To Live as Wolves is an up and coming band from New York that has a very strong message in their music. I had ran into their first EP about a month ago and it blew me away with how powerful the songs were. After listening to it, and reading through their lyrics, I thought they would be a great band to talk to. I reached out to the band to see if they might be interested in talking to me and I was very pleasantly surprised when they informed me that their message and their reason for starting To Live as Wolves was not too much different than my reason for founding Don’t Let the Music Stop in the first place…to inspire those who are dealing with mental issues or going through a difficult time to not give up through music. At this point I knew I definitely wanted to talk to them. After some logistics, and going through the proper channels, we set up an interview for one afternoon between myself and lead vocalist, Brandon Roman. Here is what he had to say:
So, for those who may not have heard of you. Give us a brief idea of who To Live as Wolves is and how you would describe your music?
We are right now, currently a four piece post-hardcore band from Staten Island, NY. We’ve been friends with each other since throughout high school. I’ve been in bands with pretty much everyone that is in this band before this group was even established. We came together under the pretenses that we wanted to write music that was more of what we loved. And what came with that was a lot of the fact that we all have ongoing problems…some of us have mental and emotional issues as well. And to be able to take that hurt and drive it into something is what we were all trying to focus on. And that is what we are really all about.
The new EP is slated to release on the 8th of April. You have already released a couple tracks off the album that everyone can listen to via your social media pages. From listening to those tracks compared to your first release, I can definitely hear a more developed and polished sound without loosing any of the heavines that the first EP had. What else can we expect to hear from the new EP?
A little bit more of that heavier sound. A little more of the melodic aspect of our band. I cut back a lot on the singing in this album, personally, because of the topics that I was writing about weren’t exactly something that shouldn’t be sung. I like to keep it true to the emotion of what I was feeling when it was written. It is definitely an angrier record that the first one, but, all in all, the record is true to what it is about. It is about events that occurred in my life before I decided to write The Changing Tide because I felt writing an album about changing and being a better person and trying to cope with the negative relationships in your life and move past that…it makes more sense to explain something like that and why it was done by showing what was done, and what had happened, and the issues that had lied within it. It is going to be a record that ties the two (records) together and kinda pushes the band into what I am hoping to be a bit different chapter for us.
Well the cover art we had initially argued about what we wanted it to be for awhile. Our drummer is an artist and he wanted to try it. but we were leaning toward going more professional and the end of the day we compromised and what happened was we got together and started drafting ideas out on what the record was about and how we wanted it represented in the artwork. And there are a lot of things that I write about that involve leaving who you used to be, and kinda like getting over who you used to be, and getting over the issues that held you into that person who you may not have been proud of or may have not liked very much. And that record is about learning to let things go. so its a real graphic way of showing it but sometimes theres parts of you that need to die out in order for others to survive, for you to be able to persevere through what goes on in your life and to move on and to let go so that’s where that came from.
We were kinda sitting in a pizzeria and our guitarist Frank actually came up the idea of having someone being hung upside down from a ceiling. If you look at it, it looks like the person standing upright, but they have a noose on their neck. And if you flip it around, it changes the perspective of the entire artwork itself. And that is the point, is to make it look and see that it is not always dark and grim, it can be viewed in a better way. So, it was a collaboration of ideas to make something that would capture the eye and give someone an idea of what they were getting with the record itself.
When I first contacted you, you talked about how To Live as Wolves was founded on the same concept at Don’t Let the Music Stop…to try and inspire those who may be going through a rough time to not give up through music. Do you feel that music can truly help those that may be hurting or dealing with their own personal demons?
Throughout my own struggles, I had a very abusive relationship with my father when I was younger, and throughout my childhood I felt I carried that anger with me throughout a lot. I pushed a lot of people away, and I felt like I had no one to relate to. But, when it came down to it, I remember I was hanging out with one of my friends and he showed me this music. And I remember from the first moment I listened to Underoath’s “A Boy Brushed Red” and it gave me this excitement, it made me feel something other than what I had been feeling otherwise, when not listening to it. All that pain and all that emotion calmed down for a second and I was able to truly feel why I was feeling it. And it was because of that music that it did that for me. I feel this music is an outlet, it is a place to take all of the hurt and things you deal with outside in the world and focus it into this beautiful thing. It makes people feel more than they were feeling. Music to me has always been the one saving grace. If I am having a rough day I just pop on a record that is kinda angry or pop on one that is happy. I like the idea of being able to listen to something and knowing that you are not alone in the things that you feel, it is amazing, if you ask me. And that’s how I feel music really helps people. That’s how it has helped me, at least.
You guys have talked openly about how you use your personal struggles and put them into your music. I find it extremely inspiring that you have taken your inner struggles and are using them to try and help others through your music. There are some musicians that consider it cathartic to be able to put their struggles in their music, and some actually find it actually stunts their healing to have to play out their past troubles over and over again. Do you find it cathartic to put so much of yourself in your music, or do you find it can be painful to have to relive it over and over every time you play you music?
It goes hand in hand. You can’t truly get over something, in my opinion, without being able to touch it and understand what it was. And to know where that hurt came from, why it existed, and being able to grasp it, hold it, and then one day not feel that emotion. It’s not just cathartic, it is about letting go, bringing out that emotion, and showing people that feeling. To me, when I perform, I don’t relive it myself. But I relive it in the eyes of those who are watching, because I know I am not the only one who feels those emotions. And I know I am not the only one who has gone through those things. In my own opinion, even if it did hurt, to know that I am able to reach out to these kids that feel hurt…that (type of) hurt to me would be worth it. But it also helps a bunch to let go, because then you feel comfortable with it to an extent. When I was younger I never felt like I had the chance to speak out. I was raised on the belief that you spoke when your were spoken to. And it made me feel like I didn’t have a voice. And through this music, it gives me a voice. It doesn’t matter if what I am saying hurts me or not, it’s just knowing that I was able to say it and that I was able to make even a moderate effect on anyone is what matters to me.
What would you like to say to those who may be going through a tough time or dealing with mental illness?
I guess the one thing that I would have to say is I know how much it sucks and I know how much it hurts to do, and I know at times it is really hard to, but I really want to pass on the message of a sense of unity and being able to speak out about these issues. Because it is too common that I have met people that are afraid or too intimidated to be themselves and express themselves because they might now feel it’s cool or they don’t want to put themselves out there or they feel they will be rejected. Push that fear aside. In this world there are going to be people who will accept you and love you for who you are. If this music is something you love, then this is the place where you belong. And there are people like you everywhere. So don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t be afraid to feel what you are feeling. Don’t be afraid to sometimes feel weak. But always know that you are strong. Because the person next to you is possibly going through the same thing, if not worse, that you are going through. Together we can make a place where we can all go to where those issues and those problems get left at the door. And we are able to feel like we have a family and we have a home to go to. That’s the one thing that I want to pass one. Because I go to too many shows where I know there are people who feel that way. They are there but they are too closed off and too afraid to speak out.
Lastly, I am creating a playlist of songs that were all hand picked by the artists that I have interviewed. Can you give me a song or two that you feel need to be added to my playlist?
Defiitely one of them is Underoath “Writing on the Wall”. It is a song that had really touched me at one point in my life. I feel like when you are going through a tough time you can sit and listen to it and vibe and feel great.
Vanna “Digging” is a song that I love without a doubt. I would listen to that song through a lot of rough days.
Conditions “Better Life” was a song that definitely helped me out when I was going though things.
Thank you so much for giving me this chance to speak. It is always nice to be able to talk about these subjects, because I don’t feel they get spoken about enough.
I would like to thank Brandon and To Live as Wolves for granting me the time to talk him. Please make sure you follow them on your favorite social media site:
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