Time: 6:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Kayln Oyer via Post & Courier
Audio engineer and record producer Ryan “Wolfgang” Zimmerman is a noted maestro of the local music scene, known for shaping the prominent indie rock sound of Charleston artists, such as Band of Horses and Susto.
But he’s much more than an indie rock producer. He’s worked on synthwave, soul, R&B and electronic albums — and his own project is more in the realm of ’80s dance music.
That project, Invisible Low End Power, is the culmination of decades of songwriting and three solid years of editing and enhancing.
Zimmerman, 30, the lion-maned owner of Rialto Row Studio, has been a part of this generation’s top-quality Lowcountry music talent. That includes his role as a drummer in Brave Baby, a popular pop outfit now on hiatus, and in Brave Baby’s predecessor, Wylie.
“I’m not even sure if Charleston knows or recognizes the gold mine they’re sitting on as a city,” Zimmerman says, noting a long list of the contemporaries he admires and those he’s worked with personally. “There’s a hidden fingerprint of mine in all of my friend’s music — I’m the ghost member of those bands — but this is me being honest with myself: I want to be a singer. I want to be the songwriter and see what that looks like.”
Maybe it’s his time to shine.
Inspired by Michael Jackson, Prince, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and other icons of ’60s soul, Invisible Low End Power is a little synth, a little dance, a little rock and a lot of soul.
And all the records he’s worked on in the last decade have helped hone his own craft as a tunesmith and lyric writer.
“I’ve had years and years of being in the trenches with really good writers and bouncing ideas off of them,” he says. “It’s like I’ve been in a school of sorts in my whole 20s.”
Zimmerman is debuting the result, Invisible Low End Power, at the Charleston Arts Festival’s “Concoction,” a music and dance extravaganza at The Royal American on Oct. 20.
There will be two drummers during the performance — Justice Ian Jones will beat the skins when Zimmerman is singing at the microphone. And those drums will be front and center on stage.
“Drumming is a violent act,” he says. “You’re literally smashing something, and it’s really entertaining to watch. It’s always bothered me how they’re at the back of the stage, hidden by the rest of the band.”
Part of the inspiration for the music that will be premiered at “Concoction,” and later formed into an album, is derived from some hardships he’s faced in these last years.
“I know so many people who have been on the other side of mental health issues and self-loathing, and it’s especially hard when you see people you love going through that,” Zimmerman says. “But I’m actively working on my own self-love.”
The shy and quiet Zimmerman has another side that you might glimpse when he’s at the mic instead of behind a drum set. It’s the side, goofy and oozing life, that he wants to share with more of Charleston. He hopes to do that through this new project.
“I want people to just feel happy,” he says, “even if it’s just putting a smile on someone’s face.”