BAND CRUSH: CHELSEA WOLFE
dive into darkness with this art-folk chanteuse.
For the past several years and with two full-length albums under her belt, Chelsea Wolfe has thrived in the underworld. Her specific brand of drone-metal-art-folk merges dark and light, happy and sad, all in one reverberating 3-minute track. And while the fact that this L.A. native still resides in the land of year-round sunshine disproves our weather-music correlation theory, that's okay.
Come to think of it, her tracks are so chillingly- well, cool, that we'll probably still have them on repeat long after winter is over. Chelsea Wolfe filled us in on her unique sound below.
1. If you had to describe your songs to someone who's never heard them before, what would you say?
Lyrical and atmospheric, a story on a movie screen. Sometimes melancholy and sometimes healing. Words are so important to me, set into a certain soundscape.
2. Did you always know you wanted to do music professionally?
Yes, I've always known I wanted to, but it took me a long time before I had enough confidence to admit it to myself. When I was younger I had always assumed that other musicians knew something I didn't; that I wasn't skilled or bold enough. But I actually started making music when I was about 9 years old and I kept writing and recording over the years anyway. Eventually some friends encouraged me to play shows, and after that I slowly started taking it more seriously, releasing recordings and approaching it as an art form.
3. Where do you draw inspiration from? Are your songs based on personal experience, or is it something else?
It's a mix... of course my personal experience has an influence on the way I write, but I don't generally draw from my own stories for songwriting inspiration. Sometimes I'll get a crush on an idea or subject and really follow that, researching and obsessing over it until I put it into a song. My inspirations are all over the place - John Waters, old Russian folk music, D.H. Lawrence books, world news. Lately I've been exploring the idea of how ancestry and heritage influence our mental patterns and instincts.
4. How do you decide what to wear onstage?
I'm drawn to things that feel a bit alien, animal, or slightly off, and I have an affinity for clothing or jewelry that looks like it could double as armor. I like toughness combined with elegance, monochrome and black-on-black. I'm also into layers of fabric and fur, and I like a long silhouette, so I tend to wear long skirts, long pants, tall shoes. I choose pieces that I'm instinctively drawn towards for a show. In the end though, what I'm wearing onstage has to be comfortable enough to move around and play guitar in. I hate to feel restricted. If I could, I'd bring a suitcase full of Margiela on every tour. In my daily life, I find my white trash roots.. ripped denim, 90's boots and body chains.
5. Many critics have drawn comparisons between you and Zola Jesus. How do you feel about these connections?
I think it's great that there are so many talented women getting recognized in music right now. We're all headed in different directions though really.. My own music has roots in folk and rock n roll, and I really look up to artists like Nick Cave, Josh Homme, Portishead and Patti Smith.
Listen to more Chelsea Wolfe here.
MER by NYLONmag