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Interview

Ryan Wolfe Breaks Down Soma Album and Split With Cough

Windhand took 2013 with gale force. The Richmond, Virginia group initiated its run with Relapse Records by releasing two recordings. The first release arrived in April, a split with fellow masters of crawling grooves, Cough, titled "Reflection of the Negative." The second came in the form of the band's second full-length "Soma."

Both recordings found a special place in the hearts of fans and critics alike. Led by the distantly resonating vocal vibrations of female singer, Dorthia Cottrell, Windhand's stony style recalls the psychedelic doom trembling of Electric Wizard.

In a review of Windhand's self-titled full-length recording, Metalunderground.com scribe heavytothebone2 praised , "Windhand rouses up the kind of stark, ritualistic aura that any serious doom metal band should project."

Whether by discovering the band on tour with a more established act like High On Fire or through domestic, sonic rituals, people have beckoned the call of Windhand. Beat finder general, Ryan Wolfe spoke with MU before opening a gig at Red 7 in Austin, Texas. The band came through with a touring package that included Power Trip, Mammoth Grinder and Iron Reagan. Check out our conversation below.

Rex_84: Windhand is on tour with Power Trip, Mammoth Grinder and Iron Reagan. Please tell us about this tour.

Ryan Wolfe: We just got home from Europe in November. We were home for two days and then we drove and met up with High On Fire and Kvelertak. We did two-and-a-half weeks with them. We are touring home from that tour, actually, and we are doing three shows now with Power Trip, Mammoth Grinder and Iron Reagan. It just so happened that we were all taking the same route, so we got to meet up.

Rex_84: Windhand is from Richmond, Virginia. Do you know the guys from Iron Reagan?

Wolfe: Yeah, we've been around for a long time. I grew up in North Carolina, so I was going to shows in Richmond way back in the early '90s. We met a lot of the dudes who were in Iron Reagan back then, so we've been in and around together, off and on, for years.

Rex_84: How do you feel about this touring lineup? Mammoth Grinder is pretty sludgy, but you guys are the doomiest band on the bill. Were you the opening band each night?

Wolfe: Yeah, we played first last night. The lineup changed on other nights. It's kind of good to be the odd man out (laughs). I tend to take the route of sticking out. I try to, at least, so it's kind of nice to be the band that doesn't really fit the genre of the tour that your on. Make people think a little bit.

Rex_84: Some of the fans will come here wanting to get a big circle pit going to Iron Reagan and Power Trip. Then, they watch you start (I do my best impression of a Windhand riff, slow and powerful.) What do you notice from the crowd in that respect?

Wolfe: People are receptive. Obviously, there is a younger faction of kids who don't really have time or patience for sitting through a six-minute song (laughs). No, it's been good, man. We just came through here in September. We had really good shows and really good turn-outs. We're seeing a lot of people from those shows show up. We've had a pretty good crowd every night, so far, with this lineup.

Rex_84: Windhand put out two recordings this year. What led you to put out the split with Cough, "Reflection of the Negative" and the full-length "Soma" all in one year?

Wolfe: As we were preparing to record the album, we were approached to do the split. Cough asked us if we wanted to do a split, so we said "yeah." We actually sacrificed one of the songs that was suppose to be on the "Soma" album to be on the split. "Amaranth" was originally slated for the "Soma" album. It wasn't two months later after "Reflections of the Negative" came out that we recorded "Soma." It's kind of weird: there is a time difference between them coming out, but because we were writing and doing all that at the same time, I kind of think of it as one big release (laughs).

Rex_84: Would you say the people who picked up the split were probably quite happy with the full-length, right, considering how recorded both around the same time?

Wolfe: Yeah, we've been getting a great reception. They were different sessions, but yeah, we're getting a really good reception from the "Soma" album, way more so than what we got with the split.

Rex_84: You put out both of those recordings on Relapse Records. When did you hook up with that label?

Wolfe: Like I said, Cough asked us to do the split. We were on tour, and we stopped by the offices in Philly. They were like, "we're interested if you're interested." We talked about and it and told them we would like to sign on. Then, they offered a deal for us. This was somewhere around February or March. Actually, it was around January when they officially offered. It's been a long time, sorry. (Laughs) I'm losing track off a year.

Rex_84: Tell us more about the "Soma" album. What's going on with this record? What kinds of people will dig it?

Wolfe: You know, I really can't say. There is a lot going on. There is a lot of steady grooves going on. It's kind of hard to explain your own band sometimes (laughs).

Rex_84: Is it a head-trip?

Wolfe: There's a lot of time to get lost. It's nothing to rush into. We're all old and take our time. Definitely, with this, it's a sit-down record (laughs).

Rex_84: Your Bandcamp bio says, "...the dual guitar attack sounds like the glorious misfit offering of Black Sabbath and Nirvana." Do you think this is an accurate comparison?

Wolfe: I don't know if you could directly compare us to both said guitarists, but sonically and structurally I do feel like it's a stoned-out Nirvana album. I definitely see the comparisons to sound. As far as Iommi and Kurt, (laughs), I'm not going to say we are the second coming of.

Rex_84: Asechiah Bogdan played with Alabama Thunderpussy. Parker Chandler play with cough. Tell us a little about your members playing in those bands, and how it transitioned into Windhand?

Wolfe: Asechiah hasn't been in Alabama Thunderpussy since 2000, so that was a long time ago. Parker is in Cough. Cough practices right up stairs from us. Usually, we practice on the off-days when we're not practicing. We needed a bass player because ours went on to do other things. We asked him to play a couple of shows with us because we needed a fill-in. We asked if he wanted to do it, did he have time for it. Now, in the end, we've kind of stolen him from Cough (laughs)! They've kind of been put on hiatus because we've been so busy as of late.

Rex_84: Have you toured with Cough?

Wolfe: No, actually we've been talking about doing something coming up, but we're not sure if it's going to work out or not. Off and on throughout the years we've talked about doing something. It just never has worked out.

Rex_84: What do you have planned next? Do you have another tour in the works?

Wolfe: We are driving twenty-four hours back to Richmond tonight! We're done. We've been on tour for almost two months. Tonight is the last night. We have to get back home to Richmond. We're driving home, going to mellow out and leisurely write some new songs. There are some honeydews that we have to take care of back home, like our wives and girlfriends. We're going home and will take our time, but we're coming down to SXSW. Then we're going to play Roadburn. We're doing a month in Europe. Then, we'll be doing the Maryland Deathfest. There are another couple of possible announcements that should be coming out soon as far as playing more festivals on the State side. After that, we really haven't made our U.S. plans.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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