Chelsea Wolfe at Treefort Music Fest 2016
|Birth name||Chelsea Joy Wolfe|
|Born||November 14, 1983|
Roseville, California, U.S.
|Origin||Sacramento, California, U.S.|
Raised in Northern California with a country musician father, Wolfe began writing and recording songs during her childhood. She earned underground critical acclaim for her releases, The Grime and the Glow (2010) and Apokalypsis (2011), which blended gothic and folk elements, as well as her following albums, Pain Is Beauty (2013), Abyss (2015) and Hiss Spun (2017), in which Wolfe incorporated elements of neofolk, electronic and heavy metal.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Collaborations
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Musical style and influences
- 6 Discography
- 7 Band members
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Chelsea Wolfe was born in Roseville, California, and grew up in Sacramento. She is of Norwegian and German descent. Her father was in a country band and owned a home studio. By the age of 7, she had written her first poem and by the age of 9, had written and recorded songs which she later described as "basically Casio-based gothy R&B songs".
Of her childhood, Wolfe said, "I grew up pretty fast. I had older sisters. By the time I was 11, I was drinking 40s." She also struggled with sleep paralysis as a child and through her teens, which landed her in the hospital for sleep studies; these experiences eventually became material for her albums Abyss and Hiss Spun.
2006: Mistake in Parting
In 2006, Wolfe composed an album, titled Mistake in Parting, which was never officially released. Of the album, Wolfe said: "I was 21 years old and wrote a shitty singer-songwriter breakup album. I didn't even really want to be a musician back then, but a lot of my friends were like 'let's do this, I've got some producer friends' and they helped me make this over-produced, terrible record... I sort of took a break from music for a while since I wasn't happy with what I was making". Wolfe later commented that she scrapped the album largely because it had been written about events in her personal life: "I was writing really personal stuff about my own life, and I didn't feel comfortable at all... I didn't want [my music] to be so much about myself, and I just had to find a new perspective".
2010-2012: The Grime and the Glow and Apokalypsis
Wolfe's first widely released album, The Grime and the Glow (2010), was issued on New York-based independent label Pendu Sound Recordings, preceded that same year by the limited-edition albums Soundtrack VHS/Gold and Soundtrack VHS II. Her next album, Apokalypsis (2011), stylized as Ἀποκάλυψις, gained her an underground following, as well as critical acclaim, receiving favorable reviews in Pitchfork and CMJ. Wolfe toured extensively in North America and Europe to support both albums, and suffered from extreme stage fright; when she initially began performing live, Wolfe would wear a black veil over her face. "Performing was something that I had to learn," she said. "I could barely handle being onstage for the first few years, and it's the reason it took me so long to start my career as a musician".
2012–present: Sargent House
In 2012, Wolfe covered five songs by British anarcho-punk band Rudimentary Peni, and issued them as A Tribute To Rudimentary Peni on February 17 as a free download via Pendu Sound. She later rerecorded the Peni songs with her band at Southern Studios in London, and released them as an EP, Prayer for the Unborn, in January 2013 on Southern Records.
Wolfe signed with Sargent House Records in 2012 to release her third album. Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs was released on October 16, 2012, and featured a more folk-oriented sound, as opposed to her earlier work, which had been heavily centered on droning electric guitars and distortion. The acoustic album contained "'once-orphaned' songs", according to Wolfe. On July 28, 2012, the first single, "The Way We Used To", was premiered on NPR. On September 20, the second single, "Appalachia," was premiered on The Fader
Wolfe released a live album, Live at Roadburn, on September 28, 2012, recorded that April 12 at the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands. Wolfe's fourth studio album, Pain Is Beauty, was released September 3, 2013, as well as an album trailer, followed by a supporting North American tour. During 2013 and 2014, Wolfe released two split 7" singles with King Dude, Sing Songs Together... and Sing More Songs Together..., and a live EP, Chelsea Wolfe Folkadelphia Session 5/31/2014.
Wolfe also contributed guest vocals to the American post-metal band Russian Circles' fifth studio album, Memorial, released in October 2013. Wolfe and Russian Circles toured Europe together in late 2013.
In 2014, her song "Feral Love" was featured in the trailers for the fourth season of Game of Thrones and the television adaption of 12 Monkeys. She also released a long-form film, Lone, featuring music from Pain Is Beauty and directed by Mark Pellington.
"Carrion Flowers", "Iron Moon" and "After the Fall" were released as the second, third and the fourth singles, respectively, from her fifth album, Abyss. "Carrion Flowers" appeared in the trailers for Fear the Walking Dead and Far Cry Primal, TV ads for Life Below Zero, and in an episode of The Magicians. The song also appeared in Jaguar's TV commercial for the 2017 XE.
"Survive" appeared in the final trailer for the December 2016 film Live by Night.
Her fifth studio album, Hiss Spun, was released by Sargent House on September 22, 2017. She also appeared in collaborations on the 2017 Myrkur album Mareridt and the 2018 Deafheaven album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love.
In April 2016, Wolfe and bandmate Ben Chisholm were special guests for Converge's collaborative live performance, Blood Moon, along with Stephen Brodsky of Cave In and Steve Von Till of Neurosis. Limited to four European performances, the collective performed "ambient/post-rock interpretations" of various tracks from Converge's discography, particularly songs of their "lesser-heard and slower work". The first Blood Moon set took place at Postbahnhof in Berlin on April 11. The second took place at La Cartonnerie in Reims on April 12. The third took place at Electric Brixton in London on April 13. The fourth and final Blood Moon show took place at the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands on April 16.
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.
Musical style and influences
Wolfe has mentioned an array of artists and 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." Various critics have noted elements of doom metal, drone metal, gothic rock, folk and dark ambient in her music. Aside from gothic and experimental, many critics have dubbed her sound "doom folk". 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." Mojo described her music as "Siouxsie & The Banshees territory [...], with treated strings, echoing drums and lashings of reverb surrounding her double-tracked, crushed velvet voice".
Wolfe has expressed a strong affinity for R&B music, citing Aaliyah as a huge influence on her career since her childhood. She said, "I grew up listening to my dad playing guitar while singing harmonies... As a kid I wanted to record my own songs so he set me up with an 8-track. The vibe of those earliest songs was like, Aaliyah meets Fleetwood Mac – what I was listening to mixed with what my parents were listening to. "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" was my favorite song back then."
Other musical influences include Vladimir Vysotsky, Selda Bagcan, Nick Cave, Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Suicide, SPK and various "1920s and '30s music", and more recently, Black Sabbath, Sunn O))), Deftones and Neurosis. In the past she mentioned Burzum as an influence, but later said that she considers Burzum's political views as too extreme.
Wolfe has cited the visual elements of filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and photographer Nan Goldin as influences, as well as the writings of D.H. Lawrence and Ayn Rand. However, on September 24, 2015, she stated that with regard to her supposed affinity with Rand: "When I said I liked Ayn Rand many years ago I didn't know anything about what she stood for or what her books meant. I recant!". Other writers she has mentioned as inspirations include Marcel Proust, Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Sylvia Plath.
- The Grime and the Glow (2010)
- Apokalypsis (2011)
- Pain Is Beauty (2013)
- Abyss (2015)
- Hiss Spun (2017)
- Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs (2012, Sargent House)
- Live at Roadburn (2012, Roadburn Records)
Singles and EPs
- "Advice & Vices" digital single (2010, Pendu Sound Recordings)
- Prayer for the Unborn EP (2013, Southern Records)
- Sing Songs Together... split 7" single with King Dude (2013, Sargent House)
- Sing More Songs Together... split 7" single with King Dude (2014, Not Just Religious Music)
- Chelsea Wolfe Folkadelphia Session 5/31/2014 digital EP (2014, Folkadelphia)
- "Iron Moon" digital single (2015, Sargent House)
- "Carrion Flowers" digital single (2015, Sargent House)
- "After the Fall" digital single (2015, Sargent House)
- "Hypnos" 7" single (2016, Sargent House)
- "16 Psyche" digital single (2017, Sargent House)
- "Vex" digital single (2017, Sargent House)
- "Offering" digital single (2017, Sargent House)
- "The Culling" digital single (2017, Sargent House)
- Chelsea Wolfe – vocals, guitar
- Ben Chisholm – synth, bass, piano, electronics
- Jess Gowrie – drums
- Bryan Tulao – lead guitar
- Fred Sablan - bass
- Troy Van Leeuwen - guitars
- Dylan Fujioka – drums
- Kevin Dockter – lead guitar
- Andrea Calderon – violin
- Ezra Buchla – viola
- Drew Walker – drums
- Addison Quarles – bass
- Aurielle Zeitler – lead guitar (live)
- Mike Sullivan – guitar
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- "CHELSEA WOLFE Live at Roadburn LP pre-sale started. Artwork revealed!". roadburnrecords.com. August 15, 2012.
- "Pain Is Beauty announcement on Wolfe's official Tumblr". June 3, 2013.
- "Pain is Beauty album trailer". June 3, 2013.
- "Chelsea Wolfe / King Dude: "Be Free" | Tracks". Pitchfork. February 19, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
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- Adams, Gregory (August 8, 2013). "Russian Circles Unveil 'Memorial,' Premiere New Track". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- Blistein, Jon (September 13, 2013). "Russian Circles Brood on Meditative 'Memorial' – Song Premiere". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Terrorizer Film Review: Chelsea Wolfe's "Lone" directed by Mark Pellington". Chelsea Wolfe. May 20, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "2017 Jaguar XE TV Commercial, 'Roar' Song by Chelsea Wolfe". iSpot.tv. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
- "Chelsea Wolfe shares new song "Hypnos", announces North American tour — listen". February 29, 2016.
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- "Myrkur Debuts "Måneblôt", Details New Album "Mareridt"". Theprp.com. June 28, 2017.
- Reed, Ryan (August 1, 2018). "Watch Deafheaven, Chelsea Wolfe Duet in Eerie 'Night People' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- Kelley, Kim (April 17, 2016). "Roadburn Day III: Blood Ceremony Soars, Tau Cross Roars, and Converge Goes Goth". Noisey. Vice. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
- Hartley, Tom (April 14, 2016). "Converge 'Blood Moon': The Hardcore Heavyweights Bring Their Tour To London". NME. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
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Experimental musician Chelsea Wolfe ... has been noted for straddling various genres including electronic, folk and psychedelia.
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"Chelsea Wolfe: Pain Is Beauty Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
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- Template:Url = http://www.thefader.com/2017/10/17/chelsea-wolfe-favorite-metal-albums-hiss-spun-black-sabbath-deftones-gorgoroth"
- "Chelsea Wolfe: "Meine Musik ist nicht dunkel" - interview on Krone". krone.at. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
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- "CHELSEA WOLFE on Twitter: "FYI when I said I liked Ayn Rand many years ago I didn't know anything about what she stood for or what her books meant. I recant!"". Twitter. September 24, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
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