GET TO KNOW: Wavewulf
After establishing himself with a array of bold and enticing electronic numbers over the last few months, New Jersey-based producer Wavewulf recently returned to deliver his highly-anticipated new album 'Space Art And Angels'.
Seeing himself somewhere between Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk, this new collection sees him delve into the sonic capabilities of synthwave aesthetics like never before. Filling itself with a broad and atmospheric intention throughout, be prepared to let this full-length take you on a journey to the end of the cosmos and back.
So with the new record out now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and what has inspired him most over the years.
What was the first instrument you learned to play?
The first instrument I really learned to play was the piano. I had piano lessons from a fairly young age, starting when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I was actually motivated to play the piano from that early age because I had become interested in synthesisers. I remember playing with a few “toy” synthesisers in Radio Shack and other small music or electronics shops when I was about that age and just kind of became obsessed with them, an obsession that continues to this day!
What was the first album you remember owning?
The first album I remember buying myself was the Cure’s “Disintegration”, when I was about 12. I had gotten into the Cure from an older friend and loved their dark lush sound and aesthetic. I also remember buying Depeche Mode’s “Music for the Masses”and 808 State’s “Ex:el” not long after that. All of those albums definitely impressed me deeply and certainly influence my sound as Wavewulf even now. But even before I started buying my own records, I listened a lot to my parents records, which included Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Wish You Were Here” as well as bands like Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and pretty much all of The Beatles’ records.
Did you ever form a band when you were younger and if so, what did they sound like?
I was in several bands when I was young, in fact, too many to name here. My very first (real) band, was started when I was in 7th grade, and was called “Wallpaper” and consisted of my best friend, Jason Wead, who lived across the street from me, playing his older brother’s Yamaha electronic drum set, another friend, Josh Clayberg playing an Alverez acoustic guitar and singing (and doing most of the lyric writing), my friend Nathen Aiken (who is now in the main force behind the Brooklyn, NY band “The Clear Tigers”) playing his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, my friend Caleb Schultz playing an old electric bass, and me playing my Roland Juno 106 and Yamaha DX7 synthesizers. I remember playing in the 8th grade talent show at our school and getting a standing ovation afterward, that was a thrill I will never forget and definitely made me want to continue playing music!
Wallpaper’s sound was kind of a combination of 1980s New Wave and early 1990s Grunge or “Alternative”. I was also in a few more bands in High School and several bands in College, in my hometown in Northwest Arkansas, which were much more synth-based or electronic, one called “Life in the So-Called Space Age” (the name came from a line in the sleeve of the Depeche Mode album “Black Celebration”), which played a few Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, Cure, and Kraftwerk covers as well as a lot of our own material. This group consisted of me and my friend, Greg Moore (who today does the art and design for my Wavewulf covers) on synths, and another friend, Nathan Miller (who I’m also still in touch with) playing drums. I remember one show in particular when Greg sang the lyrics of our song through an electric Darth Vader mask which had a microphone that made his voice sound robotic and scrambled. That band was a lot of fun! I was in several bands in college with these two people as well as several other friends from my college scene. Christopher Donato, who currently plays drums on several Wavewulf tracks (and now lives in Chicago) was also playing drums in several bands in this college scene, as was Jason Weinheimer (who now owns the recording studio “Fellowship Hall Sound” in Little Rock, Arkansas), who mixed and mastered the Wavewulf albums “Green Decay” as well my most recent one “Space Art and Angels”.
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
Man, all of the songs from Depeche Mode’s “Black Celebration” are brilliant, I wish I had written any of them, especially songs like “Stripped” or “Here is the House” or “A Question of Lust”! I think Martin Gore is a brilliant songwriter (and Dave Gahan is turning out to be quite a good one too on the more recent Depeche Mode albums). Also, I wish I had written pretty much anything from Kraftwerk’s catalogue, Ralf Hutter and the late Florian Schneider (God rest his soul) (as well as Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flur) were/are also all fantastic songwriters. David Bowie and Brian Eno too, those songs from Bowie’s “Berlin Trilogy” or Brian Eno’s “Before and After Science” are just the zenith of songwriting brilliance!
What has been the most thrilling moment about creating your own music?
For me, I think the most thrilling part of creating music has to be the experimentation. I just love experimenting with different synthesisers, drum-machines, equipment and recording techniques. Experimenting with sound and writing/composing songs are really all part of the same process for me. There is just nothing more satisfying than making something you love through the process of programming patches on synths, or playing with effects processors or vintage effects pedals, or messing with compressors or filters or other recording equipment, and then putting it all together to make something that works together and sounds great!
And what about the most frustrating part?
Well, the most frustrating part would be the opposite of what I put above. When you work your heart out on a piece of music and, in the end, it just doesn’t work or sound that great. But, when that happens, I don’t really feel that frustrated, it’s really just all part of the process of making and recording music. Experimentation is what it is, not every experiment turns out the way you would hope, but it should, nevertheless, always be fun. I do actually even enjoy it sometimes when things don’t turn out the way I had hoped, it’s all part of the learning process!
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
I mean, I know I’ve mentioned them a lot in this interview, but it would probably have to be Depeche Mode. Or perhaps the remaining members of Kraftwerk. Brian Eno would be amazing too. Those groups are my favourites.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Making brilliant music and having a few more albums out at the least. I really hope, by that time, I can make enough money from my career in music to support myself and my wife and not have to work another day job. I mean, I don’t have to be a “house-hold name” famous or “rock star” rich but I would definitely love to be well known and respected in my little niche of the world (electronic music) and make enough money from it to support myself and my family comfortably.
Wavewulf's new album 'Space Art And Angels' is out now. Check it out in full below.