I was promised that Wolves at the Gate would bring a good slab of American hardcore, and bring it they did! This show marked a beginning of sorts for their new vocalist, Nick Detty, who gave what was obviously the performance of his life. During the opening performance of “Tonight, My Son,” the mosh pit exploded, with people hanging from the ceiling rafters and crowd surfers galore. In fact, lighting and half the music power was knocked out for the second half of the song. Luckily, things were able to get plugged back in, and they continued with their hits “Heralds” and “Oh, the Depths.” Clean vocalist Steve Cobucci shared the Gospel message prior to “Oh, the Depths,” which was followed by literally the most hardcore worshipping I’ve ever seen. Oh, and the two new songs sounded phenomenal. The band ended their oh-so-short main set with “No Rival”, which they shot a live music video for during the performance. The inevitable encore brought the five guys back out for a performance of their oldie “Pulled From the Deep,” which served the audience hardcore dancers well.
Call It Karma and The Orphan, The Poet opened the show to mixed audience responses. With the latter having an Ohio heritage and a strong friendship with Wolves at the Gate, they unsurprisingly had the more enthusiastic crowd response. All in all, it was a great evening, and I can’t wait to see where the quintet out to fight the wolves is headed.
I caught up with Jeremy Steckel, lead guitarist for WATG outside the venue before the show and he filled me in on all the Wolves at the Gate happenings. Enjoy:
RG: If you had to sum up the purpose of Wolves at the Gate in one mission statement what would it be?
JS: I would say – as simple as I can make it is that we make music for Jesus. For our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And we love doing it in the style of music. Our goal is to have as many people hear our music as possible, but our ultimate goal is to have Christ’s message spread.
RG: You get your name from a verse right? I can’t recall exactly which one it is right now.
JS: It’s Acts 20…verses 24-32.
RG: You want to elaborate on why?
JS: Yeah! Acts 20 talks about – it’s basically when Paul is at the church. I believe it’s the Corinth church, I’m not sure. But it’s at the church. Paul’s at the church, he’s about to leave…He warns the church that savage wolves are going to come attack them in the form of false doctrine, false preachers, and false prophets. And so he challenges them to stand on their guard against the wolves that are going to come in. So we read that verse, and we kind of came up with the idea that we gained from that. Our phrase is ‘We are not the wolves at the gate. We are ones who face them.’ We’re not the actual wolves at the gate. So that’s what our idea for our name came from.
RG: So, obviously things have sped up quite a bit for you guys in recent months. You’ve been on a couple of tours. What’s the most interesting place you’ve played a show at so far?
JS: I would say overall it would have to be Germany.
JS: Yeah we flew over to Germany in December for Christmas Rock Night, which is a huge festival over there.
RG: Yeah, I’ve heard about that.
JS: Yeah, so we were there for about 3 days and it was just the trip of a lifetime.
RG: Did you run into any pre-existing fans over there?
JS: Yeah, yeah we did! We had a handful of people who had checked us out when they knew we were coming to the show. They didn’t know who we were, so they would look us up on Youtube – we met a lot of fans, made a lot of friends, and met a lot of cool people.
RG: I’m really stoked you guys got on Solid State (records). I remember hearing about that back in June – I think it was Kep (a mutual friend) that said ” oh, I heard some rumor that Wolves got on Solid State.” So, describe to me a little bit the label- shopping process. What led to you guys ending up on Solid State?
JS: Ok. Well, we got an email from them in April of last year…saying they’d call us – “we want to talk to you guys.” And, they had heard about us a while back, because we had sent our album there to say “hey, this is who we are” – introducing ourselves basically. They waited a while, and then last April they called us and said “hey we wanna talk to you guys,” and we found out they wanted to offer us a deal. And then it took several months. It took like 4 or 5 months of going back and forth, trying to figure out the terms of the deal like how long it’s gonna be and how much money and all that kinda stuff. It took a while to get through it, but they were really really cool through it all, and honestly we couldn’t be happier. We could NOT be happier there.
RG: So they’re pretty on board with your mission?
JS: Absolutely. We made super sure that they were on board.
RG: Ok, now with the whole Tooth and Nail/Solid State group I’ve kinda heard different things. What’s their official policy when it comes to Christian artists? I’ve heard that some people say “positive bands.” I’ve heard other people say that only one – that the main lyricist has to be a Christian. What’s their policy on that?
JS: As far as I know, they don’t have an official stance on that. I know that they’re super super in tune with artists that desire to do what we do, as far as spread the Gospel through our lyrics pretty explicitly. They’re very receptive to that, very open to that, and they encourage that a lot. I mean that’s a core part of who we are, and we told them that, and they said “hey, thats awesome! We’re on board.” So they don’t have an official mission statement or anything like that, but they don’t allow a lot of language or stuff like that.
RG: Since your signing, have you developed any relationships with your solid state label mates? How has that been going?
JS: We’ve actually have not, yet. We haven’t toured with them yet. So, once we do – hopefully in the summer – we’re gonna meet a lot of them.
RG: So its a possibility?
JS: Yeah its a possibility. We’ve met a lot of Tooth and Nail artists, Like Children 18:3, Icon For Hire, I Am Empire, those guys are good friends of ours. Yeah we actually met them over in Germany a lot of Tooth and Nail artists were over there.
RG: Ok, so you’re looking to get out onto some high profile tour this summer?
JS: That’s the goal! Nothings in stone, but we’re working through that.
RG: So you got some behind the scenes negotiations going on, maybe?
JS: Yeah, just starting the process.
RG: When I talked to you at Faithwalkers (church conference last year) really briefly, you said you had a set of songs for an LP ready to go. What themes – musically, lyrically, can we expect from that?
JS: Yeah…I won’t give too much away. Kind of basically, lyrically we’re taking a lot of ideas from the EP, and we’re basically just going to expand it. Because we have double the length on this album to talk about stuff. So we’re taking – every song is a different aspect of our relationship with Christ. Some of it is doctrine. Some of it is going to be our experiences. Some of it is going to be what this means to us, so it’s not gonna be like a concept record where it’s like one theme. I mean obviously the theme is gonna be our relationship with Christ – and musically honestly I do not know how to describe it. It’s all over the place. I think its more hardcore but a lot catchier. But I think there is potential to really expand who digs the band.
RG: Where are you recording?
JS: We are recording in Richmond, Virginia with Andreas Magnusson. He did Oh Sleeper, Haste the Day, Akissforjersey.
RG: Ok, so has he had any input on your writing thus far, or has it been all you?
JS: No, it’s been all us. We just send him what we have done, and he likes it a lot. He’ll have some ideas for sure, but it’s been all us writing.
RG: Awesome! One last thing – for a concert goer that has never seen you beforewhat can we expect tonight? Or just at any Wolves show?
JS: You can expect a lot of loud noises, and you can expect a lot of sweaty dudes, and you can expect… hopefully, hopefully you can hear the songs on the EP the way they were meant to be played. Yeah! I mean we practice a lot. We practice hard and long, and you’re gonna hear a good slab of American hardcore.