Of Wolves play loud, hard, fast and pissed. It is their therapy. Three angry men roaring. An anti-political bunch of musical making psychos who hate the system and the lies, they want listeners to know there are no choices or parties or teams. Humanity is a singular team, and music has the power to shock to the inner core and bring about a revolution of the mind and spirit.
Earlier this year, Of Wolves released Evolve, which embodies their manta. Ghettoblaster recently caught up with OW’s Steve Sherwood to discuss the record, and this is what he had to say about it.
When did you begin writing the material for your most recent album?
Because of various issues (my near death accident, losing a couple bass players, issues with recording, one studio lost/had ruined all the track, bad luck, trust and various issues caused us to record some of the songs as much as three times!), we didn’t get the first album out until four years after we formed. So we have about two to three albums worth of material and we are always writing more. The songs going on the next album are as much as four years old and some we are working on presently (well all of them are always getting better of course), but some are as new as our new bassist Ivan (from Yakuza) who has been with us since about July.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
The hardest one was “No Loss For Words” because the song was about 23 years old and I have played it so many different ways. And we as a band recorded it almost four times so it all varied a bit and never really came out as I wanted it too. It used to be much more punk rock, like with Naked Raygun-/Misfits-like “whoas” in the background on the choruses, plus many parts were added and removed. The funny thing is our songs have progression about them, especially as we record, and for that particular one I added a lot to the end there at the very last minute. I heard things and just made it happen. But mainly there is something about this song that made it very different recorded and live. And because it is one of the only actual signing parts on the album, it just didn’t fit (maybe with the rest of the album? or the speed we recorded it at?). I am not sure, but it took a long time for me to figure out a way around it to make myself happy with how it sounded recorded. So this song is a bit different live as are a couple others (we do think of recording and live as two different things but for the most part we want them to be cohesive)
There is one more thing that made this song the hardest on the album for me. The ending. The song is so old that the way I had sang it for so many years had been copied by very large and famous band (for whatever reason this has happen many times to me over the years and I’m guessing many other musicians as well). It, at the very least, sounded very much like how the singer sings it, so it took quite awhile to come up with a new way to sing the chant at the end. Not because I liked the old way any more, but because it was so stuck/programmed in my head. But then one night, the the way it always should have went just popped right in my head (I think our old bassist Scotty had some help in it as we were talking about it back and forth) and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. The song is very unique and has a lot to it. The song and the entire album have many facets hidden in it, it’s really meant for an altered headphone experience.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
Ha ha, I think the last question answered this one! Overal,l since I ended up having to do all the bass tracks they all turned out very different as I changed all the bass lines to make them stand out they way they needed too. This was not my choice, just our luck. I got sick of waiting for the right guy so it took me multiple times to get them the way I wanted them and basically figured out what it is to play bass in the process. Previously I thought of the bass like a guitar and the primary notes as the riffs…not at all!
But, just to give you a bit more since I had already answered that question, I’ll give you something else!
The song that is the most different live is “Legal Lies”, mainly just because the tracks had been in play for so long and we had been through quite a few bass players (actual members, fillins and try outs) that I had written more parts for the song, but we didn’t want to go back and start all over so we left it! So the live version of that song has a couple parts (I dare to say two of the coolest parts and definitely one of the fastest metal riffs we play) in it live that are not part of the actual recorded version. Which makes us excited to get a live recording released of it so everyone can hear the full song as it is live now!
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
No, although we would like to do so, and have talked about it many times over the years….maybe even on this next one (I know a couple guitar players who are among the best lead players and that has never really been my thing, although I am starting to become a bit more interested as of late). I also know lots of other musicians who could add all sorts of cool textures, color and sounds and I have always been about the song! Whatever makes the song what it should be. It would also be really fun to have a crew of our friends get together for a really large gang vocal. I am also a huge fan or world instruments and although I will try and usually find a way to make any instrument sound good in my own way, a real badass player doing his thing could be really cool.
Who produced the record?
What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
EVERYTHING ha ha. Lee Popa helped with the mix a bit and it seem like he wanted to produce it as well. But were already too far into the processes and after everything we had gone through he wanted us to go out to LA and re-record it with him, which would have been really awesome, but we were already way to far behind and couldn’t imagine starting over again.
Now we are looking into various studios to see which will fit the sound and tone of the next album….
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
YES!!!!! EVOLUTION in its many facets, but mainly as a race of people on this planet to grow out of our ignorance, ego and pride and realize we are all one. We hurt one, we hurt all, we help one, we help all…to stand up and live this life and not fall prey to its many programmed pitfalls that lead most way off course into various forms of mental slavery. From there each song has a strong message (especially the one about bad breath!)
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
Yes, we play them all live, as well as many new ones and a rare cover once in awhile (we do ’em our way and are working on a cover album of some of our favorites down the road). The fan favorite has always been very clearly “Red Skins/Buffalo Nickels” and even more so when I pull out the mandolin and blow everyone’s mind by playing a mandolin at a metal or punk show! Some love it, some hate it, but no one ever forgets it or us. The other fan favorite will be on the next album, a song called “Heart To Hand” and it has a reason or two for why everyone loves it live so much as well…but in order for people to know more they will have to come check us out live and let us know where they want to see us and help us to make it happen. The world is a very small place now and we can all help each other more than most realize. We hope to meet and see many more new faces each year as time is flying by!
(Visit Of Wolves here: http://ofwolves.bandcamp.com and here: Reverbnation.com/ofwolves.)