Wolf Eyes

The more energy we put out the more comes back from the audience, it's intoxicating. At the moment we are working as hard as we can and the live shows are more insane than ever.

Feature by Xavier Toby | 16 Apr 2006
Wolf Eyes produce screeching, terrifying, jarring noise that demands your attention in a way music never should. This is music that is reported to make babies cry and has been described as being "for people who want to throw acid in their faces." These are abrasive and harsh sounds that most people don't just detest, but physically can't tolerate.

"A lot of people think of our music as nothing but the static between the stations," says founding member and vocalist Nate Young. "My Dad likes it, but likens it to the sound of his circular saw on metal."

Maybe I enjoy Wolf Eyes' music because so many people hate it, or because I know art comes out of pain, not joy, and those who create this music feel as depressed and angry about how fucked up everything is as I do. "It's about recognising that those emotions exist within ourselves, and bringing them out to make more interesting music," says Young. "And we also like to scare the shit out of our juvenile selves."

Or maybe they just like hitting junk with sticks to make strange noises. Young explains the group's DIY roots, "We dragged stuff out of the garbage and banged it with a club until it broke, just to see what noise it could make."

Playing in support of Aphex Twin in Glasgow and alongside Radioactive Man and Alexander Tucker in Edinburgh, the Detroit based Wolf Eyes are a critical part of the American Noise scene, their music being described as everything from a "fully integrated industrial-hardcore-noise hybrid" to an "electronically based freak-out", but Young prefers the term "post-civilisation music or PCM."

Performing live, Wolf Eyes play noise with the intensity and theatricality of the best rock or metal acts. "For us," says Young, "the live shows are our focus at the moment. Without them we wouldn't have written the new album." Due for release in Autumn, 'Human Animal' is a double album with one side of crafted songs similar in style to the live shows and most recent album 'Burned Mind', while side two will represent the homemade releases and outtakes.

Unlike nearly every other act, Wolf Eyes release everything they record on tapes and CD-Rs. "It's our body of work, and ideas get lost otherwise," explains Young. "So far there's been between 200-300 releases. We usually only do about 50 of each, and there are certain people that only like the homemade releases."

The live show will be the first opportunity of many to witness Wolf Eyes' bizarre setup. They have always created their own instruments, and the setup used to be more elaborate but because it proved difficult to transport and kept breaking (or being broken), it was easier to use equipment that could be replaced anywhere in the world. So these days their touring equipment is limited to speed controls, radios, tape players, mixers and a drum machine.

The live shows are legendary; "The more energy we put out the more comes back from the audience, it's intoxicating," says Young. "At the moment we are working as hard as we can and the live shows are more insane than ever." It has been reported that during a performance in 2004, Young hit himself so hard in the face with a microphone that after the show he had to be taken to hospital. Hard to know how they'll top that but according to Young, "Recently we played a week and a half straight of shows and that nearly killed us."
Wolf Eyes play The Venue, Edinburgh with Alexander Tucker, Radioactive Man and (plus Mogwai DJ Set) April 27 and with Aphex Twin, The Bug featuring Warrior Queen & Ras B and DJ N>E>D at Barrowlands, Glasgow on April 30. http://www.triptychfestival.com