ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about the history of your band. When did you originally form and is this the original line-up?
The roots of HTW started in late 2014, with the full band coming together in early 2015. I took us a while to get the line up fully established. We are still playing with the original line up.
ITN Magazine: Do you remember how the idea of forming the band first came up?
Juan and I had meet years before when we played a show together in bands we were previously in, but we did not know each other very well. One night we were talking, and somehow it came up that I played lap steel. Juan’s eyes lite up. Juan was also one of the few people I knew who shared my love of the band U.S. Christmas. Juan had some skeletons of songs that he had been working on, and he suggested that we get together and jam sometime. We had practice spaces in the same building, so I brought over my lap steel and we jammed on what Juan had. We decided to get together a second time, and that we were both really stoked on what we were coming up with, and we decided we wanted to create a full band. We started auditioning drummers and Ryan was asked to join. Next it took us a while to find the right bass player, I am not sure why it was so hard, I expect finding a competent player with the time and desire who was into the music just added up to being challenging. We were searching for a while, and finally asked Cory if he might be interested, and he was way into the music. He came out to play with us and joined the band. Finally, Juan suggested that we have his friend Nate who he played with in his other band, Tigers On Opium, to play Moog and auxiliary percussion. I was a bit skeptical about adding a fifth member to the band, but my concerns were quickly assuaged as Nate knew intuitively the sonic frosting that would finish our proverbial cake.
ITN Magazine: How would you categorize the style of the band?
This is always a hard one for me. Ever band I have even been in seems to not fit in neatly with a particular genre or scene, sharing some elements, but never quite fitting in neatly. Hound The Wolves certainly falls in the category as well. Of course there is a lap steel that is hardly a traditional rock instrument, let alone metal, seeing much more use in country, blues, and hawaian styles. There also is liberal use of delay and dynamics. We were described as psych metal by one of the early music editors who reviewed us, and it seems to fit what we do, a combination of psychedelic and metal.
ITN Magazine: What image do you want your music to convey to your fans?
We want to convey the interplay between man and nature, of life and death and how they are intricately tied together and inseparable. The universe is both a predictable and mysterious place, with order and structure hidden in plain sight.
ITN Magazine: Producers are a very important factor in recording a good record. Who did you use to produce your record?
Being a new band on a small budget, we did not have the funds to hire a dedicated producer, Juan and I shared a vision of the music, and along with Jeanot, we discussed the goals of the project, our vision, and filled the traditional producer role ourselves. Jeanot really helped us a lot with ideas and techniques we used in production of these tracks.
ITN Magazine: How do you feel the band has evolved musically and personally over the last year?
Like with any band, playing together has tightened our musical connection with each other. We are all musicians that play in other projects, so even if we can’t get together for a few weeks, we come back and are pretty solid right out of the gate. What had really changed is that we write more music together now than the first set of songs, and it we have been experimenting with some new structures. We do not use the same structure, there is no verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge etc. type fo writing, so each song is unique in how it is put together. These techniques keep the writing exciting and interesting to us as musicians and allows us to express ourselves creatively.
ITN Magazine: Favorite memory from a show you’ve played or a place you’ve traveled to?
One of my favorite shows was when we played a music festival in Oregon out in the gourge called Buddystock. Buddy has an apple orchard with a house with a large deck facing to the NW. The bands play on his deck with a view of the Gorge. Hound The Wolves played as the sun was setting, and it was just an incredible time of day and place to play a show, outside, with the sun setting behind thee crowd. It was also a really great group of people and bands playing and just generally a lot of fun.
ITN Magazine: Where do you draw the inspiration for the songs you write?
Well this is a nebulous and hard to pinpoint where inspiration comes from. I know that I can not force it. I can’t sit down and say to myself, I am going to write a song. I can try, but inevitably, the results are not satisfying to me. The writing that I like best seems to come out of nowhere, to just materialize itself when it is ready. I can’t force it to happen, I just have to be receptive to when it does happen.
ITN Magazine: How important do you rate the lyrical side of your albums?
Lyrics when you can understand them in the music has to be important, as they tend to be the final part of a song, what you are listening to the singer say as the ride on top of a bands music. So they are important, and I really like the lyrics that Juan writes for our music.
ITN Magazine: What are your current tour plans, if any?
Full tours are very difficult for the band financially right now. Many of our members do not get paid when they don’t work, and as you may know, it is difficult for a tour to even break even on the level we are at right now, let alone provide income replacement to members. It is also hard to hold down regular jobs if you are touring at the sort of frequence that it seems necessary in order to establish a regular income. That being said, we are playing a release show for the split 8/8 at the Substation in Seattle with Glasghote, DANGG and Dark Mystic Woods, and we would like to play more shows regionally. If we had some way to make a tour profitable for the band, it would certainly could change things. I hope that one day we will be able to do more tours and make the economics more manageable for the band members.
ITN Magazine: Do you see as we do that most local radio rarely support the up and coming new bands and even more local bands just starting out?
ITN Magazine: Did you find it hard to break into the business and what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Yes it is always difficult, the challenges are many and and constant. From talking to my friends that have various levels of success, one thing I can say is the hustle never ends. No matter how many records you have put out, you always have to be looking forward and promoting yourself. Most bands are looking up to the next level in the industry, trying to figure out what the next step is. We really just want to focus on making the music we want, recording it, and performing it, and for these activities to generate enough revenue so that we do not have to constantly have to spend our own money to move the band forward. Maintaining enthusiasm for being in a the band and all that that entails under the strain of these constant challenges is probably the biggest obstacle, but for people like me, you don’t really have a choice. I tried to stop about 15 years ago, and I was miserable, I felt like there was a hole in my life that could only be filled by creating music.
ITN Magazine: How has Social Networking (Facebook,Twitter, etc.) impacted your band?
It seems social networking is everything these days, it is where people are these days, particularly for the metal scene that gets mostly ignored by the local alternative publications here in Portland. Social media is an important way for us to connect with fans of our music.
ITN Magazine: Thanks for answering these questions. Do you have any last comments for our readers?
Please support the musicians who’s music you enjoy. It is very important to most smaller bands, even one sale means a lot to smaller bands. If you can’t afford to buy things, then showing your support through social media, including talking about the music you like, sharing, commenting, and interacting with an artists is hugely helpful to bands. Even a small show of support or a kind word can be the fuel a musician needs to keep creating. Thank you for taking an interest in Hound The Wolves and giving me the opportunity to talk about the band and my perspective, I hope that your readers find it interesting.
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