Breathing The Core Zine | Y Gododdin Interview | The Wolves of Avalon
We caught up with Breathing The Core zine for an interview where we discussed the history of the band, our new album Y Gododdin, gigs, guests, fans and a whole bunch of other questions. You can read the full interview here on their site as well as transcribed below.
BREATHING THE CORE: On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Pagan Folk Metal band The Wolves Of Avalon from the UK. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?
METATRON: The name needed to reflect ancient Britain so Avalon fitted the purpose as this is a mystical place in not only Arthurian lore, but for the Celtic people of the time, and we had wolves here long ago so that’s how the name materialized. It is very unique to the era. Avalon[in welsh Ynys Afallon] was once known as the isle of glass for its glimmering marsh waters that surrounded it. It was a very sacred place though entrenched in Celtic Myth that is very likely rooted in a lost truth.
JAMES: When Metatron told me that was the name of the band, it was instantaneous to me and I think represents us, the music, and philosophy perfectly.
BREATHING THE CORE: Why did you want to play this genre?
METATRON: I wanted to create a pagan-inspired concept and it wasn’t something that fitted the sound of Meads of Asphodel which is generally all over the place. Also, lyrically with the Meads, I write about inhumanity and religious megalomania. With the Wolves I immersed myself in ancient British history as with the albums, Carrion Crows Over Camlan which is about the dark age Arthur, Boudicca’s Last Stand, which is about the Iceni warrior queen and the Corpses Grey album which deals with the bloody horror of medieval warfare. The Y Gododdin album chronologically would fit in seventy years after the battle of Camlan [on the Carrion Crow’s album,]. I have always embraced the Pagan Metal sound since Skyclad and Bathory invented it many moons ago. I think the atmospheres, use of traditional instruments, and epic undertones of pagan metal make it a genre of various levels of intensity. From the raw edges of Graveland to the bombast of bands like Finsterforst, I think the Wolves sit in this genre comfortably which is what I wanted.
JAMES: It would be absolutely accurate to say that your [Metatron’s] assessment is exactly how things came together, as it was you that made contact about forming the band. For me personally, it wasn’t an ambition other than that it was an invitation. So, when going about actually writing the music my ambition has always been to create a backdrop to the story at hand… I suppose much like a soundtrack to a film in many ways… whether one might consider that a success in the context of a genre I don’t know, but it is and remains a pleasure to create this music.
BREATHING THE CORE: Did you know each other before the band was formed?
METATRON: Yes, I have known James for many years through his work with other bands he is involved in. He is very receptive to the vision of the band and is the engine room that drives the whole concept onwards. We share a similar philosophy of life and treasure the beauty of our land.
JAMES: Agreed, and likewise. I think we first met around 2001 before we were working together on The Wolves of Avalon. I was well aware of the Meads through various means including some ex-members and through Zines, friends, and whatnot. We have become good friends since.
BREATHING THE CORE: Each band member's favorite band?
METATRON: Hawkwind, Venom, and Bathory.
JAMES: Without wanting to sound like a cliché, I couldn’t give you an answer. However, you can listen to some of our favorite bands and inspirations from the genre in our ‘Black and Extreme Metal’ playlist on Spotify here.
BREATHING THE CORE: Who or what inspires you to write songs?
JAMES: When writing the music my biggest source of inspiration is the theme we've decided upon for the album, which plays out first in the mind’s eye. This is one of the main reasons why the ambiance changes across our albums. Like I said earlier, I like to write as if I were constructing a soundtrack.
This also leaves space for progressive rock elements to play their part too, as for me it's not just about writing a song within a genre but a concept where I can pull in different styles or sounds from across the musical spectrum... I could go on but I think that's the most accurate description.
BREATHING THE CORE: Where was your last gig?
JAMES: We don't actually gig, nor do we have any plans to start doing so. However, it's something I personally wouldn't want to rule out indefinitely in the future.
BREATHING THE CORE: Where would you like to act?
JAMES: If we were to play a gig? A venue which could accommodate us all, as there would be a few of us. I once tallied it up and between instrumentalists, backline, vocalists, etc, there would be at least 11 people needed to represent the songs accurately. Let’s say the Albert Hall, that’s pretty grand no?
BREATHING THE CORE: Who would you like to feature with?
JAMES: While we have no end of guests (many of which would have been the answer to this question if we hadn’t already collaborated), it’s infrequent that we jump on board with other artists… However, for me Darkthrone. They epitomize great music with a great attitude and it would be an honor to work with either of them in any capacity.
BREATHING THE CORE: Who not?
METATRON: It would be too impolite to say.
JAMES: What he said. Though just turn on your radio and I’m sure you’ll hear one of them.
BREATHING THE CORE: Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?
JAMES: I play live music with other bands of which I have certainly had a few instances of panic. Ordinarily, I would say that if you make it on stage, you have made it through the gig. The only time I ever really feel a sense of anxiety is waiting to play and I think that’s universal. However, on one occasion I crashed my car on the way to a show. By the time I arrived at the venue we were due on stage and I froze mid-set. Everything stopped my mind, memory, everything. I think it was a case of delayed shock as it has never happened before or since. In which case my advice would be don’t be a martyr, take it easy and give yourself time to warm up and focus, it’s just a gig.
BREATHING THE CORE: What bands have inspired you the most?
METATRON: Sigh, Hawkwind.
JAMES: For this project, I would have to say the bands which have inspired ‘expressions’ within the writing are broad. However, some include Arcturus, Alcest, Sergei Prokofiev, Bathory, Opeth, The Waterboys, Enya, Type O Negative, Jethro Tull and the list really does go on. Beyond the music, nature, the wild and all that it inspires.
BREATHING THE CORE: What do you think of your fans?
METATRON: Without them there is nothing.
JAMES: We are a niche band, who don’t pertain to being ‘gatekeepers’ of anything whatsoever. This has allowed us to have a more direct relationship with those who support our output, especially since we have become more active on social channels as of late. Interestingly a lot of our supporters of a male demographic are those who are also musicians and discerning listeners of the genre, which provides much insight and inspiration. Whilst our female supporters also bear a discerning ear, they also possess creative talents outside the realms of music. From artists to brewers, chain mail makers, fire breathers and this list go on. This intrigues my own sensibility and therefore I have a great deal of respect for what they do. Fundamentally, it is part and parcel of what makes our fans a pleasure… decent people with something to say and offer back to this world, which is otherwise quagmired in shit.