Since signing to Blue Duck Records, Wolves Among Sleep has been working hard to establish themselves in the scene. With a name that can be easily confused, a sound that spans genres, and an extreme dedication to fans, this is a hardcore act you will want to check out. Listen in on my chat with bass player Tyler Helstrom during New England’s Soulfest.
Tell me about the band’s name:
The original idea of the name Wolves Among Sleep was that we wanted to be a positive message band, a positive base. We were tired of tough guys who always wanted to beat people up and emo kids who were always depressed. So we took “Wolves Among Sheep” and did a spin on it and put with Wolves Among Sleep. The wolves stands for the aggressive side of our band, and the sleep stands for the melodic part of it. So we have hidden heavy parts that flow in and out of the melodic parts. That’s where Wolves Among Sleep came from. We though it would be a cool play on words. It’s come to bite us in the butt sometimes. Radio stations will pronounce it wrong because they think it’s just a typo. So we have to explain that, but that’s pretty much where the name came from. We’re a melodic band with heavier parts hidden inside it, just like wolves are hidden among sheep.
When did you join?
It’ll be a year in September. The band has been around since 2006, so about three years. I took over bass. We’ve gone through a lot of lineup changes.
Where is the band from?
We are based out of Bangor, Maine. Right in the central part of Maine
Is there a common theme that runs through the music?
A lot of songs are based on positive messages. We have a song called “Red Hands Make For a Guilty Conscience.” It’s actually the story of Job from the Bible. Our biggest song is “Disasterology”. It’s about the aftermath of suicide. The thoughts of somebody who tried to commit suicide but didn’t go through with it or failed. It’s about realizing how beautiful life really is, and not taking that for granted. We are all really big comic book fans and movie fans so we have Disney themes, like Pocahontas. A lot of kids like that and they relate to it. That’s a really big thing for us.
What is your favorite song to play?
That’s a really hard toss-up. We have a song called “It Doesn’t Take a Hero To Make A Sandwich.” I wrote a bass part for it and I’m really partial to it. That’s probably my favorite song. I did a lot of writing and pre-production for it in the studio.
Do you label yourselves as a Christian band?
We don’t. We’re not that big of a band and we feel that a lot of kids would just be like, “Alright, you’re Christian” and it would push us aside. So to reach kids that aren’t Christian we call ourselves a “positive message band” and if kids come to us and talk to us about it we will tell them that the members of the band are Christian. I think to reach kids that aren’t Christian it makes it way easier. They’re caught off guard and surprised by it.
What led to the band signing with Blue Duck Records?
Well actually we met them last year here, at Soulfest. We played the Mercy St. Cafe. Basically, our guitar player went and asked them what it takes to be a Blue Duck band. Our manager got in touch with them. Back in February we sent them a rough demo and they were like, “We want you guys. We’ll sign you.” We talked for about a month or so and then met them in a coffee shop and signed everything. We signed on for an EP and two full length albums. They’re really cool because they don’t expect us to tour all the time. They know that we have jobs. They’re a really really good label and try really hard to promote us and push us. They’re very fair to all their bands.
What genre would you put yourself in?
Hmm, I really don’t know. We’ve gotten anything from Coheed and Cambria to Thursday to Boys Night, Saosin, Chiodos. It’s like a pop/rock/hardcore. We had to write about the way we feel. Not everybody is feeling angry like a hardcore band, and not everyone is feeling happy like a pop/punk band. That’s the one thing I love about bands that have diversity in their CD. You can pop it in and can relate to it one way or another.
Anything else you would like to share?
We are your typical local band. We love to talk to people, we love kids, we love the fans we have. That’s really just what we are. Technically now we’re considered a regional band, but we have the mindset of a local band to hang out and talk to kids. We’ll sit at our table forever and talk all night until they close the merch tent down. We’ll go to a show and get there early and hang out outside and talk to kids. W’re not the band that hangs out inside our tour bus or just waits backstage. We love talking to other bands and kids. If anyone sees us around, don’t be afraid to come up and talk to us – we always want input on the band.