We were lucky enough to get a quick chat with Matt from Sunwølf, who gave us some looks behind the curtain of the mysterious group's operations. He also shared some thoughts on the group's colossal latest album, Beholden To Nothing And No One, so give it a look!
RWTD: Could you begin by giving us a rough outline of the band's history? How did the band get together, have your members played in other bands/side-projects, that sort of thing.
Matt: I originally joined Dom’s ambient project called Ten. We played a bunch of shows and toured, then decided to do something a little darker, which is when Sunwolf came to the fore. We’ve been going for about two years and have released three records in this time and toured the UK and mainland Europe a bunch of times.
I’ve normally been in fast bands in the past so Sunwolf is a nice change of pace for me and it’s perhaps a sign of my age…slowing down!
RWTD: Beholden To Nothing And No One really has a sound of building directly on the foundation of your two previous albums, turning up the intensity developed on Midnight Moon, and diving more deeply into the atmospherics you'd started with on Beyond The Sun. What led to going for a two-disc album? Was it something where you found the material you were putting together just wouldn't fit onto one, or did you start out with the intent of doing something this large?
Matt: The intention was to write more material than we actually needed (as a lot of bands do) then we’d whittle out the best tracks, but when it came to it, we actually wanted to use all the songs we’d wrote.
We decided to release it over two discs to give it some sort of narrative. Disc 1 being the more metal and disc 2 more ambient. Similar to our last record Midnight Moon, where we split the styles up between sides A and B of the LP.
We didn’t intend on writing such a long record, in fact, we didn’t realise quite how long it was until we were mixing it and said ‘fuck! This is almost 90 minutes long! Who the fuck is going to sit for 90 minutes and listen to this!?’ but a few people have done, so we’re thankful for that.
RWTD: What sorts of things (books, films, other music) did you find yourself drawing on for inspiration or influence when you were putting together the songs on the new album? And what was the atmosphere like in the studio when you'd go in to record something?
Matt: I always find questions of influence quite hard to underpin, largely due to the subconscious nature in which we find ourselves influenced. Literature goes some way in influencing the themes and concepts of our songs, I know Dom takes an interest in Nordic literature and the title of the record is an adaptation from ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.
The atmosphere in the studio is always surprisingly jovial…we may produce these really bleak records but we have a lot of fun and laughs doing it. A lot of it can be attributed to our producer, Ross. He’s a bit of a character. We’ll spend most of the session talking about food or coffee or good places to eat out locally. We might record a few guitar tracks at some point too.
We’ve done all three records with Ross and it’s just a really nice and relaxed atmosphere up at his place, which I think really comes across in our records.
RWTD: Would you be open to a good offer from a label looking to reissue Beholden in the near future, or would you prefer to keep the physical copies extremely rare for a while?
Matt: We would definitely be open to a label reissuing the record on LP. We’ve been asked by loads of people if it’s coming out on vinyl. It would have been, if we had the time to commit to touring it, but unfortunately we don’t.
We were in talks with a bunch of small labels about getting it out on wax but it’s too much of a risk if we can’t play shows to shift them!
We may even do some sort of kickstarter campaign to get it out there on vinyl.
RWTD: What are Sunwølf's plans for the near future?
Matt: Our new album has just been released so we’re just promoting that. We’ll likely have a quiet rest of 2014 as we have a ton going on with other commitments in our lives, jobs etc. But, we shall be back playing live, louder than ever early next year!
RWTD: Is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans, or the world in general?
Matt: Thanks to anyone who picks up on what we’re doing, whether it’s buying a record or just listening to our music online, we appreciate it.