WØLFDARLING taps into a wide range of emotions to bring you a unique alt-rock vibe. From tragic and gloomy to showing bravery in the face of hopelessness, frontman Sam Urich says this about the new single “chemical violence”, “This song is a conversation between myself and my mind. Everything beautiful, everything frightening.”
The band consists of Urich along with his brother Jack on bass with Jason Hartless on drums. The single was produced by Chris Ahn and Chuck Alkazian (Pop Evil, Soundgarden, Tantric) at Pearl Sound Studios in Canton, Michigan, and Ahn’s studio in Los Angeles.
1. Can you give us some insight as to how you got your band name, WØLFDARLING?
The project name, WØLFDARLING, came from a rather frightful descent into my neurosis. In 2018 I was no longer enchanted by the band name we had at the time, and so I began thinking of a new name. I really searched. Everything that was profound and phenomenal and emotionally pulling to me I pondered.
This delving into my mind took me places I would have preferred not to have visited, and many things cruel and harmful assailed me as I journeyed in the dark. I was down there for the better part of a year. In the fall of that year, I was writing a song and deeply absorbed in the lyrics when suddenly WØLFDARLING surfaced from the waters of my psyche. It was just suddenly there. I was so into the song I was writing though, that I didn’t think much about it. I just quickly scribbled down the name in my notebook and carried on writing my song. It wasn’t until I was finished with the tune that I looked back at the name a thought “well, I quite like that.” I told my younger brother, Jack when he came home that evening. and here we are.
I really love the name as it manifests varying emotions, and I leave the interpretation up to the listener. But for my part, I will say that the wolf has always been a very significant figure in my life, and I adore the animal both in nature and literature. the wolf is such a powerful figure in folklore, and its role can be both benevolent or antagonistic, it really shifts from tale to tale. but whether for good or ill, the arrival of a wolf always means something important is about to happen. what a villainous beast the wolf is in the tale of Red Riding Hood, but how noble the mother wolf is that nourished the infant brothers Romulus and Remus, the (legendary) founders of Rome. and I really like the DARLING because it is gentle and affectionate, a sweet word you share with your loved one under the cover of night. the wolf is a beautiful, fierce, and woefully misunderstood animal.
2. Tell us about the new single “chemical violence”.
Our new single, “Chemical Violence,” first took life in the spring of 2019
in LA. Jack and I were out there taking meetings and considering relocating
there. During that time, we met a young and seriously gifted producer,
Chris Ahn, while at a show, and we got to talking. Chris invited us over to
make some jams. I had been struggling with an aggressive bout of anxiety
and depression, and so that is what I wrote about. When Chris had us
in his studio, that is what the song became; a cry for mental awareness. I
was on the pharmaceutical Celexa at the time, so it made sense to say,
quite frankly, “I took my Celexa but these drugs never work on me.” I
discuss my time in the hospital “the I.V. drips so loud, will this bring me
quiet now.” And that my cerebral influence is everywhere “I’m the blankets
you sleep under, I’m the lovers in your bed, I’m the feelings that you hide.”
But I began to recognize that the rejection was futile, that I must look
into the eyes of my fear and smile. What is important is that I hold the
darkness instead of ignoring it. Everything in this world responds to warmth, and the mind is no different. accept where I am at, breath deep, and follow love, not hate. trust me, the path is much sweeter. “I need this violence, I need this violence I need all of you.” There is incredible wisdom and expression hidden in the night of our minds, and because we are afraid of what we might see, we never look. But, I encourage you to look and to receive every part of you with love. You don’t reject a hungry child, so why would you reject your most vulnerable self? When you discover more about yourself, your decisions and actions are executed with conviction and confidence and you spend less time worrying and more time creating a brilliant life. With my madness comes also gifts, and I must remind myself all the time to receive with open hands the gems my darkness can bring.
3. What’s the songwriting process like?
I can speak only for myself in this way. songwriting is individual and personal and subjective. Some may tell you otherwise, but for me, there is no formulaic code that must be followed in order to create a song. What is important for writing a song is that you FEEL. If you’re feeling something overwhelming and extraordinary, that will manifest in your music and your performance. I keep a little notebook on me. I write down lyrics and ideas and phrases and words that strike something in me. I also just sit down with my guitar and begin strumming and plucking. and if I find a melody that is moving for me, something that makes me close my eyes and feel my blood quickening in my veins, then I follow that and begin to create a vocal line and fitting lyrics.
My songs are very much influenced by the state I am in while writing. My earliest songs, written when I was a youth (writing my first at 13), are more upbeat and jubilant. Sure I was still a broody kid with a peculiar attraction to tragedy, but my songs were still mostly about girls and such. And I still write about women no doubt, but the context changes. When I write about women now, they appear as more ethereal or metaphysical beings, extensions of natural phenomena. I have always felt women be supernatural beings, and that has really evolved in my later works. For songwriting is just like any other craft; you must practice and practice and practice. But yes, I will admit that my songs of late are much more gloomy and usually concern mental health, as that is something that is very dear to me and an issue I wish to address and bring to light so that those who do suffer can find camaraderie and know they are not alone. As far as the actual process of songwriting plays out, people usually ask if write a melody then lyrics or vice versa, and as I
touched on above, I do both. I just listen and follow.
4. What’s it like being in a band with your brother?
I am hyped I get to be in a band with my brother. He’s my best friend, and
we’re very close, so honestly being in a band together was incredibly
organic. Also, I don’t think we have been able to imagine a lifestyle
without the other, as we’ve been together pretty much our whole lives, so
being in the same band also gave us an excuse, not to part ways and get
grown-up jobs and wear ties.
If you see us on the street you can tell that we are kin, but once you get to know us you will find we definitely have our own personalities. It’s just that our personalities blend really well together. We can talk to each other, and that is probably the most important aspect. We laugh at each other’s jokes and encourage one another. We’ve never had an antagonistic relationship with each other. As the older brother, I never tormented him or anything as you see often presented in the film. Sure we have our disputes, I mean, we are brothers so that is just part of the gig, but I always want Jack to be happy and safe.
Hmm…perhaps it is also nice to have him around so I can keep an eye on him; he can be pretty wild sometimes. But yeah it’s really great to know you have someone who’s always got your back. We’re brothers. I would destroy worlds for him. We can bicker amongst each other sometimes yeah but the moment an outsider threatens one of us we bare our teeth and put up the shield wall. Also since we live together we can write and jam whenever we feel like it. no need to plan rehearsal; we’re already there! I like that Jack and I have different tastes in music as well. We def agree on some bands, and we are into the same genres as a whole, but when it comes to our enthusiasm for some artists we can differ. Jack really loves older groups, such as Gary and the Pacemakers, The Kinks, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and also some more recent cats like Radiohead, Muse, Rage Against the Machine, and Royal Blood, while I am into groups like The Bravery, Bloc Party, Biffy Clyro, Sigur Ros, AURORA, Crywolf, Racing Glaciers, and The Maine. Of course, we both like all these bands listed, but the level of inspiration and enthusiasm for them differs between us. but since Jack pulls a lot from these other groups and I from those I admire, we can create some really cool sounds.
5. How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it yet?
For those who ask what our sound is, I tell them that we are *dark bedroom
alternative*. I like to see where that takes them. I do not believe WØLFDARLING fits one particular genre. and when I really thought about it, *dark bedroom alternative was* what I came up with. what does that mean? words fail here. just listen to WØLFDARLING. Then you’ll know. But for the sake of communication, when asked by those of the industry or writers or promoters we just say ‘alternative’, or alternative/rock, or even alternative/emo. Damn, this is futile.
6. Who were some of your main musical influences growing up?
In answering this question, I will be speaking on behalf of Jack as well, since we were raised in the same household and often shared interests. As I was the older brother, a lot of the music I liked listening to was what Jack listened to by default since that was his early exposure. And the music I liked listening to, was, at first, influenced by my parents, especially my father. When I got my first awesome clunky iPod, I downloaded all my dad’s music is on there. so I was listening to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Aerosmith, The Monkees, The Zombies, The Romantics, Cheap Trick, and U2, to name just a few. It was also my father who introduced me to bands, I am still heavily influenced by today, such as Jimmy Eat World, Green Day, Keane, and The National. As I grew older and further developed my tastebuds, I began tapping more into certain veins of sound. Which has lead to where I am now. But, as a youth, some of the most powerful bands that inspired us deeply and lit the fires of our musical pursuits were:
-Jimmy Eat World
-My Chemical Romance