Ready to Dominate: Raptor Octavius wants to take over the world

Eric Christenson

RAPTORS RUNNING WILD. Raptor Octavius, a rock band made up of recent Memorial High School grads, is evolving quickly, learning a lot, and letting their eclectic live show speak for itself as they prep their first tour.

When you a hear a band name like Raptor Octavius, you might get all kinds of assumptions of what they sound like, what they look like, who they are, and how many neck tattoos they may or may not collectively have – but that’s exactly what the band is trying not to do. Don’t make any assumptions about them, because you’re probably wrong.

“The best crowds are when it’s late in the night and everyone’s slimey. That’s the ideal show.” – Rollie Duerre, Raptor Octavius

The name is a mashup of Octavius, the surname of Roman conqueror Augustus, and of course raptor – you know – the dinosaur. Both had a penchant for domination, a line that metaphorically threads through this band.

“Octavius, that’s some take over the world sh*t,” said Rollie Duerre, one of the band’s guitarists and songwriters. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re gonna rule and we’re gonna do it like some dinosaurs.”

Raptor Octavius is a band made up of recent Eau Claire Memorial grads that’s developing their vibe by writing all kinds of songs from rock to psychedelic to pop, playing sweaty shows together, making huge vibrations whenever they play, letting loose, and having a good time. And as the young band preps for their first tour ever – a string of shows in Eau Claire, Menomonie, Madison, and Milwaukee – their future is bright as all get-out.

The band started a couple years ago with Memorial’s annual Uganda Rock benefit concert. Before they were Raptor Octavius, some members of the band had a Strokes cover band cleverly called The Aneurisms. After making a splash at Uganda Rock, they ended up starting to write some original songs inspired by bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Weezer, and Tame Impala. Now after about a year of performing together, they don’t want to shoehorn themselves into a definable genre, they write the songs they want to write, feel it out as a full band, and let the live show speak for itself.

“Somebody will lay something down and we’ll all hop on it, and if we all like it we’ll keep going, but if we’re not feeling it, we’ll scrap it,” said Zack Hopkins, the band’s lead vocalist. Bassist Henry Wisner adds: “Sometimes Rollie will write a riff and be like, ‘Is this too heavy?’ And we’re like, ‘No.’”

Raptor has a five-track collection of songs they recorded at Pine Hollow Studio they’re looking to drop soon, but they’ve already moved on to writing more and more material, upgrading their gear, planning out bigger and better shows, and learning more about what they want to be.

In the last year, they’ve notched a bunch of cool shows on their collective belt at places like The Plus and Every Buddy’s Bar, not to mention a litany of house shows and even the Third Ward Neighborhood block party. In a live setting, their energy and eclectic song catalog make for an undeniably fun show.

“When we can all coordinate jumping off our amps at the same time, it’s great,” Wisner said, laughing. “But we don’t time it right that much.”

As for the future, after this string of shows, Raptor Octavius is putting their focus on working out new songs, molding their sound, and playing a bunch of DIY shows wherever they can.

“The hotter the house, the better,” Duerre said. “The best crowds are when it’s late in the night and everyone’s slimey. That’s the ideal show.”

So keep an eye on Raptor as they start to launch all the things they want to do. After all, they might conquer the world someday.

For more on Raptor Octavius, follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.