By Jonah Krueger, Contributor
Photo by Harley Wince, Visual Media Director
Q&A with guitarist and vocalist Noah Gfell, drummer Ben Gfell and guitarist Aidan Matney of Bewarewolves.
How was your trip down to Athens?
Aidan: It’s not bad, I haven’t made it in a long time.
Noah: I came down here a lot over the last few years, ’cause my girlfriend went to school here, so I was used to it. I always liked it—scenic, easy, straight.
Aidan: You see like, three seconds of West Virginia.
Ben: Very straight, nice bridges.
Aidan: And then you’re here.
Read more: Q&A: Harlot
As a post-punk/garage rock band in 2019, how do you feel the scene is doing nowadays?
Aidan: It’s pretty good. It’s one of those things where it’s definitely kind of a mix at this point. We aren’t usually playing with other bands in our genre, but like, we’re still playing with other bands we like. It’s kind of fun because it lets us sort of sit in the middle of a couple of genres.
Noah: I was going to say, it feels like it is kind of in-between other things.
Aidan: We have a bunch of new songs we’re going to be recording, and two of them are much more All Them Witches-sounding.
Ben: Stoner-psych stuff.
Aidan: But then we can also record another one that’s definitely more just post-punk-sounding. Since we are playing with so many different bands, we can kind of just grab what we want. It’s like, “Oh, I like that idea! Let’s sound more like that for a song, and then let’s switch over to this.”
Speaking of new music, now that we are almost a year since the last release, what is in the works for the future?
Aidan: Yeah, we are going to be recording in just a few weeks—a bunch of new tracks. I don’t think it is going to be an EP. I think we are going to release them in sets.
Aidan: We haven’t decided on that, but we are recording in a few weeks with a guy up in Akron, Zach, who also plays in a good band, Bare Walls, who we have played with a few times. So, there is new stuff coming, some of it’s heavier, and some of it is similar to what we have been doing. It makes it sound stagnant when I say that, but it’s good stuff!
Ben: I would say overall we are leaning toward a heavier direction. The way we might pace out the new stuff, it might start similar and become something very different.
So, is that how you feel you guys have evolved? Heading in a more heavier, sludgier direction?
Noah: I feel like it is sort of like that, but it is mostly a result from getting more comfortable and getting to jam a little bit more, which is kind of good and kind of bad. Like when we practice, oftentimes we will try and be productive, and it will turn into more of a jam, but out of that, maybe we will get something that we can build off of.
Aidan: Yeah, I’d say the last few songs have come out of it, but at the same time it means we aren’t practicing the other stuff as much.
Ben: It seems like that type of music is something everybody in the band has respectively liked for quite a while.
Going back to the previous releases, your album art is pretty striking. What is the thought process behind them?
Noah: I kind of did them both. Their both just kind of collages. Like, sculptural collages that are made up on the surface at the time.
Ben: Tell us more!
Aidan: You going to talk about your degree?
Noah: Yeah, it was all done during art school. I am like a sculpture-person, but we all have done a lot of collage work, so there was kind of a natural element to it.
Aidan: Noah, if you want to do the next one, then you have to step up because Ben sent me one I really like.
Noah: OK! I’m on it!
Do you usually wait until you have a vision pulled together, so you know what type of tone you guys are going for, or do you just pull from things you already have in your back pocket?
Noah: I guess it’s a combination. Our second one, the imagery I would say more directly represents the stuff in the actual EP, as opposed to the first one, which was kind of just me trying to come up with an idea to send off and see what people thought of it.
Aidan: It’s tough to know on a first release what to do.
Noah: Yeah, I didn’t want to lean too far in any direction.
Aidan: We struggled with that with the name, too. We ended up just calling it “Bewarewolves” because it is one of those things where it’s like, “Do we call the first one ‘Bewarewolves,’ or do we try to come up with a name for it?”
During sound-check I heard you guys mention that you guys are more used to the house shows. How are you anticipating this show on an actual stage?
Ben: I mean, we have played stages before.
Noah: That was sort of joking, but also not. Like here, the sound guy—which is good—really has a lot of respect for what he is doing. He cares about the placement of each sound and the levels. Whereas, you know, we are very aware of those things, but sometimes you can work on it, and sometimes you can’t. We tend to toe the line.
Aidan: Like in Cleveland, we have played most of the venues. We’ve played the Grog Shop. We’ve played Beachland Ballroom.
Aidan: Yeah, there are a lot of great venues in Cleveland. I love playing Mahall’s. Even with that, we are bringing our well-refined house show sound through many hundreds of shows. We are kind of bringing that in; each time it is like a new transition. They always tell us to turn down. We just like to run the amps hot.
Ben: At least we can hear everything.
Aidan: Yeah, with house shows we never hear the vocals. So when we actually play venues it is interesting because we can all hear the vocals. I said that we shout a lot during soundcheck, but it is out of necessity. At house shows, we start screaming so we can hear each other. Whereas here, we have a monitor, and I can actually hear stuff.
Ben: We’ll see if it delves into chaos, though. It could happen.
You mention different Ohio regions a lot. Do you think the locations that you practice and perform in influences your music at all?
Aidan: I’d say definitely.
Ben: Especially in Akron, Cleveland and Kent.
Aidan: Akron has a really good DIY music scene that we have played for a few years. We are definitely friends with a lot of the people we play with.
Noah: I mean, the music other bands play, but also just the atmosphere. Playing in a lot of basements, we have kind of leaned into the sound we that we get in there. I mean, we practice in a basement.
Aidan: We do practice in my basement, yes.
Ben: It would be interesting to see how we would have developed if we stuck to more of a venue scene or something like that, but I think it has worked out.
Aidan: Most of the bands I probably listen to the most are either bands we have played with touring through the Akron scene or bands that are in the Akron scene. So, the scene is definitely a big part of it. It’s great because there are people who are really into it. If we were in a smaller town with not a lot going on, we wouldn’t put the same energy into it.
One last, slightly-Naurdwaurish, question. Your Facebook page lists “Band Interests” as “Milkshakes and Movies.” What are some hot takes the band hold on both milkshakes and movies?
Noah: Boy, who fuckin’ wrote that?
Aidan: I think me and Ben did.
Ben: Milkshakes—just tried the key lime milkshake at Swenson’s. It was surprisingly good. I was skeptical, but a few people told me to try it. Would recommend. It is now out of season.
Aidan: I have a disgusting hot take that most people will hate. Put ketchup in a milkshake.
Ben: I won’t do that.
Aidan: It’s actually really good. Preferably in chocolate or vanilla. It’s good, dude. Trust me. Someone will try it, and they’re gonna be like, “This is amazing!”
Ben: I love horror movies. I just bought a Texas Chainsaw Massacre T-shirt—all in Japanese. So, I was like, “Let’s get exploitation horror. Let’s get some shock, gore—Japanese style.”
Aidan: “My degree is in film, so…”
Oh, wow. Well, then I am going to give you the question that every film major gets. What’s your top film?
Aidan: Top film is John Carpenter’s The Thing. It is easily my most-watched movie. Body horror, lots of synths. Kurt Russel’s fucking hair in that is immaculate the entire time.
Stream Bewarewolves’ latest EP, Will Bite, below.