Ponyfolk was formed in 2014 by Clifton Nesseth (vocals, strings, guitar, keys, synthesizers) and Paul Sauey (vocals, strings, guitar, bass). Based out of Duluth and Minneapolis, MN, the pair’s multi-instrumentalist abilities and vocal harmonies have carved them out a reputation of creating maximalist soundscapes that are defined by droning layers of guitars, strings, and synth textures - undergirding emotionally evocative lyrical imagery. Aaron Hays (drums) joined the band in 2021. In 2020, Ponyfolk began to release a series of singles starting with their highway-inspired homecoming ballad, Longway. The band will be releasing their debut LP in 2023.
Originally crossing paths at Shell Lake Arts Center's summer camp jazz students in 2004, Clif and Paul bonded over their mutual interest in jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius and the English rock band, Cream. Several years later, they happened upon each other while auditioning for St. Olaf College’s music program in Northfield, MN. During their tenure in St. Olaf’s music major program (2006-2010), Paul Sauey played cello with the St. Olaf Orchestra and Clifton played flute in The St. Olaf Band.
After college, Clifton and Paul formed Ponyfolk, borrowing from the more acoustic side of their original project’s music and exploring their growing interest in multiple folk music traditions. Focusing heavily on their vocal harmony work and building their songs around intricate finger-picking textures and Scandinavian-inspired modalities, they released EP I in 2015. In the subsequent years, they began to add synthesizers and a more modern aesthetic to their sound. Pony’s music has been described as “the dark side of Simon & Garfunkel” and “early Pink Floyd mixed with the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.”