Check out an e-mail interview with Steve Cobucci (guitar & clean vocals) of Wolves At The Gate. Get to know this up-and-coming band below!
First off, since you’ll be new to most of our readers, can you give a short back story of the band?
Back in April of 2008, by the grace of God, He constructed our band with the right guys. We all met in college at Cedarville University in Ohio. Taking it back further, ever since I (Steve) picked up guitar back in 2005 I had been writing, had a number of songs finished and had always wanted to start a band but the Lord made me wait until for the right guys so that the ministry of Wolves At The Gate could be effective. Simply put, in college I met these three other guys through God’s intentional direction. I knew Ben and Jeremy from various different things in college and knew that they loved the Lord, liked good music, and were great at their instruments. One our first shows was a house show we played in town and Colin came by after hearing about the show and approached us after the show. He basically just asked if he could be in the band and he joined the band that night. It was awesome to see God’s hand through all of it because all of WATG came together in a matter of a week.
Who are the various members of the band and what instruments do they play?
Steve Cobucci – guitar/clean vocals
Colin Jones – vocals
Ben Summers – bass
Jeremy Steckel – lead guitar
Is there any significance to the name Wolves At The Gate? Why did you guys pick it?
The title of the new album correlates with the meaning behind the name Wolves At The Gate. The first track on the new album, “We Are The Ones”, will clarify the meaning behind the EP, the name of our band, and our mission. It comes from a passage in Scripture (Acts 20:24-32) where the Apostle Paul is addressing the church in Ephesus explaining to them his mission, the dangers that might come to them, and encouragement to persist in their relationship with God. In this passage the apostle Paul is warning the church in Ephesus of those who seek to distort the truth of the Gospel. And in essence, the name of our band is not who we are but what we seek to combat. The wolves at the gate are the things in this world that steer us away from the truth, steer us into sin and away from God. We admire the apostle Paul for his zeal in spreading the Gospel of God’s salvation and in the same way we have taken up that same mission to go and preach the Gospel to all who the Lord gives us opportunity. We hope that readers will give the album a listen so that they can check out the first track, that will really give them a clear depiction behind the meaning.
How is the music scene in Cedarville, Ohio? Are you guys able to play out regularly?
(laughs) Cedarville does not have a music scene. It really is a college town, not much of a town without the college although we do have a great hometown fan base. We recently had our CD release show January 31st in Cedarvillle where they packed out the place and did not sit still for a moment. Since we started back in 2008 we’ve been able to play out to various locations all over Ohio and to much of the surrounding states.
Describe your overall sound.
What we try to do with music is write music that is beautiful, melodic, and thought out. We really desire to make music that sounds big, translates well live, and intelligent music that people can connect with rather than something fleeting. At the end of the day we just want to write music that will interest someone regardless of what type of music they like.
Who are your bands biggest influences musically and lyrically?
Musically for us it really varies pending on what guy you ask. It’s awesome because I never know what any of those guys are going to be listening to at any given moment. Collectively though we are influenced by bands like As Cities Burn, Thrice, Underoath, Norma Jean, Jimmy Eat World, Coldplay to keep it sort. We just love music that has a feeling in it and the music is powerful. Lyrically for me there are a number of influences that have played a huge role in how I write. Cody Bonnette of As Cities Burn and Dustin Kensrue of Thrice are great lyricists who write songs that are real. I listened to those bands and read their lyrics since I was in high school. Apart from music, writers like C.S. Lewis and Thomas A. Kempis, preachers such as Paul Washer, Rob Turner, John Piper, and Ravi Zacharias play a significant role in my thought process behind the lyrics. And the foundation behind why we write lyrics and what we write comes from the Bible, through the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and Biblical history. All of our lyrics correlate with passages from Scripture that are always listed on the bottom of each song. Our lyric booklet for the new album is available to anyone who wants to read it as a downloadable pdf file. Check our Facebook, Twitter, and website for any of that information.
You just released your brand new EP titled We Are The Ones. What has the initial feedback been for the new material?
We had great feedback from fans, friends, and family on the new album. Our CD release show was a great success, the place was packed out, and we really enjoyed the whole event. We’ve been pretty busy since the release with interviews, getting things prepared to release our new music video for “Heralds”, amongst other things. All in all God has blessed with any success that we have received so far and we’re just overwhelmed by the blessings received.
Where can it be purchased (both digital & physical)?
The sound quality is dramatically better than your previous material. Where did you record the EP?
That’s funny because we’ve recorded with the same producer (Tyler Smyth) since 2009, he’s just progressively grown as an engineer each time we recorded with him.
How did the recording process go?
Writing and recording this EP was quite an experience. Lots of coffee and all-niters fueled a good portion of the recording process but it was so rewarding to finally get these songs we’ve been working on completed. This EP was a long time coming and it was such a great experience working with Tyler Smyth. He’s been a good friend to us, we have such a great working relationship, and a good respect for each other. He was very patient and allowed us to experiment and take our time on every portion of the process. We are also so fortunate to know so many other musicians/bands in the area, namely Joe McFadden, the singer for the band This Love. He did us the honor of doing some guest vocals on our song “Oh The Depths” along with the rest of his band and a bunch of our friends who did the gang vocals at the end of the song for us. All in all it was a great blessing and a great time.
Do you have any other material written that wasn’t recorded for this EP?
In writing our EP we had a number of songs that we decided to work on further in preparation of the goal of writing a full length. Although for this EP we voted and chose which songs we thought would help portray us best as a band, were lyrically clear and focused on presenting the Gospel through the song, and clearly were the best songs. Since recording the EP we have not stopped writing new material because it is a natural inclination of the band. We love writing new songs so that we can continually push ourselves as a band.
The sound on the new songs is a bit more polished and adds some big choruses. Was this a natural progression or a focused effort?
I guess it was a little bit of both. As a band we wanted to write music that was a little more focused than before while still maintaining our original style. Like I said earlier, we want to write powerful music and songs that people won’t be able to forget. This in turn will help us accomplish our goal of sharing the good news of salvation that God provided on the cross through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus.
Let’s talk about your songwriting process. Is there a main songwriter or is it a group effort? What about the lyrics?
Filtration. Every member in the band has their hands in the songs one way or another. Regardless of the amount of input, it all is crucial in what our songs eventually sound like. Generally I will present to the band a core for a song, generally fully written with drums, guitar, vocals, lyrics and all. But this is just the very beginning. Usually I then send the song to all the guys and then head over to Jeremy’s house. Since both of us play guitar and record, we start working on parts that we feel are weak, are missing something, or if guitar work needs fine tuning. Jeremy has a great ear for guitar work and generally can express what we’re looking for when it’s missing. Next step goes to Ben our bassist. Ben has a great ability to listen to our music and pick out exactly a part that is not up to par.
The three of us will then work together until there is a general consensus that we’ve accomplished what the song needed. Then Colin and I get together and do vocals together. We try to be very intentional about where there is screaming and where there is singing. Screaming is used in music to convey emotion and so many bands just scream to scream. We do our best to make sure that the screaming parts in our songs are there to make a song move to where it needs to go. In regards to the clean vocals, a lot of scrutiny is put into the melodies. We never want to have a singing part put somewhere just so that it will be “catchy” per say. Melodies need to be intentional, thought out, and something that fits well within the song.
In all honesty, the hardest part about writing songs for me comes down to lyrics. Not because it’s hard for me to rhyme and write words on a page, but because of the significance of the content that we write about. As a band we claim to represent that of Christ Jesus. He is God, the Savior of mankind who wiped away the sins of the world. I am always very careful with what I write in our lyrics to make clear the message of the Gospel and to not write something that simply could be perceived incorrectly. We’ve put ourselves in a position where people are listening to what we say and we understand the responsibility we have to speak truth. We’re not debtors to God, but we are debtors to mankind because of the grace God has bestowed upon us with the knowledge of Christ’s salvation.
Is Wolves At The Gate a full-time gig for you guys. If not, would you do this full-time if the opportunity presented itself?
Currently Wolves At The Gate is full-time for us, but we all have jobs to help pay the bills for the time being. We’re not in this for the money or fame, although this is something that we all could see ourselves doing for a long time. We understand that God has blessed us to be at point that we are at now and has given us any success that we have had, but we fully rely on God to take this band where He feels it should go.
Any upcoming tours / tour dates we should take note of?
We have some spot shows lined up in various areas, but no tours with confirmed dates at the moment. Be sure to check Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace for tour dates in your area.
Name a few current bands that you’d really like to tour with.
Come Wind, the Orphan the Poet, and This Love. These guys are our best buds, we’ve dubbed this tour “The Bald Eagle Tour.” In addition to our buddies we’d love to tour with our favorite bands Thrice, As Cities Burn, Coldplay, Jimmy Eat World. I don’t think those bands would ever get old to me.
Do you consider WATG to be a ministry or just a band made up of Christians?
WATG is definitely a ministry. As Christians, everything we do should be done to glorify God and so that people may hear the good news of Christ’s salvation. All of the guys in the band are like-minded in our desire for the band.
What are a few things that you would like to accomplish with the band?
This may seem like a cop out to a lot of people but in all honesty we only want this band to go as far as God would desire our ministry to continue. We don’t want to try and force something that is not what God wants for our lives. The band has already accomplished more than we could have conceived when we got together in 2008 and we simply hope that we can tell as many people as possible about what Christ’s desire for a relationship with you.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
We’ve got a music video coming out for our first single “Heralds” that will be releasing very soon, so watch Facebook, Twitter, etc. for updates. Most importantly we want our fans to know that we want to hear from you guys if you have questions, critiques, or just want to talk. So don’t be afraid to say ‘hey’ at a show, email, tweet, Facebook, whatever. We do our best to be accessible, we’re just regular dudes and want to be a blessing to you guys