Interview with Sonic Wolves

Interview with Sonic Wolves

- in Written interviews

What inspired “III” and how did it shape your creative process?
The main inspiration came from a story we heard back in the 90s, about three South African activists who back in 1978 escaped from prison building wood keys for cell and prison doors. This story fascinated us so we thought that jailbreaks and other types of escape could have been a great topic for the whole album. It is not a typical concept album but all the lyrics have the same general theme.

How has Nico’s addition changed Sonic Wolves’ sound in “III”?
The guitarists that appeared before Nico had their merits, but no one truly possessed that certain 70s attitude that Sonic Wolves was looking for to incorporate into our own sound. In addition to being a great guitarist, Nico is also an expert on 70s hard/prog rock. He is an avid collector of records, and a huge portion of his collection includes some of the most obscure and incredible bands from that era. We’ve never needed to ask him to play in a 70’s hard rock/prog/psychedelic manner or give him many listening inspiration, since he already knows the genre inside and out. He’s also a talented black metal guitarist and drummer- just an all-around great musician who brings his experience to the table. It’s made all the difference in the world.

How did you intentionally break away from past vibes in “III”?
Sonic Wolves was formed to recreate the same type of vibes, musical intensity and attitude that bands like Steppenwolf, MC5, Grand Funk Railroad, Deep Purple, Lucifer’s Friend, etc., had back in late 60s, early 70s. We were teenagers in the 80s/90’s so we also love heavy metal, hard rock and punk from that period. The band is also clearly inspired by those decades too. How could it not be? We actually didn’t intentionally change our sound because what everybody can hear in III is the sound we always wanted in the first place. We couldn’t have had that in our previous albums because we had two different productions and of course different members. Especially for the second album, the production team didn’t work out very well for us. Thankfully we were in Trai’s studio and he intervened to improve the sound a lot, but at that point we were already far into mixing. For III, things were different. It has that sound because Trai listened to our ideas and concept. He then combined his expertise, knowledge, experience and musical wisdom to create the sound on the album. Oh yeah, he also has the best wine!

What’s unique about Sonic Wolves in the rock scene’s revival, especially in “III”?
Not sure if we are unique in this sense, but we certainly do our best to keep rock-n-roll alive. We are here to put our unique spin on it, combining the influences of bands we love while putting as much heaviness and sweat as we can into each song.

Could you discuss the storytelling in “III” and its broader themes?
The album discusses the topic of escape- whether from a prison cell, the physical body, dark entanglements of one’s mind or death itself. Each song delves into the story, the mindset, the longing, the sadness, desperation, triumph, love and insanity that accompany each story. Kind of like a remote viewing of each individual’s psychology as they dream of, plan out, execute or experience whatever mode of liberation they seek.

Did tributes in “It’s All A Game To Me” influence “III”?
Not at all. The two songs included in the EP were composed in different periods and with a different line up than today. One song, CCKL, was composed in early 2016 right after Lemmy’s death, while Thee Ace Of Spades was composed during the Covid lockdown. It’s All A Game To Me was an experiment. Our aim was to compose a song in the way that we thought Motorhead and Metallica might have. Basically, it was just us having fun and paying tribute to two of the most influential bassists and musicians in the rock and metal genres.

How does your Italian heritage shine through in “III’s” textures?
We (Nico and Vita especially) are fans of prog rock. Back in the seventies, Italy had a great and booming prog scene. It wouldn’t be that weird if the complexities of groups such as Biglietto Per L’Inferno, Il Rovescio Della Medaglia, New Trolls, Raccomandata Ricevuta Di Ritorno, Goblin, etc. were heard in Sonic Wolves’ music. III draws from the energy of these bands while keeping our feet firmly planted in heavy rock. The influence is most clear in O.B.E. in our opinion.

What intrigues you most about today’s heavy rock trends and Sonic Wolves’ role in them?
We don’t really pay too much attention to trends. However, it is intriguing to us that many heavy rock bands are using more true elements of rock’n’roll than 10 years ago, and that includes hearing a lot of seventies influence coming from a lot more bands. We love to hear it. III is a rock’n’roll album so if this trend exists we are a part of it.
Having said that, our role is to just be who and what we are. We play rock’n’roll because we love it, because it is a part of us.

Recall a standout live performance that influenced your setlist approach.
Very easy, any Motorhead or Blue Cheer concert. No egos, no rockstars, no posers, no showing off, just f#@ing rock’n’roll.

How does vinyl’s analog experience enhance “III” compared to digital?
We can’t compare the cd version to the vinyl yet, however the sound that comes from a record is always better. It’s not a matter of being old school or traditional. It’s a fact that the analog sound is warmer and more soulful than the digital, which has a cleaner sound. But, that’s not enough to be better than vinyl.

Any surprising or dream collaborations in “III” or future hopes?
We don’t have any collaboration in the works yet, but our dream includes promoting and playing III live as much as we can and composing and releasing new albums.

Discuss the visual elements in “III”.
The message in III discusses varying types of escape, from jailbreaks to escaping the prison of the mind. Our vision of the original cover concept was simply the Roman numeral III (which of course resembles cell bars), with each of the 3 bars showing a slice of our faces in it. After our friend and graphic wizard Diogo Soares, of Soares Artwork, did the “III” cover as we’d envisioned, he brought forth this absolutely beautiful cover with a circle of 3 wolves chasing each other in perpetuity. It was love at first sight. There was no way we were going to say no to something that killer!

Can fans expect new projects beyond “III”?
Fans can expect us to do everything in our power to create a worthy successor to III. When Nico joined Sonic Wolves he brought to the table a killer demo from his old project. The band was already working on new songs; five from Kayt and Vita’s end and three from Nico’s demo to complete the album. Now, thanks to this collaborative effort, we still have enough material to release a double album if we so choose. Our current setlist already includes three of these new, unreleased songs. Some have ended up as clips on our Instagram and Facebook pages, if our fans would like a better to get an idea of what’s to come.

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About the author

As a passionate devotee of heavy, psychedelic, avant-garde and progressive sounds, my enthusiasm for music journalism has been steadily building since 2020. My writing has encompassed a broad spectrum, ranging from in-depth analyses of album releases to illuminating interviews with exciting new artists on the scene. During my leisure hours, I relish attending live concerts and delving into the thriving local music scene in my Zurich community.

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