In advance of her new album, Birth of Violence, the uncategorizable artist talks about the new levels of depression that the past year has unlocked and premieres a new video for “Deranged for Rock & Roll.”
Chelsea Wolfe has spent her decade-long music career in the in-between. As a prolific tourer, she’s persistently been between cities; as a musician who’s as drawn to Aaliyah as she is to Sunn O))), she veers between the hard and soft. As a clairvoyant and spiritualist — someone who claims to be in contact with the ‘spiritual realm’ — she exists between the films of life and death. And most of all, Wolfe lies between waking and dreaming. Her seven albums to date have been imbued with a hypnagogic affection — as powerful as a dream which impresses itself onto your day. “Dreams of endless landscapes,” she sung on 2015’s Abyss, capturing her sound in words. From a young age, Wolfe suffered from night terrors. She had an extraordinary case of sleep paralysis, and her parents took her to a sleep research clinic to be experimented on — an experience that has seeped into her music and lyrics, the white walls of the clinic as she remembers them provide the backdrop to the artwork for her previous album, 2017’s Hiss Spun.
Wolfe’s new album Birth Of Violence — out September 13 via Sargent House — is an awakening. Her voice is more distinct and present than ever as she takes on the role of the troubadour, singing protrusively over a quietly strummed acoustic guitar while the sparse percussion thuds like footsteps from another room. It’s a distinctly folkier and pared-back approach that enables Wolfe’s words to be heard, rather than letting them liquify in the mix. Where melodies dictated Wolfe’s previous albums, here they’re only given a supporting role, as they’re bent to fit the weight of Wolfe’s words. It’s a deliberate turning point for the musician, as Birth of Violence provides a gentle rupture from a wildly careening, in-between self. It’s Wolfe’s attempt to reroot herself; to become something full and healthy.
We’re premiering the video for the album’s guitar screaking outlier, “Deranged for Rock & Roll” — Wolfe’s love song to the genre that’s been the center point of her life for the past decade. It’s a heavy intermission between the album’s title track — which features its most beautiful, stomach-dropping moment as Wolfe’s voice coos somewhere between a scream and a whistle — and “Be All Things,” a fingerpicked lullaby which pulls at the tension between wanting to dissolve into the universe and needing to stand on top of it. “I really had to learn to take better care of myself,” Wolfe tells me over the phone from her home in the forests of northern California.
full interview feature by Emma Madden HERE