All Punked Up was blessed with the opportunity to sit down with The Republic Of Wolves; an indie rock band from Long Island, New York. The members include Ryan Sean Cullinane, Billy Duprey, Mason Maggio, Christian Van Deurs, and Chris Wall. They’re a special band, having members from various musical backgrounds such as rap, hip-hop, and punk. Collectively, they bring about a sound that really pulls at you. Don’t just take my word for it, as Substream Magazine has even named them in their top 10 Indie bands list in 2010, based on their vocals and great lyricism.
During our interview, we covered a variety of topics; from their upcoming album, to the creative process between members, we covered it all. Read the exclusive interview below!
You all seem to have different backgrounds from indie, punk, and some hip hop. Having different areas of music collectively thinking together, has that aided in the creative process to try new things?
“Definitely. We’ve always been essentially a rock band, but our influences as a group have evolved and expanded continually. Our genre is pretty fixed in this alternative-emo-post-hardcore place, but the elements of songcraft and production are inspired by everything from Fleetwood Mac to Tool to Run The Jewels to Taylor Swift. A lot of those things don’t come through on the surface at all, but they’re co-mingling in this undercurrent of musical structure. The truth is that most of us don’t listen to a whole lot of music that sounds like what we’re making, and I think if anything that helps us to bring a fresh perspective — or rather a collection of fresh perspectives that combine into one improbably cohesive sound.”
Your band is well known for its incredible lyrical skills and songwriting. Is there an element that guides you to write what you want, and if so, how does that creative process go down?
“Thanks for saying that, and I hope it’s true. Being the primary songwriter in the band, I can say that there’s not really any secret, beyond maybe the experience of having written plenty of terrible songs. The core creative process tends to be different for every project and for every individual song. This album was kind of a gradual, tedious sewing-together of different lyrical ideas into one whole piece, but there were a few sources of inspiration that guided everything in a similar direction. Japanese folklore and mythology were our biggest resources in terms of imagery for this particular record, and thematically that opened a lot of doors to interesting and relatable analogies. Hopefully when people listen to the album they can connect both to the storytelling and the underlying emotions.”
You have two studio albums and three EPs to your name, tell us about what we can expect from your upcoming record, shrine.
“To us the new album feels like a return to our fundamental roots as a band, and simultaneously a push forward into new territory. Kind of like distilling the elements that feel most essential to our sound — the darkness, the dynamic intensity, the richness of musical textures and the story-telling aspect — and expanding upon those things in a way that’s new but not unfamiliar. Our last full-length album was sort of a departure from our identity as a band, as we attempted to experiment with a lighter and more broadly accessible sound. This new record is more like a proper follow up to our first album, “Varuna,” sharing its heavy, atmospheric sound and its focus on narrative movement. But “shrine” definitely has its own identity, and we really worked to make it feel like it exists in its own self-contained world. At its core it’s primarily a dark, heavy rock album, but we also hope that people hear it as a unique piece of art that transcends genre categorizations.”
You guys were added to Substream Magazine’s top 10 list of Indie bands in the past. Has that experience changed your platform and how has the callback been from the fans?
“We’ve been lucky to receive a lot of love and praise from a few great sites and publications, Substream Magazine included. In the years that we’ve been around, we’ve experienced quite a few moments that felt really validating and kind of pushed us to keep going, and being recognized by respectable music outlets is always something that motivates us to put more of ourselves into the project. As far as those things affecting our platform and level of exposure in a big way, that generally hasn’t been the case, unfortunately. Our fanbase has grown slowly and organically over the years, and so far the publicity we’ve received hasn’t been the kind that brings in a ton of new listeners at any one time. We still hugely appreciate and value the support we get from online outlets that share and promote our music, though. The moments that are even more meaningful are the instances where we can directly see the positive impact that we’ve had on individual listeners — either because they reach out and tell us directly, or they post something online about it that we happen to see. We’ve always been (and always will be) so grateful to all the amazingly supportive people who continue to listen to our music and share it with others.”
Any upcoming shows or tour plans?
“At the moment we’re preparing for our record release show at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on March 31st, which we’re really excited about — beyond that we haven’t made any concrete touring plans, because the funding just isn’t there right now. We’d love to get on the road and play all over the country, but as an independent band it can be really tough to do that in a financially viable way. We’re really hoping that the response to this album will put us in a place where that becomes a more realistic option for us.”
For the last question, we really wanted to dig deep and see what the band wanted from fans in the future was their love and support.
“Just that we really hope people take the time to check out our music, and especially our new album. We’ve all put so much time and emotion and energy into it, and we’re hoping that it’ll be a positive turning point for us as a band.”
The Republic of Wolves’ new album shrine is out now and premiered over at Pure Grain Audio today. You can check it out below.