Introducing: Wolf Company
New Manchester progressive rock quartet Wolf Company may only just be coming out of their embryonic stages, readying their first single and EP as we speak, but they emerge from the darkness fully formed with a suited, booted and immensely catchy musicality.
“We're all students and teachers of music and are constantly surrounded by music which is something we all love,” says sticksman Matt Harrison, who also drums for the more metalcore focussed Kill or Cure. Of their stunning debut single, “We write music of mature complexity but also with accessibility.”
Debut single Your Stain speaks volumes about the ambitiousness and vigour of the music they write while also capturing their accessible and addiction inducing side with a chorus the size of a tsunami. Made up of Mike Jones (vocals), Jack Hogg (guitar), Nick Farnworth (bass) and Harrison, of the track, the drummer echoes these sentiments.
“Your Stain I feel shows us in the light I described earlier - there are some odd times and crossovers here and there, but the chorus acts as a big hook, so that can hopefully grab the attention of those who aren't as used to the meter changes as well. We come from different musical backgrounds so together we make something that meets in the middle, like a musical Sharknado. For example, a jazz swing section in a Tool esque tune, and a song that has a strong feeling of Mastodon's Aunt Lisa takes a turn to light funk in the verses. We want to make music that isn't tied down to being one particular style or sound, so henceforth try our best to keep everything interesting and listeners blind to what is coming next.”
He speaks fluently, the passion for their music, with the rich and exciting array of references enough to whet the appetite of any self-respecting fan of heavy music.
Continues Harrison: “Our individual influences as members vary, with Mike being strongly inspired by artists like Pink Floyd, Jack drawing inspiration from Steven Wilson & Karnivool, Nick Protest The Hero and Primus, and me with my admiration for Alter Bridge and Tool. Not forgetting to mention my undying love for 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg. (No shame). The influences we draw on a personal level are there because they inspire us to pick up our instruments and try to emulate what they do. Music with intellect and lots of melody is something that we love and is what makes us do what we do.
“Our general influences as a band however would be: Karnivool, Twelve Foot Ninja, Mastodon, Dream Theater, Tool and Take That…”
Your Stain is a fantastic opening statement, the groove hitting you in the face with a real Gung-Ho, vocals reminiscent of Karnivool and perhaps a hit of James La Brie. The energy of the song is infectious too; it’s livlier than wasp on cocaine and the yin yang on the progressive leanings with more straightforward melodies and hooks is finely balanced. If you approach this song with a pessimistic ‘oh no, another crappy local band who probably can’t even play in tune’ will have that mentality duly quashed instantaneously. Trust me, this is highly impressive and it proves just how great a wealth and depth our fair city has when it comes to rock and metal bands.
So with Kill or Cure busy working on album number three, Matt must be a busy man right now?
“Yeah! My work with Kill or Cure and Wolf Company is surprisingly differentthough. With kill or Cure I have joined the band and have played what has been already written and arranged on the songs, and I take more of a back seat because Dan (Hepner) is more of the driving force and is great at what he does. With the new material though, this is my first chance to put my own stamp down which I'm dead excited about.
“I love metal, don't get me wrong, but my heart lies with prog. Wolf Company gives me the opportunity to have more of an administrative role and also the drum parts written from the very start are my own. Creating something that is very challenging and a whole batch of different styles is something I love. In terms of drumming, I take inspiration from many different players. This obviously includes the prog guys (Mangini, Portnoy, Garstka etc), but some of my heroes include Jeff Porcaro of Toto, Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy) and Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck).”
The band play their first live show at Retro Bar in August. With akiller line up of bands we’ve already championed here at Manchester Rocks, and with NOIZ Promotions’ new club night, The Mud Pit, taking place after, you really have no excuse not to get down and dirty with us.
“The 21st August is the night people of Manchester and surrounding areas can grab a Hessian mat and take a spiralling ride down the Wolf Company Helter Skelter. We promise loads of riffs, dancing in odd time signatures, moshing, and singing to one or two you may know. We're also going to be joined by The River Versus, so it's going to be fun. All of that for just £6!”
See you there then, yeah?
Words: Phil Weller