Interview with Wolf Counsel
Tell us about your latest release: the main concept; what fans should expect; what were/are your goals with it:
Well this is our 4th album called “Destination Void” which will be released on February 22, 2019 via Endless Winter, a Doom Metal specialized label. We always had a deep interest in the arts of uncompromising spirituality, mysticism and philosophy. These views and ways are strongly reflected in the lyrical and visual expression of this album. Obviously the album title beckons the question what happens after our life on this earth. So it’s an album about Death, the end of human life and the overall process we all will go through sooner or later. It is one of the few things we all as humans have in common. From a harmonic perspective these new songs have an even more traditional approach to Doom Metal than the past albums. Dominant drums, harmonic eerie riffing and haunting melodies will marks the evolving process that will reminisce listeners to all the forefathers of heavy Doom Metal but adding very personal signature trademarks and a very melodic voice leading that runs like a common thread throughout this new full-length album.
Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
Well we had several influences when Reto (Drums) and I formed this band back then. The idea to start Wolf Counsel and even some riffs and harmonies were already in existence the early 90s. We had something in mind that was even more heavy than Reverend Bizarre, Cathedral, Trouble or Solitude Aeturnus. But in a “Metal” way. We weren’t much influenced by Stoner Doom and trendy stuff in the past 10 years. The reason probably is that we’re all playing, recording and touring in bands since 30 years now. Therefore we’re obviously almost from another generation. The sound, harmonies and especially the vocals grew and evolved very much from album to album. We don’t like to repeat ourselves too often so it’s very likely that another album in the future will sound even more different than all the others. Who knows what will come next. Maybe an epic monumental instrumental album or a progressive rock influenced album. We’ll see. Overall it will sound like Wolf Counsel anyways due to our individual approach and playing styles.
How does your writing process normally work out?
Usually I write all the songs by myself including lyrics and basic vocal/harmonic harmony lines. So I’d program drum patterns, record all guitars, bass and vocals and send our drummer Reto these demos so that he can work on his drumming arrangements. Meanwhile Andreas and Ralph would have time to work on their guitar solos. Sometimes we change song forms or extend verses, choruses or trim them. When all the material is ready we’d book recording time at our regular studio (Little Creek Studio near Basel/Switzerland) with our friend and producer V.O. Pulver and record the new songs step by step and sometimes even with live sessions. It’s a work process that hasn’t changed much since the beginning of this band.
What are your ambitions and how far do you want to push your band?
Well I mentioned that we are (studied) musicians since 30 years. Nowadays you have to be realistic about the changed landscape of the music scene in general. As we all know there are thousands of releases every month and it’s difficult to stand out of course. So what’s the point in hunting for commercial or mainstream success. The main ambition of this band is to be independent and free from everything. We are fully aware that we’ll always be a deep underground band and probably even in 20 years not a lot of people will know us. But as creative people and artists we care more about pushing ourselves in regards to composing and creating interesting music. Who knows what we’ll do next. Each album until know sounds different and evolved within a short amount of time. So maybe we’ll do another epic monumental thing or a full instrumental album (without vocals) or a progressive rock influenced album or whatever. Only time will tell. Having said that I think it becomes qiûite clear what this band is about. First and foremost about creating music and hunting for interesting harmonies, melodies and spiritual expression.
What are your influences/musical references and the impact those same influences had in your sound?
When we started all the classic forefathers of Doom Metal were in our minds. But we wanted to make it sound even heavier but not in a Stoner Doom way. We’re probably too old for that. We’re almost a different generation having started playing in bands in the mid 80s. So our influences are rather traditional. Cathedral, Trouble, Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus were some of the references. Reverend Bizarre too, later on at least. But listening to all these 4 albums that we did since we started this not one single album sounds like these bands. Some stylistic elements from these influences can be found in our songs of course but the overall sound of Wolf Counsel is rather individual. Doom Metal or Metal in general is sometimes very limited if you limit yourself as a musician or composer. We still sound like a traditional metal band of course. A very slow one obviously. So our goal is to get rid of limitations step by step, album by album. All the before mentioned influences will still be there probably but the overall content of this band will very likely evolve and change in the next decade.
What’s next for you?
At the moment we’re working on the release of “Destination Void”. A video for the sing “Nova” will be released 1 or 2 weeks prior to the release date (Feb. 22, 2019) followed by a album release show March 1st, 2019 in Basel (Switzerland) and a short UK/Ireland Tour in April.
More shows are already booked until the end of 2019 even though Wolf Counsel is not a band that plays too often. We’d rather prefer to do a full tour with 30 shows once a year rather than single weekend shows but we’ll see if that’ll happen someday in the future. We all play in long time established touring bands as well so we always have to check our schedules when there’s time for some more Wolf Counsel shows. Regarding new songs we’ll very likely won’t release another album in the next 2-3 years which will give us time to extend our horizons for more Doom Metal and then create something that we’ve never done before. So that’s just a short summary of what we’ll do next from here onwards.