Azure Wolf
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Azure Wolf

Winchester, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2019 | SELF

Winchester, Virginia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2019
Band Alternative Indie

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"Artist Spotlight Interview - Azure Wolf"

In a string of releases throughout 2020, Azure Wolf has been gracing us with their particular brand of dream alt-rock.



Starting with the ambient and cinematic stylings of "Love, Mother" we get a feel for the emotionally driven standpoint of Azure Wolf. Soaking in beautiful soundscapes and powerful vocals reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks is a wonderous experience.



Following that up with "Dancing Bears"; a radio single that rocks a bit harder without losing their ambient and distant tone. A very catchy and feel good track, the band is clearly showing different sides to their songwriting.



The latest in the set is called "19" and it pulls you in straight away with it's almost surf guitars and mature pop tendencies. Touching on a vintage pop sound using 80's synths and combining them with their staple sound works incredibly well.



We wanted to have a chat with Azure Wolf to find out more about everything. So we did.



RAG: So let's start with "19". This track has a great melodic pop rock vibe to it with a bit of edge and pretty descriptive lyrics. Where did this track come from?


Victoria Backle (Singer/Songwriter, Guitar): “19” is actually written about COVID. We
had a whole summer lined up with live shows and of course everything got cancelled,
so we took to writing as a means to stay busy. “19” was the first song to come out of
that creative momentum. The nice thing about this song is that it kind of has a double
meaning. We’ve received a lot of feedback that people think nineteen is about age and
leaving home for the first time. I really appreciate that interpretation; it’s not what I had
in my mind while writing it, but I can really relate to that side of it too.


Isaac Foltz (Singer/Songwriter, Lead Guitar): We had a really awesome trajectory
planned for shows, releasing music and the whole year. The song was born out of
frustration of loss, but harnessed the spirit of fun and party-like energy that we have as
individuals. “19” was a lot fun to play guitar on. I tried to approach it with as much of a
care free sound as possible. Hopefully it ages well as a fun sounding relic of the
COVID-19 era.


Tommy Moore (Drums): From a drumming perspective, this is a very “Dave Grohl”
influenced beat. I’ve always wanted to do a sock-hop/50s style rhythm in a song and so
I tried it on this track. Grohl does it on Nirvana’s “Serve the Servants” and I always
thought it was cool that he used it in a rock style. The chorus was kind of boring, at
least from a drum standpoint, so I switched it up with a couple different time signatures
to accent the lyrical cadence that Victoria laid down.


RAG: "19" looks like it's part of a string of singles you've released throughout this year. Is there an album coming or more singles before the end of the year?


Victoria: We’ve been working incredibly hard on our debut album which is set to release
in 2021. We just wrapped up recording last month and we’re now in the mixing and
mastering process. There will be nine songs on the debut which will include a
revamped version of our single, “Love, Mother”, as well as eight other songs you
haven’t heard before. We’ve actually been writing so much that we have songs already
completed for a second album. We’ve been really riding this wave and don’t plan on
stopping any time soon.


Sean Spencer (Bass/Synth): We’ve had writing fever for some time now, honestly, and
the album we have coming out next year is the product of a lot of that ambition. As
Victoria mentioned, we’ve been writing songs for the second album already, and it still
feels like we are uncovering hidden pieces of who we are as a band in every new
composition, which feels exciting!



RAG: I also really loved "Dancing Bears" quite a lot. Some of these songs have a touch
of 80's alt-pop in the songwriting. What are your real musical influences? What
bands really changed you?


Victoria: We get that a lot with these songs and what’s funny is that the 80s are the least
inspiring decade for me. “Dancing Bears” was a Sean creation. The other three of us
were sitting outside smoking and we heard him play that synth intro part upstairs. We
quickly ran up and grabbed our instruments and within thirty minutes we had this song.
It was the first song we all wrote together, actually.


I have a huge infatuation with the 50s, 60s and 90s; especially Elvis Presley, Frank
Sinatra, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Nirvana, The Doors, etc. I pretty much dig
anything where one of the main instruments is the human voice. I think you’ll hear a lot
of those influences on our debut album.


Isaac: “Dancing Bears” was a song that let me channel some of my favorite modern
indie-pop bands like Walk the Moon and The Bleachers. I also enjoy indie and post-rock
sounds like Interpol, The National, Arcade Fire, etc. Some of those records, especially
“Turn on the Bright Lights,” by Interpol have deeply impacted my sound on guitar. Deep
diving through old Kings of Leon albums like “Youth and Young Manhood” or Dawes’
“Nothing is Wrong” is what influenced me to want to write songs and be part of a band.
Sean: “Dancing Bears” is one of my favorites to play due to the dance-y, weaving nature
of the synth and beat. I think that it comes from a place in my musical history that I’ve
never really gotten to express on stage before. Dance/pop has always been a feel-good
genre for me and greatly inspired my parts in that song.


I’d say my approach to music really changed when I got into progressive rock: Dream
Theater, Rush, King Crimson, that sort of thing. Any band that felt like it was breaking or
bending compositional rules. Then I got into modern funk and jam bands like Lettuce,
Umphrey’s McGee, Sunsquabi and JRAD; that sort of connected the rule-breaking of
music with contemporary rock-band structure. You may not hear many of these
influences in Azure Wolf, but I think that they really structure how I approach
songwriting.


Tommy: I think we brought a couple of different influences into this track; some were
conscious and others were accidental. I think you can hear a lot of U2’s Joshua Tree in
this track, especially from Isaac’s guitar parts. Vocally, I think there’s a lot of influence
from Alanis Morsette and the beginning has a “Baba O’Reilly” feel going on. A lot of
different things at play, but overall it’s just an upbeat pop song.


RAG: How did all of this actually start for you?


Victoria: Azure Wolf was originally my solo folk project. It was just me, my songs and
an acoustic guitar. Isaac came on board as my lead guitarist and added that
fundamental Azure Wolf sound; we wouldn’t be the band we are without his tone.
Tommy eventually found me at an open mic and a professional connection quickly
turned into a friendship and the rest is history. Sean was the last to join us, but we

knew immediately after his audition that he was the missing piece. We have a power
line-up now I wouldn’t trade for the world. Just over one year later and Azure Wolf is a
completely evolved project.


Sean: I had been playing with a handful of other projects in the area, almost all of them
were jam or jazz focused, but I was just trying to envelope myself in as much music as
possible. I saw that Victoria had posted on social media about needing a fill-in bassist
and I liked what I’d heard from Azure Wolf, so I figured I’d be happy to help them along
until they found the right person. After the first time we played together I knew this band
was honestly in love with their craft. They were openly creative and collaborative and
they had a rocking sound that brought me back to what I had wanted to do with my
music when I first picked up a guitar 15 years ago. So when they asked me to join full
time I answered pretty quickly… “Yes!”



Isaac: I answered an ad, which sounds like how bands in the 80s got together. I was
sitting in a Taco Bell after having an audition earlier that evening for a band I was not a
good fit for. I saw on Facebook in a local music page that Victoria was looking for
another musician to add to her group, so I listened through her catalog of songs on
SoundCloud. I could immediately tell that she was incredibly talented, and I wanted to
be a part of anything she was doing creatively. She invited me to jam a few days later
and we clicked instantly.



RAG: Did you play live shows before and are you planning on performing live when the
time comes?


Victoria: Yes, we stay very active with live performances. We just headlined an outdoor
show at State Theatre in DC last weekend and it felt so good to play for a live audience
again. We’ve also done two livestreams, with a third one coming up, since COVID. You
can actually buy tickets for our upcoming livestream from DC9 on November 30th here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/azure-wolf-tickets-125366196669



RAG: You are doing very well and it looks like you're gaining fans. Is there any advice
you'd give to other aspiring bands or artists just trying to get heard out there?


Victoria: Stick to it. I think one of the biggest pieces of misinformation that a musician
can receive is that it’s all just supposed to “happen”. It doesn’t. It’s a ton of hard work,
shameless self-promotion and grinding your fingers to the bone – all just for the hope it
will be worth it in the end. Believe in your project, take it as far as you can and enjoy
the ride. That’s all we can do!


Tommy: Just try to go out and be in the mix as much as you can. If you have a few
songs then go hit every open mic or livestream it yourself if going out isn’t an option for
you. The biggest thing is to always create momentum for yourself so you can move

forward to the next thing. Be visible on every platform, network with people, pay it
forward and go out to other people’s shows. Show up for people and they will show up
for you. I found Azure Wolf by going out and checking out open mics. I wasn’t even
looking for a band, but you never know who you’ll meet!


Isaac: A year ago, my go-to advice and personal mantra was “play shows, don’t suck.”
With shows being limited and phased out for the year, it seems like dated advice. Now
is a perfect time to focus on the intention of your art and creativity. Most of what we’ve
written has been during this year, having no shows, and only time to ourselves. Self-
reflection is an excellent pathway to honest creation.


RAG: Do you have anything you'd like to express to your fans before we go?


Victoria: We feel incredibly grateful for everyone who believes in what we’re doing.
Azure Wolf is indebted to the friends, family and fans that have loyally supported us
since the beginning. We will always do our best to make you all proud and to continue
making music that is honest and authentic.


Sean: Thank you, thank you, thank you for every effort made to help us pursue this wild
dream. Every moment of success for us is shared with all of you at heart. I wish all of
you safety, well-being and happiness. - Recording Artists Guild


"NoVA band sets gig at State Theatre"

Azure Wolf is a female-lead indie rock band that formed earlier this year in Winchester, Va., though the musicians involved have been playing around the area for years.

The band consists of Victoria Backle on lead vocals, Isaac Foltz on guitar, Tommy Moore on drums and Alexandria’s Sean Spencer on bass and synth.

“A little over a year ago, I was just a solo project and Tommy was in another band, and we both ended up playing the same Open Mic night,” Backle said. “We decided to try together and got Isaac and Sean on board, and it all just quickly fell into place.”

Earlier this year, the band performed in numerous venues in Washington, D.C., including the famous Black Cat, The Pie Shop and O’Shaughnessy’s. During the Australian bush fires in February, the band put together a benefit concert that included themselves and three other D.C.-based bands to raise money for the efforts to fight the fires. They raised a total of $1,200 during the three-hour show.

“We had a whole summer lined up, with about a dozen shows cancelled, so we were really disappointed,” Backle said. “In the long run, it might have benefited us because we wouldn’t have been able to write all the new songs that we have if we were just focusing on our live performance. COVID sucks but it gave us the opportunity to sit with ourselves and really discover our sound.”

Although the pandemic has kept the band at bay for most of the past few months, they have managed to play a few outdoor concerts and will be coming to the State Theatre on Oct. 17 for free outdoor event.

“We’ve had a couple of livestream concerts as well, trying to stay busy in creative ways,” Backle said. “This is really our real first concert back and we’re super excited to have a real crowd.”

On the night, the band will play a few new songs that it hasn’t played live yet, and feel it is going to offer something different to those who may have seen them early on in their existence.

“We’ve been working on our stage performance and interacting with the audience and getting them involved, and we’re real excited to bring some new stuff and energy, and just have people to enjoy live music with again,” Backle said. “We will have some singles that have already been released and then some that will be going on our new album.”

You see, Azure Wolf used some of its downtime this summer recording their debut album, “Sin and Sand,” which was recorded at Poetown Music in Strasburg.

“It took a few months but we’re all really happy with it,” Backle said. “COVID pushed it along. We were writing like crazy and didn’t have a lot of shows to play, so we just focused on finishing this. We didn’t plan on putting an album out until 2022, but now we’ll have this out early 2021.”

As an English major in college, Backle noted she’s always been a writer and find inspiration for her songs from a “deep place of hurt.”

“It’s the way that I process things and words just come to me when I’m sitting down, playing my guitar. I don’t usually have control of what comes out—I’m just a conduit if you will,” Backle said. “I’ve been writing all my life and this last year it has come out in a lyrical way. This year has given me a chance to use my writing to connect with people and their hurt.”

Since touring isn’t an option right now, Azure Wolf is trying to stay busy on social media and will continue to do livestreams and outdoor events when they become available.

“With our livestream events, we try to get other local musicians involved because we know so many bands who are trying to get onto these livestreams and we want to give the community a way to hear great music and stay safe,” Backle said. “We really appreciate the love and support we’ve seen and hopefully we will continue to bring it!”

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"9+1 Q&A with Azure Wolf"

What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.

Azure Wolf has had a fast and transformative year. It started out as a solo acoustic/folk project (Victoria Backle). After doing some open mics and local acoustic shows, it didn’t take long for people to take notice of the project. Eventually, it turned into a four-piece folk band which included Isaac Foltz on the lead guitar. The band performed well in the DC and NOVA area but it wasn’t until the band went through some changes and added Tommy Moore on the drums and Sean Spencer to the bass did the band find their true sound. Now, Azure Wolf is a four-piece dark-indie rock band with a huge sound. We feel like we finally found that sound we’ve been looking for. – Victoria

I had the great fortune of talented musical friends I’d met through high school, the orchestra, or in my neighborhood, and got into the jam session scene. That helped introduce me to tons of new music and practice learning music in the moment. Basically since I had the chance to play music with someone else, I’ve been eager for opportunities to collaborate and create with all the talented folks in this craft, and every single one of those times has pushed me to where I am as a musician now. – Sean

Provide us with some info about your latest release…

“Love, Mother” is a song written from the perspective of the Earth. It’s a dark and ambient experience and we wanted to make the song seem urgent and angry.
This song was initially written for a benefit event we planned in DC for the Australian wildfires. We wanted an Earth-centered song and it just ended up exploding into something amazing from there. – Victoria

“Love, Mother” was actually the first song concept I heard when looking into linking up with Azure Wolf, and it blew me away from the first play. There’s a compassion mixed with urgency that I think really captures so much about our generation’s challenges, and the way it’s delivered in that song is chilling. – Sean

Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?

The way Dave Keuning from The Killers plays guitar and writes always stood out to me. He understands the perfect blend between rhythm and lead parts that make a song complete. – Isaac
Fleetwood Mac, Alt-J, David Lynch, Turnover, Slowdive. – Tommy
Alt-J, Stevie Nicks, John Mayer, The Doors, Elvis Presley, Carl Sagan, many, many more. – Victoria

Music-wise, I learn the most from delving into the jazz/funk fusion scene. There is an incredible amount of creativity and barrier-pushing going on in that realm. Lettuce, Snarky Puppy, Thank You Scientist, Little Tybee. I am also constantly inspired by the independent producers and creators on YouTube or streaming, like Marc Rebillet and Red Means Recording (Jeremy Blake). So much access to so much originality these days, it’s awesome. – Sean

In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?

Azure Wolf has this awesome ambiguity of new creation. So much of the music we play channels that perfect mix of new, vulnerable exploration with the classic iterations of attachment, purpose, observation, and loss. Really, it’s an incredible thing to hear them both interact, and I think listeners will feel like they’ve heard these songs before in their own hearts, and relate to them on that personal level. – Sean

I think the biggest strength this band has is the diversity among all of us. Tommy brings a hard rock edge with his drums, Isaac’s lead guitar is airy and dream-like, Sean has a funky jam-band background that he brings to his bass playing and I tend to lean towards folk/singer-songwriter vibes. Between the four of us, I think we really combine into something special and unique. – Victoria

I feel like most of the songs start out as folk songs and then the rest of the band reworks it into something bigger. We get bored really easily so we are always looking to do something different than the last time we wrote something. A lot of “Love, Mother” was combining ideas that everyone always wanted to play in a song and trying to compromise and mold those ideas together. – Tommy

Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…

Sam’s Town by The Killers, Boyhood (Movie), Stories Don’t End by Dawes. – Isaac

Albums: In The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson, Declaration of Dependance by Kings of Convenience, Harmony of Difference by Kamazi Washington. Movies: Cloud Atlas, The Godfather, Interstellar. Books: The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Food of the Gods by Terrence McKenna. – Sean

Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?

Live is always fun because depending on where you play you always sound a little different. I think the challenge is always trying to sound consistent no matter where you play, so we enjoy that challenge every time we play somewhere. Also there’s nothing like an audience-band connection. – Tommy

Live performances, hands down. I greatly appreciate the art of crafting something so attentively in the studio, but a live performance has an interactivity that is impossible to feel anywhere else… and it’s great no matter which side of the stage you’re on! – Sean

I honestly prefer the studio because that’s where you’re really able to get creative and turn nothing into something. I love being able to layer songs and by the end of the day have a tangible result. It’s a great feeling. – Victoria

Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?



Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?

Black Fur (will be released March 22nd). It started out as a loose idea. It wasn’t working as a hard rock song in the chorus and we all knew it. Basically we worked it to death and we were never happy with it. Eventually, we took a step and said let’s do the opposite of what we were trying to do and somehow that worked. We are pretty militant when it comes to song writing, we will play a song repeatedly until we get it right and no one complains. – Tommy

I think Black Fur is among my favorite tracks. The song itself feels like a journey, and the chorus is one of the more pensive portions of the track, which is unique. – Sean

Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?

A whole lot of shows to meet a whole lot of people and share a whole lot of new music!! – Sean

I can say that I hope we are touring in the next year and getting to do what we love full time. I think we have something incredible here and I want the world to be a part of it. – Victoria

Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…

Who would I like to share the stage with most?

I’d love to share the stage with St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Those guys know how to put on a jaw-dropping show, and I would be incredibly honored. – Sean

Curated by: Christos Doukakis - Last Day Deaf


Discography

Azure Wolf (Exclusive Release Demo) - Released March 20, 2020

Azure Wolf - Post Impressions (Debut Album) - Releases March 2021

Photos

Bio

Azure Wolf is a female-lead indie rock band with an ethereal twist, located in Winchester, VA.

They have a strong lyrical focus with dark and deep vibes that will leave your soul tingling.

With energetic beats and haunting guitar tones, this band is hoping to bring in a new wave of alternative rock.

The band consists of four members:

Victoria Backle - singer/songwriter & rhythm guitar

Isaac Foltz - Lead guitar & backup vocals

Thomas Moore - Drums

Sean Spencer - Bass & Synth

Band Members