at: 12th, September 2016
"Even though black metal is usually associated with Satan I think there's a very nature driven feel as well."
1. Did you have the ‘mission’ and goal to play a blend of "Black" and thrash metal when you first started out, or did the music and direction first take shape as you crafted songs and so forth?
Tim: I think some of it fell together by chance because we did a lot of the writing and recording over distance but I think with myself and Brett and our love of black metal and with Jeff's old-school vibe, it just came out perfectly blackened and thrashed out with a little punk and hardcore thrown in.
Brett: I agree with Tim. I would say the pieces fell in their place pretty much on their own. Our love of black, death, and thrash metal really come through on this record but in a way in which they have blended across the album to create this really heavy and diverse record.
2. Now that your first full-length album is out, what are the plans for the band in the close future? Any chance to see you playing out of The States. If not, do you have any music related plans personally for the time to come?
Tim: Plans... Well, to keep writing and recording and getting the Skeleton Wolf word out there is the only priority as of now. We do have a little distance between some of us which would make playing a lot of shows difficult. But I don't think it can be completely taken off the table. Playing on stage in front of a killer crowd is always a great damn time!
3. The production has a very professional sound for being a self released recording. Where did you record it and how did you achieve the sound you did?
Brett: We couldn’t be happier with the production. We recorded with Nate Wright of DR Studios. That guy really knows his stuff. We’ve all been in studios before with great audio engineers, but for me I would say working with Nate has been one of the best studio experiences I’ve had, if not the best. A lot of guys would sit behind the board and just press record. Nate wasn’t afraid to make suggestions on different approaches recording wise, which was really invaluable. He also was a trooper when it came to the never-ending, “Let’s try doing this instead.” It also helps that everyone in Skeleton Wolf works together so well. We are a well-oiled machine in the studio and we all take it very seriously when it’s time to lay down the tracks. Working with Jeff and Tim has been a great musical experience, not just in terms of recording, but as band altogether.
Tim: Yeah the production is awesome! Nate did a damn good job on all aspects of the recording and mixing process. He helped guide each and every one of us in directions, more often than not, that made parts sound better. Patience and definitely a team effort is how this record pieced together nicely.
4. Do you feel yourself identified with the “old school spirit” in the metal underground? If so, what is it and how does it emerge in your music?
Tim: I think I can see the old school spirit in our music and I understand why people would see that. I think our music is open to many metal minded people. Old-school or new school. I think the old-school is in the music for sure but I also think we managed to juggle quite a few different genres successfully, as well. No one likes just one style of music and metal heads are no different. If you are that way though...branch out...you'll be surprised.
5. It´s also undeniable to talk about black metal focus on your music. Do you think black metal has a spirit, or a set of values to it? Where do you think these came from?
Tim: The black metal spirit is there for sure. Even though black metal is usually associated with Satan I think there's a very nature driven feel as well. I personally never like to put too much of a label on anything. Just the sounds.... the black metal sounds...the death metal sounds...the thrash sounds...the punk sounds...I don't really care what the content is. I just like the respective sounds of the genres.
Brett: We definitely have our roots in black metal. Where black metal content may be anti-religious or focused on Satanic/Luciferian themes, I think we are really more about the overall musical style, as Tim mentioned. Our music is diverse and definitely heavy. Lyrical content wise, our music focuses more on topics which everyone can relate to, even those who aren’t metalheads.
6. You are not afraid to make use of softer and calmer moments in the music to build the mid-paced atmospheres. How did these moments come about?
Brett: As I’m writing the guitar for a song, sometimes the song takes control of the direction more so than I do…as cheesy or cliché as that might sound, it’s honest. As I’m writing I can feel when a song needs to take over and set a tone or atmosphere, it kind of grounds the song in a way, bringing you from a high-energy and aggressive level to a moment of calmness which is still true to the tune but is also a balance between heavier emotions and the inner self of the music.
7. Many bands seem to take it a little too easy when it comes to the lyrics. Would you say that the lyrics are almost as important as the music? For example, what your lyrics about "She´s Insane" and "Whatever Demons" are talking about?
Tim: I love writing lyrics...whether they be tongue and cheek like MPFF or a little more serious like Forever Awake. I can go all over the place and I do. She's insane is about that typical crazy bitch we all know. She takes no shit and you better understand that. But it's somewhat fun too...it's my wife's favorite song...she takes no offense and loves it! Whatever Demons is basically about the fact that it doesn't matter what kind they are....how bad they are....how controversial they are...how petty even....we all have them...period.
8. Most of reviews I´ve read so far, are pretty positive. Are you really affected about third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music? Or just making music from yourself is what really matters?
Brett: We’ve been very fortunate to have such a positive response from the metal community. We have even been placed number nine in a “Best of 2016 Thus Far” top ten list by Scotty Shepherd of We Love Metal Dot Com, sharing the list with great names like Amon Amarth, White Chapel, Megadeth, and Death Angel. It’s definitely a great esteem booster to have so many great reviews of our first release. When it boils down to it, we are playing music that we want to listen to and are having a great fucking time doing so. If we aren’t your cup of tea, that’s fine, no skin off our backs, our music isn’t for everyone. We will continue plowing forward with what we’ve
Tim: It's always awesome to receive good reviews and it's great to receive bad ones too but in a sense either way it's just one person's individual opinion. They're great but at the end of the day we love what we’ve produced regardless.
9. With so many metal bands coming up these days, how do you manage to keep your material relevant? How challenging is it to come up with "fresh" material?
Tim: It's very difficult. You honestly can't worry about it. You do your thing and every time you come out with something else you make sure it's better and what you want it to be.
Brett: I definitely agree; it can be difficult. Personally, I play/write for myself first and foremost. If I can’t enjoy it then there isn’t a point. There is an extreme saturation of bands out there these days and a lot of exceptionally talented musicians. If you worry about being “fresh” or relevant, you’ll never get anything written or ever be satisfied. It’s an ever-changing uphill battle, so when I write my parts, I don’t even sweat it or give that a single thought.
10. What about live playing? I´ve not seem too much gigs under your belt. How important is live performance for SKELETON WOLF?
Tim: Live may get there some day. I know it's important to me for a band to be badass live and maybe we'll show that some day but as of now we are just gonna keep writing away and see what happens. I don't think it's too farfetched for a band to make an impact writing some killer jams.
11. To me black and thrash metal has its own aesthetic. Have you as a band developed an aesthetic that is uniquely yours?
Brett: We have a good flow going on with our approach. Our sound is often times associated with the music of Amon Amarth, Goatwhore, and even Immortal or Satyricon. I think our variety of influences and how we’ve molded these styles into a sound that is Skeleton Wolf is unique to us, but again as mentioned earlier, there are so many bands out there doing so many different things it can be difficult to set a band apart from others, so we don’t sweat it. We aren’t trying to reinvent the metal wheel; we are just here to play music we enjoy.
12. What in your opinion is the difference between old school thrash (first & second wave), “old school”thrash (the revival) and modern thrash (the rest)? What era of the thrash metal age do you feel has been the greatest?
Brett: I like it all. As with anything, I think the sounds just grows over time. You have bands that have really paved the way in thrash metal that are monumental influences to many musicians. Some of these bands are the reason people we look up to now as being big names in the industry ever even picked up their instrument to begin with. These guys go on to write their own music and find their own place in thrash, becoming the influence for the next musician.
13. Within the heavy metal and rock worlds there has been a massive resurgence of vinyl, and even cassettes to an extent. How do you feel about the re-emergence of these formats? Do you have a preferred medium for listening to music?
Tim: I personally like cds. I like physical copies and hell I feel like that's old-school anymore. And yeah I dig the record and cassette resurgence. Any way to physically purchase is better than illegally downloading and screwing the band.
Brett: I’ve definitely found myself intrigued by the old formats coming back around and have started growing my vinyl collection with everyone else. It’s especially cool to come across these small record stores carrying underground metal on vinyl and cassettes. Like Tim said, physical copies just can’t be beat, in my opinion. Most physical copies are coming with a downloadable version too these days, so why not get something tangible at the same time?
14. With the underground specifically in mind, where do you see the CD’s status currently and in the future? Can you see a point where they will no longer be used? And if so, how would that affect the labels and bands of the underground?
Tim: I think they'll be around.... maybe lose popularity then gain it back like everything else. I don't think it'll affect much...musicians will record and people will listen!
15. OK man, I would like to thank you for your time and help, please add some words to the end of this interview.
Brett: Big thanks goes out to TPF zine for giving us the opportunity talk with you guys! Another big thanks goes out to everyone that has been following and supporting us! Be sure to stop by our Facebook page at Facebook.com/SkeletonWolfMusic to catch up with us there and drop us line. You can grab copies of the album from our website as well at www.SkeletonWolf.com. Cheers and beers!
Tim: Just give us a listen! We are genuine non-elitist metal fans who just wrote some metal for people to hopefully enjoy!!