With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to OF WOLVES. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
Was it hard to come up with a name?
Steve – Haha its been quite a while now but I think it took that it took us a bit. We were just saying stupid shit constantly. Then my German Shepherd Kaya (RIP) ran by while we were on break in between jamming and writing and Pat the original bassist said From Wolves, I responded Of Wolves and that was it.
What does the name mean to you?
Steve – So we are kinda called Dog or Kaya? At the same time I have always loved all animals, especially wolves. For the balance of their beauty and fierceness. But also because of the pack mentality and how they work together to survive. And of course the Edward R. Murrow quote “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” fits us more every day!
How important is it to have the right name?
Steve – I think most people immediately get an idea in their head of what things are. So a name can have a bit of a first impact or insight or even give or send the right or wrong signals maybe? I dunno, seems important right? But these days of unreadable logos and letters changed or missing altogether is quite different than the past. Overall a name is what you are called. I think in a way it also creates or guides a bit maybe? Hard to explain what I mean but it’s almost like it might color in the lines a bit?
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have?
Steve – In the early days it would have been a weird combination of things like Thrash, Death, and Punk.
All of that early stuff shaped me and still does. Then bands like Harvey Milk, High On Fire, Sepultura, Doomriders, Isis, S.O.D., Dead Kennedys, Cro-Mags, Brutal Truth, the list could go on and on… But as members changed and we grew and the landscape changed, more recently, Sumac and Primitive Man. I mean we all like a lot of music, all styles and genres. I think all our favorite bands right now are 16 Horsepower and Wovenhand. I know Ivan would agree…? Ivan?
Ivan – Gojira has had the most impact on me musically, while I don’t try to emulate their style or sound, I do try to bring that energy to every song and performance.
Steve – agreed how could I forget Gojira!
Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
Steve – We live music, it’s always on. We can never get enough or hear enough. I’m always looking for new and more… Same with sounds, and songs, etc. We decided a long time ago that we wanted this band to be all the bands we wanted to be in. No walls or boundaries to box in our creativity and/or release. As for heros, these days they are few and far between. A buddy once said a long time ago “you are not a truly grown adult until all your idols have fallen”. It’s sad when it happens but I’d guess it’s happening quicker than ever? Soundwise, for me it’s mainly guitar sound, as a young player Metallica was a HUGE influence and consumed me early on. So raw, and that tone! ‘Puppets’ was the best tone I had ever heard and still feel that way. From there, John Haggerty one of the founding members of Naked Raygun and Pegboy was a major influence on my sound and playing style. Obituary’s liquid-like guitar tone is another favorite and the funkiness and psychedelic tones of what Clutch brought to metal and then last but not least Fugazi and Steve Albini, Jesus Lizard and Dwane. While not directly related, those tones and sounds overall will always be part of my sonic memory. And no matter whether anyone wants to admit or agree or not we are parrots. All we can do now is mix things together to try to create something new. When it comes to vocals, I worked a long time to find myself. Since most of our lives we are singing along and parroting others it takes a bit. But I have found just going balls out and really letting it all out feels the best, while giving me the most therapeutic release. Art being honest and real is the most important thing to me. It has to be genuine or I’m not interested. Tons of great vocalists that I love. I don’t think I sound like any of them really but I’d say, Mike Patton and Danzig.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
Ivan – definitely, during the slow songs I try to make as much sense as possible of the musical phrases and the way they move along, almost like a wave that flows all in one direction. During the fast songs it’s all about the chaos and groove of the riffs.
What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
Ivan – Of Wolves is definitely a small club type of band, we want to be as personal with the audience as possible.
Steve – I love all kinds of shows from house parties and DIYs all the way up. I love to mix it up but overall I agree with Ivan. Either way, right now we are really missing them all. We had a really awesome summer tour and some killer fests. I know we are all feeling this right now.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
Ivan – I wish we would have had more time with the songs before we went into the studio, the songs were not 100% ready and some are even played differently now because that’s what we feel is the way the song should be.
Steve – As much as I agree with Ivan this band has always been like that and when you have pieces moving, shit changes. I think it’s part of what separates us. I have always thought of live and recorded as two very different things and want to make each the best that they can be. My biggest issue with the album is that we don’t have it coming out on vinyl. Originally Cimmmieran Shade was releasing the album on vinyl but Dave got sick and closed the label. We had to pick up the pieces and are beyond thankful and proud to be part of the Trepanation family. Dan has a lot of faith in us and that means a lot. We still hope to get it released on vinyl at some point as well.
Promotion can be a bitch. Even today with all different platforms it can be hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
-It is a great time for music, in my mind by far the best ever, because of access, both for fans and also for the artists, but it’s also a much larger landscape. We are all literally just barges in cyberspace but we have been lucky in that cool people have found us and helped pass the word. Playing in front of people and getting on the road, of course, is everything! You have to do what you do and do it loud! For me, I feel like videos are the main thing lacking from most smaller bands. I think giving people something to focus on that uses a couple of senses (I wish it could be more) helps to really get them into what you are doing online. Too bad we can’t get ‘em all high first! Besides the videos and being everything online we can be, I think that street teams and being old school about promotion is just as important as ever. Maybe even more so. (if you want to join or start a street team in your area let us know!)
To me artwork can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
Steve – Hmm this is a hard one. Thanks, Ivan! Haha I grew up in a time when we didn’t have the internet, we couldn’t just pull up a song or a band on our phone. Mixtapes, tape trading, your local record store, and magazines were about it, (MTV was a lie) so the cover art was everything back then. We all literally bought based on the cool cover art. No shit. And over time you started noticing certain artists and certain labels and it all helped you find more of what you liked… but it was much harder for the fans and listeners back then. Which makes it a bit harder on us all now maybe? Just because there is so much. Now, it’s still the same, the art has to draw your eye in but quicker now. It really has to grab you and catch your eye from moving past it. Personally, for us I want everything we do to be different than what we have already done. Or mixing new things together. But back in my 20s we were tripping balls every other day and because of all that we were looking deep into things. And it was always awesome when you noticed something new and more the better. Easter egg type of shit, ya know, so we have always tried to do that with our releases. A lot to look at and zone out on. Lots of hidden shit, both visually and symbolically. Sometimes we are planning ahead for the next album or flashing back to something older. And not just in the art, but overall in the songs and titles as well. I’m a pretty crazy ADHD type. A kind of person always thinking and thinking too much. It gives me another outlet to release it all haha! I think that makes it more interesting and for much longer. Of course it has to be aesthetically pleasing to your eye as well. We are beyond stoked about this new cover art.
Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
Ivan – A local scene is very important not only for bands but to the general public as well. it’s important to remember that every band, no matter how big they are, were all local bands at one point, and it’s through that ideology and musical influence that other bands get inspired to get up there and begin their journey.
Steve – Perfectly said, I’d just like to add we are beyond lucky to be part of such a killer scene here in Chicago. The amount of talent is mind-blowing. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen. And it’s not like it’s all one style or genre or sound. Everyone is really pushing boundaries and each other all the time. But in a family-like way that I have never seen before even here. And all while constantly raising the bar for each other.
It could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be (covid-19 aside). Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is your experience with the live scene?
-Ivan – Times definitely change. I can’t speak for all people, but personally I still enjoy attending random shows at all types of venues, music is amazing and you never know what’s out there until you go out and find it.
Steve – without a doubt and we are lucky because we have so many amazing venues, and some really great rare shows in unique places both inside and out. I can’t get enough of it and miss it immensely right now. Quite honestly the only thing I really miss is the music. Personally, most of the bands I love the most are because of seeing them live. You can’t get the same feel and that energy otherwise. Even if you love a band, if they are a good band you will love them even more after seeing them live. I think maybe it’s more about oversaturation than anything else. That there are so many options.. every night it’s like you have to choose from so much going on. Maybe if clubs were closer together like a strip, so you can bounce around easier and bring more traffic to an area overall, more buzz? Promotion is also a big part as you stated earlier. You don’t see many bands like us postering and handing out handbills like you used to. The internet doesn’t work as well on its own. I also think it has to do with money. Times are tougher than most know or want to admit and it all adds up to less of everything we want and want to do. All while more work to get there. Which means you are also more tired and have more catching up to do. FIGHT THE POWER! But after all of this, I think that will change. We are going to realize now more than ever in our lives what we really missed. And maybe realize how much of our lives we are wasting behind these screens.
What does the future hold?
-Ivan – Who the fuck knows anymore.
Steve – Seriously! WTF 2020 I think an alien mothership is going to ask to talk to our leader before this album is released and we are gonna have to think quickly because if we bring ‘em to the dufus that is Donald Trump we are all fucked. Maybe we can talk them into taking him, all his asshole friends and followers with them hahaha. No seriously, the video for Mens Rea (Izaguf) comes out in June and the entire opus that is ‘Balance’ will finally be unleashed upon the masses on July 4th, which is American Independence Day. FREEDUMB!
We are beyond stoked. It can still be a great year. Either way, we sure as hell ain’t gonna forget it.
Some great thought out questions, we really appreciate you and your time \nn/