Foam Dart Firing Line: An Interview With HOWL

A WADDUP-BASED RECEPTION, FUTURE FOREST FLOORS!

IT’S BEAR, BACK AT IT AGAIN WITH SOMETHING FREEEEEEEESH.

I’ve never really felt the need meander outside my beaten format but after recently reading some articles and hearing a certain little something echoing from the coast near my home, I set out to get my first interview and the artist I chose was more than happy to oblige. I’ve had my dealings with the Vancouver music scene on occasion, and remember fondly plenty of experiences between late night walks down East Hastings through the haze of deeply liquored breathes and a cornucopia of different dart clouds, to some of the loudest, grimiest, most adrenaline-pumping shows I’ve ever been to. To get the inside lane, and to intro without any further delay,

Lassies and Labrodors, it’s HOWL!

҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : So, tell me about “NERF” back to front. Production, the crew, the whole run-down.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : So I’ve actually been sitting on this track for a long time now. last summer I thought up the hook and just bounced that around for a while. I knew I had a song surrounding this concept (pulling up on people but like, with nerf guns) and I knew that I wanted it to be aggressive and heavy. I’m also known for heavier tracks, and ideally this would be my best attempt at that style yet.

After a few months of sitting on the hook my good friend and frequent collaborator, COLDTVRKY, came over to my house one day and (in a method that he’s known to reliable for) pumped out one of the heaviest, hard-hitting beats I’ve ever heard in a matter of 45 minutes, tops. The bpm and overall vibe instantly fit with my hook, and I knew right away that this was the one.

When I wrote the verse, I went off the same vibe the hook had: over the top, in-your-face, and just a bit tongue in cheek. it’s basically any kind of energy and vibe that’s adjacent to me, and driving it up to 11. As with most of my releases, I recorded, mixed, and mastered it myself.

I tend to take a long time to mobilize on my art, so I didn’t actually record the demo until just over a year ago, and I didn’t finalize the track until this summer. Once it was finally ready to go, I tapped Entertainment Forever for the video. They work with a lot of people in my scene and I knew that their vision and general art direction would be the perfect match. With the help of my partner BAMBI VENISON I managed to wrangle a lot of my friends, many of whom are themselves staples of the scene in Vancouver, and coordinated a matching aesthetic for the video and pumped it out over two days a couple of months ago. I let Entertainment Forever know that they had free reign to do whatever they had to in order to make the video match the song and achieve one thing primarily: complete and total sensory overload. I wanted people gasping for breath and unsure of what even happened in those last 3 minutes once the video ended – and hopefully we managed to pull that off!

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : With the right squad behind you and sometimes the right word of mouth things really take off, man. Advertising is not a dead industry. There was a decent time gap and a kind of personal ruff patch (sorry) between “Billy Idol” and the new track, are you feeling some renewed vigor with it dropping?

HOWL – BILLY IDOL

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : Absolutely. It was actually supposed to release this summer, but due to a toxic living situation that I had to eject myself from quickly, I ended up being homeless for the summer and relying on friends and family to keep myself afloat. Because of this my usual workstation was in a storage locker and it really put a serious snag in my release schedule. I was a tad worried that I had let too much time pass following the fairly successful release of billy idol, but I knew this track was something special and was confident that with the right amount of promo and hype-building, I would manage to gain people’s attention again. It seems like a lot of people were anticipating the release which is great, and definitely reinstates any faltered confidence I might have experienced in the last few months.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : I mean shit bruh, why would they be all up on ya if you didn’t look like Billy Idol and put out bangers? I thought you would hit serious hype off of the Complex article that got written about BILLY’s release but I honestly feel NERF is one of those dynamite moments. I had such difficult placing your vocal range into any memorable rapper nowadays, let alone my encyclopedia library, but every once in a while you have these fluent Master P rasps that are absolutely tight. You mentioned with “NERF” that you just thought up the hook. What was/is it that inspires you? Do you have a particular wellspring that you draw from on the regular or is just kinda things people say to you in passing that you’re like “Damn. . . that’s a verse”.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : Yeah, these days I usually find that my best work stems off those random bursts of inspiration. there are of course nights where you’re shown a beat and try to work off that, but whenever I have little things that sneak into my head and plant a seed, it ends up being what I’m the happiest with. I have a rule these days where I try to avoid what I call “forced bars”, just rapping for the sake of finishing your verse. NERF was an example of a song where I still had so much I wanted to fit in but I had to cut it, and when I have excess ideas I know that what I’m working on is a hit.

Also, thanks! I’m glad to know that my voice stuck out a bit, as it’s always been my biggest uphill battle, and in the last little while I’ve started to feel like I’ve really gotten close to finalizing how I want it to sound.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : It’s got a real natural maturity from when you started and I feel like I understand it’s upcoming progression. Beyond pumped to hear it even just a couple years down the road.

It’s been pretty single-centric so far, do you think there’ll be an album in 2019?

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : At the moment, I don’t see myself releasing an album. Honestly, likely not for years. I don’t think my artistry is at a point where I have enough to say for an entire full length, and I would prefer to drop a big release like that when I have a bit more attention for my name. Also, these days I feel like people’s attention spans are so short that you have to really treat singles and their respective rollouts as if they’re an entire album. Having said that though, I want to get an EP out by this time next year. I’m also working on a collaborative project with my friend and collaborator BAINS. called Purple Wolf, so hopefully, we can get that out by next summer as well. For now, it’s all about building the name, and for the next bit at least, singles and videos are how I’m doing that.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : What runs through your headphones in any given week? Give me the eclectic hits, because I know from things like your G.L.O.S.S. reference on the BACKXWASH drop from the other day that you still love a ton of stuff outside your scene.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : I honestly listen to anything and everything. Country, pop, grindcore, rap. If you know where to look, there’s gold to be found in every genre. I also think that keeps your fresh as an artist because you’re not limiting your influence to only one style, especially if that’s the same style you find yourself in. My daily queues go from stuff like BLONDIE to EARL SWEATSHIRT to KANYE to MASSGRAVE. A day where I only listen to one style of music is usually a day where I end up finding my enjoyment as an art consumer stifled.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : Ha! I was listening to Massgrave on the bus today. deadly coincidence. You took the words right out of my mouth too, there is something in every genre. I still have days where I’m humming Garth Brooks or nights where I’m belting Whitesnake, and it’s all goooood. What’s it like to skrrt the fashion line between GG Allin, Freddy Mercury, and (of course) Billy Idol? Haven’t dug yourself too far out from being the frontman in a DEAD KENNEDYS cover band, hey?

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : Honestly I still cite those DEAD KENNEDYS cover sets all the time. Those were my first performances ever and ended up being quite formative for me. As you know well, my roots are in the punk & metal scenes of Kamloops, and that’s definitely had a big effect and impact on my art and, of course, my presenting aesthetic. It helps that I happened to make rap music in an era that really pulls from classic punk aesthetics, I suppose!

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : Stellar performances they were, thug. Still mentioned in hush breathes whenever someone manifests a Halloween show. In your opinion, what was the biggest bop of 2018? Lowest as well, if you’ve got one for that too.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : Honestly, I could go on for ages about all of the big & already established artists who’ve dropped tons of heat this year, but I’ll use this as a chance to shout out my local / up-and-coming cohorts.

In my opinion, the best song out of any artist that I know and travel in similar scenes with to come out in 2018, has to be ‘Phone Light Up’ – a fantastic, smash-hit pop song made by my friend COTIS who operates out of Victoria. This guy has such a great voice and the best ear for instrumentals, and I think he’s on path to be up next. His team runs a really tight ship and everything about his artistry is a huge inspiration for me.

COTIS – PHONE LIGHT UP

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : I assume that you must still have some form of 9 – 5 wage slavery job to pay the bills. Is it career-y, or even something you wanna do? If you were rollin’ in bank and didn’t have any stress about putting out more content and could take a vacay, what would the plan be?

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : Art is and always will be my passion, and there’s no limit to what I want to do. Fashion design, film directing, music, etc, and until I’m at a point where I can make that my full-time job, whatever I do to foot the bills will be exactly that at the end of the day.

Having said that, I’m now almost two months into a new job, and it’s the closest I’ve felt to finding comfort in a daily gig in my life. I work with the Portland Hotel Society, which operates as a network of shelters, SRO’s, and semi-permanent to permanent housing projects in Vancouver’s downtown east side. I’m mostly a janitor, but in theory, do anything and everything from signing in resident’s guests, to dispensing medication, and, if necessary, responding to overdoses which as anyone in this area is likely aware, are often due to fentanyl. It’s a heavy job at times, but it’s great to be paying the bills with something that also gives a bit back to my community and keeps me humbled. I absolutely love it and at this point can easily see myself doing it for as long as I have to until I’m at the point where my job is my passion. It’s great to be happy at work!

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : As long as I’ve known you, you’ve been a gentle but protective soul, kindred to myself. Being any form of aid to those in need (especially in areas of serious drug use) becomes fulfilling for nothing more than showing others the value of human life and it’s incredibly riveting to see that emulated in people. Quickfire, nutshell your feelings on these for me as best you can:

1. Legal weed Canada.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : In theory, it’d be great, but in my opinion the reality is the Trudeau government has more interest in monetary gain than they do in keeping people out of prison. The fact that they refused to decriminalize leading up to this shows that. It’s also now already an industry that has been taken away from those who started it and is now in the hands of a questionable government with even more questionable skills in said industry. Allow this to be my chance to publicly say: in the wake of legal weed in Canada, support your local dealer! Only chumps pay $97 for a quarter.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : We’ve all got “our guy” for a reason.

2. Stan Lee passing.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : His legacy has it’s issues (shout out JACK KIRBY & STEVE DITKO), but at the end of the day he was an icon of pop culture and his works helped a nerdy kid escape his daily life, so I gotta pay respect. I’m glad he lived his life long and happy, though! Just the end of the story.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : 3. The Vancouver music scene.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : It’s the best music scene in Canada in my opinion. We don’t have the spotlight entirely on us yet, but we will. No one tries to bite anyone’s sound, yet we all seem to have a similar vibe to our music that makes it “feel” like Vancouver. There are so many amazing artists here that I take so much influence from, it honestly feels endless sometimes. BBNO$, COLDTVRKY, YURMSAUCE, IMUR, SO LOKI, BAINS, WASHERS, HONEYVELVET, BIGGIE BK – all of these and so many more are names that everyone should be on the prowl for. Give it a few years and i easily see Vancouver as replacing Toronto when it comes to being Canada’s “it” scene. I’m so happy to watch it unfold courtside.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : Pfft, fuck courtside. Ride that roster as a shooter, you’ve got that easy.

4. Turkey bacon.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : I’ve never had it! at least I don’t think so? I’m trying to curb meat out of my diet and aim for a vegetarian 2019 – wish me luck!

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : 5. The Hunter S. Thompson breakfast, (nicely applicable to your previous answer) where breakfast was more drugs than food.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : I’m far from a teetotaler, so i can always empathize. Thompson was also incredibly formative for me and I’ve always seen a lot of myself in him, especially in regards to the excessive party lifestyle. but he learned how to be a great writer and journalist before he found drugs and his most excessive eras were also (in my opinion) the ones that resulted in some of his weaker and less-essential works. What I always say is – make sure you’re keeping things in moderation, and in balance. Eat well, sleep as much as you can, exercise. Partying is tons of fun, but it can really creep up on you if you’re not careful. Thompson is definitely one of my heroes, but I think a lot of aspects of his life are just as much cautionary tales as they are exciting ones.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : 6. What you’d yell at 15-year-old you?

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : STOP BEING SUCH A SNOBBY, PRETENTIOUS DICKHEAD. TREAT WOMEN BETTER. TREAT EVERYONE BETTER. YOU’RE NOT THE COOLEST, MOST MISUNDERSTOOD PERSON ON THE PLANET JUST BECAUSE YOU FOUND ODD FUTURE BEFORE MOST OF THE KIDS IN YOUR HIGHSCHOOL.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : (SAAAAAAMMMMEEEE)

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : Oh I KNOW you know ahahah.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : Well, that what I’ve got for you, hombre. It has legitimately been sublime doing this as my first interview, and there are few people I want to pump more that I know I could holler at.

What’s next for a dogboi?

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : Up next is at least one more single and video before the YEAR OF THE WOLF is out! More singles, videos, merch, and the aforementioned EP’s in 2019. Just gonna keep working and building until we’re fully out here.

𝕭𝖊𝖆𝖗 : Dope. Appreciate it heavily, my friend. Dope the names of artist/albums/coffee shops/whatever you want people to know and where to get at you hardest and we’ll call this gucci.

𝖍𝖔𝖜𝖑 : As for final shout outs, to add onto the others I already listed, here a ton of people in my scene who I learn from every day:

POLO BRIAN, MIZMA, IGLOO WORLD, DYZPHORIA, DJ DIRECT DEPOSIT, STORMECLOUDZ, 8NINO8, CRIM, JOU$A, SAAMBRUH, & HU$KA.

҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂҂

NEW SINGLE “NERF” OUT NOW, GET AT IT IN ANY OF THE MANY PLACES YOU CAN FIND THIS YVNGWOLF.

http://smarturl.it/howlnerf

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/nerf-single/1442658402?app=music
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJSwDYEUFdGdwWWw3rJNQsg

I’VE BEEN BEAR, IT’S BEEN MONDAY, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAH.~

********************************

You can find Bear smoking bong and building snowmen on instagram.

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