LOMM: Can you tell us a brief history of the Honshu Wolves leading up to the release of Cosmic Creature Capture? How did you come to the conclusion that Voodoo Rhythm would be the best fit for you to partner with concerning this release?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: Myself and my neighbor Emanuel founded the band Honshu Wolves in 2007. I asked him to teach me how to play the guitar cause I wanted to have an instrument to come along with my voice. But I was very impatient and wrote my first song shortly after the first few lessons, and I asked him if he wants to play with me. So the group was born. People playing in bands always surrounded me, but I became a mother very young and didn’t have the urge to have my group before so much. But after the kids grew a little bit older, I had the feeling something wanted to come out, and I wanted to dive into a new creative dimension. After some months, we met through a friend, our drummer Mige. And we played as a trio, my voice, two guitars, and drums.
In 2011 we released our first EP, the 10” Shine on Me for Mams Rosin’s Geneva-based record label, Moi J’Connais. Emanuel moved into another city to study and also didn’t like performing live as much as I did. He decided to leave the band around 2012. We asked him to record the newer songs we played together before he departed and he agreed. In 2014, we released our first LP, Silver Ashes Line The Lane on the Biel-based record label, Sacred Hood Records. Just after the recordings, we, fortunately, met Fabian, who replaced Emanuel and this is the current lineup of Honshu Wolves.
Because my long-time partner and father of my three sons were with his group Roy and The Devil’s Motorcycle on Voodoo Rhythm for many years, I used to know Beat-Man for very long.
Bern is small, Switzerland is small, and many Voodoo Rhythm family people are my friends.
So Beat-Man asked me if we want to bring out our next record on his label.
I can’t say that we are a typical Voodoo Rhythm band; our music is anyways hard to categorize, I think, which is good!! But we will profit a lot from Beat-Man’s huge network and know-how.
We are proud to be on Voodoo Rhythm. For me, inside Voodoo Rhythm is so much passion and an essential part of music and rock’n’roll history from Switzerland. And I think Beat-Man likes our music.
I always like to work with people who love what they do neck and crop.
LOMM: With the global pandemic affecting people’s lives in a profound way both emotionally and financially, how have you all been holding up with the protocols in place over in Switzerland? How have those protocols affected the arts, especially in the Swiss music world?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: All clubs are still closed with no concerts occurring for more than a year now; culture is dead somehow. My partner and I have day jobs to support our family; thankfully, we haven’t been burdened much by this event on our end. Many artists here face severe financial problems, and I know many good people are suffering from depression.
Video for ‘Goddess”
LOMM: How would you describe Honshu Wolves music? There are enough genre influences heard in Cosmic Creature Capture that say you three don’t adhere to one specific style and are versed in different styles of rock music and blues.
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: I write all the songs, and the writing process flows when it wants. There is no style concept; our music ranges from gospel, space rock, folk, blues, trash, and other styles pressed together. I like a lot of different music myself, and so those influences all mix.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: As always, I exactly know which songs are better than the others. But it is also good to listen to them at a distance. Yeah, of course, it is a goal to always write better songs to evolve my songwriting!
And also, for the recording, you always know which things you want to do the next time differently, haha! Songwriting is always a process that is the truth.
LOMM: How has the overall reception towards Cosmic Creature Capture been so far?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: I am very happy to say that we have gotten very good receptions!
LOMM: Talk about how often the band tours and were there any touring plans derailed when the pandemic began?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: We tour when we feel like and when it is possible to arrange with my family. I love touring. For me, the best thing is to meet cool and great people who love music!
LOMM: What is the next step for Honshu Wolves with this new album now released?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: We have many good ideas for music videos, and because we can’t play live at the moment, it is a lovely thing to be creative in this way. But we are longing to play!!
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts explored in the new album? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who wrote all the lyrics?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: I write all the lyrics. There are different subjects but no concepts. The songs are pulled from what is around and inside me. Some things have to come out and are in a way autobiographical but mostly pushed into an extreme. Some ideas are just about life. Like the song, “Marina” is about my friendship with my best friend, Marina.
Video Link for “Tell Me”
LOMM: Who composed the songs on Cosmic Creature Capture?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: I compose all the songs, and then we arrange them together in our rehearsal room. Usually, the songs stem from an idea the music is giving me, a feeling I compare to riding on a wave. Then we arrange them together in the rehearsal room. And the same feeling I would like to transport to the audience.
LOMM: What bands do Honshu Wolves draw inspiration from?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: Many..:)
Spacemen 3, The Velvet Underground, Suicide, Make Up, Neil M. Hagerty, The Staple Singers, PJ Harvey, different Blues Artists, Roy and The Devil’s Motorcycle, Solki, and many more.
LOMM: Which is more exciting for you three? Being on the road or studio?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: Both are very different things, and you can’t compare, both are highlights for every band. As much as I love to tour and write, both are very exhausting.
LOMM: In your viewpoint, which is more important for you all? Catering to what the audience wants or music for its own sake?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: We do what we feel. To play my music is what I want. Our music comes from my feelings and takes me on a trip when we write and perform live. If other people feel the same when they listen to my music and the music touches them in any way that makes me happy.
LOMM: What is the most memorable gig Honshu Wolves have played to date and in what country/venue did this gig occur?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: It was some years ago in a squat in Neuchâtel [French canton in West Switzerland]. We played at three in the morning, and it was a small venue, but all music lovers. It was like everybody was coming with us on a trip, together we felt as one. That show was very touching.
LOMM: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf:
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
13th Floor Elevators – Bulls Of The Woods
Tinariwen – Aman Iman
Spacemen 3 – Sound of Confusion
Dead Moon – Unknown Passage
The Make-Up – Save Yourself
Irma Thomas – Time Is On My Side
J.J. Cale – Naturally
Neil Hagerty – Neil Michael Hagerty
LOMM: Can you tell us a bit about the Swiss rock scene from your experience growing up around and within it? Which bands can you recommend people hear and is there a particular artist or group you feel that is underrepresented?
Honshu Wolves, Maryanne Shewolf: The Young Gods are an underground industrial rock group from Geneva who achieved success from abroad. Beat-Man’s own band, The Monsters, has a big fan base all over the world as well. Those are the groups from Switzerland I adore the most:
Roy And The Devil’s Motorcycle
Becky Lee – One Woman Band (was based in Switzerland for a long time)
LOMM: Thank you for taking the time!
Interviewee: Maryanne Shewolf (guitars/vocals/percussion for Honshu Wolves)