WOLVVES is one of our favorite Brooklyn obsessions.
Beautiful Savage recently spent a Friday evening on set with photographer Elizabeth Waterman and WOLVVES, a shadowy Brooklyn electronic dance trio comprised of artist Elizabeth Valleau and her her two brothers Joshua and Lewis. After wrapping, the Valleaus invited me back to Joshua’s studio to preview some of the material from their upcoming record: COMMUNION. The band and I piled into a little black 5-speed and took off like a shot. Elizabeth put something on the stereo—dirty, down-tempo hip-hop, which poured out of the sub and up my spine as we wound through dark Brooklyn streets. I’m not sure what was more surreal: our frenetic cruising speed or the siblings themselves—singing in unison, communicating via a sort of hive-mind, unintelligible to anyone besides themselves.
In studio WOLVVES produce and record obsessively. Joshua, the main producer, has built his loft into a massive soundproofed recording studio, complete with a baby-grand piano, drums, monitors, guitars, and multiple mixing boards, both vintage and contemporary. “It’s really nice when everyone’s around, and I stay in the energy of the team.” He said. “I can hear both their sound, and background sounds constantly. I like when people have either implicit or explicit input all the time.”
COMMUNION is a concept record. It’s a fable about two sisters who escape an isolated, terrifying childhood by running away into a haunted forest. They are captured by pack of wolves, torn apart and eaten, and through this process are transformed into spirit wolves themselves. The audio-visual aesthetic that WOLVVES occupy is something they deem “illuminati hip-hop.” It’s an amalgam of contemporary electronic dance music combined with the sexier, more progressive elements from 1970’s and the 1990’s, with and a myriad of influences including glam and 90’s east coast hip hop. When WOLVVES are in studio, they produce obsessively, experiment, and basically play around, until they strike a chord, and then refine it, over and over again.
“It’s very challenging as a person who’s trying to make something interesting to have enough time to experiment it into a place where it’s actually interesting,” says Elizabeth. “I think this is an important fact for people to understand in any creative field … even if you come up with the idea immediately, you’ve got to pump it full of lead.”
“How far you go and experiment, and how far are you willing to risk your time?” said Joshua. “You can’t go too far because you’ll fall off, you’ll lose, miss your deadline. But if you don’t go far enough, you’ll suck.”
Presently, WOLVVES is working to crowd-fund the most pyromaniacal of all indy video ideas. The moniker for it is: “Give us $50,000 so we can blow up an Escalade in the woods.” They want to buy an Escalade, drive it into a snowy clearing in the Catskill Mountains, surround it with Red cameras, and torch it in super high-definition slow motion.
“What I want is the most beautiful, slowest slow motion …. Think haunted forest, snow, and an Escalade. over the course of our song “It Speaks.” Smoke begins to billow out of the windows, and at first it looks like a hip-hop video because the vehicle looks hot-boxed,” said Elizabeth. “Then flames will begin to lap at the windows and the entire vehicle is going to explode and melt into the snow with a pillar of fire.”
Lewis Valleau of WOLVVES