Athens-based Wolfmen use variations of genres to create a distinct sound and performance
Originally published in The Post.
Athens-based Wolfmen, comprised of three Ohio University School of Music students, aim to intrigue audiences with stretched-out tracks and experimentation.
Local band Wolfmen was established after vocalist and guitarist Daniel Spencer and percussionist Seth Alexander decided they wanted to dive into the unorthodox side of music.
“Seth and I started like a blues-y two-piece, and when we added a bass player, we found that we weren’t interested in playing blues anymore,” Spencer said. “We wanted to do something a lot more complicated than that.”
Spencer said he, Alexander and bassist Jason Snoddy rely on experimentation with alternate time signatures, weird keys and a sound an audience would not normally hear in a typical trio.
“We started writing long songs, and it became this thing where we started playing 15-20 minute tunes,” Spencer said. “There is bit of a song that is like your standard rock tune … but then, there are instrumental sections with long interludes and solos.”
The band takes influence from a variety of different musicians and bands including the likes of Brian Eno and Animal Collective.
“We still try to keep this kind of rock,” Alexander said. “We all have different backgrounds in jazz and metal and everything, so we just kind of put everything in, and it comes out.”
“Playing outside was something we had not done,” Alexander said. “We had a whole improvised tune that Daniel had prepared, and there were dancers on the stage.”
The band closed its set with a piece specifically written to be accompanied by dancers.
“That’s something we’ve never done,” Spencer said. “That’s something that sets us apart from typical rock bands necessarily is that we are really trying to do this whole kind of media presentation experimenting with dancers and with weird sound, so that was cool.”
Spencer said crowds tend to gravitate toward experimental sound in Athens.
“We thought when we started playing this music that nobody would be interested in it at all,” Spencer said. “Then, when we played shows, people loved it.”
Wolfmen’s live shows consist of a blend of different styles that each member contributes to the sound.
“We’re very good at filling up a space and creating an atmosphere because of all the backgrounds we have,” Alexander said. “Usually, we take that and easily develop it.”
The variety of venues in Athens helped the band work with what kind of show it decide to play.
“If we wanted to do something more atmospheric, we could go to (Donkey Coffee and Espresso) or if we wanted to play a really loud rock show, we could go to a house show or the (Smiling Skull Saloon),” Alexander said. “It’s kind of at our choosing.”
Wolfmen will be releasing its album, In A Quiet Place, sometime in March and hopes to use its music to connect with the listener in a more complex manner.
“It’s not theater by any means, but it is us going up there and playing a set of tunes that kind of go together thematically and sonically,” Spencer said. “People are really interested in hearing more complex music. … It’s refreshing.”