EMQ’s with HOUND THE WOLVES
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Portland, OR Psych/Post-Metal band Hound The Wolves! Huge thanks to them for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Tim, I play lap steel and create soundscapes I play back live. Hound The Wolves started to form in 2015 when Juan found out I played lap steel. I had admired his guitar playing in the Portland band Soiux, so we started talking about jamming on some songs Juan was working on. The jams where right on, and shortly there-after we started looking for people to put together a full band.
When we started this project, we knew it was not going to be the kind of band that performed a whole lot because we are all busy and in other projects, so we attempt to make every show special, something that you don’t want to miss, both through our performances and through the bills we play on.
In December of 2017, we were asked to open for Portland Doom mainstays, Witch Mountain, which was killer. Their current line-up is amazing all around and a real treat to watch, you can catch them in the US this fall opening up for Corrosion of Conformity. We self-released our debut album, “Camera Obscura”, in February 2018 and did a regional tour that was a lot of fun. That was the first time we spent time together in the van, and it was great to see everyone in the band travel together without any major problems.
In early 2019 we were asked to play Ceremony of Sludge VIII, the Portland music festival put together by Justin Brown (Witch Mountain, Bass) and Blaine Andrews (Hot Won’t Quit) with a bunch of amazing bands that call Portland home including Holy Grove, Glasghote, and Megaton Levithan.
In 2019, we opened up the Sabertooth Music and Beer Festival, and we got to collaborate on a beer with the Crystal Ballroom Brewery, the result being a very tasty porter we named Godhead, after one of the tracks we are releasing on this split with Glasghote. We met new friends in several bands and got to play again with our friends Year of the Cobra. The Sabertooth bill was insane with (the) Melvins headlining, Khorada, Wizard Rifle, Eight Bells, Holy Grove, Eye of Nix, and Freebase Hyperspace.
That brings us up to now, and the split we are releasing with Glasghote, with a release show in Portland and one in Seattle.
How did you come up with your band name?
Juan first suggested the band name because of dualistic meanings. Juan says: The band name is meant to provoke dualistic thought. Are you the wolf? Are you the hound? Do you persecute? Or are you persecuted? Who do we identify with and why?
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from the USA, Portland, OR to be precise. The metal scene is vibrant and healthy here in the sense that there are so many bands here. The breadth and depth of music being created in the metal genre here is intense. As a band you have to bring your A game or risk being lost in a sea of bands. Like with many places in the US these days, the cities are in full swing redevelopment mode, and there is money to be made. We have seen a dwindling of venues that host heavy music because of economic pressures, which in turn makes it harder to get dates and put together bills as everyone’s competing for the same venues. That being said, Portland has produced some amazingly successful bands including YOB, Red Fang, and Witch Mountain
What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)?
Besides this split (with Glasghote), we have one album out called “Camera Obscura” that you can find on Bandcamp and your preferred music platform, and we have a couple of videos for the songs ‘If Lost In Mind’ and ‘Omnia in Numeris Sita Sunt’, both off “Camera Obscura”.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Our personal influences cover a broad range and intersect. The band US Christmas was one of the first bands that Juan and I both loved. They are not a well-known band, so it was a bit surprising to find someone local who plays music and was as excited about USX as I am. We also share a love of Neurosis, the emotional power they put into their music is mesmerizing. We also all love YOB. We also enjoy other music as well though that is more folk and acoustic based, artists like Neil Young (we have a cover we have spent some time working on there). You can hear some of these Americana influences coming out in the new track, ‘Live Through The Day, Run Through The Night’.
What first got you into music?
My first experience with being fascinated with music was when I was five years old and my Mom bought my dad a record player and tuner stereo so he could listen to his classical records. My sisters and I started to listen to Casey Kasem’s top 40 religiously. My Mom also had a few Beatles records, most notably “Abbey Road”, and once that album was discovered, I was hooked.
Around this time, I also started taking Piano lessons, but I wanted to play the music I liked, not classical music that held little interest for me. So my parents got me a drum kit, and I started taking lessons. I remember not being able to wipe the smile off my face when the drums were playing. Unfortunately, growing up in a suburban house with paper thin walls, and no basement left me with nowhere to practice where I would not annoy the whole family, and when I was at summer camp, my drums disappeared. My parents gave me a choice between a computer and a guitar, and well, you can probably guess my choice.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
This is an interesting question, as I could name off bands that I admire who I would love to collaborate with, but would that be more because of the notoriety that would come with said collaboration? From an artistic standpoint and given my style on lap steel, I would want to pick something where I could bring something to the table. A collaboration with Grails would be a great fit and a lot of fun.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Without question I would choose Roadburn. I have been fascinated with Roadburn for many years, and have used their line-up to check out some of the best bands. Walter Roadburn does a fantastic job of curating both art and music, and the venues look amazing. Roadburn also shows great respect for the artists, which I really appreciate.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Our fans seem to be slacking, because as of yet we have not received any physical gifts. Of course, we do get the gift of their support through their time and attention, which arguably is a more significant gift than anything physical.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you for your support! Without the support of fans, you don’t have much more than a vanity project, so when people buy our music, and come out to a show to cheer us on, it means the world to us. While we view what we create as art that has validity regardless of commercial success, it certainly helps to keep us going when we get positive feedback.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I wouldn’t bring anyone back. Death is a part of the cycle of life, and death cannot and should not be removed. The amazing stars of years past lived their lives and had their time to shine. I personally find the dead star hologram trend to be at best, distasteful. Rather than bring back the dead, people should get out there and dig into modern music and support the artists that are alive right now.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
As flippant as this may sound, the making of the music, particularly to the point where a song is fully arranged and realized, and all of the band members are comfortable with what they are playing, and you have had a few weeks to rehearse the song. That moment when the song comes to life is amazing, so much so that sometimes I am in awe about how a song was created out of nothing.
The thing that I dislike the most is how difficult it is to generate the revenue needed to make recordings, promote them, make merch, etc. Even covering costs is a challenge, and touring or playing far from home is difficult because we all have other sources of income that pay the bills. I wish we were able to spend more time focusing on creating music.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
My lottery dream is to create a band incubator that helps new bands succeed. It is very difficult to make a band, there are so many things you need to do other than just play music to let people know you exist. So I would buy a building, create some rehearsal spaces, a venue, a label, and take bands in that I thought had potential and help them to navigate the industry.
There seems to be a sort of bandwagon effect where a band gets big enough, everyone comes out to their show. Meanwhile, there are amazing bands that are practically unknown that I know those same people would dig, playing to 30 people. Where are the crowds for the killer lesser known bands. People will pay hundreds of dollars to go see bands in a stadium but don’t come out to see small bands.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
The album that seems to stand the test of time for me is “Times Of Grace” by Neurosis. That album was released 20 years ago, but it still sounds fresh, like the ideas came ahead of the curve.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
All formats have their place. I love the experience of sitting down and listening to a whole album on vinyl. While in theory you can do this with other formats, I tend to just be listening when it comes to vinyl because of the experience. Lots of people still like CDs, we sell a few at every show. Downloading is more of an internet thing, we made download cards to sell, but they are not popular. It is amazing to be able to buy an album from a band half way around the world that does not have notoriety. Cassettes are the one that I am less sure about, but I know that some people collect them, so if that is your thing, go for it! Could not choose a best, each format has its pros and cons. I do favour the Vinyl with digital download code though, that to me is the perfect modern format.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Overall I am going to have to go with the Sabertooth Beer and Music Fest. We played super early at 4:30 on a Saturday, we collaborated on a custom beer we were drinking at the show, and we had a ton of people show up to see us, which was killer. They also had a weed concierge, which was a new level for us, and was frankly amazing.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I am not a professional musician in the sense that I make my livelihood off of music, so I guess you would say I am actually doing something else. I design world leading analog circuitry for audio test and measurement for a company called Audio Precision. I also enjoy recording and mixing music as well, and I have dabbled in this area as well.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
David Gilmour, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Adam Conover, Mike Schiedt, and Danny Devito. I have no idea how this would turn out, but it seems like it would be stimulating conversation.
What’s next for the band?
After this release, we are working to get back into the studio to record a new set of songs. Some of these songs we have been recording live, and we would like to have a few more songs that we would record. Then we start the whole process over again of releasing a new album!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Bandcamp is preferred, but we are on all the social platforms. Fans can choose the platform they like best:
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Being from the US, I didn’t know Jaffa Cakes existed until you asked this question. Perhaps I am not qualified to answer?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
In closing, I urge your readers to support the bands and musicians that are creating art you enjoy. Go to a show, buy a T-shirt, buy a CD, it means a lot to bands and musicians and helps them to create more art for you to consume. Also, take changes, go see a show if you have the opportunity, you may just discover your new favourite band!
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