It’s hard to get close to electronic trio WOLVVES, shrouded in mystery as they like to be. I gives= it a go, but like their sound, the answers could be drenched in layers of clandestine and furtive yet frenzied secrecy. Quivering synths, harmonized and fused vocals, the triplets take their classical training in piano, guitar, harpsichord, drums, and voice, chuck it in to their personal obsessions with synthesizers, drum machines, analogue tape and a host of buttons and beats, breaking down barriers in genre to create what they call ‘witch step.’ It’s an effort to listen to – this isn’t sunny afternoon music – but keep at it and on every go a new sound or state unfurls itself at, lucid and angry in shadowy ecstatic agitation. Bristling along before a detonation, it always feels a little terrifying, but utterly beguiling. This is the first time that New York triplets Joshua, Elizabeth and Lewis Valleau have united in music making, and it is taking them to peculiar and petrifying heights.
The titles of your songs all suggest dark emotions and life turmoil, do you write from experience or interest in this side of life?
Dark emotions perhaps, but not necessarily life turmoil. If the tone is dark, it’s exultant! We are reveling in the night. We see our songs as being quite pious in a way – offerings to the gods like Kali or Tezcalipoca or Paula Abdul. We feel it’s important to cover all our bases just in case. “A Breath Away” for instance is a kind of ecstatic love and longing song about the Moon. We think she was appreciative, based on her recent astral acrobatics. An important part of our songwriting is storytelling as well. Our forthcoming album will complete the saga of teenage triplets who run away from a cottage in the woods towards the bright lights of the city. Sadly they are attacked and eaten by wolves on their journey, but in the process they become half-ghost/half-predator creatures that both remember being alive and enjoy their new lives as pure-minded killers. The story is semi-autobiographical. 😉 “It Speaks” is really the seed of the album – the moment of transformation.
Sibling rivalry or support?
Support, to the point of Hive Mind. TwinSpeak. Sympathetic Magick. Pushups. We make kick-ass band meals together. We do high-speed borough laps in the middle of the night banging Berghain techno mixes. We are love.
What is the ghostliest experience to have happened to you? Do you believe we are ‘living in someone else’s past?’
The quote about “someone else’s past” is actually something William Gibson said at a talk we attended (his writing are a huge inspiration to us). We have had many experiences of slipped time, and a sense that the future, fully formed, is looking back on us. Neil DeGrasse Tyson could say it better – but the universe is powerfully haunted by itself. We hope this means that Beyoncé will somehow live forever.
New York is a city of bright lights – why so dark?
In the dark, the light shines brightest. New York City is our ultimate muse – our home; holy ground. It lures to devour, and surrendering yourself is the first step of ascension. It baptizes you with poverty, aggression, bad smells and the elements, and you emerge reborn as its fierce offspring. It’s joyous, but very wild. Also Lombardi’s.
Your music isn’t the most accessible – is it a process of creating for fame and success, or an elemental urge?
We respect and honor musical tools like pop and hooks – they are powerful energy conductors, and some of our songs will demand them. But the songs are people too. Others will need to be a little more liminal, abstract – maybe a little oblique. We are passionate about stretching out the moment between things – the emotions and colors we don’t have words for. We think these are the truest parts. Fame is never a factor, but we believe in power of a riot.
Are you inspired by visuals and other art forms? It sounds like it… I can imagine glacial landscapes and deep philosophical conversations.
The phrase “Let’s make it sound the way ____ smells…” is not an uncommon statement when we are working. Haha… All three of us have varying degrees of synaesthesia and therefore mixed metaphors are essential. We’d like put the whole world in our mouths, but for the sake of time let’s just talk about movies. 🙂 In the studio at all times Blade Runner is playing it 1/35th speed. Peter Greenaway, David Lynch, Kenneth Anger, Cronenberg, Buñuel, Jodorwosky, Guy Maddin, Blah blah blah Amen. However our favorite movie might be The Return of the Pink Panther. Or Purple Rain.