Of Wolves: An Interview

Of Wolves is a band from Chicago, IL.

"It seems our songs take a bit longer because we let them write themselves. It is a very fluid process and over time they become what they are."

Weirding: On your band YouTube page, there is a playlist that's all about Chicago bands and music. Some of it goes back into a genealogy… and I can hear some of that in your music — Naked Raygun and The Jesus Lizard, for example. Could you talk a bit about what Chicago and the music of Chicago means to you?

Steve: Chicago has shaped us a lot. And when we think of Chicago, music is always the first thing that comes to mind. Bands like you mentioned and bands like Pegboy and Shellac are Chicago to us — and had a huge influence on us.

The people, the weather — it all plays its part. We love this city. Chicago is like a huge family to us. It feeds us. It entertains us. It protects us. We look out for each other. It's not perfect and can be quite dysfunctional… but it's home.

Weirding: One of my favorites from Balance is the title track. I love where it dwells on the bass guitar overtones and then there is a different sort of relation to overtones — humming around the vocal cords — in the middle section before falling backwards towards through where we entered the song. Could you talk a bit about that song and where it came from.

Steve: This is a very personal song. It is about release. About life and loss. Personally, I think there is nothing heavier than that. 

So, it is a song about being a good human being rather than fucking scum. 

Weirding: It certainly feels like the emotional pivot point of the whole album, which I guess makes sense given its title and where it sits in the song order. It really brings home this idea that we should push beyond the bullshit.

Steve: And I would like to think most of us have had enough of it. We, as a society, are only as strong as our weakest link. And in that regard, we are all one and we need to learn to stand together as a whole and stop allowing ourselves to be divided. Only then can we live in the paradise that this earth is meant to be — rather than be enslaved by the greedy hoarders who seem hell-bent on having it all whilst destroying everything in their wake, leaving the rest of us just enough to barely survive.

Weirding: There’s a video as well, right?

Steve: The video was just released as a premier for RoadBurn Redux. I filmed most of it near my home chasing lightning footage during a storm. It started off as a background layer that was going to showcase live footage of us playing the song.

Weirding: I've got to ask a gear question. There are some great tones throughout the album. I love the tremolo and later what sounds like some behind-the-bridge playing on the guitars in the song 'Heart to Hand'. Tell me about your set up — how do you get those tones? You are playing Reverend Guitars?

Steve: I love my Reverends — and yes they are on the album. As well as some of my Gibsons and my EGCs. On the song ‘Balance’, I’m playing a Fender Bass VI that I converted to a baritone. There’s an Ibanez baritone as well.

I personally don't feel like a super skilled musician — I'm not super talented. But I know what I like. And it's real. We feel it. So with that said, I have searched for the tone in my head for most of my life. And finally have it. It consists of my heavily modded Marshall head and my Green Matamp cab.

Weirding: Dawn Ray’d chatted with us a couple weeks ago and Fabian was talking about sending a Quilter into a pair of Matamps. They certainly sound great. And those cabs take well to a variety of guitars.

Steve: I switch guitars often. Especially during recording. I would literally try each song on every instrument I own. Same thing with tunings. Until I find what I think sounds the best for that song.

I think of all of it like painting — you don't just use one brush or one color.

Same goes with effects. Same with weed and psychedelics! The possibilities are endless, but again I know what I like. I kind of feel like we are parrots just mixing together things we love.

When it comes to percussive things like you mentioned, I think a lot of that comes from me being a lefty that got tricked by a shitty teacher at a young age to be a lefty who plays righty. If you've ever seen those shiny medicine balls that you spin in your hands? My right hand spins them like magic. My left can barely make them go around. Anyway, I think this makes me a more percussive player.

Weirding: Were you all in previous bands?

Steve: Yes, quite a few. Ivan was in Yakuza and is also currently in Rosaries. I did some time in Hedspin and IVC — and my side project Halftone. I was in a ton of bands, but Of Wolves kind of came about because of my old band Chronic Jayalker.

Ivan: Before Of Wolves, I was playing in an avant-garde metal band called Yakuza and I had left another band. I was looking to fill the void that was left and Of Wolves was just the thing I was looking for. It was mean and fast and the message they were passing on made the most sense of all. It definitely was something I could get behind.

Weirding: So, after a year spent playing the waiting game due to the pandemic, what are the band's plans going forward? Will you be touring and are you working on a new album?

Ivan: Moving forward, Of Wolves has been busy writing new material. I feel this line up really gels together nicely and the songs are coming together with ease. We hope that we can finally start playing for audiences — to bring Of Wolves to them live. We all really need this.

Steve: We are courting festival dates for the fall of 2021. So please spread the word and if anyone is interested hit us up.


Of Wolves

IG: @ofwolves / Twitter: @ofwolveschicago

Bandcamp / Site: ofwolves.bandcamp.com

The album Balance is available on Trepanation Recordings on both CD and cassette. A vinyl pre-order for the first run of 250 copies — including variants — of Balance begins on July 4th.

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