WOLF COMPANY: Bigger Shifts

Wolf Company

Manchester’s prog youngsters, Wolf Company are a new name on the prog rock scene, and they have recently released a video for their debut single “Your Stain,” which is available from iTunes. The guys are very enthusiastic about their future, and drummer Matt Harrison proves it in an interview he did with Prog Sphere. Read more below.

How did you go about forming Wolf Company? Define the band’s mission.

Hogg and I have worked together since school. Hogg met Mike at University. Nick and I teach Bass and Drums at the same place. The pressures of commitment to a gig without a full band brought us all together, and on stage we realised an unexpected chemistry.

While it’s obvious we would love to play in front of thousands of people -who wouldn’t – meta to that we want to grow individually and as a band, push our music back and forth and inspire others to take it even further.

Your debut single “Your Stain” is really awesome. Describe the approach to recording it.

Honestly we didn’t think too much about the approach before getting to the studio. Like many projects, the pressure of time and finance pushed us to get the track laid down but within that there was a lot of laughing and messing around; lots of trips to the Tesco garage for coffee and tuna butties (except for vegetarian Hogg) and lots of inspired creativity that emerged without expectation.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Hogg captures the lyrics on his tablet but has an immensely impressive ability to store and retrieve music he has written at will. I had the structure noted down on my iPad also until it etched itself in my mind!

How long did it take you to finish the work in the studio, and then shoot the video for “Your Stain”?

Studio recording, mixing and mastering for “Your Stain” along with other tracks was over four days in February 2015 and the video shoot followed in June and July. No doubt the fact that we are still all very new to this made it enjoyable and fresh – not in the least arduous, but then we were completely in charge of the whole process.

Wolf Company - Your StainWhat were the biggest challenges you faced when working on the single/video?

Trying to get the breakdown right! Playing the two different time signatures on drums and guitar over each other was a tad challenging. Beyond that, getting everything done in chronological order was tricky too. So, making sure everything got onto iTunes and Spotify and such on time for the release proved stressful.

Speaking of challenges, is there a creative challenge to deal with in that the members occupy similar sonic spectrums?

Answering this question!

Ok. Yes there are crossovers in our musical interests and influences. But this needn’t limit and stifle creativity. In fact if you look back at (for example) movements in the arts then it is the meeting of like minded individuals that enables bigger shifts to happen.

Provide some insight into the group’s chemistry that allows this music to emerge.

We have a real respect for each other’s talent but there is nothing more aggravating than Mike after an energy drink! Ironically we don’t get too serious even when playing live. We have our professional standards but at the same time we have a laugh…a mistake is a mistake and we don’t get hung up about it.

Where do you draw the inspiration from and how do you go about channeling it into writing?

We go through patterns of who we are listening to – like a musical obsessive compulsion. I might listen to Coheed and Cambria over and over while Hogg has a Slipknot phase…then these move aside to make room for a different focus. Who we are into at the time will influence our music but it is forever shifting and changing.

What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

Hogg takes ideas from political arenas, leaders and tyrants. Mike on the other hand looks to affairs of the heart. Nick likes to plan his next curry or holiday while I enjoy being outdoors…Stig of the Dump!

What is your view on technology in music?

I think being a progressive band you have to be open to all ideas and methods of creating music. How can you avoid it these days? It is completely useless being stubborn and close minded about the idea of it or as time goes on you’re bound to get left behind. We’re open to using anything creatively.

Do you see the band’s music as serving a purpose beyond music?

I think all music serves purpose – One Direction may not be our idea of purposeful and talented music but their fans are no doubt moved in some way. We’re trying to push mental boundaries rather than just musically. Feedback from our most recent gig was that it was a “masterclass in band dynamics” and also that someone who had been taken to the gig and wouldn’t normally explore heavier music thoroughly enjoyed our set and labelled us as “one of the best up and coming live bands he’s ever seen”. This is what helps define our purpose – we don’t expect to change the world but knowing we’ve influenced the mindset of people through our music is what we’d like to achieve.

What is your viewpoint on the struggle bands are facing today as they try to monetize their output?

We’re not in a position to financially advise anybody on how to spend their money, but we would feel very uncomfortable getting into debt, and at the moment any profits are ploughed back into production of the next bit of band movement.

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

I think the biggest piece of advice we could give is be open minded. Don’t be limited in what you do by sticking to cliches or following the opinions of others. Also, don’t believe a Simon Cowell figure will come along and make everything okay – you need to work hard. We’ve only just set out on our journey so we also have a lot to learn, but be prepared to pull your weight.

What are your plans for the future?

First step – back to the studio with more local live shows and then 2016 we’ll go further afield beyond the local scene.

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