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Chelsea Wolfe on snowy touring and special acoustic gigs ahead of Il Motore show.

Posted by Lorcan / January 18, 2013

Chelsea WolfeChelsea Wolfe has to be one of the more beguiling singer-songwriter figures in the North American underground scene. Blending a concoction of dark folk, elements of velvet-draped goth and a beautifully dissonant style of rock - she's won fans far and wide with her first two records. She hits Montreal's Il Motore this Tuesday night, with support from King Dude. With a unique image and style that captivates, she's certainly got identity both visually and musically - standing out like a beacon in the sea of more uniform groups.

More acoustic, stripped-down and ultimately more personal, the current string of shows promise to give an intimate insight into her most recent work. Lorcan Archer provided the questions as the tour wound it's way through Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest.

You're several dates into a North American trek at this stage and performing at Il Motore this Tuesday. How are you finding playing the quieter material from Unknown Rooms... during the tour?

This is a new challenge for me; the intimacy and the subdued dynamic. But I am enjoying it so far and I like playing these songs live.  I don't usually have a lot of stage set-up in general because I prefer minimal visuals, so the audience can focus on the music and just close their eyes and see what they see. On this tour so far I've been buying roses and bringing them onstage over and over until they finally start falling apart and drying up, then I leave them somewhere. I left the last ones in a tall ash tray like a vase in Seattle. 

I prefer minimal visuals so the audience can focus on the music and just close their eyes and see what they see. On this tour so far I've been buying roses and bringing them onstage over and over until they finally start falling apart and drying up, then I leave them somewhere. I left the last ones in a tall ash tray like a vase in Seattle. 

It's been stated that Unknown Rooms' is a collection of orphaned songs that deserved to be released, but not as a full-blown 'new' album. Does that give you a sense of familiarity and ease with these tracks? 

I had forgotten about many of the songs so I needed to re-approach them for the recording as well as for the live performance. It doesn't feel familiar. I also wrote some new songs for the acoustic album so those are in the set as well. 

It's clear that the visual element is an important thing for you, going on your wonderfully diverse promo pics.

Photos are fun to experiment with and I like to explore the visual aesthetic in that way, but live I like simplicity in visuals. For this tour it's intimate things like flowers, candles, sage smoke.  I typically like to keep the live visuals low key. Maybe that will change in the future.

A tour like the one you're currently is a extensive one, but you're also traveling in the depths of winter. Do you find the landscape and weather at this time of year helps to inform the performance?

It is an intense time to tour but I love winter, and find it inspiring and refreshing. I'm happy to be in the snow and driving through the trees. Right now we are driving in the Northwest US.  In terms of listening to music while on the road, I got into Broadcast (UK) only recently but I am really enjoying their records - such tragic, beautiful, melancholy feelings. I love the song "Hawk" a lot - I'll listen to it on repeat. Or "Papercuts".

In terms of a full-blown new album, do you think we can we expect a new Chelsea Wolfe record to appear in 2013? Are you finding inspiration from any particular sources for new material? 

Yes, I have an album that is almost finished that I will release this year. There are some electronic songs I've been working on for a while now with my bandmate Ben Chisholm. I'm excited to release this album because these songs will be really fun to play live. I have been really inspired by natural disasters - the power of nature and the elements, ancestry, history, mythology and the hardships of love.  

You're being supported throughout this tour by King Dude, TJ Cowgill, also of Book of Black Earth. Have you been blasting metal in the tour vehicle considering you also covered Burzum some time back?

We listen to Urfaust and Roky Erikson and Roy Orbison in the van. And what we've been listening to for night drives is the Lost Highway soundtrack. I truly love King Dude's music and we are good friends so it's a dream tour, I'm very happy to hear them play every night. We'll sing a couple of songs together as well.  

Chelsea Wolfe plays at Il Motore on Tuesday, January 22nd with King Dude. Check out the event page here.

Pic by Angel Ceballos / chealseawolfe.net

Discussion

11 Comments

Scott / January 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm
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Lost Highway is some great nighttime driving music. :) I used to listen to it on frequent night drives when I was more opportune to travel at night.
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