Catching Up With Northwind Wolves
We wanted to sit down and talk with Northwind Wolves, but technology got the best of us and our recording needs we not comparable. For that reason we resolved to do a text based interview because I was not going to pass them over for the Artist Spotlight simply because our tech didn't like one another! This is what they had to say.
I had the opportunity to listen to Mountains and Darkness this week and I thought it was brilliant. I am sure your fans are eager to hear it after last year's album. How would you say the newest album compares to Dark...Cold...Grim? And how does it differ?
Hellfire Brittany , first I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be part of this interview and speak to your audience. I wanted to say that it means a lot to us that you took the time to listen to our album " Mountains and Darkness " when I'm sure your company gets requests from thousands of band every month to have their music heard on your platform and I realize what a privilege it is to speak with you one on one.
I would say that our first album and second album have quite stark differences if you're a learned person in the ways of black metal music. To a newcomer of the genre, it may seem that the music from either album is quite similar , but to the trained ear I would say the most obvious differences are in production quality.
The second album far surpasses the production value on the first album, What I mean by that is the tone of the instruments are alot more powerful while also being alot more clean sounding at the same time. On our first album , at times it is difficult to make out what exactly is going on during each of the parts of a song, but I am quite impressed with the tonal quality and power behind each instrument on the second album.
As the Guitar Player / Singer of this band, I can say with certainty that the guitar tone is alot thicker and louder than our first album, which was one of my main issues with " Dark... Cold ... Grim ... " I felt like the guitar tone was hidden in the background of the mix , too high pitched, and very easily lost behind the power of some of the other instruments. I believe we have remedied that short-coming in NorthWind Wolves, and I expect the guitar tone to only improve with our 3rd album and beyond hopefully in late 2020 or early 2021.
You have such a worldly sound, I was honestly surprised to hear you were in the US. What influences did you have when writing this album?
Yeah the US seems to have their own type of sound when compared to the rest of the world don't they? What you're hearing in our "worldly sound" might actually be the Keyboards and Piano. I find that in alot of American Metal bands, they tend to not have any orchestration in their music.
That fact, and alot of American bands have American music influences, while Astaroth ( Guitars ) and I have been influenced by music from all over the world. The combination of those two elements really goes quite a long way , and I believe we have a very unique sound especially for an American Metal Band.
We didn't particularly have any specific influences when writing " Mountains and Darkness " But obviously over a life-time of being musicians and music fans alike, brings quite the list of subconscious influences which you will never be truly free from , and my musical tastes can be mapped into all sections of the metal spectrum from Power to Black , and even beyond the metal spectrum from Classical to Contemporary music , Movie scores, and Folk songs as well.
Do you see you music continuing to evolve to adapt to current trends or will you stick with the tone and overall sound you have cultivated?
Well so far, having read a few reviews about our new album "Mountains and Darkness" and Plenty of reviews from last year's "Dark... Cold... Grim..." , most critics seem to say we have a very 90's Black Metal sound. So it can be said already, that we're really not adapting to modern music conventions and seem to just want to play the type of music that we feel good about. We don't really sit down in a room and try to write "90's Black Metal" but those kinds of riffs are what seem to be the best sounding to us and the over-all feel of the albums seems to portray that particular time period in Black Metal history.
I have found that many bands have their own rituals and practices when it comes to songwriting. What is your process like?
Well that's an Interesting question, I might even ask some of the other bands at our shows this same question. It seems like quite the ice-breaker when meeting new musicians.
Personally we aren't very spiritual when it comes to the band environment, Rituals and Practices mean little when it comes to writing good music in our own personal case. We're more concerned with the end result , a finished album that we can be proud of , and I just can't really make the connection between performing a ritual and generating great music. Maybe its something i'm missing, that would help us to write even greater material, but as of right now our writing process is quite sterile. We write riffs, sometimes at home, sometimes as a group and then try them out at band practice and see what works and what fails our standards.
I think your sound is unique and engaging. Was it easy for you, as a band to come to the decision on the overall sound you wanted to put out?
Well, I'm just one guy with a simple opinion... But I think this question might be flawed. I could totally be wrong, but I don't think bands really sit down together to try and write a type of music. I think bands just play what sounds good to them. There may be some small effort to mold what songs they have already to fit more into a particular genre or theme, but overall I'd say most bands I've met and definitely NorthWind Wolves just writes what sounds nice to us and we hope the listeners will enjoy the music we put out. Personally I think our music sounds more like a Wizard casting a spell than any particular over all sound.
I personally enjoy the music you make, but I'm curious to know how your local scene responds to you. Do you tend to get more favorable reactions on the road or when you are home?
Well at home we seem to get favorable reactions when we do get to speak to other band and audience members after each of our shows, sometimes you don't always get to speak with everyone at a show, or sometimes they don't feel comfortable telling you their real opinions both good and bad about your performance, but its safe to say we have never been booed off of a stage or asked to leave a venue yet mid set! We're going to be playing in Arizona for the first time on November 30th at Joe's Grotto, So Ill definitely update you with the comparison of Southern California Fans vs. Arizona fans. I believe Walter from Cranium radio will be broadcasting our show in AZ for all of our American and International fans to hear live if they cant make it to Joe's grotto.
The album officially releases in December, but I know you are working with people all over to promote it. How is the reception from those who have listened to it? Is it what you expected?
So far everyone who has heard it seems to like it , we're consistently receiving review scores of 4/5 to 5/5 from alot of different review sites regarding "Mountains and Darkness" . Personally I think I can do better in the future when it comes to song writing, and we will be working more closely with Marcos from BlackLion records when we record our 3rd studio album to have a producer's perspective to really try to enhance our songwriting and song production quality and try to take it to the next level in the future.
I would expect a fan of Black Metal, Symphonic Black metal, Melodic Black or Death metal to be interested in our music and at least appreciate a few tracks from "Mountains and Darkness" whether or not we gain them as new members of the NorthWind Wolf pack.
Do you have plans to do a tour now that your second album is set to release?
Yes we do, I'm glad you asked! for the rest of the year we're playing single shows in Long Beach, Arizona, Downey, Anaheim, and other cities in the SW united states , But early next year BLACKLION records is putting together a U.S. Tour between us and VESPERIAN SORROW ( Texas based Black metal band from the 90's ) slated for April / May , so hopefully we reach a venue near you guys and you can let me know what you think of the live performance vs the studio albums of NorthWind Wolves.
I was reading through comments and reviews on your previous release and I see a lot of comparisons being made to early Dimmu Borgir. I enjoyed them quite a bit when I was younger and I can see where that comparison is being drawn. How do you feel when people compare your sound to theirs?
I'm not sure that we really sound like Dimmu Borgir at all, I think what people mean when they make that comparison is that we have a heavy black metal sound that is recorded well when compared to alot of low-fi black metal bands who purposely try and sound very gritty. If you look at the song writing style of Dimmu Borgir and then compare it to our style , there are stark differences including the lack of lead guitar sections in Dimmu Borgir, We tend to have more melodic riffs and less heavy riffs than them, I believe the comparison is flawed entirely.
If you can answer this question, What can we expect as far as music videos to accompany the new album?
Actually we're preparing to shoot two music videos, One for the 5th song on the record "Pale Winter-Storm Lightning" and another for "Lord of Winter and Death" which is the second track on the album.
My last question is one I ask everyone. If you could be any animal what kind of animal would it be?
I guess it would be pretty cool to be a Grizzly bear. Nothing in the wild is ever going to mess with you unless you're a juvenile or an elderly bear, and If you wander far away from where humans are, you'll be set!