"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Interview

Chat with Aaron Weaver of Wolves in the ThroneRoom

Wolves in the Throne Room has only been around for six years, but has forced their way into the top of the black metal heap. Wolves released their third studio album "Black Cascade only a few weeks ago and has become very popular with established fans as well as new listeners. Before they test their metal at the European festivals, they stopped for a show in New Orleans where I was able to have a word with drummer Aaron Weaver.

Buick Mckane: Welcome to New Orleans. You just released you third studio album “Black Cascade,” and it’s been pretty successful.

Aaron Weaver: Yeah, it’s been pretty well received. We just put it out there.

Buick: You’re fan base has probably grown from the album. Have you noticed a bugger turnout at your shows?

Aaron: Yes, but it’s just rule-of-thumb; the more you tour, the bigger your shows turn out to be. It’s just a natural, word-of-mouth thing. If your band is engaging and interesting to people, it’s going to draw more people in the next town. I’ve been pleased with the turn-out so far. The energy has felt good. There hasn’t been one bummer show to speak about. We’ve played with some really good bands.

Buick: And you’ve still got a while to go on this tour.

Aaron: We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got two or three more shows on this leg of the tour. Then we leave our van in Dallas, Texas, and fly to Europe for the festivals and some club gigs in between. Then we fly home, pick our van up and finish off the rest of the U.S. on the west coast. The last show is in Anacortes, Washington, on the 18th of July. So, it’s about 10 weeks.

Buick: Do you like playing those bigger festivals or do you prefer the smaller venues?

Aaron: We’ve never played those big European festivals. It’s going to be an experience. I don’t know if I’m going to like it, it’s going to be an experiment and see if it’s something we’re comfortable with and that’s going to suit our band with the vibe that we have. I definitely prefer smaller, more intimate places. Maybe that’s because of the familiarity. It’s where we feel more comfortable. Also, there’s a legitimate energy issue. When there’s so much separation between you and the audience, you tend to disconnect. There’s something missing. As opposed to a small, intense basement show. I’ve never been a really big-rock concert guy. The last big concert I went to was Metallica when I was 16. So, I don’t have any experience with those kinds of events. Well see, if it’s something that we enjoy and it suits the band, we’ll do it again.

Buick: Well, you’ve only been around for six years, which is a fairly short period of time for a metal band, but you’ve gotten so famous. For some bands, it takes twenty years and some never get famous at all. Why do you think you got so big so fast?

Aaron: I guess that really doesn’t ring true to me. For me, it doesn’t feel any different than it did ten years ago. We’re doing the same sorts of things, making the same kind of music. The shows are bigger, and the records sell more. Maybe I should think about it more; where our band is at, what means we have at our disposal. To answer your question, I think we’re doing something different than a lot of other bands; we have a different motivation to make the music that we do. It sounds different. We’re not trying to recreate an Emperor album or anything. We’re trying to make something new. It’s very personal.

Buick: You’ve mimicked a sound that’s very much like Scandinavian black metal. When you hear black metal today, it could mean a lot of different things with all of the combinations of influences. Do you think that living in your part of the country where it snows heavily and is covered in forests is like living in Scandinavia?

Aaron: There is a connection between the two regions. What we try to do with our music is try to connect very deeply to a certain place. The place we live, Cascadia, has certain features and specific types of trees, rivers, forests, mountains and animals. The whole process of life creates energy. Every place has a different energy that you can tap in to. What I think black metal does when it’s successful is try to channel the energy of a place. And I do think there is a connection between the cold and dreary climate where we come from and the cold and dreary climate of Scandinavia. The energy of the music is going to be very similar. We’re trying to access the same things and trying to express the same ideas and feelings that you experience when you’re there. If a black metal band was coming from Louisiana and it sounded like Emperor or Burzum, it would be very wrong.

Buick: How did you and your brother decide to move out into the forest to your farm?

Aaron: We just decided that we didn’t want to have anything to do with modern-day society. We have so many friends who are in the same position and had the same ideas that wanted to do the same thing, but always got tossed out of wherever they were living. They would set up these amazing art spaces or convert a warehouse, but inevitably, they get tossed out. We felt very strongly about getting a place where we could create something of our own.

Buick: How did living there help create your sound?

Aaron: Just being out in nature. Nathan and I are very, very different. He’s completely nocturnal, during the winter time; he won’t see the sun for months. He wakes up at six at night and stays awake all night doing what he does. I’m very different. I wake up early and work outside all day. So for me, connecting to a more traditional way of living is a big influence on me. Black metal, while connecting to the energies of certain regions, is about tradition. It’s not about one type of tradition, it’s about questioning it. It’s more about engaging in the process of tradition, what is nature. Being able to live that on a daily basis affects the music.

Buick: How do you reconcile your environmental mind-set to driving in tour buses and eating poorly while on the road?

Aaron: It’s something that I think about a lot. The bottom line is that’s is essential to have a strong and thriving underground culture. Anyone that I know that has come into a more radical consciousness has been brought to that place by being part of an underground, most likely a punk or metal scene; that’s the gateway. That’s where dialogue happens and where new ideas are created and pushed into the mainstream. It’s where people become inspired. I feel a certain obligation to help because I’ve been given so much by it. Underground music and culture have given me so much I feel an obligation to continue the ritual. I’ve come to believe that more and more over the past few years. I’ve always been very negative about touring; it’s so wasteful and seems so unnecessary. It seems like an extravagance. The more I interact with people; I see how important it is. At the same time, we’re really thinking about how we can change the way we do it. This tour is a conventional rock tour; we play a lot of bars and rock clubs. It’s not what we’re interested in doing. We’re talking very seriously about bring our own P.A. on the road and a bigger crew so we can setup in unconventional places whether it’s a warehouse, old church or outside. We don’t want to be a part of the rock n’ roll machine. We’re interested in d.i.y. culture. We’re not into helping bars or record labels make money. We’ll use the system for our own purposes, though.

buickmckane's avatar

Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.

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