Written by Wolves produces a sound so unique that it’s tough to pinpoint who they remind you of. And that’s the beauty of this band. Their sound is a rare style that encompasses rock, electronic, and hip hop resulting in a product that crosses over to an unlimited fan base.
We had the opportunity to speak to the band and was able to get an insider’s perspective from a band that not only puts on live shows you’ll never forget but creates music with a personal touch and genuine feeling of hope.
The GM’s Perspective: Your site describes your style as Cinematic Rock. Can you explain exactly what that means?
Written by Wolves: We try to intertwine all the things we love about music. For example, all our favorite parts of the electronic genre, or hip hop or pop and rock, because that’s where we all live as far as our musical tastes go.
With such diverse tastes, how do we splice all this together and say let’s go for it? We’ll throw it all in, and if we like it we put it in. We had to see past that no idea is too crazy, and if we’re doing things that make us uncomfortable, it’s probably a good idea. That’s how Written by Wolves was born. And that’s the idea, to give people in that 3-6 minute window a range of emotions and feelings that take you to a place where you hear something unique.
GMs: For those unfamiliar with the band, you’ve been playing (cumulatively) for around 10 plus years right?
WbW: We’ve all been friends for a really long time and playing in different bands. This group is a bunch of guys I’ve always wanted to be in a band with, but timing really didn’t work out. Our two guitarists (Davey and Bahador) were in a band called Shotgun Alley together. And our drummer Karl joined that band towards the end. Their band eventually broke up and my band, 5Star Fallout, disbanded and we all got together and said this is the time and it all clicked.
As a band, we released our first track in 2015.
GMs: If I am correct, you are unsigned and very successful. What does that mean to you considering the musical landscape/environment is changing so dramatically?
WbW: You hit the nail right on the head with the landscape comment. The music industry is ever-changing. You only have to look at the fact that we’re in New Zealand and yet, the predominant numbers of our fan base are not in New Zealand. The internet has opened things up to such an extent that our main fan base is in the US, Canada, UK, and Germany. We’ve never even played a show in those places. There’s no way we’d ever have the reach that the band has got if it wasn’t for what the industry has become (Spotify, YouTube etc…)
You can connect with people so much easier now, and without actually being in front of them or playing shows. It’s strange because our live show is our biggest strength. And having this whole fanbase we haven’t yet been able to unleash that upon is cool and super exciting. That means once we do finally get to all these territories to play to all these people, we’ll have a slew of fans that know our work!
To go back to the original question, yes we are unsigned. Being signed by an actual label is probably what we’re lacking at the moment, and obviously, the record labels bank account. Being unsigned is also why we have full creative control over what we do and every decision that’s made is because we feel it’s the right one. Every song we write is because that’s what we love.
GMs: The majority of bands I’ve spoken to have been unsigned or with newer labels that give plenty of leeway for the band to do their own thing. Do you prefer that or would it be nice to get that big contract?
WbW: I suppose that’s the dream. In any profession, you’re looking for that way to get to the next level. The beauty at this point is that we have creative control. However, if one of the big agencies came our way and said they wanted to sign us, I don’t think we could say no.
GMs: In this age of technology, you are really hitting some milestones when it comes to streams and plays. What does that mean to you?
WbW: It’s mind-blowing. Every day I sit there and think about how this is happening. This is all new and ever-evolving and changing. The fact that this can exist is incredible. We quite often have people asking us how we did it and what’s the secret to having all those algorithms tip to our favour? The absolute answer is I have no idea whatsoever! We’re connecting with people on the other side of the world on a daily basis and one thing we’ve always tried to do is to be approachable as possible and we try to reply to every message.
GMs: In my opinion, your style plays well in any genre. Is that why you’re successful and have taken the stage with so many big names over the years?
WbW: That’s the beauty of it. I suppose, once again the pros and cons come about. Because we do open up into so many different genres, it means that we can get on these (through New Zealand) different festivals where it may be more pop-based or more electronic-based because we do incorporate all those different elements. The slight problem and the other side of the coin is that if we’re not one or the other or not going hardcore balls to the wall people may not get it. The other side is people think our style is crazy and they love it.
GMs: What’s the endgame for Written by Wolves? If you look back in 20 years what mark do you want to leave on the music industry?
WbW: That’s such a crazy question and a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Setting goals for the next year or next two years or the next five or 10…What does that look like and what do I want the band to achieve? Like we talked about previously, the industry has changed so much that I don’t know what the limit is. I want this band to be touring the world and I want this band to be able to get the music out to as many people as we possibly can.
At the end of the day, a lot of our music is personal and I think a lot of it touches on fighting with your own issues and your own personal demons. Whichever song, no matter how negative a topic, it has this underlying feeling of hope. That’s something I want to be able to leave the world. The world’s a pretty tough place and life isn’t always that easy. We get messages all the time from people telling us that our music has helped them get through some dark times, and at the end of the day, knowing that we helped someone is the ultimate. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.