Today I am interviewing Of Wolves – The Out-Of-Control Social Conscience Renegade Rockers who blend Sludge, Doom, Stoner, Thrash and Punk into something chaotic and downright dangerous. But damn they do know how to pack a mean great fucking riff.
This is what I said about their excellent album – EVOLVE
“Well here is a loud and pissed off album if I have ever heard one. It's probably the most schizophrenic album I have listened to in a long while now. I have had this album for a while now. A long while... - which I can only apologize to the guys for.
At first I didn't like it at all. It's a band very hard to describe. It's a mish-mash of all the genres mentioned - Thrash, Stoner, Sludge, and Punk without staying into one overall territory. I used to listen to Evolve when I was in a rotten mood. It was the perfect marriage made in hell. Pissed off Sludgelord against these thrashy punk upstarts.
Then with time I began to fall for this albums fucked-up charms. Yeah it's still loud, violent and angry as hell but it's one I am more at peace with.”
Here is the interview with Steve and his merry band of outlaws which I am really looking forward to. As it's always cool interviewing a band who tell you like it is. So here goes folks!!!!
Q1 – Hi guys, How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this.
Sure! Thank you for having us, we greatly appreciate you and your staff all the support for us and the Metal scene at large as well as thank you for always informing us of new bands to check out and listen to! We have found many great bands we might not have heard of otherwise.
Q2 – For people not in the know can you give a brief history on how the band came about.
I was playing a show in my other band Halftone at the time and a really bad cheesy assed Nu-Metal band came on after, it was the same ol cookie cutter flavor of the weak bullshit and as I continued to drink and try to enjoy myself they annoyed me more and more until I ended up going up to a couple buddies at the show saying we are starting a band, a mix of everything that is heavy but new and different and most importantly honest and real! I was a bit buzzed and carried away about it, but the idea was there to create something honest and pissed while at the same time being a real release. We ended up with of the guys I spoke to that night Pat being one of the guys who I actually started the band with he introduced me to Jon our drummer after a couple different drummers I tried out were not the right fit.
Q3 – So – Of Wolves. Where did the name came from and what does it mean.
We were all hanging out after practise figuring out who we were as a band musically speaking and talking shit... We got on the subject of names all of us throwing shit back and forth and our original bass player was playing with my German Shepard (he knew I was a huge fan of wolves) and as she ran by he said From Wolves, I immediately looked at him and said OF WOLVES and that was it we knew it right away....the funny thing? And most don't know it, but it really means we are actually called Dog! But not really
Q4 – Apologies for taking too long in reviewing your album and doing this interview. But we are finally here. Anyway - Evolve – A schizophrenic metal-heads perfect album. As I like to call it. Did you realize the album was going to be that chaotic when you first recorded it.
Well, I am ADHD and a original Ritalin Test Patient Kid! A total knee bouncing Type A personality, with a very short attention span! So in that way you hit it on the head! At the same time, I want to feel the music and not just jump around for the sake of it, or being technical or showy or whatever... So no we didn't mean it to be that way necessarily? But we do work hard to be ourselves and not get stuck in one corner or direction. We really want to expose all our influences, and things we love while getting all the pissed off energy out of our systems... The funny thing is when we picked the songs for the album (as we have about 3 albums worth of material right now and had about two then) we tried to pick the most coherent pissed off of the bunch! So imagine if that was not the case! Ha-ha
As the album moved forward we knew more who we were as a band. And what we hope to happen to us all as a the human race. The album itself was recorded multiple times after many technical issues in various studios and bass players so we actually had changed and grew a lot from where this all started while in the process of making the debut album which overall took entirely way too long.
Of course, we have a million reasons for it, but I fucking hate excuses (and am still full of them! haaha) Anyway, that will not happen again! So, we wanted to show the Evolution that had happened to us as a band over the years we were together up until then and as the album "Evolved" it became deeper. I heard things I wanted to add and it was cool that they exposed other sides of us us and the music. I love so many styles of music and opening people up to great new music. I feel real music lovers don't just love one style. If you look hard enough, you will find something you like in many music genres.
Q5 – Obviously there is some sort of concept behind the album. Can you explain to our readers what the album is about.
Well, I wouldn't say there is an actual concept. BUT there is a constant theme that is always there, of course the title says a lot, we want people to EVOLVE! Wake up and stop all the bullshit that holds us all back as a race, then you add all the day to day strife that is life in this world as a working class of people to that so the album. It ends up being basically therapy for us and we hope for listeners and fans as well! So it focuses on all the things that piss us off in the world and our daily lives. Venting I guess? But then there is the deeper elements to it as well.
All the things hidden in there, the idea was to make people think, to look deeper, pay more attention. Not to us necessarily, but the world as whole. So there are hidden tracks unnamed tracks, but if you want to find them, they are there! Along with many hidden images, riddles, etc... We wanted to include a Cracker Jack-like mini magnifying glass with it but we were already way over budget and there was no easy way it include it in the packaging. I guess we hoped a bunch of folks would trip balls and see or hear it and get in there deep. We made sure there is a lot there for them to find and keep them going easily for the 8-12 hours if not more multiple trips of mind expansion.
Q6 – Is there anything you want to change about it or is it perfect the way it is.
I love the album and wouldn't change anything. BUT I would love to have it out on vinyl! HINT HINT! Anyone? haha The album art alone would be so badass. I love how easy it is to pass our music around the world, stream it etc, but I am a huge fan of vinyl as well. Besides the artwork being larger and having two sides to work with etc.. I really appreciate that the sound comes from actual vibrations of the needle. Mainly, because I am so into the feeling and emotion of music I really think that those vibrations transcend what we realise or hear or at least effect us more or differently etc.
And a label of course for bigger distribution and tour support etc. We have a couple labels who want first dibs on the the new album once its complete. But that doesn't really fit the question about the album does it! We also have an alternate mix of Shit Sandwich (which we used for our latest video) that I prefer now.
Q7 – How would yourselves describe your sound.
PISSED!! Therapy! I always say it keeps me out of jail and off the news (at least so far!) It's a mix of everything we love. It is great that we don't have any borders or a box around us. That we can write and play what we want, if people don't get it good! Then we know we are doing something different and since most peoples taste seems to suck then it might even be a compliment? Haha, we were surprised that we didn't really get any negative press or reviews, we thought for sure we would get a couple. Shit, we figured we would get our asses ripped apart! Again not because we agree, just because we know we don't fit in the box that so many want to put music in.
Maybe we need to try harder next time? Ha-ha, no I am just being an asshole for the fun of it now! Seriously, we do it because we love it, I have to write and play music! So whatever we are playing/writing is all very honest, whether its something I am pissed about or sick of or something that happened. In general, as a person I wish people thought more critically and outside the box and did not just believe everything they hear and are told, programmed etc..so in many ways that comes out in my writing. The best description we have heard is we are too Punk for Metal and too Metal for Punk! Hey, might be a good album title?
Q8 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians.
Oh wow, I love this question! But this list could go on entirely too long, so I'll try to keep it short. The early days in the mid to late 80s it was Metallica that drew me into Metal and finally starting to really love playing my guitar. Then I went nuts looking for anything I could find. From the bay area bands Megadeth, Anthrax to Overkill, then Slayer, led me to other major influences like S.O.D. & Nuclear Assault to bands like Cro-Mags on and on it went we bought albums for cool artwork on the covers, because the bands we liked wore their shirts.
That's how I found Godflesh, which is a big one! Entombed, Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Brutal truth, Most of the metal bands early on opening me up to more to Punk and both directions grew and grew... Misfits, to Danzig, Minor Threat to Fugazi and everything on Dischord, Slapshot, D.R.I, Big Black to Shellac and everything Albini touched, Slint, PJ Harvey, Neurosis, Naked Raygun to Pegboy (John Haggerty was a huge influence on me as a guitar player) Butthole Surfers, The Jesus Lizard, Pixies, Dead Kennedys to everything on Alternative Tentacles, Alice Donut, Pailhead, Black Flag. Clutch, Sepultura, Obituary and Fugazi were also all big influences on my guitar playing and song writing. Queens Of The Stoneage, At The Drive In... Music is a constant flow of influence. Your tastes grow and change.. Baroness, Shipping News, Red Sparrows, Boris, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Pink Floyd, Fear, Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Sleep to High On Fire, Melvins, Disfear, Doom, Oxbow, Voivod, Ween...shit even old school Outlaw Country like Willie, Waylon, Chris and Johnny! to things like The Steeldrivers and other Bluegrass hahaha how fucking Metal is that! There is more every day!
Q9 – What is the local scene like in your home town. Do you get regular gigs in your home town. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.
Chicago is a great place for music past and present. Tons of great bands, clubs and support. Chicago easily encompasses every style and blend of music and we can see how it continues to evolve. We have been very lucky to have been given many great opportunities. Being in the mid-west there are tons of great clubs in all the surrounding areas. Lots of great promoters, radio stations, mags.... There are so many and everyone has been great to us! Its hard to mention them all but Elle and Reggies, Rick, Mike and Eddie with Unholy Empire and Cobra Lounge. Vito and Brian with MPshows, Sam and Phantom Note Productions, CMF, CMA, Rock In Chicago. Any bands wanting to come into Chicago thats good list to start with!
Q10 - What are your favorite bands you are currently listening to. Any bands that myself or our readers should check out.
Yeah, our new Bassist Ivan turned me onto Mans Gin, fits where my head has been with 16 Horsepower, Wovenhand and then lots of killer new stuff out in the past year or so.... The new Indian!, Jucifer (who we will be playing with again in April), Weekend Nachos! Avernus is back together and has a new one coming soon! Doomriders, Old Man Gloom, Ken Mode, Gorjira, Intronaut, Martyrood, Big Business, Shipping News, Kvelertak, Pig Destroyer, QOTSA Like Clockwork, Diesto just released a new one sounds more punk than the last couple. Nails, Big Business, Red Fang, Tomahawk, Corrections House, Gorguts, Making Ghosts, Czar, Melvins, Atlas Moth (they have a new one on the way!), Minsk, Red Fang, Church Of Misery, Revocation, Johnny Vomit, Pig Champion, Old, Workhorse, Pale Horseman was just in the studio! Vicious Attack, Beyond De-th, Mexican Werewolf, Jar'd Loose, Ox King, Rollo Tamasi, Arbogast, Typesetter, Faces Of The Bog, Scientist (get well soon Eric!), Taken By The Sun, War Brides, Beak, Pelican, Russian Circles, Cokegoat, Wizard Castle, Oh and I should mention, Splooge Witch is looking for a badass woman to front their new stuff too.
Q11 - Right. Down to Politics time. Now the world is one fucked-up place at the moment. Big Business and Politicians trying to screw us over. Obviously you guys have come at the right time to start a revolution. So what is your thoughts of what is happening with the world.
Ha-ha, okay serous time, thank you for asking! It's a really fucked up place. Everyone thought guys like me were paranoid freaks and it turns out maybe not so much? Bastards are listening to everything we do, watching us in our homes on our computers? The news feeds us garbage about hollywood (intentionally left lower caps) whores instead of doing their job everyone is running scared, bought and paid for. The world is on fire reacting to the lack of any real choice realising we are the worker bees and the dream is a lie. There are no choices when all sides are owned and operated by the same big money puppetmasters who are now making laws.
Our own government can imprison its citizens indefinitely without any due process, no jury of your peers. Just your a threat and now your gone in a hole some place or worse a drone comes by and take you out and your family? Yet, people are all for it? Cameras on every corner, tickets in the mail for speeding and going through a yellow light in frozen conditions where stopping would cause and accident. Like I say in No Loss For Words "land of the free and home of the slave..." we are controlled by propaganda, drugs, fear.....George Orwell was off by 30 years here in the US we are in an Orwellian State.
People are in complete denial, sick, broken, pissed, afraid...the world is standing up against their oppressors while we watch Reality TV and sporting events and drink ourselves into oblivion...could you imagine how different our world would be if everyone knew and reacted to politics the way they do to their favorite sport? Or Soap-opera? If we knew our candidates and elected officials stats like we do Football stats or Hollywood rumors? All politicians lie? WHY?!?! Because we allow it! Currently in many ways humanity is a failed experiment that needs a huge near death slap in the face.
A major wake up call. You only live once... The big banks are just like any other evil cartel or gang with too much power and no one strong enough to police it so it goes on out of control getting fatter while draining everything below it. Same with the religion, all forms of control and power. I'll never understand how men can be so greedy and foolish. Money, money, money, now, now, now.... So fucking stupid. It's plain as day. Blow off tops of mountains, poison the fresh water. Oil spill after oil spill, Nuclear meltdown after meltdown. Crooks get rich and get patted on the back while the innocent die in debt.... The little guy bails out the big guys who were careless and carefree while breaking every law in their path. What's the world's governments do? Bail em out on the taxpayer's dollar, print more money... Business as usual. American is now the land of the free and the home of the debt slave.... While the NSA reads this and ads me to yet another list. I'm the bad guy, because I will not except my government or any other as crooks and criminals?
And you know they are all watching a bunch of people getting off the sick fucks... Then, the news?? We are the news! (The people I mean) those who tell the truth face jail for life while our leaders lie for a living and we just go along like sheep following the herd... Drink More Beer! Watch more of the Olympics! Hoorah! Weed Is Legal! Hurrah! Ever wonder why? Why now? Hey, wait, look over there>>> whatever the news is and the bigger it is, there is something going on they don't want you to know about. Some new law, some new infraction, some new loss of freedom. Don't get me wrong, I'm for it. But nothing comes without a price. I could go on and on here but Ill save it for the songs.
Q12 – Did you record Evolve in a political mindset or did you just unleash all your fury and anger onto this brilliant loud record.
Thank you for that! It's a little bit of both I guess? I mean the songs just come as they come, sometimes I am watching the news or a movie, sometimes it's something from my/our daily life... BUT its all THERAPY for sure! That is what this band is all about. Getting out all of the shit, from everything that pisses us off and makes us stew in our boots.
The shit that makes you see red every day. The weight of the world, the economy, sickness, pain, depression, addiction, traffic, religion, the mistakes of our fathers, the idiocy of the human condition? Programming? Propaganda, Control...
Its relentless to say the least. I'll tell you one thing! Its not like I'm gonna run out of subject matter any time soon! Ha-ha This band keeps me out of jail and off the news... At least so far! It really is a huge release and we hope it is for our fans as well. So yeah, that's exactly what we do! To unleash all our fury and anger and it feels so good!
Q13 – And you have a new member that recently joined the ranks since I last featured you guys. Ivan. How did that come about.
Well, long story I suppose, we were just about to get back into the studio when Scotty had gotten sick and went home and we were faced with looking (should I say again?) for a bassist. We are glad to say he is doing better in warmer climates! He will always be a part of the pack. It's always hard loosing one of your own and trying to figure out who's right and who can hang... Take our shit! Ha-ha Be part of this cosmic stress ball from hell! Not knowing who will last or quit.....day after day and grow with us.
Really take part in its therapy with us. We had been trying out a lot of guys and had it narrowed down for awhile, new ones kept popping up and a friend of a friend referred us to Ivan. Ivan is in a band many of your readers will know Chicago's own unique and heavy badasses Yakuza. Before we brought Ivan on we thought we already had our guy, but he really wanted it. More than the others, it seemed, he's a bit younger than us too, which is cool as he brings in new life and tastes. So we get to open each other up to lots of shit we might not have heard otherwise. But overall he's a super badass player and brings a lot to the table.
Especially since we are a three piece and I am screaming the whole time I'm playing guitar ahaha. He really loves music, like I do and really loves to play. His playing style ads a lot of vibe and color to the new songs and we are stoked to have him.
Q14 - What are your views of bands using websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund their new album releases. Some people and bands are for it. Some are not. Would you consider doing some thing like that yourselves.
We have talked about it and we have seen it work for some and not for others. We think it's great that we as artists can take our futures into our own hands, but we also don't like to beg from our friends and family... I'm not saying we will ever do it. Never say never it will bite you in the ass every time! But so far it just has not seemed like the right thing for us. We are self funding the album again and once again we are a poor man's a budget. But we love what we do, we have to do it and we will work, sell and slave whatever we have to do to make it happen as it should and be what we expect it to be. Pre-sales may be something we might be considering as we get closer. I think that concept works well, a limited print shirt or something with the pre-sales I dunno, we haven't gotten that far yet but it's coming.
Q15 – In 5 words or less describe the Of Wolves live experience.
I like how Ivan put it. Balls out raw power!
Q16 – What is the songwriting process in the band? Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual?
Up until recently I had songs all written or brought them in and we all firmed them up, as time passed, we jammed more, figured out more who and what we were as a band and things started to fall into place more as jams, get together and light it up see where shit falls. Then we end up taking the idea and playing off of each other and new things come out... I still bring a lot of riffs, song ideas and all the words to the table, but Ivan has been pitching in a bit now too and without rhythm it would just be noise! But we all pitch in our thoughts and ideas on everything...refining etc.
Q17 - Has BandCamp been a big help in getting your music across.?
Bandcamp is amazing! It blows my mind, I was just showing it to my kid and telling her this is like the record stores of now. You can look, listen shop and there is way more than you could ever hear or check out. Or afford! It's very exciting really. I hate to say this, but times are so tough I think more bands should try giving away their albums at least until they have stronger followings. We waited quite a while to put it up till we sold a bunch of our actual CD.
But once we went through about half of them, we put it up for free or name your price I mean. That is a cool feature and has restored my opinion in man a bit as many people pay even if they don't have to! Sometimes it is a dollar or three etc but its cool to see people are supporting music. However, we notice this more outside of the US. But we know first hand how it is to be broke, and if you don't know if you like a band and have never heard them before you're not going to shell out money when there is so much music you want out there...
So I think Free (pay what you want) is a great thing. We will be changing it soon as we are down to the last box of the album and need to start making some money to put toward this next one. We were featured in a lot of mags/zines and radio shows all over the world which a lot fo that came from bandcamp and most, if not all found us on their own. It was a real pleasant surprise that we did not expect and it continues. I wish they would let you recommend more than three bands though at least 5! Ha-ha, I think that's a great thing as when someone downloads your album it will tell them who you think they should check out. They have to see it its right in their faces! So we switch em out, and when other bands give us the love back we leave em on! Sad more bands dont do it. As I always check out the others from the bands I like, so I know it works. I think any bands that are not referring the maximum three bands are doing a disservice to themselves and everyone else in the community and hope to see more and more of it as time goes on.
We use it for rare items we sell too, like I will be posting a drumhead with our logo on it soon and we have a new T-shirt design that Tom Denny did for us on their now. I will also be adding a back patch and our beer koozies again soon too. Its just overall the best thing that could happen at such a hard time for music and I don't care what anyone says there are options for unbelievably great high quality files!
Q18 - What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band? Obviously, the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect
Most rewarding, to get all this out of my head! Ha-ha the release! Like I keep saying, it really does help keep me a least a little bit saner than I would be without it! And yeah, I don't think most realize how much work, time or money it takes to be in a band, but if you love it none of that matters. I think the most negative aspect is the politics of it, you still have the hierarchy, you still can't get into many mags without the right representation or contact (which sadly is usually about money that most bands don't have).. So those are the shortcomings, just like everything else in life these days, it all really does come down to money, touring, recording, duplication, packaging, merch... We don't want to skimp or fall short on anything so you do the best you can with what you have or you find a way to get more...If you love it as much as we do, you find a way!
Q19 - If you could provide words to wisdom for people wanting to start a band – What would they be.
I have lots of ideas that flooded my mind here... Practice, of course. But I think a big one that you don't hear very often is to try to put a band together of people you really know and like. You're going to be trapped in many small rooms and vehicles with these guys if you're not close and can get along shit is gonna fly and you might not make it, if fact most don't. Support your buds and other bands locally, go to shows, be part of it all, I only wear shirts for bands I know and like/love now. The big guys are already big, they don't need you as a walking billboard! But smaller independent bands and your local buds do, and you hope that catches on as that helps everyone! At your shows, you're a team! Stick around till the end, be up front and support your team (show)...
Get good at loading in and out and setting up your gear quickly, get on and off that stage quick, be pros not douches. Wait to talk to your buddies, girlfriends, fans til your all done. Fuck your ego, leave it in the garage or your living room with the rock band game! We are all just people, rock stars are dead..oh and one more thing while I'm ranting FUCK FASHION! This is music! It is about sound not look.
Q20 - What pisses you off most in music. Or do you not let the bad things in music stop you from performing and writing songs.
That's a loaded question! And I just kind of answered it a bit in the last question! Ha-ha There are many things that piss me off, BUT none of them will ever stop me from writing and playing music! EVER!! I will play till I die they will burn me to ashes or bury me with a guitar in my hands! But what pisses me off? People who do it for the wrong reasons, I honestly think money kills art. It kills passion, it brings changes in the music as you start to think (if you care about such BS) what sells, who's buying, that sells, that's on the charts BS... This kind of thought process breeds all the endless cloning of what I like to call the cookie cutter flavor of the weak... Anything fake in general just pisses me off, who wants to hear that? Fine, okay you're a band for 16 year old girls well guess what, and you want to get laid? Didn't that poseur shit die off already? Plus those girls are only 16 for a year, your a fad and you will be gone... See ya!
Oh, but they made a million dollars and sold gold! Who fucking cares? I don't do this for money, I do it because I love it, because I have to do it! I don't have a choice, so that's not part of the equation. Now don't get me wrong, someone wants to throw money at us for doing what we love? and more importantly me being me, the way I want to do it? fine, I'm in, but I don't have any dreams of grandeur either. I mean shit its not like we are Radiohead or Pearl Jam or something! That's a different story, I'm glad to see bands who are good at what they do and do what they love and are doing well, in a perfect world art would be supported not sucked dry.
If we were in that kind of world, maybe I would have a different attitude but the way thing are money tends to change it. Its a shame that more people would want to buy and give to their favorite artist, so they would be able to make more art for them to love and enjoy. But it seems people are not that smart! It is not their fault they have been programmed since birth to be part of the system. Free and critical thinking is not part of the lesson plan! Art opens up those walls, the powers that be do not want that. Art is dangerous! Music is universal! It brings people together, it speaks to everyone. It expresses emotion and that is dangerous to those who would keep us down. All the more reason to support it and the freedom of expression that it brings out.
Q21 - Finally do you have anything to say to your fans.
YES!!! We love you all and cannot thank you enough for your support! Feel free to email us anytime, we will always reply directly, same with all our social media sites as well. We will be back in the studio later this month. We are recording with Pete & Andy at Chicago's Bricktop Recording. We are stoked to have new album is coming down the pike, so we will keep you all posted. We are very excited about all the new tunes as they are much more defining of who we are at this juncture.
We go further out and further in...in the mean time we just released a couple more videos for you all. Three now from Evolve and a couple more to come, one soon! So please continue to spread the word and share them and our album at bandcamp our facebook page etc to as many as possible we can't do this without your help!
To say thanks we have lowered the prices on all our merch on bandcamp and at our official store at http://www.shopbenchmark.com/ofwolves and are offering different specials so keep checking. The website is under construction and down right now as we are redoing it to keep it fresh and interesting we should have it back up very soon as well.
Let us know if you wish we could come through your town and where the cool spots are and other cool bands we should play with in your area..wherever you see something you think can help let us know, that's what all this social media is all about!
Connecting! It's a small world now, but use caution out there! So much propaganda don't believe everything you read gotta snopes that shit! Get involved, educate, inform, spread the word, support art and literature and EVOLVE
Well guys thanks for your time. I hope you guys never lose your violent passion as it gives you such a dangerous edge.
Thanks to Steve from Of Wolves for giving me a great interview.
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Written by Steve Howe