INTERVIEW: Brad Andrew (FOR THE WOLVES)
Splicing heavy rock with a woozy psych flavour, Brisbane's For The Wolves have swiftly evolved from a garage jam duo to a dynamic quartet ready to take over the rock world. Mixing flavours from the likes of Tool, Mastodon and Pink Floyd into their hook-tastic tunes, For The Wolves brandish refreshing nods to the past while injecting a modern reverence with riffs aplenty and primal palpitations blasting above ambient slivers.
With a touring history alongside the likes of local rock royalty COG and Dead Letter Circus, For The Wolves have undoubtedly already forged a sturdy home on the local scene; but with their brand new track The Devil You Know officially out today, a huge new For The Wolves chapter is ready to ignite - and what a wild and powerful chapter it's shaping up to be.
Produced by the iconic Luke Palmer (Dead Letter Circus) and mixed by the equally epic Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus), The Devil You Know is a hook-tastic journey of grit and swagger from For The Wolves, and in honour of the new track, today we're chatting new tunes, influences and a cheeky reveal about how the band sets the mood for photo and video shoots with frontman Brad Andrew. Interview below!
TIANA SPETER: Hello and thank you for the chats today! First things first, congrats on the release of your brand new track ‘The Devil You Know’, it’s a hell of a fun listen and no doubt it’s awesome to have it out in the world today – how does it feel to finally have this bad boy out in the world?
BRAD ANDREW: Oh well thank you, and it feels great. We spent a long time making sure that not only the song was exactly how we wanted it to be, but that we had our ducks in a row for release time, so the process has taken longer than we might have liked, but patience is a virtue! And now we are ready to unleash some new music upon the world that we are really excited about.
TIANA: While the signature For The Wolves sound is definitely kicking around on ‘The Devil You Know’, there’s been a sharp step-up technically and from a production perspective too. It’s been a few years between new releases for you guys now, can you talk me through a bit about how the track came to life? And were there any significant differences between your process this time round compared to your self-titled EP and Karma?
BRAD: Yeah, you’re right. So our first couple of releases were really meant to be an introduction to the sound, and to get people interested in our band and our shows. They were both self produced, so “The Devil You Know” is our first time working with a producer and mixing engineer that took our sound above and beyond. If anything it feels like we’re only getting started, and this is our first step towards a new level of creativity and production that can really show what we are capable of. Not only on this song, but the next ones we have loaded up and ready to go as well.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (FOR THE WOLVES)
TIANA: And while this is the first tune you guys are dropping this year, is ‘The Devil You Know’ a pretty good indication of the For The Wolves sound in 2020?
BRAD: It is and it isn’t! Our sound has definitely taken a bit of an evolution not only in songwriting and production, but also in trying to carve our own unique sonic space. The Devil You Know is a straight up banger. It’s a powerful song in a nice little 3-4min package. However, there are some progressive elements in there that we have expanded on in other songs. So this tune really lays the foundation for the evolution of our sound and where we want to take it. Our next releases will be in a similar vein, but slightly different again. So that’s something we are really excited about.
TIANA: For The Wolves started off as a jam-session as a duo back in 2014 I believe…and you’ve now evolved into a heavy-hitting quartet busting out these anthemic rockers. In terms of your writing and style, do you guys all have pretty similar tastes that make their way into your tunes? Is anyone bringing in any slightly unexpected influences along the way?
BRAD: The foundation of the band from the beginning really revolved around the rhythms, and the power of the sound. We always had a really tight groove and punchy aesthetic that we love. But over time, the psychedelic elements are starting to weave into our sound, and that allows for a lot of experimentation and exploration. Which is where we want to go. That is all to say, that we each bring our own tastes in styles into those parts and it really opens the door for all of our unique influences to make their way into the songs. We all listen to a bunch of different stuff, so it's a great mix. But as a collective we seem to find the middle ground of punchy powerful grooves, interlaced with the synthesisers and progressive nature from a lot of the bands from the 70s that we all love.
pic: For The Wolves insta
TIANA: And as a band you’ve been around for a while in the Brissie scene now especially, and 2019 looked like a killer year with a heap of festival showings (I actually caught you guys at Dead of Winter! I kept wondering why the band name seemed so familiar. But I digress). COVID restrictions aside, no doubt 2020 is going to continue in the vein of last year with epic live shows for you guys once it’s safe. But to reminisce briefly, has there been a particular live show moment so far that’s stood out for you in particular, whether it’s one for your For The Wolves hall of fame or one maybe better kept for the blooper reel?
BRAD: Oh that’s awesome. Well that particular show (Dead Of Winter) was probably the front runner for our favourite show so far. We got that spot by winning an online poll, so it was an awesome feeling for us to get the undeniable support from the local fans and then the gig itself was killer. Great venue, great crowd and a great night in general. So that one will always stand out to us.
TIANA: For those not initiated yet with a For The Wolves live show, what exactly goes on at one of your shows? And what can fans expect from a 2020 For The Wolves gig, any secrets in the pipeline?
BRAD: When we play shows, our goal is always to connect with the crowd, create that magical and reciprocal energy whilst representing the music the best we can. The amps are always loud, the drums are in your face, and there’s usually some hair spinning going on so it’s an all round good time for us and hopefully the people watching! If we have fun, the crowd has fun, so we try and play the shows that are gonna allow that to happen. Again, we’ve made an evolution to start incorporating the lights and ambience to tell a story on stage and keep people captivated not only sonically but visually as well. Over time, our shows are gonna become something you don’t want to miss.
pic by Nine Lives Media
TIANA: I think my favourite description of you guys is in your unearthed profile where your “sounds like” section is: Soundgarden with Tool’s percussion. Instantly I’m on board, but you guys also bust in some psych and other hooky elements that really rounds out to a pretty tasty blend. Are these the bands you personally grew up devouring? What bands or artists led you to this life of rock and roll?
BRAD: That comparison is actually right on the money for us, and we couldn’t feel more honoured with that comparison. With those two bands in particular, I think vocally and percussively you could hear similarities. Obviously we are trying to create our own version, but the influence cannot be ignored. Some of the initial conversations around our sound were essentially something like “Pink Floyd meets Tool”. Again coming back to strong rhythmic character blended with the psychedelic and ambience of the 70s. It's still something we are searching for, and will eventually find. So absolutely! We have an undeniable connection to the guitar and drums as the core of a powerful rock sound, whilst looking for the ambience and psychedelic textures of the classic bands.
TIANA: Now to slowly bring us to a close today – as Brissie boys in the heavier realms, have you got a bucket list Brisbane band you’d love to tour with one day soon? I know you’ve already had a few names ticked off that list, but are there any locals you’d love to throw down with onstage when it’s all safe and happy again?
BRAD: Australia has a solid backbone of great hard rock bands, even progressive in nature. Bands like COG, The Butterfly Effect, Karnivool that have really carved a place for themselves amongst modern music - Nationally and Internationally. We’d love to one day share the stage with bands like this, as a testament to being able to create our own space within the genre. These bands are a great example of that with each a unique sound, so we’ll put those on the bucket list… and then tick em off!
TIANA: And beyond Brisbane, if you could tour with any band in the world…is there one that would claim that honour as being For The Wolves’ ultimate bucket list band to tour with?
BRAD: Tool would be pretty cool, QOTSA another - but we’re fans of so many artists and bands, there would be many who would get us excited to play with, spreading across multiple genres.
TIANA: Well no doubt For The Wolves will be roaring to life onstage again soon, and it’ll be a sight to behold when that happens (plus you’ll have your new tune to christen the stages!). But for now as a parting gift – what’s one secret about For The Wolves that nobody else knows (and we may or may not keep it a secret…):
BRAD: On set for any photo or video shoots, we like to listen to “Kokomo” by The Beach boys whilst drinking margaritas to set the mood. It’s magical, and we extend an open invite to anyone who wants to join...
FOR THE WOLVES' BRAND NEW TUNE THE DEVIL YOU KNOW IS OFFICIALLY OUT IN THE WORLD TODAY, FOR MORE FOR THE WOLVES INFO, HEAD TO:
BY TIANA SPETER