-- Celestial Wolves get shredded! --
On January 24th 2019 I was invited to an official press event at the headquarters of Dunk!Records. A record label dedicated to doom, sludge and post-metal and whose activities also include the yearly 3-day event Dunk!Festival as well as the vinyl production plant Dunk!Pressings. My good friend Sean Vali (head of booking agency Arawn Agency) offered me to interview several of Dunk!’s associated bands and one of those was Celestial Wolves. I sat together with the two brothers, bassist Wouter and guitarist Joris, to talk about the concept behind their 2018 album “Call Of The Void,” their hefty London parking fine, their collaboration with Dunk!Records and Folsom Canine Blues!
All pictures by Elien Swinnen (https://www.elienswinnen.com/).
BMS: Hello there! I’ve got to say that I’ve always had a soft spot for instrumental bands. It takes skill to tell your stories through your instruments and you guys pull it off nicely.
Wouter: Thanks! You know, we as Celestial Wolves have been a fully instrumental band since day one. Our creative philosophy is to leave our music open for personal interpretation. It’s like reading a good book, you read the words and your mind creates a custom image of the described events.
Joris: As for the songwriting itself, we have a plethora of inspirations including jazz, post-rock, heavy metal and stoner rock.
Wouter: And because of all those different influences all five of us equally contribute to the songwriting process. Most of Celestial Wolves’ material starts off with a riff that one of us has come up with and then we jam along with it until we find enough stuff to complement that riff. And eventually we put it all together into a single, coherent song.
BMS: Last year you released your “Call Of The Void” album. Tell me about its production.
Joris: The main concept behind “Call Of The Void” is the dark desire we all feel sometimes to do something bad to ourselves or to something else in the world. And this album delves into what could happen if you succumb to that evil urge, depending on what world continent you live in. For instance, the song “Porcupine Bank” deals with the destruction of Atlantis, caused by its own inhabitants. The song begins peacefully but gets progressively heavier as the catastrophic destruction occurs up till the final, thunderous riff representing the seas swallowing the doomed island.
BMS: Impressive stuff! Now, you’ve already played all over Europe, including the Netherlands, Slovenia, Italy, the UK and the Czech Republic. What are some of the stand-out moments from those gigs abroad.
Joris: One of my fondest memories is when we did our first gig in London (which was also our first non-Belgian show). We parked our bus next to the venue where we were scheduled to play in and since we had plenty of time to kill, we went to a local bar to have a drink. But when we came back, we saw we had a parking ticket of no less than 150 ponds unless we paid within two weeks, then wee “only” had to pay 75 ponds! We never paid that fine and never got a reminder for it. So we got off cheap, literally! Ha, ha! Now, that isn’t the reason why that London gig was so memorable. It was because over 40 of our hometown friends and fans came over to London to support us. It all felt like a home-away-from-home show.
Wouter: One of the charms of being on the road is the camaraderie atmosphere that’s flowing through the tour bus. We have our own tour bus with a DVD player and when one of us pops in a movie you can see all of us wearing headphones and gazing up towards the ceiling as if we were looking at an UFO flying over us. Anyway, one very sweet memory I’d like to share with you is from our gig in Pavia, Italy. During our sound check, a dog came in from out of the street and during the entire concert he laid down with his head on our paddle board, relaxing and listening to our music. Yeah, we love animals and it looks like animals love us too, ha, ha!
BMS: That’s a very heart-warming story. Let’s hope more animals and humans come out to see you play!
Wouter: Yeah, Johnny Cash did a gig in Folsom prison and we may end up doing a show in a kennel.
BMS: Folsom canine blues! Sounds great! So, you’ve been working with Dunk!Records for a long time. How did the collaboration go thus far?
Joris: We were among the first bands to be signed to this record label and so we saw the Dunk! brand evolve from its humble beginnings. I also work as an artist liaison for Dunk!Records and their Dunk!Festival so I’m very proud to be part of this ever growing community.
Wouter: For me, Dunk! is a true blessing, I love discovering new bands and meeting new people and the music they promote is both familiar and different compared to the music I make with Celestial Wolves. Dunk!Festival in particular is an event that I love going to because you often see the same people in attendance each year, both locals and fans from far outside of Belgium.
BMS: I’ll be heading to Dunk!Festival this year as well. My first time and I’m very curious! So, what are the future plans for Celestial Wolves?
Wouter: This year we want to play as many shows as we can and hopefully we can catch some festivals this summer.
Joris: We’ll be doing another European tour this spring, so we’ve already got some good things ahead of us.
BMS: Always working and improving, I love it! So, you got anything else to add to this shredding chat?
Wouter: Thank you for our time! Be sure to come see us live on stage soon!