Chelsea Wolfe

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Chelsea Wolfe
Born (1983-11-14) November 14, 1983 (age 31)
Origin Sacramento, California, U.S.
Genres Folk, neofolk, neo-psychedelia, noise rock, electronic, experimental
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, producer, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 2009–present
Labels Pendu Sound Recordings, Sargent House
Notable instruments
Taylor Guitars 716ce[1]
Fender Jaguar

Chelsea Wolfe is an American singer-songwriter from Sacramento, California, currently based in Los Angeles.[2] She is known for her "specific brand of drone-metal-art-folk",[3] characterized by experimental guitar playing, hazy vocals, and surreal soundscapes.

Wolfe debuted with her album The Grime and The Glow (2010),[4] released on an independent label, Pendu Sound Recording, followed by Apokalypsis (2011), which gained her recognition from indie critics as well as an underground following.[5] In 2012, Wolfe released Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs (2012),[6] which featured a more folk-oriented sound as opposed to her earlier work, which had been heavily centered on droning guitars and distortion.

Wolfe's fourth studio album, Pain Is Beauty, was released September 3, 2013.[7] An album trailer was released alongside this announcement,[8] as well as a North American headlining tour in the fall. The song "Feral Love" was featured in the trailers for Game of Thrones season 4 and the television adaption of 12 Monkeys.

Early life[edit]

Chelsea Wolfe grew up in Sacramento, California. Her father was in a country band[9] and had a home studio, where by the age of nine, she wrote and recorded songs which she describes as, "basically Casio-based gothy R&B songs."[10]


In 2006, Wolfe composed an album, titled Mistake in Parting, which she called "embarrassingly bad".[11] The album went unreleased, and Wolfe took a hiatus from writing music for several years.[11] Wolfe debuted her first two albums, The Grime and The Glow (2010) and Apokalypsis (2011) on Pendu Sound Recordings, a New York-based independent music label. Apokalypsis garnered Wolfe critical acclaim, receiving favorable reviews in Pitchfork[12] and CMJ.[13] Wolfe has said she composed her first two albums on her mother's classical guitar, which was missing a tuning peg; as a result, the strings had to be tuned down, which was a stylistic element carried on to the studio recordings.[14]

Wolfe toured extensively in North America and Europe to support both albums, and suffered from extreme stage fright, which she was able to overcome; when she initially began performing live, Wolfe would wear a black veil over her face.[11] In 2012, Wolfe signed with Sargent House Records to release her third album.[15] Wolfe's third album, Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs was released on October 16, 2012,[16] and was stylistically varied from her previous two albums, which were based around electric guitar. The acoustic album "contains 'once-orphaned' songs",[17] according to Wolfe. On July 28, 2012, the first single, "The Way We Used To," was revealed on NPR.[17] On September 20, the second single, "Appalachia," was revealed on The Fader.[18]

Wolfe's fourth studio album, Pain Is Beauty, was released in September 2013, with a North American tour to support the album. Wolfe also contributed guest vocals to the American post-metal band Russian Circles' fifth studio album Memorial released in October 2013. Russian Circles and Chelsea Wolfe toured Europe together in late 2013.[19][20] On January 8, 2015 she announced via her Facebook page that the new album called Abyss is to be released in 2015.[21]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Wolfe has cited an array of artists and specific genres as influences, including black metal and Scandinavian folk music, but has said: "I do have a hard time sticking to one genre, and honestly I prefer it that way. I'd rather be free to experiment and make the kind of art I want to make than be easy to define."[22] Various critics have noted elements of doom, drone, black metal, gothic rock, folk and dark ambient in her music.[22]

In regards to her vocals, Wolfe has said: "I think deep down I wish I had one of those really gritty voices like Kurt Cobain, so maybe I'm making up for it with distorted guitars."[14]

Wolfe has also cited the visual elements of filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and photographer Nan Goldin as influences on her,[14] as well as the writings of Ayn Rand and D.H. Lawrence.[23]


Studio albums[edit]

EPs and compilations[edit]

  • Prayer for the Unborn (Latitudes Session) (2013, Southern Records)[28]
  • King Dude & Chelsea Wolfe Sing Songs Together 7" Split (2013, Sargent House)
  • King Dude & Chelsea Wolfe Sing More Songs Together 7" Split (2014, Not Just Religious Music)

Live albums[edit]

Band members[edit]

  • Chelsea Wolfe – vocals, guitar
  • Ben Chisholm – synth, bass[30]
  • Kevin Dockter – lead guitar
  • Dylan Fujioka – drums
  • Andrea Calderon – violin
  • Ezra Buchla – viola

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Director
2009 "Gold" Brandon Schilling
"The Whys" Jason Rudy
2011 "Mer" Zev Deans
"Sunstorm" Sean Stout
2013 "Flatlands" Charlene Bagcal
2014 "Feral Love" Mark Pellington
2014 "The Waves Have Come" Mark Pellington
2014 "Lone" Mark Pellington
2014 "Kings" Mark Pellington


  1. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe on Taylor Guitars". Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ Emily Savage (July 20, 2011). "The Grime and The Glow: Doom Folk Liturgy, SF Weekly. 20 July 2011". Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  3. ^ "BAND CRUSH: CHELSEA WOLFE". November 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Grime & The Glow – Chelsea Wolfe". Chelsea Wolfe. December 28, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Ἀποκάλυψις (Apokalypsis/Apocalypse) – Chelsea Wolfe". Chelsea Wolfe. August 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  6. ^ "Unknown Rooms on bandcamp". October 16, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Pain Is Beauty announcement on Wolfe's official Tumblr". June 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Pain is Beauty album trailer". June 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Video interview with "Indie-eye network"". 
  10. ^ "Interview with "The Writing Disorder"". 
  11. ^ a b c "Interviews: Chelsea Wolfe". Subbacultcha: 19–22. April 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  12. ^ Raposa, David (October 20, 2011). "Chelsea Wolfe: Apokalypsis". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  13. ^ Patpatia, Sasha (August 25, 2011). "Chelsea Wolfe: Apokalypsis". CMJ. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  14. ^ a b c Campbell, Karyn. "Q+A with Chelsea Wolfe (Issue No. 5)". Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  15. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe moves to Sargent House". February 27, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Tracks". September 20, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Song Premiere: Chelsea Wolfe, "The Way We Used To" : All Songs Considered Blog : NPR". July 28, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Stream: Chelsea Wolfe, "Appalachia"  : MP3/STREAMS : THE FADER". July 28, 2012. 
  19. ^ Adams, Gregory (August 8, 2013). "Russian Circles Unveil 'Memorial,' Premiere New Track". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  20. ^ Blistein, Jon (September 13, 2013). "Russian Circles Brood on Meditative 'Memorial' – Song Premiere". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b Crowe, Jessica (March 26, 2013). "Love Is What Remains: An Interview with Chelsea Wolfe". The Quietus. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  23. ^ Martin, Erin Lyndal. "The Rumpus Interview with Chelsea Wolfe". Retrieved 2014-09-24. 
  24. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe – The Grime and the Glow". December 28, 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  25. ^ "PSR-0045: Chelsea Wolfe (Apokalypsis)". August 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  26. ^ "Pre-Orders for Chelsea Wolfe's Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs – Vinyl & CD's Up Now". August 7, 2012. 
  27. ^ Wolfe, Chelsea. "New Album Coming". Chelsea Wolfe/Sargent House. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  28. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe – Prayer for the Unborn [Vinyl]". September 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  29. ^ "CHELSEA WOLFE Live at Roadburn LP pre-sale started. Artwork revealed!". August 15, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe". August 26, 2012. 

External links[edit]