MK/NN band Sean Grant & The Wolfgang unleash second album 33. Sargent asks Grant a few questions, plus delves into the album itself.
Sargent: Can you give a brief history of Sean Grant & The Wolfgang for the uninitiated?
Sean Grant: I’ve been kicking about for a while now, indie rock early 30s Northampton lad with spats in the industry signed to Fierce Panda Records, Steve Lamacq playlisted, two European tours. Got disillusioned, put it down, didn’t know if I’d pick it back up. Self growth happened. And now I’m back considering this my resurrection, creating from my source for creations sake.
What are your musical influences?
The range is huge; being a bit of a disc jockey the exposure level is set to max. But the main stays for this record are My Bloody Valentine, Nick Cave & The Bad seeds and Phoebe Bridges latest release.
I understand early 2020 was a difficult time for you. How did that period inform the writing of ’33’, both lyrically and musically?
Hugely in both areas, it was the main reason this record exists. I started this period at the end of the material external life I had been living and honestly if that was it I felt I had completed it and would check out… I had to heal my mind and body and through starting a plant-based diet, beginning meditation and researching religions and yogic philosophies I found myself with the pen in my hand again. I’ve always written from the heart or whatever has been on my mind, it’s always been a cathartic open process for me. But I did stop and question WHY would I do it anymore because of my experiences, good and bad. I believe that true creation from your source or heart is the reason why creating something from nothing in communion with something outside and inside yourself. This record is purely that, unfiltered and as it is, from the lyrical content to the instrumentation or sounds used it was all just natural free flowing.
Likewise, the lockdown has been pretty trying. What was it like writing and recording under such conditions?
The most enjoyable experience of writing and recording I’ve ever had. Carl Jung said “Solitude is for me a fount of healing which makes my life worth living.” And it certainly was the case for me. I was left alone for pure creation to paint my own picture with no other input.
Good karma for promoting the charity CALM. ’33’, as its predecessor, is released in support of CALM. What does that organisation mean to you? Calm is leading a movement against suicide. For me having lost two friends in the industry and for also having suicidal thoughts of my own at my worst the world they do is so important. There’s an average of 18 suicides per day in the country. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the country.
How would you like listeners to approach ’33’, and what are your hopes for the album?
The only hope I have for this record is through my own experience it may help somebody else and if that happens then it will be worth it for that. Whoever does and wants to listen to it then if you enjoy it and it opens up some opportunities to question the world around you then that’s great, the record open up as many questions as it does deliver answers. Every day is a school day.
SEAN GRANT & THE WOLFGANG
[Shrink Your World Records]
It’s been three long years since Sean Grant & The Wolfgang’s debut album [2018’s The Shadows Are Lengthening] and with that in mind their latest opus ‘33’ doesn’t waste time on pleasantries. There’s no gentle guitar noodling or suchlike introduction, only the killer riff which heralds opening cut ‘Bodies Of Christ’ that arrives fully formed and ready for action. It’s sudden arrival might cause shock to those of a nervous disposition but in terms of this album it’s the correct move and it weaves a dark spell over four glorious minutes. A choppy little riff that descends like a guillotine blade renders ‘Bodies Of Christ’ an earworm of the highest order but be warned; once it’s entered your cranium it won’t be leaving anytime soon.
‘33’ is an album that born from personal struggles and there’s a brutal honesty that seeps through every note of this album and that’s best exemplified by ‘To Drink Is To Die’. Documenting Sean’s tribulations with the bottle ‘To Drink’ (like all the tracks on this album) transports the listener to another dimension by shrouding them inside a vivid soundscape. With a deep, emotive aspect, previously only heard on American Football albums, ‘33’ is not always a comfortable listen, but it’s always rewarding. Like Sonic Youth at their most sinister ‘Die Beautiful’ is a riff heavy beast that buries the vocals deep within the mix (which always adds an air of intrigue) and dances round the listener as if an electrocuted snake.
There’s something very cinematic about Sean’s modus operandi that would make the perfect accompaniment to some really cool film noir and, cascading like rain, ‘Nightcrawling’ would make the perfect companion for a nocturnal stroll through a neon-soaked metropolis. Otherworldly, ethereal and punctuated by huge white spaces the title track goes off on a mystical tangent and gradually adds layers of sound and takes on new form rather like smoke rising from a burnt offering. ‘Become The Observer’ is the finale which creates a feeling of oppression, a dark discombobulation that one might expect from the none-more-maudlin Swans. Leaving as many questions as answers it ensures that ‘33’ ends on a suitably ominous tone.
Handling the ‘difficult second album’ with apparent ease Sean Grant & The Wolfgang have produced a multilayered album in ‘33’ that will continue to reveal its hidden delights for some time to come.