Chelsea Wolfe

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Chelsea Wolfe
Chelsea Wolfe by David Fathi Paris 2012.jpg
Wolfe performing in Paris, 2012
Background information
Born (1983-11-14) November 14, 1983 (age 30)
Origin Sacramento, California, U.S.
Genres Singer-songwriter, folk music, electric blues, gothic rock, neo-psychedelia, noise rock, electronic music, experimental
Occupations 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. The official music video directed by Mark Pellington and released on February 9, 2014. The video is an excerpt from an hour-long film titled "Lone" that will be released in Spring 2014.

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]

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."[21] Various critics have noted elements of doom, drone, black metal, gothic rock, folk and dark ambient in her music.[21]

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]


Studio albums[edit]

EPs and compilations[edit]

  • Prayer for the Unborn (Latitudes Session) (2013, Southern Records)[25]
  • 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]

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


  1. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe on Taylor Guitars". Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Emily Savage (2011-07-20). "The Grime and The Glow: Doom Folk Liturgy, SF Weekly. 20 July 2011". Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  3. ^ "BAND CRUSH: CHELSEA WOLFE". 2011-11-07. 
  4. ^ "The Grime & The Glow - Chelsea Wolfe". Chelsea Wolfe. 2010-12-28. 
  5. ^ "Ἀποκάλυψις (Apokalypsis/Apocalypse) - Chelsea Wolfe". Chelsea Wolfe. 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  6. ^ "Unknown Rooms on bandcamp". 2012-10-16. 
  7. ^ "Pain Is Beauty announcement on Wolfe's official Tumblr". 2013-06-03. 
  8. ^ "Pain is Beauty album trailer". 2013-06-03. 
  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 (2011-10-20). "Chelsea Wolfe: Apokalypsis". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  13. ^ Patpatia, Sasha (2011-08-25). "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". 2012-02-27. 
  16. ^ "Tracks". 2012-09-20. 
  17. ^ a b "Song Premiere: Chelsea Wolfe, "The Way We Used To" : All Songs Considered Blog : NPR". 2012-07-28. 
  18. ^ "Stream: Chelsea Wolfe, "Appalachia"  : MP3/STREAMS : THE FADER". 2012-07-28. 
  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. ^ a b Crowe, Jessica (2013-03-26). "Love Is What Remains: An Interview with Chelsea Wolfe". The Quietus. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  22. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe – The Grime And The Glow". 2010-12-28. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  23. ^ "PSR-0045: Chelsea Wolfe (Apokalypsis)". 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  24. ^ "Pre-Orders for Chelsea Wolfe's Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs - Vinyl & CD's Up Now". 2012-08-07. 
  25. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe - Prayer For The Unborn [Vinyl]". 2012-09-24. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  26. ^ "CHELSEA WOLFE Live at Roadburn LP pre-sale started. Artwork revealed!". 2012-08-15. 
  27. ^ "Chelsea Wolfe". 2012-08-26. 

External links[edit]