Beta Wolf Talk "Just Before Morning" and Stream New Song "Domino"
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 07:41:09
"We're going to our first lobster bake today," smiles Beta Wolf singer Grant Arnow. "We're just a bunch of kids from the West Coast so all of this New England stuff is new to us".
Right now, the Los Angeles quintet is crisscrossing the country supporting Daughtry and, while they're taking in all of the sights and sounds, they're also immensely impacting fans nightly. With an undeniable knack for a pop hook and real rock 'n' roll soul, Beta Wolf stand primed to step up revive the genre as a whole. The group fuses anthemic arena-size choruses with impeccable, impressive instrumentation for a sound that's both fresh and refreshing. This wolf has some teeth…
Their moniker proves quite a propos. Arnow goes on, "The alpha wolf is always in charge of a wolf pack. However, there's always a beta wolf who's second-in-command. If the alpha dies, the beta assumes control, protects, and cares for the pack. Sergio [Ruelas, guitar] and I were in band signed to a major label. When that fell apart, we stepped up with this. The metaphor matched where we were".
The group's EP, Just Before Morning, is available on July 31, and it's one of the most exciting rock records of the year. Be sure you get it. Visit the band's official site here!
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Beta Wolf frontman Grant Arnow talks Just Before Morning and so much more.
Also, we're proud to premiere "Domino" from Just Before Morning below! Listen to it now and let us know what you think!
What's your take on Just Before Morning as a whole? Did you approach it with one vision in mind?
We wanted to give everyone a release that represented the breadth of work we have. We wanted to include a ballad, a heavy song, and some mid-tempo songs to tie them together. We wanted to make something that flowed consistently. Fortunately, when we decided on those songs, we were really excited with how the entire EP flowed. People are so focused on singles. Obviously, having a great song is so important. When we put out a body of work, we want to make sure the whole thing makes sense. We're very focused on putting out a group of songs that work. We still listen to full records as opposed to a song here and there.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the lyrics?
It is! For me, writing lyrics has to come from a sincere place. It's important for me to trace the arc of my relationship with what the chorus is across the entire thing. I want to lay it out in a way that's interesting across the entire song as opposed to focusing on whatever that hook is.
What fosters that storytelling? Do you tend to read a lot or watch many movies?
I love to read, and I love watching movies. I like to journal experiences I'm going through. Each song has a root in something that happened to me. Perhaps, getting all of that emotion out on a particular song is my form of therapy. When it comes to writing something like this, it's important to make sure everything is as sincere as possible. I'm thinking about the fact I have to perform these songs every night. Conceivably, I have to do that for a long time. If I'm bullshitting, it's going to get really old fast. It has to come from a sincere place. When you develop outwards, it's a journey of whatever that emotion is.
What's the story behind the song "Just Before Morning"?
Well, I lived in New York for about a year. While I was there, I was keen to experience all of the different things the city had to offer. In the course of touring around, I got setup with a girl one night and spent an evening on the lower East Side. We met, went to dinner, went to one bar, and went to another. I hadn't experienced the fact that bars close at 5am in New York. I was used to getting kicked out of a bar at 2am. Time slips away from you though. The next thing you know they're saying, "Last call!" You look down, and it's 4:45am. We walked out, and we were both pretty drunk. The moment we walked outside, it really wasn't busy. It was like we had the streets to ourselves at that point. We stood there talking on the street, and I looked up. I saw the sun was starting to come up. It was turning into day, but below it was still night time. It was as dark as night would be. There was an impression made on me because it was 50 percent day and 50 percent night. I could see the stop lights going green and red even though there were no cars going through. I chose to make a mental snapshot of that. I work from titles when I write. I like to grab titles where I can. "Just Before Morning" was a title I'd written in my journal. I ended up talking to a friend about the title, blind dates, and fresh love for a couple of hours. The next thing I know, the song appeared. That moment in New York made an impression on me.
Where did "Last Man Standing" come from?
I've played music with a lot of different people. When you're in a band, you've got this relationship, and it's not unlike having a girlfriend. I was in a band for a long time. I considered the guys to be my brothers, but there was a moment where people wanted to live other lives. It hurt me because you commit to this vision together, and things come unraveled. Emotions start making you say things you've held onto for a long time or you don't mean. The only thing I've ever wanted to do is play music. I can't even remember when I started playing music. I was so young. People began peeling off and doing other things. I've always been devoted to music. At that moment, I was like, "I'm not going to give up on the thing I care about and this dream I've committed myself to." My favorite Oasis song is "Live Forever." I love the sentiment that no one is going to stop me from doing what I want to do or being the person I am. When the song came to be, it was my moment to express the feeling of being letdown. The reason we're able to get to the sound we've accomplished is every single one of us has been through so many experiences playing with other groups that couldn't hold it together. We found each other like these refugees in Los Angeles. When we started this band, we started it saying, "We've all been through the shit. Let's build the band we can be a part of for the rest of our lives."
How important is Los Angeles to this band?
All of us have grown up elsewhere except for Sergio who grew up in North Hollywood. I was in Orange County. Devon [Pangle, guitar] was in El Paso, TX. Rocko [McIvor, bass] was in Las Vegas. Chester [Lang, drums] was in the San Luis Obispo area. All of us migrated to L.A. to pursue this passion we have. Coming together, it was one of the things that united us initially. Living in L.A. and pursuing your dream isn't easy. It's a hard fucking life. There's a struggle to work to pay your bills and work towards your dream at night. It weeds out the week really quickly. Having that in common gave us something to relate to. Being a rock band in Los Angeles takes real courage. Everybody wants to become a DJ. I like some electronic music, but there's something to be said for not ditching your core essence. Rock 'n' roll is so important and powerful. We're committed to it regardless of what's popular at the moment. It forces you to be fresh. It pushes us to go to the next level.
If you were to compare Just Before Morning to a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
That's a great question! Off the top of my head, I suppose I'd probably compare it to The Godfather series. Those movies are multi-dimensional. There's a love story. There's violence. There's intrigue. There are flashback to what Michael Corleone and his family have been through coming to the country. There's tragedy that befalls them. There's success. All of us have been through the ringer so many times. Ultimately, the story is so interesting I can listen to our music and not feel bored with it. By the same token, I don't think that movie series ever gets to the point where I don't need to see it again.
What artists shaped you?
Queen! There was a year of my life where I listened to "Somebody to Love" every night before I went to bed. As a performer, songwriter, and singer, Freddie Mercury is really powerful and moving. The Police are really important to me. They have such a unique perspective. Soundgarden is huge. Chris Cornell is a really powerfully influential singer. As a songwriter, my all-time favorite is Bruce Springsteen.
Have you heard Beta Wolf yet?