley & The Cannons, has seen the band’s following grow to over 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. The band is on the lineup for Historic Athens Porchfest on Oct 15. Comments trimmed for length and clarity.
Q: When was your first live performance?
I know that my brother did this too. There was this little pumpkin patch near our house in Virginia, and they had a part where they had little kids go on stage. It was like karaoke, and Jack (his brother) definitely started it because he was a little braver than I was. I think I went up and sang the “Spider-Man” theme song. It was terrifying.
Q: Does your brother still make music?
No, he’s a finance guy in Arlington, but he taught me how to play my first guitar chords and stuff.
Q: When was your first performance as a band?
We did some Boar’s (Head Lounge), open mics with the band to give it a test run and then we did Flicker (Theatre & Bar) downtown. We probably had 40 people in there, and I got up on stage and I was like, “Oh my God, this is incredible.”
Q: How has TikTok contributed to your success?
It’s been interesting. I love TikTok because it’s free marketing. Like if you’re in Nirvana in the ‘90s, those guys were waking up in the middle of the night driving to a radio station to perform at seven in the morning, and hopefully get this like, promo blast from it. Whereas I can just wake up and take a video in my living room or whatever. Any viral moment has its beginning and its end. And we’ve seen that for our band, where like a solid blow up, and then it kind of simmers down.
Q: What song are you most proud of writing?
I think this would be every artist’s answer ever, but the new stuff that we’re about to release. We finally had a chance to really take our time with it in the studio. We had full days for the first time. I’m pretty proud of “Gut Punch” too, that would be the one that if it hit a certain number on Spotify, I would probably cry because I feel like that’s like my Athens song.
Q: Why is that?
I wrote it freshman year and it was a big one. When we started the band, just like really kind of showing me the possibility of what we could do. I’d always dreamed of working with pedal steel players and stuff so, we got some pedal steel guitar from Pistol (Matt Stoessel) in town. I made it in Virginia though, so it was cool because it was like a perfect blend of my upbringing.
Miller Rich is a third-year journalism major.
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