First Look: Greighwolfe Writes His Own Legend w/ "Physical" [ Live Video Premiere + Interview]
Greighwolfe is the unlikely and elaborately-spelled name of a young soul, uh, cat commanding quite a lot of attention in industry circles with his sound and charisma. The sound is best exemplified by an EP of 6 songs collectively titled Black and is the best kind of r&b experiment in that it pairs Greighwolfe's undeniably soulful voice, which ranges from falsetto soul to low black snake moan and every register in between, with a musical approach that draws as much from dub, noisy lo-fi rock, aggro electronics and most of all a grimey 21st century blues-rock that channels The White Stripes (or The Black Keys) and Gary Clark, Jr. far more than R. Kelly. His rockstar persona and out-the-box take on rhythm & blues almost immediately invites D'Angelo comparisons; his jaywalk through the contested crossroads of "black" and "white" American musical traditions suggests perhaps a young Lenny Kravitz. But there's no question that Greighwolfe is his own animal.
After a few tantalizing sightings, we decided it was time to get a closer look at this particular species and introduce him to the world with his very own First Look profile--which in this case is also the world premiere of his live video session for the synth-driven track "Physical" recorded live at an exclusive July listening session at BlastOff studios here in NYC. Read on to watch him blow the room away with that session, stream his Black EP in its entirety, and get to know the mind of Greighwolfe via this exclusive interview. In the process you can witness young 'Wolfe--literally and figuratively--write his own legend.
OKP: What's your government name?
Greighwolfe: Aaron or... Mr Jones to you *laughs* [actually, a little detective work reveals Greighwolfe first generated some demo-tape a&r buzz under the name Rufio Summers - ed.]
OKP: Tell us a little about your background?
GW: Started out in rock bands at an early age at which time I began my love affair with rock 'n' roll. This naturally progressed into hardcore metal bands with the help of MySpace and my local skate and music scene. When we eventually separated I invested in a small home studio and started producing electro music, which is where I was spotted by a London-based manager and introduced to the big city.
Still young and open for experimentation I converted the songs to acoustic renditions which took off all over London. This ultimately spread to a major label taking interest in what I was doing. I was offered the chance of becoming "a British Bruno Mars"--to which I respectfully declined. As talented as he is, I didn't want to play second fiddle to my US counterpart, so along I went.
For years I wondered whether that was the right decision, especially hearing fellow musicians that I had once shared the same unsigned stage with reaching higher heights of commercial success. I knew what kind of music I wanted to hear and I knew what kind of music I wanted to make. In pursuit of creating my dream sound, I came across an extremely talented producer by the name of JC and explained exactly what I was looking to do. Within minutes he understood and we got to work.
Which brings us to now, the sound you hear is a fusion--no, a love child--of everything that has ever inspired me, every genre and every experience along the way.
OKP: Can you be more specific about what those influences were--your debut EP references r&b, blues, lo-fi-and psyche-rock—even a touch of synth-pop on “Physical”--and what you're listening to as a grown wolfe?
GW: At the time I was writing this I'd recently broken up with a long term girlfriend, which as sad as it was, turned out to be an incredibly liberating experience. I was a wild, single, rock'n'rolla, fucking everything with a pulse so I would say that is pretty much the main influence behind this particular EP.
Musically, my influences span from Jack White's Blunderbuss to J*Davey and Tesla Boy, but honestly throughout my whole songwriting process I have to give credit to my surroundings and my iPhone.
OKP: You appear to have gone in on the tats—do you have a favorite tattoo? Can you tell us the story/significance behind it?
GW: The Death Moth on my neck, for me it symbolizes my commitment to what I do and serves as a constant reminder every time I look in the mirror. It reminds me of who I am and what I'm meant to be.
OKP: What fairy tale would you be a wolf in?
>>>Watch Greighwolfe - "Physical" Live In Session On Page 2
GW: Wolves get pretty bad press in fairy tales so I decided to write my own:
In a land far, far away there lived a lonely beast by the name Greighwolfe. Greighwolfe wasn't like the other animals. He had long scruffy hair, funny-coloured markings all over his body and would spend his nights singing to his ever faithful friend the moon. The other dogs would watch him from afar and say - "Look at that silly dog howling at the moon every night, does he thinks he's a wolf or something?" But Greighwolfe was a wolf and he knew that the only way to get people to see this was to howl from the highest mountain so that his voice may echo around the world.
One day Grieghwolfe decided he wanted to go in pursuit of his dream, so he packed up some bread and water and set off down the winding road. Along the way he came across a beaver building a house, the beaver said "what on earth are you and where do you think you are going dressed like that?"
“I'm a wolf" he announced, "and I'm going to climb that mountain you see in the distance so that my voice might be heard by the masses.”
The beaver scoffed and said "Climb the Mountain? You can't climb the mountain! You're a dog, and dogs don't climb mountains." The beaver then turned his back on Greighwolfe and continued working on his house.
A day or two passed and he happened across a flock of sheep standing in a field.
“What on earth are you and where are you going and where are you going dressed like that?” questioned the sheep.
"I'm a Wolf and Im going to the top of the mountain so that my voice might be heard by the masses" confirmed Greighwolfe.
"BAAAAHHHHHH!!!!" They all laughed. “You're no wolf. We are scared of wolves and we have never seen a wolf like you.”
"I am a wolf he said and if I was hungry I would eat you all." Greighwolfe growled.
The sheep dispersed and Greighwolfe continued his journey.
He continued to walk through a thick forest, steep hills and swim through treacherous waters until he reached the base of the mountain.
As he started his long assent up the mountain he came across an old coyote chained to a post.
“Where do you think you are going?” hissed the Coyote.
"I'm going to the top of that mountain to so that my voice might be heard by the masses." Greighwolfe exclaimed.
"I'm afraid that's not possible, you have to be a special kind of animal to climb this mountain and you don't look very special to me" snarled the Coyote.
“I am special!” barked Greighwolfe.
"If you are so special, why are you alone, where is your pack?" sniggered the Coyote.
"How can I form the pack if you wont allow my voice to be heard?" Greighwolfe replied.
The Coyote sat with this thought for a moment, unsure of what to do. As he sat chained to the old post of wisdom, a young forward-thinking Lion crept up behind him and swallowed him whole.
After coughing up the remains of the decrepit old Coyote he allowed the young wolf to continue his journey up the mountain.
Greighwolfe finally reached the summit, he howled the most powerful howl any man or beast had ever heard, and crowds gathered from all across the land to marvel in his splendor.
The lion got stinking rich and had all the lionesses he could handle, whilst Greighwolfe formed a loyal pack of his own.
OKP: what's next for Greighwolfe?
GW: I'm back in New York Performing all over the City from the 23rd of August [starting with AfroPunk After Dark event tomorrow night] and if this doesn't work out I can always fall back on fairy tales.