Spotlight: The Song of the Stormrays

A look into some of Shorewood’s student led bands

Photo courtesy of Whey

Photo courtesy of Whey

ver the years at Shorewood several music bands and artists have come and gone. These have been made up of fellow students that have shared their creations and passion for music with the rest of our community. One of the bands that is currently at Shorewood is made up of several students including Matthias Jackels and Marcus Arthurt on guitar, Jonah Loschky on bass, Henry Poetzl on drums and Ben Irish on vocals. This group of students has been friends for a while but only recently turned their jam sessions into a band that they call “Whey.” 

We got together with a few of their members to gain an inside scoop into what has been going on with the band. We also met with a well known group comprised of a few recent grads of the class of 2022 who put together a band called “Pilot Seat” during the summer going into their senior year. This group is made up of Brett Shelley on bass, Eli Bloom lead guitarist and singer, and Everett Farrand on drums.  They have continued to make music together after graduating high school, keeping busy by making new music, performing and even coming out with a music video. We got together with them to figure out how they have been doing since high school and what upcoming events they have.

The Whey of Shorewood

When did you get interested in making music and decided that you wanted to be in a band? Whose Idea was it?

“It was first just me and Matthias and our electric drum kit and guitar. We started because we love music and love to create. Another reason we started was because there was a lack of entertainment,” Poetzl explained. There were several reasons they decided to form a band. “A lack of Whey,” said Jackels; “A lack of Funk and Stank,” Irish added. “We liked jamming. There’s much purpose but there is no reason,” Jackels concluded with. They have continued to keep at it and have added several members since they started.

How did you land on the name Whey?

“Lemme break it down for you. Wait um… actually we can’t tell you that. You’ll have to watch Whey of Life where we explain that.” Jackels stated. This was the case for several questions that we asked as Whey members did not want to give too much away. Poetzl went on to talk about the video that they have been working on, “The Whey of Life is a mockumentary on Whey that will be out on our YouTube channel. In it there is a part where we explain how we came up with the name Whey.” Until their mockumentary comes out (hopefully soon) you will have to be kept in suspense of how they landed on their name.

What instrument do you play and how long have you been playing for?

There is not a lack of talent when it comes to Whey since most of their members have been playing music since they were very young,“I have been singing for about 2 years. I also play bass which I have been playing for 6 years. I have also played a little bit of guitar for about a year,” Irish explained. “I play the electric guitar and I’ve been playing since whenever 2016 was. And I also play the banjo but very limited. I also enjoy playing the bass,” said Jackels. “I’ve been playing the drums since 6th grade. I have also played the guitar since 2002. Wait sorry, 2022,” Poetzl said. Though they may have gotten a little confused on some of their dates it is clear that music has been a very integral part of the band members lives since they were born.

What have been some notable obstacles in forming a band, performing, and making music?

As per usual there are always some issues that arise when creating a band. One of the main problems that Jackels addresses is, “People not showing up to practice or 

coming out with lame excuses not to go.” However 

even when people do show up for practices there 

tends to also be, as Jackels puts it, “Lots of noodling, when people play out of turn. Like when we are 

trying to play and people play [when they aren’t 

supposed to]. Or when we are trying to explain and 

people play over.” While all of these are pretty minor challenges, Poetzl mentions some bigger obstacles that arise during practice such as, “Trying to figure out 

covers that people know but are also in our sound is 

difficult.” It’s not always easy to find covers that are both popular and fit in their Neo-Funk genre.

How many people are in Whey?

“[There are] 5 core members. [But] then we also have other members that are a part of Whey. Like Waste Management, they are in Whey but it is a separate entity of itself,” Jackels elaborates. Waste management is made up of Wilson Manis and Marshall Menninger, who played alongside Whey at this year’s Winter Formal. They have also recently added another member to Waste Management, sophomore Gianni Milano who will play Trombone for the band.

What are some of the inspirations behind the 

Whey band?

Behind all great bands is a great inspiration, for Poetzl he says, “Definitely the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That’s probably our biggest inspiration. In both wildness, showmanship, just stankinest in general. But in terms of other sounds probably like NeoSoul.” Jackels adds that specifically for his soloing, along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers that “a lot of blues musicians” influence the music that he is making. 

When do you guys think that you are releasing music or performing again?

The band has a great urgency and desire to start recording. Poetzl states that, “As soon as we can get to the recording studio we will be releasing.” Although they might not be releasing right now they are planning on performing relatively soon, according to Jackels, “We will be playing at the Strawberry Festival.” The Strawberry Festival, which has been a long time event in Shoreline, will be held this year at the Richmond Beach Library on March 6th. Jackels continued with,“We may be performing at prom but that is up to the higher powers so we are not sure yet.” Will we be seeing Whey at prom? Another mystery that will hopefully be answered shortly.

Do you think that this is something you would like to continue after high school?

Like many high school bands there is always debate of whether or not they will continue after they are done with high school. “That depends on success. This doesn’t have to be a big thing, it could be, but we don’t really care,” Poetzl explains. Jackals went on to add that, “The way that I see it is that I’m not gonna be bound to Whey. Let’s say we release music and we suddenly get popular that might be different. But right now we are just making music.” The band is in no rush to continue to make music together if something else arises for them in the future. For now they are just content making music with their friends and delivering that, as Irish puts it, “Funk and Stank” to the students of Shorewood.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

As up and coming musicians themselves, we asked Whey to give any advice that they had to people aspiring to make a band to pursue their musical career, Poetzl started it off with “Learn how to practice. Learning fast is not something that you are born with; you learn how to do it. So getting a teacher is definitely helpful with that,” he later added, “Writing music is also really important because you can write what you don’t know how to play. Then practice and learn how to play it.” Jackels finishes with how it is important to “Consistently go out of your comfort zone because it will expand your mind.”play. Then practice and learn how to play it.” Jackels finishes with how it is important to “Consistently go out of your comfort zone because it will expand your mind.”

Who’s in the Pilot Seat?

How did Pilot Seat come to be?

There is always an origin story to a band, and while Whey might not have been able to share theirs just yet we were able 

to get it out of Pilot Seat. According to Shelley, “We were jamming over the summer going into senior year and the reason why we said Pilot Seat was because we’re kinda in a rush to get a name out for another article that went into the Tempest.” As to the specifics behind the name Pilot Seat, Shelley says that, “We call the chair that I sit in the pilot seat and we were like that’s kind of hard.”

What are some of your favorite performances and 

or songs?

There have been several more venues since the group played at their prom last year, but Farrand stated “MoPOP during the Sound Off program, probably my favorite performance so far.” Bloom was quick to agree, saying that “It was really fun when we were actually up on stage.” However the MoPop isn’t the only place they’ve played, having also performed at several other venues including Edmonds City Park, Edmonds Woodway, Fremont Abbey, and The Lucky Dime.

What does your music making process look like?

When it comes to their music making process, Bloom explained, “In terms of writing and recording one of us will kinda just come in with an idea and Brett’s kind of the man behind the computer. Like if I come in with a song idea I’ll lay it out and he makes it sound beautiful and professionally done with his fantastic audio engineering skills and Everett will get behind the kit and start working his magic too.” However, along with this Bloom says that they also have a place for recording, “We got a little studio space in my basement where we record all our songs and that’s where we practice.”

How have things been different since graduating 

from Shorewood?

“It’s been harder to book shows ever since high school, it was just very easy to jam or practice whenever we wanted because we were all really close,” Farrand says. Even with more distance between each other they still manage to practice and continue to produce music. Bloom adds “But I would also argue that things have grown since we have graduated too, with MoPOP and everything.” In fact, being out of high school has been very beneficial to the group, Shelley stating that, “I’ve definitely felt more confident in the way we carry ourselves since we aren’t in a high school environment 

anymore.” The band does not see themselves 

stopping anytime soon, as Bloom puts it, “As 

musicians we’re continuing to grow too, so 

exponential growth is the pattern.”

What are some of your bands future plans/


Pilot Seat has lots of plans in the future and 

recently just played at MoPOP’s event called 

SoundOff. “There’s a good handful of artists and bands that we met at MoPOP that we would love to see if we could work with in the future,” Farrand says. Bloom adds that, “Midpak and Cherry Ferrari are a couple of really tight bands.” They also have a couple of gigs planned for the future that Bloom mentioned, “We’re planning a show at the Animal House at UW on March 25th and other than that we’ll probably try to do some more shows in the UW area.” For the future Shelley hopes that they will play in some other places as well, “I still have yet to really scope out the scene but it would be cool to play some shows down here in Portland.” Pilot Seat does have some new music coming out. Farrand concludes the interview with  “Stream Spinning Circles on Spotify!”

There is still so much to come from both Whey and Pilot Seat. Whether it is releasing new music or playing at new venues these bands have so much to offer. With both bands having lots of upcoming events you can stay up to date with them on several platforms. Pilot Seat has music both out on Spotify and Apple Music and to get more info you can also find them on Instagram Besides seeing the members of Whey when you walk through the halls of Shorewood you can also stay on top of their upcoming events and music on their instagram @whey_music.