Interviews : Wehrwolfe
With Nathan Ellis
Wehrwolfe is a brand new band from North Carolina bent on bringing a much needed burst of fresh death metal to America. I had a chance to chat with vocalist Nathan Ellis and discuss their new album, Godless We Stand, and talk about other future plans.
First of all, give us some background on why Darkmoon transformed into Wehrwolfe. Was it due to Vesano going off to Nile?
It's actually a common misconception that DarkMoon turned into Wehrwolfe. While three of the members of this band were in DarkMoon, it is an entirely new entity and musical direction. DarkMoon actually still exists, just with a different line up.
So what is it that distinguishes Wehrwolfe from Darkmoon? The main driving concept seems to incorporate war with anti-god themes...what are some general influences? Musical and Conceptual.
In Darkmoon the emphasis was on creating more of a typical, simplistic black metal atmosphere. This band is more about technical, aggressive, musicianship. We do still strive to create a bleak, warlike atmosphere but the music now is much more complex and aggressive. There will certainly be similar lyrical themes between the bands due the fact that Devon was the main lyrical composer for DarkMoon and still writes a great deal for this band.
The technicality in the music is definitely something that stands out. Any contemporary bands that you guys admire? I already know about the Behemoth fixation.
Haha yes, Behemoth is definitely one of our favorites..other than them I'd say, The Crown, Zyklon, Myrkskog, Soul Reaper, Dimmu Borgir, Nile, and Origin just to name a few. There is just so much great metal out there right now.
I know you guys recorded the new album twice. With the production in modern deathmetal reaching new levels what kinda pressures do you think there are in keeping a solid balance? How was the overall studio experience?
There is definitely a great deal of pressure on bands to come out with an album that is well produced. You could have the best music in the world and if the production is inferior it just won't sound as good as it should. For us it was matter of personal taste when we re-recorded the CD, we just didn't feel the first version gave us the definition that we needed in the music. We didn't feel like the power of the music was translated onto the disc. We're all very happy with the decision we made and I think we've come out with a CD that can hold its own if not surpass many of today's releases in production quality.
As far as the overall studio experience, it was a mixture of good and bad...the overall process is a very stressful one, especially when you are working with a limited budget. I can tell you that, after recording this CD TWICE, we are very glad to be done finished with the recording process. Hopefully next album will be a better experience.
Absolutely; it requires a strong band to perfect what they started. Speaking of which you guys recently got another guitarist in the team. What is the fifth guy going to bring to the formula? How was the Milwaukee fest with him in the band?
Man...he brings so much great ability to the band it's hard to know where to start. The music has always been written for two guitars and now we can finally play it live like it's supposed to sound. He's got a very strong thrash background and I think you'll definitely hear some more outright neck-snapping sections in our new material. This guys picking hand is just demonic...as far as speed goes, I don't think I've ever met someone who can play at the tempos this guy does. His soloing ability is amazing as well, I think with the twin shred guitar attack that we have now we're more of a lethal beats than ever before. Really...I'm so excited that Art finally joined the brotherhood and I think once people see and hear what he can do they'll know why.
As for the Metalfest it was a double edged sword for us...we really promoted the hell out of ourselves and had one of the biggest crowds I saw for any band there, but the sound was terrible and we had equipment difficulties throughout the set. On top of that the sound guy made us cut our set short by two songs. I think we played for about ten minutes total. Definitely not our best set, but Art played great and the audience seemed into the music for the short time they heard it...so hopefully we made a positive impression on the metalheads.
Played any pranks on Art yet? Any Wehrwolfe initiation ritual haha
haha no pranks yet...we've been too busy practicing for upcoming shows and writing new material.
I know you guys added 3 instrumentals on the final version of Godless We Stand. Was this a label request or a necessity since the re-recording sped the songs (ala Reign in Blood)?
Neither actually. All three of the tracks were supposed to be on the first version of the CD, but when we recorded the CD the first time we were still working on one of the songs and ended up running out of recording time/money. We had to "trim some fat" so to speak so the instrumentals were the obvious choices of what could be left off.
Aha, quite understandable. As for the label, Magick, they just got formed so everything must be brand new for them too. How is their setup coming along?
Great. I just can't say enough about what awesome people they are to work with. They're behind us 110%. As for things being new to them...Magick is an offshoot of Cleopatra records who have been around for some time, so they pretty much know the rules of the game. Everything they do is extremely professional and they've got a great battle plan for what they're doing for us.
From conversations before I understand that NC doesn't really have the greatest metal atmosphere. What does the neighborhood think when a bunch of long haired guys in black start tearing things up?
Yes, our location is unfortunate. Being in the heart of the bible belt does tend to limit the number of places to play, practice, or do anything else worthy of speaking of for that matter. But it does serve as inspiration as well...inspiration to hate those pathetic, mindless bastards until my last breath. As for what the neighborhood thinks about us...they DON'T. Those twits don't even know underground metal exists and they probably couldn't care less. Until a band like Wehrwolfe, Behemoth, or any other real metal band is put in regular rotation on MTV and a million or so middle class American kids start wearing Godless We Stand t-shirts we'll go largely unnoticed. It's not the message that matters to them; it's the visiblity of a band. Take Marylin Manson for example...a fucking joke, there's no real message in his music, but he threw around terms like antichrist a few times, looked scary, and since he was in regular rotation on eMpTyV the religious right was up in arms over him because it could potentially infect their kids. They don't give a fuck about "saving the souls" of the minority..there isn't enough money and publicity in it.
Yes, I don't expect Wehrwolfe will be making MTV videos anytime soon. But if you guys to escape to a country where people actually do give a fuck about the underground scene what would be on the To Do list. Like maybe an European tour with a band like The Crown?
Absolutely. We're actually in the conceptual phases of making our first video right now; for the song "The Trinity Undone". It's another medium by which to convey our message. And of course we'd slaughter a million christians to get on a tour with the Crown!
What kinda equipment does Wehrwolfe use to create all the noise and racket that you guys do so well? (Battle axe not included)
Right now Chuck is using a Peavey 5150 amplifier, those things are fucking vicious...Art's using a Line 6 Flextone head, Devon uses a Carvin amp and cabinet and then doubles his signal with a sans amp direct unit, and Scott uses Tama drums and a ddrum module
Speaking of battle axe...Stainless Steel Lycanthropy has sudden sounds of swords being unsheathed in the mix which just adds a whole new dimension to the track. Who was the smartass with the idea? What's gonna be on the next album...tanks blowing shit up?
hahaha I'll take credit for that one. I thought that moment in the song needed a little spicing up and the swords fit perfectly. It's also kind of an homage to Satyricon, who is another one of my favorite bands. If you listen to the song "Dawn of a New Age" on their Nemesis Divina CD you'll hear what I'm speaking of.
And as a matter of fact there are already tanks blowing shit up on this CD. Listen to the intro to M1A2 Battalion of hate.
The swords are more like part of the song...its a different feeling.
Yeah, more atmospheric as well.
Maybe you guys should get a swordguy in the band for the live shows.
hahahaha whenever we practice the songs I always say the same thing...we have to find a way to get those in live... thats my favorite part of the CD.
Alrighty, thats all I had for questions. Make your statement to all the fans, foes and dumb christians NOW!
Thanks again for your interest and the opportunity to do the interview. To all fans...thank for your continued support. You are all part of the brotherhood and we shall be victorious over the mindless masses, to all foes...our blades will taste you blood soon enough, and to the ignorant, mindless masses....The dawn of Reason is at hand...fear it for it is the demise of your pathetic deities.
When this interview finally ended we were both drunk on The Crown and other such good music. Thanks to Nathan for taking the time to do this. Wehrwolfe's new album Godless We Stand is out on August 12th, 2003 through Magick Records. Check www.wehrwolfe.com for more info.