Wolf Eyes is a band from Michigan that was formed in 1998. They are known for their bizarre and otherworldly approach to music. Creating a sound that is both disturbing and hypnotic. The band has released numerous albums and EPs on various labels. With their intense and bizarre live performances, Wolf Eyes has garnered a reputation as one of the most frightening and weird bands in the world. Wolf Eyes is currently John Olson and Nate Young.
We are thrilled to present the Detroit noise duo in their 25th anniversary in Berlin. Their new album “Dreams In Splattered Lines” fuses together Wolf Eyes‘ 25 years of DIY electronics with the avant-garde sensibilities of Fluxus and the granite of dreary Midwestern life. Monday, 30 October at silent green’s Kuppelhalle. Tickets for 12 Euro are already on sale — you can’t get more noise for less cash.
1. Wolf Eyes records and rehearses every Friday, unless on tour. This amounts to around 50 hours of music a year.
We’ve released about an eighth of it in the past 25 years.
2. Wolf Eyes has created 346 releases between 1996-2022.
3. Wolf Eyes has toured 30% of every year since 1999. Covid made us pause touring but we doubled our recording output.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Nate: The biggest inspiration on Wolf Eyes music is the Michigan environment. People tend to think our music is solely inspired by the industrial wastelands of Detroit. I think at first it was inspiring to be in a city that had close to 70% abandoned buildings and so few cops that it felt lawless. But as I got older I realized that being around so much urban decay and strife messed with my head and I needed a daily dose of nature. So I got a dog and started walking the trails. I immediately realized that our music had more in common with insects and rodents than abandoned steel plants and dumpster juice. If you’ve never heard a Michigan Red Squirrel you might think it’s Olson playing his homemade electronics.
John: Finding your own language and morphing into a flowing thread. Tangling words into your own voice and using this practice as musical communication. Practice / performing / Wolf rehearsing feels like for myself the ideal way for expression. Electronics / reeds / tapes all combine into a stew that can`t be put into common verbalisms. Making your own world / reality. Its like a left handed way of viewing basic communication. Feels best when colleagues understand it.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Nate: I got into making music after dropping out of high school in 1993. Making music was the next logical step for a young skate-punk. My friends and I would spend all day on the streets, dumpster diving and thrashing anything we could find. We’d spend hours ollieing heating ducts and crates of bottles and then drag them back to our basement and bang on them all night.
My first few instruments were constructed of found objects, at first it was bed springs attached to guitar pick-ups and a metal detector. Eventually it was the guts of cheap electronic toys collaged together with Atari joysticks and spray-foam. This is how I got into building electronics, digging in the trash, tearing apart things I did not understand and making them into something I could understand.
John: The late period drummer who was on the Crucifucksí Wisconsin LP gave me a drum set and lessons. This was 1986. I learned from Carmen Appiceís Flexi lessons and got Wipe Out down and it was an incredible breakthrough. The first gig was with the Flowers and Thorns band in í89 playing bass cause it was a Marching Band house party and there was already a drummer. We opened with Careful With That Axe Eugene and people starting swaying and I couldn`t believe it. What a feeling. Punk drums were the main instrument till I tried trumpet and my instructor said You are horrible try this alto sax for the weekend and see if that sticks. Spent all weekend with it and never turned back. Electronics came later in 93 in a free form band called Plants.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
The Fall – Hip Priests And Kamerades
Tod Dockstader – Organized Sound (on Owl Records)
Art Ensemble Of Chicago – People In Sorrow
Cabaret Voltaire – Three Mantras
Gil Melle – The Andromeda Strain
Changes every week / day so this week its:
Slacking Roundhouse a Bootlicker 7
Worth Slow Hell cassette
K2 In The Monotonous Flowers cd
Appi Mahnfaktor Katharsis 7
Freygang 1986 Spieber & Dichter 7
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Nate: Electronic music and the hilarious stories about Berghain bouncers. I’ve played Berghain about four times and the bouncers have always
been very sweet.
John: Yikes big one there. Being an old head I use to scour the Goldmine biweekly magazines for the German / Berlin electronic rock records. Mail in bid style, used to take months to get any OHR / PILZ / BRAIN label records. Reading about them made my imagination BOIL. Then DDR / Berlin punk singles added to the damage. Such a scene. Then the whole Brinkmann / Glitch / Cuts and Clicks set turned everything upside down. Impossible to short list such a rich revolutionary zone. Berlin School? Really thinking about it Tangerine Dream were really the first long form electronic rock band. I recently read in the Burning Down The Haus book that clubs would pay you by the amount of time you performed and they would, under economic distress, play from the second the doors opened to when they shut for full payout. That alone could be seen as the beginning of stretching out rock to full abstraction in a live setting. Phew.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Nate: I love Dodge State Park #4. It has steep hills near the lake and in the late winter when the ice starts to melt you can hear it echo off the hills. If you have never heard sheets of ice create acoustic dispersion it basically sounds like plate reverb. Honestly one of the most chilling sounds you’ll ever hear.
John: My house / office / studio – Ranney Skatepark – the Breslin Center parking ramp where MSU cops roll by and has amazing curbs and manual pads and its perf for rain / winter sessions.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Nate: Walk my dog, draw, smoke grass and look at the stars.
John: Paint and draw.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Nate: Cyrus – Inversion (Basic Channel)
John: Population One Hippnotic Culture 2 x 12
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Nate: NASA, I’d love to be on the next comp that goes into deep space.
John: Roberto BolaÒo when he was alive.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Nate: Seeing the Stooges reunion show at Pine Knob (DTE)
John: Best gig seen was watching Andy Bolus / Evil Moisture sound check thinking it was the actual gig, during time spent in Belgium maybe 2003? Watched the beautiful homemade sounds splatter into a empty club from the balcony with Nate and when it was time for his real performance, the main kinda choked. Amazing.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Nate: Very important, without it I do not think I would be making music. I’d probably just go back to drawing full time.
John: Ah its great, always change and always press forward with new devices to sound like 20 B.C. – the juggle between reed instruments and modern electronics are so different but what a challenge for unique languages. Forward ever. Makes it hard to sleep sometimes with so many possibilities. Limitless imagination tools, always.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your music?
Nate: I have a sister named Abby. My brother Pete passed away about 10 years ago. My family loves my music, they are old hippies. They call it ‘trippy/stoner:good-drug music.’
John: My mother Sharon has played harp with us. She has always been very supportive but clueless to what we actually do. When ah outsiders ask about our music I usually try to dodge the question or just say its a combination of tones that only dogs can hear mixed with a car accident. That stops it dead in the water from further inquiries.