The Republic Of Wolves - Sound In The Signals Interview

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uQ. First off thanks for the interview

A. No, thank you!

Q. The last time we talked to you guys you had just released the EP and were kind of proving yourself after the “Brand New Daisy Youtube” explosion. Now you guys are gearing up to release your much anticipated first album Varuna. Can you tell me a little about the recording process of the album and what fans can expect as far as the music on this first album (new things you are trying, etc.)?

A. The recording process for the EP was kind of chaotic, for obvious reasons; creating this album presented a whole new experience for us, since we definitely felt more comfortable and cohesive as a band, and we all were working toward a very specific goal. We had alot of fun throughout the entire process (most of the time it was five guys hanging around in a basement, messing around and trying out hundreds of different ideas), but it was certainly alot of hard work as well. When you spend so much time working on something it can get tedious, and it's impossible not to feel some pressure and frustration every now and then. Overall it was an absolutely positive experience and we're very proud of the outcome. As far as what people can expect on this album, I guess the short answer would be "variety." There's definitely a wide range of moods and sounds on the album, and we're confident that each song has something unique to offer, instrumentally or lyrically or sonically. At the same time, the songs were all written to be a part of this single collection of music, so they're definitely all tied together in a way. In terms of specific things we've been trying, we've experimented a lot with unconventional percussion and time signatures, as well as some new instruments like dulcimer, organ and banjo (among others).

Q. The video for the first single “Oarsman” came out not too long ago and it is an interesting video. Who came up with the concept for the video and what was the video shoot like?

A. We came up with the concept for the video kind of on the spot, actually. It just sort of came to us while we were throwing around ideas for a potential music video, and immediately we knew it was what we wanted to do because it was something interesting and cool that wouldn't be too hard to pull off on our own. The shoot was fun, and we were all very involved. It was the just five of us, Sean O'Kane (the photographer) and our good friend Robert Wesson who agreed to act in the video for free (Sean and Robert were both awesome). So it was really relaxed and collaborative and we all kind of directed it together. The performance portion was a lot of fun as well, we filmed it at a really old theatre in Eastern Long Island called the Vail Leavitt. The people over there were really helpful, so we're grateful for that.

Q. Varuna continues a trend of excellent artwork for your projects. I was curious as to who did the artwork for the new album and whether you guys had creative input or if it was something that was brought to you? Why did you decide to go with the particular artwork?

A. The painting was done by a very talented Pittsburgh artist named Ben Kehoe, specifically for this album. We had used one of his paintings for the cover of our EP, and around that time he offered to do an original piece for our full-length album. So once we got started on the album and had a good idea of the direction it was heading we gave Ben a general idea of what we wanted. He definitely exceeded our expectations and gave us an amazing piece, and we used the same kind of text treatment as we had for the EP artwork (designed by our friend Nick Cuomo). We really wanted the artwork to look like it fit closely with that of the EP, as though the releases belonged in the same series. Visually "Varuna" is kind of the sequel to "His Old Branches."

Q. You guys have certain atmospheric qualities to your music that make the album as whole a really important part of the listening experience (or at least with the EP this was the case). With so many bands striving to write only a couple good singles and then remainder of the album is just ok. How important is it for your band to make an album that is an experience to listen to?

A. We always have a vision of the complete product when we're working on our songs, so that everything is meant to have a specific place in a finalized piece. At the same time we look at each song in its own very specific way, and strive to develop it as a unique pice of music that can stand on its own. But overall we all put alot of emphasis on putting together a collection of songs that tells a cohesive story without getting repetitive or boring (we hope).

Q. You have the album coming out, but the release after that is already set. The Cartographer EP will be out early 2011. Can you tell me a little about the EP and why you guys decide to schedule two releases back to back?

A. Well in the middle of writing the full length we actually realized that we had too much material for just one concise album. We still felt that all of the songs deserved to be recorded and released, though, even if that meant splitting them up. So we took a group of songs that really fit perfectly together in style and subject and we decided to release them separately, as their own unique piece. We were considering releasing the two simultaneously, but eventually decided it would be nice to leave people with something to look forward to once the album is out.

Q. I did a few interviews in support of the magazine and I got a question in reference to your band (the interviewer had read the first interview I did with you guys). They wanted to know what I thought a band like The Republic Of Wolves place was in the current state of the music industry. I gave them my answer, but I wanted to ask you guys the same question and see what you thought. So what do you think your bands place is?

A. It's really hard to try to see ourselves from an outside perspective, so we can't really say with any confidence what our place is. All we know for sure is that our situation is not typical or traditional for the music industry, but it definitely indicates a change in the way bands are getting recognition. It's kind of a new era in which the internet has given everyone more freedom to discover new and interesting music, and that's also enabled independent artists to get their music heard far and wide. The music industry is alot more open-ended as a result and that's the only reason we've been able to come as far as we have. Overall it doesn't matter to us what our place is in relation to the conventional music industry, as long as there are people listening to our music and supporting us. The people are what's important.

Q. I don’t want to ask too many Brand New questions, but I was wondering have you ever heard anything back from the Brand New camp about the Daisy Youtube Demos thing?

A. Haha, no we never got contacted by anyone about that. We heard through the grapevine that some of the members were aware of the whole situation but we never heard any of their reactions. It's probably for the best.

Q. I’m hesitant to ask this question, because I feel like it always gets asked in some form or fashion a million times to bands, but you seem to have certain ideas and the albums themselves are presented in a way that seems like you guys are shooting for a complete experience in both visual the visual and the sound. What do you look to for inspiration when you come up with these projects both musically and visually?

A. Our inspirations are really all over the place. Musically we all have a pretty wide range of influences, from old stuff like classic folk music to newer acts like Sigur Ros, Radiohead and Manchester Orchestra. Even though stylistically we most resemble current rock bands like Brand New and the like, we try to incorporate alot of different musical elements (however subtle they may be). Lyrically we draw inspiration from a ton of different sources, basically anything that we find interesting or engaging. We like to incorporate a really wide range of literary and cultural influences, both thematically and metaphorically. Stuff like history and religion plays an important part, and kind of gives our whole presentation an old-world vibe. So overall we're really trying to paint an interesting and unique picture with our music, and we try to reflect that in all our visual components (artwork, photos, videos etc).

Q. I guess that about wraps it up. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have any closing comments you’d like to make?

A. Thanks so much for the interview, and thanks to everyone who took the time to read it. We really appreciate everyone's support!

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