DEWOLFF will release their brand-new album Love, Death & In Between on 3 February via Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group.
We have described their intoxicating concoctions as: “voodoo pain and sweet, slow release…”
The band have announced a special show at 100 Club, London on Thursday 2nd March 2023. Tickets are available from their site at: www.dewolff.nu
Brothers Pablo (guitar/vocals), Luka van de Poel (drums/vocals), and Robin Piso (Hammond/Wurlitzer) of DeWolff were joined by a large group of friends who visited Kerwax, an analogue studio located in the Brittany village of Loguivy-Plougras, northwest France, in May 2022. Here they took a two-week retreat, and made use of the historic recording gear they found at the residential studio-cum-museuum, some of it dating to the 1940s, including a vacuum tube mixing console, vintage tape machines, tube compressors, and catalogable instruments.
RAW RAMP was delighted to be offered the chance to chat with DeWolff about the analogue recording process and making new album, Love, Death & In Between.
RAW RAMP: Hi, DeWolff, what appeals to you about Night Trains?
“None of us are necessarily train enthusiasts but there is something mystical and magical about the night train that travels to a far and unknown destination. Songs like Allen Toussaint’s ‘Last Train’, ‘This Train’ by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and ‘Night Train’ by James Brown were definitely lyrical inspirations for our song. We wanted to write the perfect opening tune for a DeWolff concert, to initiate the night and bring people to a place without worry, judgement, sorrow or pain. The train stands for the power of music and love, and the fact that it can bring you from one ‘place’ to another.”
RAW RAMP: A bat (or a night train) navigates in the dark, blind, but is very perceptive. Is this how DeWolff goes about the business of music making?
“When we’re writing new songs we don’t have a specific formula, there’s always a different approach. There’s only one requisite and that is it needs to satisfy our ears. If we don’t like it, we don’t record it. That’s the best thing about having full creative freedom. There’s no one that tells us how the next DeWolff single or album should sound, so we navigate completely on our own intuition and that keeps us going, and rolling steady. But sometimes that leaves you blindfolded, because you never know how other people are going to like it until the first reactions and reviews show up. That being said, there’s always other music, movies and books that are a pathfinding light and that inspire and guide us in the creation of new material. Let’s be honest, we’re not inventing a whole new thing here, haha!”
RAW RAMP: What was the most demanding or difficult aspect of working at Studio Kerwax?
“I guess one of the main difficulties was the language barrier between the band and Christophe, the owner and sound engineer of Kerwax Studios. It caused for some hilarious and confusing moments. For instance, we cautiously asked Christophe how he liked our music after the first day of recording, and he responded with a thick French accent: “iet’s a it! iet’s a it!””
“We looked at each other, not understanding what he was saying. Only to discover later that he was saying: It’s a HIT! Haha.. I reckon that means he liked it.”
“Another demanding aspect was the fact that we wanted to record 100% analog, with 11 musicians (DeWolff + bass player, horns, percussion, background singers and extra key/guitar guy) in one room, without ANY overdubs. So everything had to be right there, in that live room. Every little detail you hear on the record was actually played in that right moment. Like a live concert in a studio. That really was a challenge.”
RAW RAMP: Was it a hassle to record live to analogue tape?
“Oooh yes! We’re quite experienced in recording to tape, because we have an analog studio ourselves. But the trouble was we wanted to keep the entire process analog: that meant recording to 24 tracks, (and dealing with failing tape machines) then mixing to a 2 track master tape. After that the master tape was sent to a guy in Switzerland who transferred the master tape to a vinyl lacquer. Finally the lacquer was sent back to France where it was pressed onto vinyl, but the lacquer got damaged in the mail, so we had to redo that part, causing delays etc.”
“Nevertheless, if you buy the record on vinyl it’s a 100% analog product and that’s pretty cool right?”
RAW RAMP: Pablo is a Les Paul player… Did he play with any of Kerwax’s old vintage guitars?
Pablo – “No, I did not. I did use their Selmer Zodiac amplifier on two songs, but then it broke! For guitars I mostly used Les Pauls: a Les Paul R9 lemonburst that Gibson gave me, my 1972 Les Paul Custom and my 1961 “Les Paul” (pre-SG) Custom. For the rest I used my 1965 Epiphone Olympic for slide guitar.”
RAW RAMP: Who is the talented artist who completed your cover & posters? (artwork above)
“We got to know Rosa (Rosa de Weerd) through Instagram. For each album we want to approach a different artist, someone who creates artwork in the spirit of the music. The cool thing is that Rosa hand painted the artwork for Love, Death & In Between. So it was an artisanal process, just like the songs that are on the album.”
“We wanted her to bring the ‘goddess of love & death’ from our song Rosita alive, and she did a great job!”
RAW RAMP: Why did you write a song about fake love (Counterfeit Love)?
“The idea for this song started with a line I read in Colson Whitehead’s novel “Harlem Shuffle”. It describes a room full of gangsters and pimps, with “smiles as counterfeit as the twenties in their hip pockets”. I loved that use of the word counterfeit: not to describe fake currency, but something else that has an emotional value instead. Like love. That’s how that idea started. Then we used the “Counterfeit Love” idea in the lyrics of the song “Gilded” but the concept didn’t come to full fruition. I felt there was a whole can of awesome metaphors and beautiful lines there just waiting to be used, but it would have to be in a rock ’n roll context.”
“So we tried something else and that’s when we wrote what is now “Counterfeit Love”. And then later I was in an antique bookstore where I found this old old book called “Love’s Lovely Counterfeit”. I still have to read it.”
RAW RAMP: On Counterfeit Love we discovered early Led Zeppelin. How inspiring are/were Led Zeppelin?
“Led Zeppelin is still probably one of our biggest inspirations! From time to time we watch the 1970 Live at Royal Albert Hall video and get blown away by it over and over again. The energy and musicianship of this group at that time really is a supernatural thing.”
“We’ve been listening to a lot of (psychedelic) blues in the past, like Deep Purple (Made in Japan is still the BEST live album on this planet), Pink Floyd, Cream, Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers and such. We still enjoy listening to these bands and they form a big part of DeWolff’s musical ‘understructure’. However, the last couple of years we’ve been listening a lot to old rhythm ’n blues, rock ’n’ roll and old soul music. Stax, Muscle Shoals.. and Artists like Ray Charles, Little Richard, Otis Redding, The Impressions (with Curtis Mayfield), Shuggie Otis etc.”
RAW RAMP: Tell us about John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat… Why impact did the novel have?
“Well, it wasn’t just Tortilla Flat that had an impact on Love, Death & In Between. Other John Steinbeck books that influenced us a great deal were Of Mice & Men and Cannery Row. All these books are full of very colorful characters -often scruffy lowlifes- that are just full of secret wisdom, humor and optimism. The way John Steinbeck portrays these people -who drink and gamble and steal and lie- is so beautiful, pure and innocent. These characters speak in very plain English, often slang, and then sometimes all of a sudden he -Steinbeck- bursts out into some literary ballet of words, very virtuosic and poetic but still functional. A subject that I feel runs through these Steinbeck novels and which had a big influence on LD&IB is the beauty, the poetry and mysticism of life.”
RAW RAMP: Thank you, DeWolff, and best wishes for your record and tour!
Neil Mach was talking with Luka van de Poel of the psychedelic Netherlands rock band DeWolff.
We described Dewolff’s Love, Death & In Between as a soul-jam rock album, and we placed it: “in the same category as perhaps you’d place Fresh Cream…what the Black Crowes would have sounded like if they had been picked up by Arthur Lee, packaged like Iron Butterfly and then promoted in L.A. alongside Rhinoceros…”
Read our full review here>>>