MUSIC | Not the Wolf Band You Think They Are

We Are Wolves knows it's not big and bad (or even famous) but has fun making music

Frederic Hanson / The Minnesota Daily

We Are Wolves will chew on you and eventually eat you whole.

A pack of snarling electronic post-punks, the Montreal trio is as menacing as its name suggests.

They are also French-Canadian, so when they devour you, they will do so with style.

Their debut album, "Non-Stop Je Te Plie En Deux," released in September, yips and nips at the ears with the refined artistic chaos one would expect from a bunch of lupine-reared Quebecois.

Recently, Wolves' bass-thumping vocalist Alexander Ortiz spoke with the Daily.

His initial thoughts?

"I don't have the impression that we're getting a big response," he said.

"But we're getting true honest interest from the public. They seem happy to kind of hear a different band," he said.

"Because people come to us and say, It's the most original music I have ever heard."

"Do you think you are the most original music they've ever heard?" I asked him.

"Not at all," he said.

He is right - they aren't the most original. And because of their carnivorous-canine namesake, they often get confused with the more established bands Wolf Parade and Wolf Eyes.

But they are creative - and when all is said and done, they may well emerge as the top dogs among their peers.

                WE ARE WOLVES

TITLE: "Non-Stop Je Te Plie En Deux"

LABEL: Fat Possum

Which is better, French or English?

I'm always talking in French with my friends, but I go to a school in English. That's what I like about Montreal - you can speak both all the time. Culturally, it has that European and American aspect all mixed together. It keeps you open-minded.

So you're not French separatists?

I have my political views on that. But it's hard, because it's really more complex than just saying yes or no. I think what makes Montreal strong is the relationship between French and English people.

So tell me about your album.

I think it's an album for parties. There's a mystical voodoo feeling to it. Very primitive and tribal. Very dancey. We mix real drums with the beatbox.

Do you consider yourselves a dance band then?

I think it's all about the energy of communicating with people. I see it more as a gathering of people, a happening. Those beats give a good energy to it.

Did you start out playing house parties?

The first show we did was a little house party. We did a little show at the university at an art gallery. That was the beginning. At that show there was one promoter and he called us back and asked us to open for other bands. In the beginning we were studying art and cinema.

Are you in art school?


So how does your art influence the music?

Sometimes with the lyrics. There's a plastic language with art. Like, when I create video, the way I animate video, I give a rhythm to the video so you have a dynamic to understand the video so you can understand the lyrics.

You seem to blend art and music very well. Do you try to do that consciously?

Well, it's like our lives. About four years ago we just started to take instruments and have fun with it. It's just mixing everything together. Because when I'm at home, I'm basically doing my artistic things. Our art influences our music.

Are you a starving artist?

Well, I've been doing a lot of installations. I work two days in a bar, and that's enough for me to work on my projects on my own time.

What is your typical day like?

On tour, we play every night. So we play our songs. We don't really practice new songs. We talk about lyrics sometimes or ideas for new songs, but we don't really do it. But in Montreal, we practice two days a week. We hang around and talk about everything and nothing. Then we go back and practice. It's never serious. It's not like a fascist thing.

If democracy isn't the best part about being in We Are Wolves, what is?

Hanging with your friends and having fun. We don't take ourselves seriously, so we're always laughing at each other and telling jokes. We're making some music just to have fun with people and communicating energy with people.