Sunday, March 4, 2018

A Ripple Conversation With Tim And Juan From Hound The Wolves



When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

[Tim] I have had several over the years, but the most relevant to my current situation is a about a decade ago.  I had sold all my music equipment and swore off playing in bands.  Mostly because of the reasons of bands that kept breaking up right when were getting somewhere.  I had been playing acoustic Americana music style music.  The White Stripes had brought back rough, heavy, and real rock and roll, and had a musical epiphany that playing loud music, with psychedelic effects and distortion was in my blood, and thus me playing in bands and creating music was reborn.

Juan- As a kid,  I grew up in an area with limited resources in regards to finding music that wasn’t tejano, country, or top 40’s.  Thankfully, MTV became a thing and I was introduced to the world of heavy music.  Seeing the video for Metallica’s ONE and Tool’s Sober had a huge impact on me and made me want to explore making heavy music.  Almost 30 years and an endless amount of epiphanies later… Here we are.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

[Tim]  Initially when Hound The Wolves started, Juan had some ideas, progressions and lyrics, and we just started playing and working out arrangements.  I don’t even think of those early times as a writing process, because everything just fell into place really easily.  That is still true today.  We tend to start with very rough concepts of what a song is going to be, then when we are together, we hash out the parts and arrangements, everyone does their thing, and out comes new songs. 

Juan-  It’s always different.  I prefer to create organically, without regulations or process.  Then when it has taken shape into something workable, dissect it and organize it. 

Who has influenced you the most?

[Tim] From a musical perspective, there have been many.  My Dad’s record collections was all classical, and my Mom had a thing for Elvis and early Beatles.  Mostly I wasn’t into it, but  my Mom did have a copy of Abbey road, and I remember dancing around (most likely in my underwear) in our unfurnished living rooms with my sisters to Maxwell’s Hammer.  When I was younger, in my pre-teen years, I was not interested in any music that was not on the charts.  A friend of mine’s dad had a massive stereo and huge record collection.  That is when I discovered Led Zeppelin IV, and had an epiphany that there was a lot of fantastic music that was made well before I was born.  These early experiences probably had the biggest influences on me as I started seeking out all the classic bands, including Pink Floyd, and of course, Black Sabbath.  These three bands formed into some of my deepest influences that go back to my formative years.

Juan- Friedrich Nietzche, Blaze Foley, and Ozzy era Black Sabbath.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

[Tim] I have a voracious appetite for new music.  I am always looking for new music to check out, hoping to find that special something that blows me away.  I also go to see live music regularly, and am continually impressed by the creativity and musicianship I see at relatively poorly attended shows.  I also listen to a lot of music at work because I have time to spend listening on headphones.  Everything I hear is absorbed and processed through my experiences and tastes, and then comes out at some point as new ideas.  I try to work through ideas on my own, and thin the herd before bringing anything to the band to work on.  Everything that makes any sort of noise, I can also see using in “soundscapes” that will be used somewhere in my creative expression, either in Hound The Wolves, or finding a way into my solo experimental project, Electric Ring.

Juan-All around me. 

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

[Tim] Portland, OR is a town in transition.  When I first moved to Portland in 2001, it was a place where rents were cheap, and it felt like a place where the freaks and weirdos from the rest of the country would come to be themselves.  People who ended up in Portland tended to be looking for something else besides what American society tells you should want.  It was a town that was an incubator for artists of all types.  To some degree that is still true, but times have changed.  What we do have in Portland is a robust and healthy music scene.  There are an overwhelming number of bands creating music.  The biggest way that our location is reflected is in the people in the band we make music with.  Nate, Cory, Ryan, and Juan all were drawn to Portland before we meet, and the fact that we create music collaboratively means that if I was making music somewhere else with other people, the music might be similar, but ultimately different.  Hound The Wolves is a product of all of us living in Portland, creating something together.

Where'd the band name come from?

Juan-I wanted to come up with a brand that had a mystical, nature oriented, dark and heavy type thing.  The band name is meant to provoke dualistic thought.  Are you the wolf?  Are you the hound?  Do you persecute?  Or are you persecuted?  Who do we identify with and why? 

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

[Tim] I have always fantasized about getting to compose a soundtrack for film.  Being able to capture the feeling and set the mood for what is on screen seems like a lot of fun.  Given the nature of the sounds I like to make, and my musical tastes, 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Though the soundtrack is so iconic, it is hard to imagine replacing it. 

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

[Tim] - Torment of The Metals by Black Math Horseman, mostly because I love this short lived band on many levels, they are serially unappreciated IMHO.  Yet there are several elements of the musical composition and execution that give something to talk about for 1000 words.  I look at writing a 1000 word essay about a single song as a huge challenge with respect to writing something that would be relevant and interesting, without being overly long and uninteresting to read.  So a song that has so much going on musically opens up more to talk about.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

Juan-An old band I was in used to ride up to venues in a Uhaul, hit the generator, play a 15 minute set out the back of the truck and then take off.  One time, the cops came up and asked for a CD.  Rock and Roll for life.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

[Tim] - Our live show is about an experience of sight and sound.  While some people think calling a live music performance a ritual is cliche, we start each show by setting up an altar of candles and bones, and entering a mantra headspace.  Personally I try and use meditation techniques to clear my mind as we begin, to leave the thoughts of the everyday world behind and focus on the moment, of what is happening right now, in a room.  I hope that in the era of distraction that we live in, that our fans will find our performances to be a release from thinking about the past or the future, and to simply focus on the moment, and take a musical journey with us.

What makes a great song?

[Tim] - What makes a song great to an individual is very personal in nature.  Some people need their popular structures, their verse/chorus formulas to feel like a song is great.  Others are looking for something that breaks the mold, and does something new.  I tend to fall in the second camp, so I out a high premium on originality.  What is the point of making music that sounds hardly different from any band playing in the 1970s.  I do feel that truly great songs, you remember some hook about the song.  It could be a riff or a vocal line, but you end up with that element running through your head after you hear the song.  What really makes a song great is an ability to communicate yourself as an artists in an honest and meaningful way.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

Juan- I can’t even think that far back!

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

[Tim] - Whatever I am making right now of course!  But in all seriousness, Masquerade off of the album makes me very proud.  It is an epic musical journey that covers a lot of ground musically, but has a coherency to it, as if you are traveling through different places of different and unique character.  It is also one of those songs that I just can’t imagine setting out to write, but something that came about more organically from Hound The Wolves musical collaboration.  Masquerade is our opus.

Juan- I agree with Tim.  Masquerade combines all the elements of the band, doom/sludge/drone/americana, into one song.  I’m pretty proud of that one.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

[Tim] YOB is one of my favorite bands personally.  They really have it all.  They write original, epic, and meaningful songs, everyone is the band is stellar tonal and playing wise,  and they are absolute perfection live.  They also cover a lot of ground musically in a way that does not sounds forced in anyway.

Juan- In the heavy scene… YOB.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

[Tim] - The ultimate format for me is vinyl, with a download code.  This is the best of both worlds, I get a physical media, with the large format for artwork, that I can sit and listen to on the turntable, but also get the music for my digital collection, so I can enjoy the music when I can’t be spinning records.

Juan- Vinyl.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

[Tim] - The best solution to this question is a whiskey shot with a beer back.  Choosing one is like asking whether you want to have your arm or leg cut off.  It’s a false choice no one should ever have to make.  If I was forced to choose, I would have to go with beer, because it is more versatile.  You can drink an Olympia or Tecate after you mow the lawn, you can have a crisp pale, or a heavy IPA, or even go into dark and heavy porters or stouts.  There is a beer for every need.  While I love whiskey, it tends to be an activity in and of itself, one where I need to clear out time.

Juan- Vodka.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

[Tim] - Hands down 2nd Ave Records is my favorite record store in town.  My wife has an extensive collection of records, and I avoid buying duplicates of what she already has, which leaves very few records to buy at most shops.   While there are a number of really cool record shops, I am typically looking for more obscure metal releases, and many of the local record shops have scant to non-existent representation of metal.  In general, 2nd Ave has the best metal selection, but I also enjoy Music Millennium and have found many great records there as well.

What's next for the band?

[Tim] - Juan, who directed, shot, and edited the If Lost In Mind video, is working on more videos for the songs off of Camera Obscura that we should be releasing the next few months.  We also have a second album of material that is already recorded and mixed, and we are planning on another release in either Fall of 2018 or Winter of 2019.  We are hoping to be able to put together a tour of the west coast to support this release, as we have been getting requests to come and play California.  We also are working on writing new material and hope to be heading into the studio sometime in 2018 to lay the groundwork for future releases. 

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

[Tim] - Thank you for taking an interest in Hound the Wolves, and taking the time to interview us.  It takes a lot of dedication in the form of time, energy, and money to create music with a band, so if your readers enjoy what we are creating, their support would be greatly appreciated.  You can find links to all our social media at www.houndthewovles.com.  There is a newsletter sign up at the bottom of the page that is a great way to keep up with what the band is doing.

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