Wolfcolony is a NYC-based duo that’s bridging the gap between mainstream and underground electronica. Singer-songwriter wolf and music producer Neal Sarin began collaborating together at their alma mater University of Miami and haven’t looked back. The powerful vocals, lyrical intricacies and captivating soundscape that help define wolfcolony continue to flourish with time. I recently had the opportunity to ask wolf (and Neal, briefly) a few questions regarding the creative inception/direction of his career and his vision for the future of wolfcolony. See what he had to say after the jump.
STREAM: Wolfcolony – “Beauty”
Where do you draw your musical inspiration from? Do you find having roots in New York and Miami has influenced your music style?
Well, my producer Neal Sarin and I both started collaborating in college at the University of Miami for fun, so that’s where it all really started from. I find that I draw my inspiration at the most unexpected times, sometimes I have to sneak into a bathroom just to record a voice note on my phone. I never force it. I like the organic natural approach. I’ve felt very connected to New York City ever since I was a child, but the mix of both cities is what initially set the tone for my sound. Los Angeles has also been influential as of late, as well as my years living in Paris.
Did you always see yourself getting into music?
To be honest I only discovered music in college. My friends (including Neal) tried to get me to pursue it but I always said no. Now I feel like it’s my true purpose in life. I’m obsessed, addicted.
A tag line you’ve given yourself is “bridge the gap,” referencing the different genres wolfcolony traverse: mainstream and underground electronica; What aspects of these two genres attracted you the most and how have you made them your own?
As a fan of music in all its variety, mainstream or underground, I never got the separation of one or the other. I like what I like, I never question it. So that open mindedness allowed me to create freely without any rules. It’s quite liberating.
Growing up I had a pet wolf and Huskies. I found them both so beautiful and loving yet fierce and intense. I relate to that dichotomy quite a lot and being a lone wolf. Neal and I developed the theme together and it just felt right, the mask, the name, and the sound.
Wolf, what three words would you use to describe Neal as a producer?
Creative, driven, and collaborative.
Neal, what are some of your favorite lyrics that wolf has written?
“I wanna break the rules I once made,
Shake my core and live to be amazed
I’ll never lose this innocence,
I never wanna stop making messes” (from “Youth”)
The lyrics truly embody the idea of youth, which creates a naturally nostalgic effect for the listener.
“Darkened days, my haze, your kingdom
I am just your loving victim” (from upcoming track “Dark + Moody”)
This song might be the most emotional piece we’ve created yet. His lyrics and delivery are more poetic than ever.
“The devil came to me, he said I’ll keep you better company
I said I wanna take a ride with you, but don’t let me look back”
(from upcoming track “Holy”)
The overall message of “Holy” and the way that it’s portrayed lyrically is sheer genius.
You have your signature wolf mask, which in my mind provides a sense of mystery and ambiguity to your listeners. What was the initial attraction to the mask? Is there some deeper underlying meaning there or is it simply just a really cool face mask?
I’m not sure what came first the name or the mask. The image of the lone wolf is appealing and relatable. I like the fact that I have developed this artistic persona; it has allowed me to be braver as a person and an artist. I also want people to separate between me as a person and a musician. It’s about the music and the visuals and the performance. I’m glad you appreciate the mystery because that’s totally something I am going for. The illusion can be greater than the truth, specially in this day and age of artists being overexposed.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given regarding your career?
Stick to your guns and your vision, and the rest will follow.
What is your dream collaboration?
I am a big fan of Woodkid (his music and videos), I also appreciate Lana Del Rey (Woodkid has directed a video of hers, stunning). I find myself attracted to sadness; nothing is more beautiful than tragedy.
If there was a magic lizard that promised you that you would succeed at anything you tried, what would you do?
This. Only this. I want to work with anyone and everyone, explore every aspect of creativity and never limit myself.
You released your EP on April 2nd, and in just a few months your work has been really well received. How is this positive feedback affecting your relationship and your goals as artists?
First, I want to thank everyone who was kind enough to listen and appreciate the music, it was not an easy decision for me to become an artist, but since then I have never looked back. Our relationship has become stronger, the bond we have is unbreakable. It started out as a fun project then we talked about being an official duo, but realized that would creatively limit both of us.
How do you define success? Do you see that definition morphing with your ever-increasing popularity?
My main goal is to grow and learn as an artist, to create beautiful music, words, and visuals. I want to become my own fan; I want to be THAT good. That’s my idea of true success. But of course being popular won’t hurt either.