Welcome to the Third Coast—where Sealion basks in the self-established heat of “a raucous, cathartic party for the disaffected.” Samantha Villavert, Cole Denton, Hunter Moehring and Gus Baldwin (also of Art Con musical alumni Acid Carousel) are the wavy quartet, Sealion.
The Dallas-based art punk band began in 2010 when vocalist and guitarist Hunter Moehring’s and guitarist Cole Denton’s folk-punk band broke up. Though the two had been making music well before then. “Hunter and I met in high school and have been playing in bands together since we were 15 years old,” explains Denton. They then met their bassist and vocalist Sam Villavert, in 2011ish while she was playing a show. “We’ve always been huge fans of bands with both male and female vocals like Sonic Youth and Pixies, and Sammy definitely added that to the mix!” The guys met drummer Gus Baldwin while he was in high school. “He was the first person on our minds when we needed a drummer.”
Sealion is often linked to bands like the Sonic Youth and Pixies. “As a band, it’s pretty safe to say we wear our influences on our sleeves.” The four all agree there’s an echo of bands like Devo, the B52s, the Ventures, Ramones, The Damned, etc. in their sound. But each member brings a unique taste to their sound and performance style. Baldwin likes psych-rock like Frank Zappa. Villavert is into 1980s and ‘90s dance-pop like Janet Jackson. Denton digs metal and punk bands like Motorhead. Moehring brings the punk and hip-hop influences, like Descendents.
Their lyrics are a derivative of the ever-changing inspirations that life throws at us. As a name, Sealion reflects “margarita punk” vibes the band radiates on stage and through your headphones. “Honestly, [Sealion] was the best option we had after narrowing down a long list of god-awful ideas for names. It was easy enough to remember, wasn’t completely ridiculous, and fit well with the surf-punk aesthetic we were going for at the time.”
As for memorable performances: In 2016, Sealion played at Club Dada with another Art Con Alumni, Blue, the Misfit. “We played versions of a couple of each other’s songs and did a few covers.” The collaboration was unforgettable and genre-bending. “It’s always good to get out of your comfort zone as an artist and play styles that you wouldn’t normally try otherwise.”
Keep an eye to the horizon for Sealion’s full-length album (coming soon), and get ready for Sealion at Art Con 14 November, 10 at The Boedeker Building.
Written by: Christin Workman
Photo by: Rico DeLeon