Wolves Lupe Lovers

Wolves Lupe Lovers
Photo: Daniel Jardine
Back in 2011, a handful of rappers recorded an unplanned song and when the results turned out so dark and dope they decided to form a group. Wolves allowed each rapper — Ghettosocks, Timbuktu, Muneshine and D-Sisive — to put aside the expectations built of their solo careers and just get wild on producer Bix's hard-hitting dark beats. That each MC has their own distinct voice and delivery is a sweet, sweet bonus. They dropped their first song, "Air Pump and a Mushroom Cut," in March 2011 and their self-titled debut album followed online on Christmas Day 2013, with the videos for singles "Kings," featuring Adam Bomb and Maestro, and "God Mode" released earlier in the year. Demonic imagery and reference abound in these smart songs about sex, braggadocio and zombies. They may never release another album or tour together as a group — a logistic nightmare, I'm sure — but their self-titled debut brings together a great combination of Toronto-based hip hop artists for an exciting collaboration.

Is Wolves a supergroup?
D-Sisive: Supergroup in the sense of superstars coming together to create? No. We're not the Traveling Wilburys. A supergroup in the sense of masters of their crafts who all are hip-hop based, yet cater to different worlds? Yes. So, yes we are a supergroup even though we're not a supergroup. Definitely not the Traveling Wilburys.
Timbuktu: We are five artists that do our own fantastic thing. We joined forces and became more powerful.

How did Wolves come together as a group?
Timbuktu: Socks, Mune, Bix and I were kicking it listening to some new Bix beats. We had just set up and installed the pre-amps at FUN [Tim's studio] and decided to make a track. It was called "Sweet Revenge" and it was the first Wolves track ever.
Ghettosocks: Immediately after we wrote and recorded this song, we decided to form the group.
D-Sisive: Muneshine told me about the idea, and I saw a profile online. I think it was a MySpace page. Seeing their photos together on a page looked crazy and I had to be a part of it. I hit up Mune and asked him to ask the other guys if they were cool with me joining. Thankfully they were down.

Why the name Wolves? Why the demonic imagery?
Ghettosocks: The name Wolves is based on the nature of wolves; they hunt in packs, each plays a different role within the group, and wolves are one of the few animals who will seek revenge. The majority of the songs are tough and twisted, hence the demonic imagery.

A few of the rapping members of Wolves are decent producers in their own right, so why have Bix as producer?
Muneshine: Decent wasn't good enough. We needed a particular brand of mean to bring out the darkness we knew was needed. Socks and Bix had done a lot of work together in the past, so when the beat for "Sweet Revenge" was plucked from his hard drive (out of a monstrous catalog) we knew we were onto something.
Ghettosocks: Bix always brings the heat. I've worked with him since 2002, 2003 before forming Alpha Flight, and all he's done since then is get better. His ear for samples is razor sharp and his drums are always banging. The other thing you should know about Bix is that once he gets going on beat-making mode, he will stock-pile heaters.
Timbuktu: Getting to write a whole album over Bix beats is bucket list shit.

Bix, when you produce for Wolves are you going for any particular sound? Is there anything required for a Wolves beat?
Bix: The only thing required for any beat is the rawness that makes your hair stand on end.

All of the members of Wolves have demonstrated skills at creating concept albums in the past. Why isn't Wolves connected by a central concept or theme?
D-Sisive: I think it's connected with a theme. And the theme is fucking shit up. This was a record for us all to escape what we've built with our solo projects and let loose. This is more reflective of who we are when we're not behind our pseudonyms. A lot of people are surprised when they meet me because they're always expecting some gloomy depressed kid because my music tends to be that. But they find out I'm far from that person outside of their speakers. When we all hang out it's eating chicken, talking shit and laughing. So that's what we recorded... and crushed faces in the process.
Bix: The central theme is the dark vibe of the entire album. I was hoping to achieve a sense of nostalgia with the sounds.

How did you guys decide on the song concepts?
Muneshine: Sometimes the beats inspired ideas, sometimes they'd come from stories, jokes and conversations we'd have, intentionally or not. In those cases we'd find a beat that fit.

Any ideas that got vetoed?
Timbuktu: There might have been a b-side or two that didn't make the record but nothing got vetoed. Everybody in Wolves is ill, everything was dope.

Why so many songs about sex?
Muneshine: I wouldn't say the songs are necessarily about sex, more inspired by sex, among other things. I think it's safe to say we wrote our verses with the intention of entertaining and challenging each other. Once a concept was agreed upon we'd loop the beat and disappear into our devices-of-choice. That's where the magic happened. We'd each emerge from the darkest shadows of our psyche with what you now hear on the record. It was always fun hearing each other spit what they came up with for the first time. The process really pushed us, creatively and even competitively.
Timbuktu: I think there might only be three. Is that a lot?

The first song from Wolves, "Air Pump & a Mushroom Cut," dropped March 2011. Has the concept/sound/style/goal of the group changed or evolved in the nearly three years between that song and the debut album?
Muneshine: Our individual sounds have evolved since "Air Pump" but the approach to Wolves has remained consistent. We wrote and recorded a lot of the material on the album shortly after we dropped the first single, it just took a while to collect everyone's additional or updated parts, finalize the song arrangements, mix and master due to everyone's busy schedules.
Bix: I created the beats for the Wolves album over the period of 2006 to 2011, so there is natural progression in the sound.

The first single from your debut was "Kings" featuring Adam Bomb and Maestro. Why these two? And how did you get the godfather of Canadian hip-hop on the track?
Ghettosocks: Two of the best in the country. It was dope to finally rock a song with both dudes, but to do a song with Maestro, who's been an inspiration for me, was kind of a dream come true. I think we had been talking to Maestro for a while and kept asking him to get on something and eventually he came through on Kings.
D-Sisive: Adam Bomb is my favourite MC out of Canada. I always want him on any project I do.

Who else would you like to feature on a future Wolves song?
D-Sisive: Karl Wolf. He was an original member in 2009. Then his pop shit hit and he stopped returning phone calls. I'd love to get the old band back together again.
Ghettosocks: Lorde, Cirque du Soleil, Pink.
Bix: I'd like to hear a group like M.O.P. or artists like Raekwon or Ghostface.

The video for second single "God Mode" has a very interesting concept. Whose idea was it?
Timbuktu: The video was conceived and shot by our homies Peter & Josh at Vulture Culture films (also of July Talk fame).

How were the young Wolves cast? Did you have any say in the selection of your younger selves?
Timbuktu: For casting the young Wolves, we took a group of hopeful lookalikes and left them in the wilderness with nothing but flint and a Bowie knife for one month. The survivors are featured in the video.

Any thoughts on what song will follow "Kings" and "God Mode" as the third single? Is there a video in the works?
Timbuktu: Nothing moving yet. I like "Lioness" or "The Cottage" maybe.
D-Sisive: "The Weird One" is my pick. Hearing that beat took me back. I love that song. Bix's production reminds me of listening to [Toronto's CKLN] 88.1 when I was 17 years old. Or the Mastermind Street Jam. It's one of those beats that the DJ would juggle for a minute and you'd make a loop tape out of it to freestyle to in your bedroom. That song is special to me.

Any chance we'll get a Wolves tour or even some shows in the near future?
D-Sisive: I hope so, because it will be something special if it can happen. We've done a few unrehearsed sets together — all of us on stage — and the result has always been insanity. If we can put together a show, along with proper pyrotechnics, we'll change the world.

Tim, I know you love goat wrangling, but was it a lot of work to bring this project together? Will there be another album?
Timbuktu: It was a labour of love. I love these guys and I love this record. It was a lot of work. It was worth it. Another album? Satan willing.

What's up next for everyone?
D-sisive: The Desolate Collective. Raging Bull LP. 2 Weeks Before Christmas. A busy 2014.
Timbuktu: Timbuktu solo album How Huge dropping in February. Teenburger x Herbaliser collaboration Hive Mind later this year. Teenburger US Tour in March...
Ghettosocks: Pushing my new solo album FYPT, completing the new Teenburger x The Herbaliser album, producing Nilla's next full length, vinyl release partnership with Slice of Spice Records (Brooklyn), and lots of good things happening with Droppin' Science in the new year.
Muneshine: I'm putting the finishing touches on my new album, In Transit, and recently dropped the first single, "Venus & Mars," which is getting a great response so far. I'm working on a video for that, and have another video for the second single, "Boom Goes the Dynamite," dropping very soon.
Bix: Working on my next beat tape, after releasing Ooze and Vice Versa in 2013 at bixbeat.bandcamp.com.