WOLFHEAD59 is the London (UK) based duo Agnes de la Barthe (vocals) and Jay de Vil (music). They this year released their official debut album “We Are Not OK” on the American label D-Trash Records. The album sounds as the imaginary offspring between Ultraviolence and Ambassador 21; harsh, furious, merciless and definitely hardcore! The lyrics are pretty rudimentary and yet behind there’s serious engagement.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Let’s start by asking you how you guys met, what’s your connection with each other and what can you tell us about your musical roots and background?
Jay: I played in a Punk band and Agnes was promoting gigs, is basically how we met… At the beginning it was just musical business, but longer we knew each other more we discovered that we have similar interests, passions, visions… Now we are a couple. I got involved in Punk-Rock scene something like 30 years ago or even before… I like extreme noisy music with a message, so naturally Punk, Hardcore or Metal is a match to my taste in music. I also pretty quickly developed interest in underground Electronic music, especially in its radical genres like Digital-Hardcore or Gabber.
Agnes: I have never played in any kind of band before, so WOLFHEAD59 is a new experience in my life. Like Jay just said, I was promoting and organizing gigs and events, including Punk. When I was teenager I used to listen to a lot of Punk-Rock, but with passing time I started to be more open to any type of music. Generally I listen to many musical genres and I like to be inspired by sound and lyrics.
Q: You this year released your first official work entitled “We Are Not OK”. The title is pretty intriguing, I think revealing a clear sense of humor, but still a tiny provocative! But what is it all about and what kind of album did you want to release?
Jay: I wouldn’t say that the title meant to be humorous, haha… at least it wasn’t our intention to make it sound funny or anything like that, but yes it is a bit provocative… The title is rather an expression of our frustration and feelings toward today’s world. There are plenty of things happening worldwide that make you feel uncomfortable, like the rebirth of fascism and nationalism, for example. We are not OK with what is happening in the world, and the music is also a protest and a weapon of some kind… I guess you could dance to our music, but also riot in the same time…
Q: I don’t know why, but the song “Napalm Disco” perfectly summarize what WOLFHEAD 59 is all about and it’s also the way you define your sound. Can you give us more details about it and how do you see yourself as band active in this electro/industrial underground scene?
Jay: The concept of WOLFHEAD59 is to create a dance music rooted in Disc-Pop, but with a Punky sound and attitude, that’s why the sound is pretty harsh and heavy, and the vocals are raw and rather screamy than melodic. To make the effect even bigger I often record some additional distorted guitar layers to our Techno beats. However the beat is a core of our music… It is also giving an answer of how do we see ourselves in Electro/Industrial scene – we don’t. As the band we don’t feel associated with any particular scene whatsover!
I would say we are too Electro for Punk and too Punk for Electro, haha… But it is what it is, you are not gonna be ready for WOLFHEAD59 if you let your mind to narrow your perception, and one thing is for sure -we are not here to please anyone, we do what we do and the rest is an open story…
Q: The lyrics are clearly pretty rudimentary; Punkish and yet I get the feeling there sometimes is a clear message hidden like on “Girls”! Tell us a bit more about the writing of this song and the funny clip?
Jay: Fun? Well, basically “Girls” is the song to encourage women to free themselves from patriarchal abuse, there is no fun in it… The main topic is domestic violence. The video-clip is one shot scene, probably would be too boring if we don’t add some captures about domestic violence. Ideally we’d be satisfied if after watching the clip any woman who experience domestic violence punch her oppressor in the face hard and then set herself free! Well, it is much more complicated than that, I know. The problem of violence against women is more complex, it is not only rooted in culture, but also in religion or legal laws, so it won’t be solved so easy and not too soon unfortunately, this way or another the song is an attempt to empower women.
Agnes: For the past few years I have been working in the refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence. This is what I do about women rights on professional level but to me WOLFHEAD59 is an additional opportunity to inspire, empower and give some strength to women and girls all over the world who suffer from all different kinds of abuse. The song came up in the moment when I lost my work colleague and a very special friend, her name was Michelle… She also has devoted her life to help women and children affected by domestic violence.
Q: I noticed you recently made a clip of a new song entitled “London Is Bleeding”. The title clearly sounds as a big ‘f*** you’; a reaction against what is happening in this world! What makes you angry and do you also perceive some signs of hope?
Jay: Yeah, the song is about what is happening in London, but in the rest of the world as well… We wrote the song and recorded the video-clip during lockdown due to Covid-19 situation, during the times when many people came out with extreme opinions, it was like a civil war, except the streets were completely empty, the city was deserted, it looked like in a zombie movie… When you live in such a big city like London and you experience these kind of apocalyptic scenes you must have some thoughts about the mental state of human kind…
The world went crazy and people seemed to be lost so they were desperately seeking for some answers, this is when the minds blown up and everything gets out of control even more! To survive in the hopeless world is to find a balance, because any form of extremism just leads to more disastrous events, in other words, to stand on the edge and see the things with calamity is the only way to comprehend the reality, that’s what the song is about.
What makes me angry? Well, too many things too mention, haha… But the band is also a form of releasing your anger in some positive ways, that’s a voice and the message which might successfully reach the destination, so the hope is there…
Q: You guys are into Punk, but what means Punk music today and especially when living in London? Do you see similarities with the Punk movement from the late 70s? What comes next for WOLFHEAD 59?
Jay: To be honest with you, after more than 40 years it is really hard to say what actually is Punk… The idea was evolving all the time, so you can only define it on the individual personal level, to me Punk helps to see things how they really are -it teaches you to be independent so your outlook or opinions are based on your own experience and knowledge, you will never be even close to the truth if you trust the mass media or some higher authority like governments, church… London is a really huge town, but the Punk scene is still pretty tiny… I can’t honestly say that London scene is any special. I think that punk in 70’s was mainly an artistic provocation, a clothing fashion and the music that anyone with no musical talent whatsover can perform, it became political and all about cool perfect sound later.
I don’t know what comes next for WOLFHEAD59 as we are walking some paths that can lead us to any destination, there is no particular direction we wanna walk towards, we’d rather wait and see what future brings us.
Agnes: At the moment we are in the process to create a new video-clip to a song titled “You Cannot Destroy The Pack”. To me it is an another adventure and challenge, but also fun.