Featured Artist

Cosmic Rock

Our Featured Artist tonight is the ultra cool Italian psych rock group Sonic Wolves. Fronted by bassist/vocalist the charismatic american star Kayt Vigil and her partner the respected veteran Italian musician Vita on drums, SW is riding triumphantly on the wave of a recent outstanding new album, tour and much critical recognition. We sat down for a wolf clan pow wow with mighty Kayt and Vita for a conversation about the last year's events, updates and unfolding story of this very cool group. Dig if you will the song of the Sonic Wolves.

 

1.Hey guys good to catch up with you. How have you been?

- VITA: We are fine, thank you so much for this interview.

- KAYT: Hey Gideon, feeling great, thanks.

 

2.Of course Kayt and Vita, very good to hear. You just finished a tour earlier this year. How did it go?

-VITA: It was amazing, every show was great and well played by us, considering that this line-up started to play together two months before leaving for the tour. We didn’t always have big crowds but even the smaller shows had very supportive fans.

-KAYT: Besides revealing our new lineup to the world, it was all about making ourselves known in towns and/or countries we hadn’t previously played and meeting great new promoters, bands and fans. We made great progress in a very short time. In less than 2 weeks, it felt as though we had accelerated our performance to a place that felt as though we’d been playing together for more than a year. Our performances matured rapidly and we have become very comfortable together on stage and off.

 

3.Excellent. What were some of the highlights and best memories of the shows?

- KAYT: For me, the biggest highlights were definitely Desertfest Antwerp, a great show in London at The Black Heart and HEADZ UP FEST in Berlin, which all had great turnout and of course were very well run. Tons of amazing people and bands, and even some old friends could be found too. At Desertfest, Vita and I had a chance to catch up with Ron Holzner, Mike Scheidt and Matt Pike, who we are always happy to see. Our performance at The Black Heart was filmed, and it was really cool to see our new lineup rockin’ out in front of an enthusiastic crowd. 

- VITA: All three of those shows were great shows for me as well. One of our other tour highlights was in Copenhagen at this pub called Lygtens Kro, which is a small bar but with a lot of personality. It felt like it had a Viking longhouse vibe to it or something, with reindeer and boar skins and goat heads on walls. There were also these open pit fires and torches all around the place. VERY cool vibe. People were dancing while we played and it felt like a great house party. We made quite a few new fans and friends there. Just talking about it makes me want to go back there all over again.

 

4.That sounds fantastic. I heard those were very great. How about Desertfest and the Headz Up Fest?

- KAYT: HEADZ UP FEST was very cool and well organized. I particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to share the stage with Farflung , Electric Moon and Plainride among many others. I would fully recommend this festival to either play or attend. Desertfest was phenomenal. It was the biggest crowd we have ever played for thus far in the history of this band. We played the best we’ve ever played and could really feed off the energy of the crowd. Our whole tour had lead up to that show as the pinnacle event, and all the shows before this fest were more than just shows-they were opportunities to get ourselves together and find out what works for us since we had so little time to prepare for this tour after the guys joined us. One of our guitarists Jason pointed out during our set how cool it was that we had the crowd we did considering the fact that Crowbar was playing upstairs and their set overlapped a bit with ours. We had a good laugh. These fests were a real thrill and an honor and I am looking forward to more of this in our future.

- VITA: Before playing at Desertfest Antwerp with Sonic Wolves, I had the chance to play there twice with Ufomammut and I saw lots of friends who are always involved in the crew, plus of course, fans and amazing musicians. On that note, at the festival we met the Norvegian band Enslaved who were in London the same day we played, at the bar on the first floor of The Black Heart. They had heard us playing from upstairs and we were told that they were asking the bartenders who we were because they liked what they heard. That made our day. The HEADZ UP FEST is a monthly festival in east-Berlin, which is the best city in Europe to me. It also happened to be held close to the location of Desertfest Berlin, which is near the piece of the Berlin Wall that is still standing. The promoter and the entire crew were amazing and very professional.

5.You added some new members. How did they join the band and in what way has it added to the sound?

-  KAYT: Well, the decision to add a new guitarist or two was a long time coming. We were originally meant to be a 4 piece. So, when we had a change in lineup in January of 2017 when one of our two guitarists left, we decided to give the power trio thing a go, but it always felt like something was missing. Sure, we had a good tour with Belzebong in February of 2017 as a trio, but because our other previous guitarist left us only one month before that tour, we had little time to prepare and I feel that our performances suffered just a little bit from that sudden change. After that tour, Vita and I always kept one ear to the ground because it was glaringly obvious to us that we do need two guitars. We like to write songs that have space for guitar solos and harmonies- not to mention the energy of 4 instruments going full blast on a song. To us, that is where our musical hearts are. So, when our remaining guitarist quit in May of this year, we decided to go with our instincts and hunt down two new guitarists- the right guitarists, who possess both the skills and proper attitudes to make this band function to its fullest potential. 

- VITA: One such musician is Jason Nealy, who also plays in Bleeding Eyes and Inverted Matter, the other, Enrico “Ico” Aniasi of The Broken Finger. They both have their own distinctive styles of playing, but they work together so harmoniously that sometimes Kayt and I can’t believe our eyes or ears. Our past guitarists barely spoke to one another, if that gives you any idea of the type of joy we now feel within this band. I had met Jason prior to the last show Sonic Wolves had with our old guitarist, and his band Bleeding Eyes had also played that show. Despite the fact that he lives 4 hours away, we decided to hit him up with the idea of playing with us and thankfully he said yes. He’s incredible, he takes solos and just tears them up. Ico we have known for a bit longer and lives quite a bit closer to us. We have mutual friends that own a pub called Il Cinghiale Nella Nebbia (“The Boar In The Fog”- due to the fact that the area in which we live is full of both fog and wild boars) near our home town. It was the place Sonic Wolves had our first show ever in August 2015. Ever since they told us that Ico plays guitar and likes a lot of the same music that we do, we have fantasized about having him in the band. He’s amazing, adding great tone and impeccable rhythm.  Kayt and I often thought of asking him to join us even when we were a trio. Looking back, there are times that I wish we had done it sooner, but it seems that everything worked out perfectly regardless. I’m still quite mystified by all of our  former guitarists (even those from Tsutar, the precursor to SW), because it turned out that they were not as professional as they should have been. There were so many times that Kayt and I were rebelled against while trying to get things done for the band- everything from scheduling band photos, to rehearsal times, to bookings. Standard things like this should not be an obstacle when involved in a serious project. On the other hand, if they would have behaved like dedicated musicians are supposed to in a band, we couldn’t have brought in these two talented musicians who are also great people.

 

6.Seems like it unfolded all for a reason. Amazing, that's exciting. Really cool to hear you have some new mojo going and sounds like it's flowing with good energy. Have you guys been writing a new album?

- KAYT: Yes indeed we are. The first rehearsal after tour, we dove in and started cranking out riffs and kicking around ideas for both the music and concept for the next album. In fact, all during tour, besides the obvious tour business at hand, we often spoke of how excited we were to start writing together and getting all pumped about bringing new ideas and energy into the band. We are taking everything step by step, making sure everyone is happy with the parts and compositions. I feel like we are really working with great synergy and that is extremely encouraging.

- VITA: I really liked that while we were touring we were already talking with Jason and Ico about composing new material and everybody was looking forward to do it. They have already brought  some good riffs, and there will be much more on the way, but at this moment most of ideas we are working on come from Kayt and I (we have a “drawer” filled with riffs & beats) because we have been waiting for so long to present them to the right people. They are also great with collaboration, improving those riffs we already had and those that we are currently working on, not to mention breathing new life into our older released songs.  

 

7.Great guys. Any upcoming shows or tour plans?

- KAYT: Yes, we do have a few shows coming up and some radio interviews as well. One of those radio interviews includes our live set. It was a station we played before about a year and half earlier. We have also been speaking a bit with our wonderful booking agent Marie Leclère about the possibility of another tour at some point in 2019.

- VITA: The live set interview will be on http://bangbangradio.it on January 18th, 2019. I’m aware that most of you all don’t speak Italian so the interview will be tough to understand, but we play rock’n’roll with English lyrics so, please, mark it on your calendar if you want to hear us live. If it’s anything like the last time we played there, they will post some video from our performance as well.

 

8.What has inspired your songwriting since the last album?

- KAYT: I would have to say that just having Jason and Ico with us is inspiration enough. Having skilled and enthusiastic musicians to play with is both motivating and exciting because it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities that just were not there before. We had some notions of how a song or album should be written, but with these two, most of it goes out the window because they both have so much to contribute and more importantly, they are on the same page. It is better to have four heads than two if they are all sharing the same vision.

- VITA: Kayt and I watch a lot of documentaries, and read a lot at home, that’s where most of the inspiration comes from in both of our albums. For instance, Winds Of War and Geronimo (both from Before The End Comes), or Heavy Light (which is about the origins of stars) and Red Temple (Huitzilapochtli, the Aztec god of war) on the self titled album. Other songs are simply inspired by personal experiences, as well as the feelings and views about these life experiences. Lately, famous and lesser known criminals as well as insane and corrupt leaders are our favorite subjects, so we’ll see where that takes us.  

 

9.How do you feel about the touring and underground scene today?

- KAYT: It’s about as decent as I’ve ever experienced it - better than say, touring as an underground band 20 years ago. It still has its ups and downs. There are those good things that never change-  meeting new people, seeing new places, revisiting those cities or venues that were enjoyed in times past. That never gets old. I feel that for bands that are just starting out, there are more opportunities to tour, to be released on a label and to advance themselves if there is patience and persistence. For bands that have been around a while, it appears to me that touring has a certain amount of security in that they’ve built themselves a loyal fanbase and can count on people showing up, promoters making the shows worth while, taking care of the bands, etc.  On the flip side, I often hear rumblings that the scene has become over-saturated with bands which can then make getting bookings more difficult.  Regardless of the amount of bands out there these days, I think the scene and the way bands tour are evolving and growing together into something positive. If you work to have the right conditions, you can actually support yourself as a musician. If you know how to use social media to your advantage along with playing out as much as possible, moving your band forward is not quite the struggle it once was.

- VITA: Before internet was for the masses, it was a lot harder keeping in touch with promoters or venues. Consequently, booking a show took longer than it does nowadays with the web. 20-25 years ago there were less bands but they all were dedicated to the music. Today, thanks to internet, it’s easier to let the world know via social networks  about your band. Yes, maybe we are over-saturated with bands but it does have a bright side because this huge amount of bands forces you to give your 110% to reach your goals in music. More bands means more competition and more incentives to improve and make yourself a better and different band/musician.  

Another thing that has improved and changed the scene is the number of festivals that include underground bands has grown a lot. There are undeniably more great underground bands these days. With these festivals occurring more frequently and with bigger crowd sizes, more bands are given an opportunity to play in front of larger audiences and build entire tours around these fests. Years ago, it was much more difficult for the majority of underground bands to do that.

 

 

 

10.Any last words for your fans today?

- KAYT: Thank you for the love and support, we are looking forward to getting our new album written. Be looking for us on stage in Europe in 2019! Thank you so much Gideon, always a pleasure!

- VITA: First of all I want to thank you so much Gideon for interviewing us, it’s a pleasure and a honor as well. Also, I want to thank everybody who has supported and helped Sonic Wolves to grow, our fans, our booking agent Marie and all promoters and venues that we had the honor to meet and to play for.

 

Really great guys. Thanks for making time for the interview tonight and a great talk. Of course, it's an honor and pleasure to us as well. Anytime. Look forward to hearing new songs and your news. - G