Wolves In The Throne Room on “The Oldest Thing Humans Do”
Wolves In The Throne Room have made quite a splash in the last few years as one of the most influential and important acts of their age. These black metallers have been hitting the road hard with their latest offering Thrice Woven, an astonishing piece of Cascadian music. Unafraid to consistently push for bolder futures and paint dark new realities, the band’s main songwriter Aaron Weaver makes for an enigmatic interview. With fascinating worlds of thought swirling behind his piercing gaze he made for fascinating conversation at this years Psycho Las Vegas festival.
How the hell are you?
Las Vegas is tough for me man. This city is Babylon.
What makes it tough for you?
The city shouldn’t be here man, but it is. It’s full of human beings and it’s just how it is. I feel a lot of suffering here.
Where does that come from? How do you sense that?
I feel it in my body, my heart hurts here.
Have you always been able to feel stuff like that?
More as I get older. I’m more aware of those sensations as I get older.
What informs them? That’s an interesting thing to drop on someone…
You just feel it in your sadness. It’s emotion. I don’t know how other people are – maybe I’m more aware, I have a lot of time lot pay attention to it. Looking into my art is my work. I have the blessing to live the kind of life where I can pay attention to myself. I don’t know how it works for other people though.
To what extent does that attitude drive your band?
It’s a big part of it for me. Mourning and grieving is a big part of what Wolves In The Throne Room is for me – having a space to mourn.
What are you grieving?
Are you a nihilist?
Of course not! Nihilism is a belief in nothing. I’m not a philosopher and don’t read books – I’m a musician. If you listen to the music anything you would need to know about me is right there. Nihilism is just a word – some shit you learn in college reading Neitszche for the first time. That’s not how I look at things. It’s a matter of how I work – my work is to make music. That’s all there is too it. The answer and the question is right there in the music.
Where did this attitude come from?
When I was younger I had more ideas about things and was married to these concepts. But I just turned 40, Wolves has been around for 15 years and have been doing music since I was 14. What I see that it’s just music. There doesn’t need to be a concept behind it. You make records and people have their own experiences with them. They can be moved and find healing or not.
Is your ultimate goal with your music to give a sense of healing?
I’m not trying to give anything to anyone. The music that ends up on a record is just my process. It’s what I have to do to remain sane. It’s just the ashes left over after burning the fire of my life. Human lives have this fire when they are kindled when we are born and it goes out when we die. For me the music is the ashes left over. It took a year and a half to do this record and it’s the ashes that are left.
You’ve only become a professional musician relatively recently – how has that shift in mindset impacted how you create art?
My attitude has shifted a lot in the last 5 years. It’s deeper gratitude. I have so much gratitude for this life and opportunity and to the fans who buy our records and come to our shows. That’s the thing I keep coming back to. I have so much gratitude for those people.
To what extent does being in the Pacific Northwest inform your art?
For me it’s everything. My inspiration flows from the woods. We’ve got a recording studio at my brother’s house at the edge of a beautiful forest, so I have the opportunity to be out there every day, and it’s the same forest I grew up in. I’ve been watching those trees grow for 40 years. My music comes out of my relationship with that. Every place has its own voice if you listen for it. That’s where I get my inspiration from.
Are there specific trees you are connected too?
There’s some good ones in there! There’s one tree that’s an old growth tree… the forest was logged off in 1910 and before that it was virgin forest, and all the trees were cut down, except for one. It’s kind of a secret. People in Olympia don’t know much about it, but I go there a lot. It’s the only one that survived. I go there quite a bit.
What do you love so much about music?
It’s the oldest thing humans do. Music and dancing is the oldest art. It’s a universal translator – it can speak to all people. It’s the most powerful magic.