exceptional music according to people

Wolf Colony

  • February 19, 2014
  • Indie
  • Label:
wolf colony (1)
  • wolf colony (1)

Evensound Take

Anonymous yet intimate. Solitary yet fraternal. Minimal yet captivating. These are a few of the alluring antagonisms that define the indie electro-pop duo Wolf Colony. The act, comprised of masked vocalist “Wolf” and producer Neal Sarin, hail from both LA and NYC. These opposites come together to create down-tempo, melancholy ballads that nonetheless make you want to hit the dance floor. Their minimalist compositions manage to create a warmth and intimacy through their bare atmosphere – reminiscent of The XX, yet more soulful; evocative of James Blake, but decidedly more immediate. Each song leaves you longing for more, akin to Wolf’s lovelorn romances.Â

“Beauty,” the duo’s recent single, is deceptively simple. The track opens with a straightforward drum beat and chiming, reverberated piano chords. Yet those three chords and the bass-snare combo are all that is needed to become immediately ensnared by the catchy tune. When the crooning vocals of lone singer Wolf rise through the track’s empty space, an immediate air of intimacy grabs your heart strings and refuses to relent for the succeeding three minutes. Wolf’s multi-tracked vocals work beautifully, creating rich harmonies that fill the air around the sparse beat. There is a natural ebb and flow to “Beauty” absent from much of electro-pop today. Rather than the verse exploding into an over the top chorus, the track instead brakes. The beat disappears while the bass swells, and Wolf’s harmonies are peeled away to one voice as he pleads with the titular beauty, “Touch your face, part your lips for me/Let me in, hear my symphony/I want more, give into me tonight.” After this solitary moment, the chorus lands with the back-beat suddenly returning alongside chanting backing vocals, you’re hit by the fact that this is indeed a dance track. Unrequited love transformed into unbridled release.

Wolf Colony are currently finishing up their debut album Unmasked to be released soon, followed by a tour. In the mean time you can download “Beauty” and other songs from iTunes and Bandcamp, and be sure to check out our interview with Wolf below:

How did Wolf Colony begin?

At The University of Miami, me and my buddy Neal Sarin(who is now my producer) started jamming for fun in his apartment. After graduating and moving to NYC, Wolf Colony was officially formed.
What are your backgrounds as musicians?
I have no background as a musician, but I’ve been a lifelong fan of music. I would always hear melodies and words in my head but I could not express them, then I got a guitar and started playing and singing and it all started flowing naturally. Neal on the other hand is an amazing classically trained pianist turned producer.
You’re listed as a bi-coastal band, based in LA and NY, how do you manage to make that work?
To be honest I am mostly in NYC. At that time I was traveling back and forth and loved the idea of being bi-coastal but it proved to be time consuming and expensive. I still feel a great deal of attachment to both cities even though New York is my current home.
How do you and your producer Neal Sarin collaborate? How do the songs take shape between the two of you?
It’s different for each song. Sometimes he sends me a track and a song forms in my head, other times I have a few lines or melodies and we go from there. I never write down my lyrics though, I feel them and sing them.
Why did you decide to take on the “Wolf” moniker and mask?
I wanted to detach the artist from the art, I did not want it to be about me personally. I identify with wolves because they are both lonesome yet part of a brotherhood, that dichotomy is very relatable to me.
The mask takes that a step further.
Does being semi-anonymous aid in your performance and/or writing?Â
It aids me tremendously. I can write whatever I want and feel whatever I feel without worrying about consequences. It is very liberating to be able to get on stage and feel like a completely different creature, the mask does get very hot though I have to admit.
Does your music reflect you personally, or does it become something more than the individual?
It’s very personal, but sometimes certain songs are about observed feelings rather than personal ones.Â
My hope is that it becomes something more to each individual listening.
Your songs arrangements tend to be sparse, what do you find intriguing about minimalism in music?
I’m all about the natural approach to things, I guess this is what comes naturally to me. Sometimes there’s more truth in a moment of silence than a thousand words.
Despite being sparse and electronic, your work still feels very warm. How do you achieve that intimate feeling?
Thank you very much, I just don’t think about these aspects much. It might be a reflection of my personality.
Do you use any analog equipment while recording or live?
When I’m playing live shows I use live instruments as well as the electronic ones. When recording it’s mostly electronic. Live instrumentation can get very expensive unfortunately.
What are some of the inspirations behind your music, both musical and not?
My biggest inspiration is life, people specifically. Our capacity to feel and our diversity. I am also very visual, I try to travel as much as I can to witness the beauty of this planet and its people.
Are there any current musical acts you find particularly interesting?
I’ve been really into the Scandinavians lately, I would love to spend time recording there!
What is your biggest challenge as an artist?
I think the biggest challenge for any artist is lack of finances. There is so much I want to do and film and create but I am limited, that frustrates me a lot but I keep going.


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