Story of the Running Wolf’s new E.P. Electric comes out TOMORROW 9/9. Story of the Running Wolf’s Josh D’Elia and Jeffrey Chernick, graciously took time to answer questions about Electric, and the excitement surrounding the new release.
Check out Story of the Running Wolf”s Facebook page for news, listen to music, updates and buy/download a copy of Electric from iTUNES.
Story of the Running Wolf will be performing on 9/18 at V Lounge in Santa Monica. More info HERE
Francis Xavier: When and how did Story of the Running Wolf originate, and how did your sound develop?
Josh D’Elia and Jeffrey Chernick: SOTRW is actually a craigslist success story. Josh was doing a solo electro project but was looking for a partner in crime, and checked craigslist on a whim. Jeffrey had posted as a drummer with the title “MAKE THEM DANCE!”, simply stating “If Cut Copy, Muse, and The Faint had a baby.” Josh was the first person to respond, and within one practice, the band was formed. We set out focussing on melodic dance music, Jeffrey coming from more of a DJ/EDM background, and Josh from 80’s-inspired synth pop. We clicked and began writing songs, and played our first show to a handful of friends at a rooftop party in Venice in 2012.
FX: What inspired the Electric E.P?
JD/JC: It had been a while since our last release (the single “Stratospheric”), so there was definitely a feeling of coming back to life, sort of a spark of energy that comes when you’re writing and creating something new that you’re going to share with everyone. That was definitely part of the inspiration for the title track, which felt like a driving force for the EP.
FX: Which of the songs on Electric was the hardest to write?
JD/JC: Probably “The Game”. We actually had a totally different version of that song that we had even played live, but something just wasn’t feeling right. We basically stripped it down. The whistle survived, and we built up around that element until we felt like we found the song that was trying to come out.
FX: How would you describe the duo dynamic of Story of the Running Wolf?
JD/JC: We have a very balanced presence, there’s not really a “front man”, or, you could say we’re both front men. Our live set up is side by side, Jeffrey plays his drums standing up on most songs (he has an electronic kit which he customized so he can play standing). Jeffrey is usually sleeveless and baring more skin than Josh, who tends to be covered from head to toe. We comprise a fashion Yin-Yang in that respect.
FX: What makes for a successful collaboration and what did you learn from working on Electric together?
JD/JC: We both try to be very open to the other’s ideas and at least try things out, even when one of us might not be feeling it at first. Some of the coolest music can come out of that leap of faith that makes collaboration so powerful. It’s kind of scary and uncomfortable at times, but you can end up with something great that one person wouldn’t have thought of on their own. The process for this EP was a little different than previous recordings because we were working with a producer (Harlan Silverman). That added a whole new dynamic, but we really clicked with Harlan. He was open to trying different things, but also challenged us to get out of comfort zones, which was great. The whole process reinforced the idea that being open and stepping out of the “safe” zone can bring out some of the best music.
FX: Are the songs on Electric connected?
JD/JC: We didn’t necessarily approach it as a concept EP or anything, but there’s definitely a story to be found there. The first track, “Electric”, is like an awakening, and “When We Were Human” has an element of piecing together memories after having undergone some sort of transformation. “The Game” is the midpoint and is a declaration of sorts, getting your feet under you and knowing where you stand. “Keep on Running” looks forward at undiscovered possibilities, and “Stratospheric” has a wisdom to it, like you’ve been around and experienced some things, and you’re now reaching out to try to make a connection with someone else.
FX: What is the most challenging part of the recording process?
JD/JC: Not getting too caught up in minutiae. We push ourselves on every part of every song to make it great, and it’s either “That’s it!” or “Hmm, is that it?” or “That aint it.” It’s the “Hmm” that can be a stumbling block sometimes. Harlan, the producer, was great about making decisions and keeping things from getting too bogged down. He works extremely fast, which I think really helps keep the tracks feeling alive. At one point on “Electric” Jeffrey said, “Do we like that synth sound?” for the little riff that comes in on the pre-chorus. And Harlan just said, “Yes.” He was so confident, went just with it, and it turned out great.
FX: What music did you listen to while recording Electric?
JD: I remember listening to Kitten’s debut album around that time, I love that album. There’s always a steady stream of random tunes flowing…I think there was some Blood Orange, Small Black, Goldroom, Zak Waters. I believe I also went through a Billy Joel phase for a couple weeks somewhere in there.
JC: I love sci-fi films, and M83’s soundtrack for the Tom Cruise flick “Oblivion” really got me inspired for “When We Were Human.” I asked both Harlan and Josh to imagine we were entering space like “2001: Space Odyssey.” Slow, steady, intense into a vast world of darkness and light. We need to exude that feeling, that awe, and we nailed it.
FX: Who are some bands/musicians that have inspired/influenced Story of the Running Wolf?
JD: Cut Copy was one of the first bands we both really connected on, Empire of the Sun was another. Classic stuff like Depeche Mode and New Order laid early groundwork as inspiration to want to do electronic music in the first place. But more important than their sound was the songwriting in those bands. The songs are introspective, sometimes dark, and deal with love and death and faith. They just do it in a really cool way with synthesizers.
JC: Same same. That’s what’s so easy about creating this music. Sometimes I feel as though Josh’s brain is just an extension of mine. I could be thinking of a new part, and Josh will just start playing it. It’s quite mind blowing, and it never gets old! Combine those influences with the deep house and indie tracks I love to dance to and DJ, and you end up with SOTRW – high octane, neon light.