Posted by: Necci – Sep 04, 2012
September is a big month in music for Richmond. Not only do we have the River City Shreds Music Fest to look forward to (9/15), but this week at First Friday there will be a Subterranea Collective Showcase (Vol. 1!). This means that there will be a show earlier in the evening at Gallery 5 featuring bands on the Subterranea label: Houdan the Mystic, Brother Wolf, Way Shape or Form, and Cheyenne at 8 pm Friday (9/7) @ Gallery 5. THEN head on to the show at the Bug House for sets by 8t88, Phantoms, Lotus Grid, and Mirror Kisses.
Brother Wolf took a few minutes over the holiday weekend to help us get to know them better.
How did Brother Wolf get started?
Brian Dove (guitar and vocals): Tommy [Terrell] and I started playing music together a several years ago and had some stuff we wanted Miriam [Wierich] to play cello on. We finally got her to quit being shy about her skills and bring her cello over to our house and we began writing what would later become our piece “Soft Limbs”. Then we got Jessika [Turner] to start singing with us and added Matt [Stinnett] a little later after playing a few shows and realizing something was missing. He completes us.
Tommy Terrell (guitar and vocals): We met and became good friends in 2009 at VCU. The next year we all decided that playing music together would be fun. We played a couple of times and asked the multi-talented Matt to join and fill us out with piano and percussion. That's when things really got going.
How do you go about songwriting? Does one person usually do most of it or do you all?
Brian: The songwriting process has been completely different for every piece. But typically, Tommy or [I] will bring the structure of something we’ve been working on and then build from there. Each instrument changes and adds nuances that we didn’t hear in our heads when originally composing, but that’s almost always wonderful, and I feel like it's an important part of our process to let the songs grow organically.
Tommy: No song has been written the same way. Thus far, Brian or I have written the skeletons of the songs on guitar, then we bring them in, and they sort of evolve collaboratively from there. Miriam will pull out a cello part that could totally change the face of the song, or Matt will improvise something that makes us rethink where the song is going. It keeps things very exciting and keeps things from ever getting stagnant. Matt also has a pretty epic song written out that we are excited to get working on.
What have you been listening to lately? Reading anything?
Brian: Lately I’ve been listening to the Soil and the Sun’s new album What Wonder is This Universe!, a lot of David Bazan’s stuff, mewithoutYou’s latest album Ten Stories, and a ton of Subterranea bands. I’m a huge fanboy when it comes to my friends’ music. Navi, Houdan the Mystic, and Way, Shape, or Form are currently in my most played. I’m reading Take this Bread by Sara Miles and I just finished Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
Tommy: Lately I've been listening to The Soil and The Sun, Torche, Kayo Dot, Giant Squid, Pygmy Lush, and Deathspell Omega, along with everything in Subterranea and other local favorites like Windhand and Inter Arma. I just finished reading The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass, Grendel by John Gardner, and Foundation by Isaac Asimov.
What's coming up next for Brother Wolf?
Brian: Hopefully an official release sooner or later. We’ve got a lot of material to track but the recording process is daunting and confusing due to our song structures. At shows, we’ve never been able to achieve the way we hear ourselves when we play in my living room, which is how we intend for it to be heard. It would be nice to have that solidified in some recordings.
Tommy: Hopefully some nice recordings, whenever our schedules and expenses allow. We have enough to fill 2 full-length albums so when we do put our time and efforts into getting these songs down in an ideal state it will be really exciting.
What are your impressions of the Richmond music scene?
Brian: I really love the Richmond music scene. The things that are coming out of the Subterranea Collective are super exciting.
Tommy: The Richmond scene is overflowing with talent. Subterraneans like Houdan the Mystic, Phantoms, Night Idea, Midair, and Way Shape or Form always keep me inspired. Those guys are all brilliant. Cough, Windhand and Inter Arma keep the heavy side fresh and exciting. There are too many great bands here to recall from memory. There's always a good show to go to and creative people to talk to. I love it.
What's the coolest thing you did this summer?
Brian: The coolest thing I did this summer… In May, I did a cycling trip from Canton, Ohio to Winchester, Virginia with my friends Steve and Brian. Riding bikes and sleeping in my hammock for five days straight was easily the coolest thing I did all summer.
Tommy: I did a twisty.
Where have you been finding inspiration lately?
Brian: Interactions. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about interactive art, the relationship between artist and viewer (or performer and listener/crowd, whatever) and what that can mean in my work. Sorry that was super vague.
Tommy: Books, poetry, bands, people, memories. I've been writing fiction lately and that's been therapeutic for me.
Describe a favorite show you've been to or played.
Brian: I saw Navi play a house show last year that I’ll never forget. It was Ethan [from Midair]'s birthday and he kept crowd surfing, but the ceiling was very short and the ceiling fan was very fast... and close to his face. I just remember feeling the vibrations of the band more intensely at that show than most. I also saw St. Vincent at the National a few months ago, and she was incredible.
Tommy: We played at the Nile recently and were very pleasantly surprised by how great the sound was for everyone. The crowd was great as well. I also have many fond memories of the Pandia/Tantrum (R.I.P.) shows of yesteryear. That was where we started hanging out with all the Sub guys in Navi and Houdan and whatnot. While playing there was not always ideal for us, it was never not a good time.
What do you do as a day job? Do you bring anything you learn at work to the band?
Brian: I’m a bike messenger for Jimmy John’s… so… no.
Tommy: I work in the cafe at the VCU bookstore, which allows me to be around books, magazines, and creative people I wouldn't have known otherwise. I also do some freelance graphic design for a couple of local start-ups. Design has influenced me more and more recently. I enjoy making things cohesive, functional and aesthetically pleasing, but when I'm doing personal projects I let loose a lot more. I don't want to over-think my music, especially in Brother Wolf. We let things grow naturally, but it's always good to show restraint.
Don't forget to check out the Subterranea Showcase on Friday!
Here is the band's latest recording, called Live on Aux Send:
photo by Shannon Cleary
Hoax Hunters just released (today!) their long awaited self-titled EP on Cherub Records. The band features members from The Diamond Center. Recorded over the summer by Allen Bergendahl and PJ Sykes (songs, vocals, guitar, bass), the album features fuzzy guitars and pop punk pieces. You may recognize PJ Sykes from his photographs of bands. He is currently showing his work at Steady Sounds (until the end of the month). Go check out some wonderful shots by a fellow RVAer!
photo by Joey Russo
Sea of Storms is a band built from the ashes of Mouthbreather. Videographer Silver Persinger took this great video of Sea of Storms' set at Banditos in July. Get ready to rock.
The Southern Belles are getting ready to release their new album, Sharp as a Knife, and the band has made a couple tracks available for teaser purposes. "Cadillac Desert" will funk you up right, and "Shotgun" is a tasty treat of a tale with Two Man Gentleman Band tendencies.
Chance Fischer is about to drop new album Friends, Romans, Collegemen, and we've gotten an opportunity to listen to a track in advance. Produced by Conrizzle, the track has a great beat and freaky flow.
By Sarah Moore Lindsey (soundsofrva.com)