by Yvonne Villasenor
In an embodiment of their name, Alpha Wolf have exemplified what it means to be a pack. Their devotion to sticking together to surmount whatever challenges that come their way while in pursuit of their dreams has undoubtedly helped them take the metalcore scene by storm.
The band recently released a documentary titled “Spirit Breaker: Alpha Wolf’s Almost World Tour” that is proof of their hunger to succeed. It takes fans along the journey of their world tour following the release of their 2019 E.P. “Fault.” What was intended to be an international tour of over 100 shows came to an end at 77 shows in America once COVID-19 struck.
While the Australian band felt the effects of the pandemic like every other band around the world, they managed to release their highly anticipated sophomore album, “A Quiet Place to Die.” In a time filled with so much uncertainty for Alpha Wolf, one thing has been for sure: "A Quiet Place to Die" has been well received; proving an album with such a raw, heavy sound with lyrics to match especially resonated with listeners.
We spoke with guitarist Scott Simpson on the highs of being in Alpha Wolf, lows of the pandemic, touring and what fans can expect from the band.
What was it like to release an album during a pandemic? What has been your guys’ reaction to all the love it’s gotten since its release?
Simpson - I’m sure it goes without saying, but it was insanely difficult. No one has been through something like this, so navigating all the changes we had to make with such little notice was really depressing. Australia had really harsh lockdowns when all of this kicked off, so for the actual release of the album we were all confined to our houses and weren’t allowed outside for most things, so we basically released the album from our living rooms. We rolled with the punches and we did the best job we could, but man it was hard.
Looking back now its insane to see the reaction it received, and is still getting. We are still yet to play any of these songs live which is where we always base the response off so its really hard to see where we’re at on a global level you know? We see things online and its like oh cool, everyone likes the songs but the live show is where it all comes together, so we’re just itching to get back out there.
Since forming, Alpha Wolf has seen such incredible growth in more ways than one. What changes do you feel have had a positive impact on the band overall?
Simpson - We give the band everything, we live and breathe it. You have to if you want to survive. If you don’t love it you won’t make it out there, and i guess thats always been our outlook on it. And i think people see that, that’s why they connect with what we do so much. If you see the passion in what someone does it’s infectious, it makes you want to work harder at what you do in your life. So the hard work and the hustle is really what keeps this band alive.
Your Spirit Breaker documentary covers your guys’ journey touring the world from 2019 up until the pandemic. It’s surreal watching all the places you all visited and the band's excitement, but also absolutely heartbreaking at the same time knowing what you and bands across the world would experience.
Can you describe how it felt going from selling out shows and jumping through all these hoops to play in America to then experiencing cancellations until one day, being forced to stop playing shows altogether?
Simpson - Yeah its a really hard thing to watch now in 2021 if i’m being honest. We really went for it and we did it you know? We did the shows all over the world, we saw the growth of the band, the shows and the crowds were getting bigger and then it all just came to a stop. I try not to let it get to me but it’s definitely affected me in many ways, as it has every musician all over the world. And i think thats the main thing that pulls me through, it’s not just me, it’s not just Alpha Wolf, everyone is in the same position, everyone is struggling. And there’s some sort of comfort in that? Knowing that everyone feels the same pain and is going through the same struggles, and it’s just about how you respond to that and how you pull through it.
What did the time away allow you all to focus on?
Simpson - We stayed busy, we launched a Patreon where we can connect with our fans throughout the world, and that really helped keep my mind busy. We put a lot of time and effort into that throughout all the lockdowns, and it really blew all our minds how much people supported us trying something new there. We know it’s not for everyone, but it connected with a lot of people which was so sick to see.
As well as that we launched an Alpha Wolf pop up shop that just concluded the other week. It went insanely well and it was really cool to show support to all the bands we brought into the shop, and get the ‘core’ community all together outside of a show. We’re always gonna keep trying new ideas like this, and it seems people like us trying them!
You guys recently announced you have some shows lined up! When did you initially hear about the chance to play shows again? And what are your thoughts on being able to get back on stage?
Simpson - It’s been a long time coming, but it’s just been a waiting game. As i mentioned before Australia was very harsh on their initial lockdowns, and that was a very difficult time, but its meant that we’ve basically been able to open up a lot quicker then everywhere else in the world and that we’re able to play some shows finally! It feels like it has been a lifetime since we have played, we’ve hardly all been in the same room in over 12 months, so i can’t really describe what it’s going to be like getting back on a stage together. It will be strange and nearly feel foreign to us haha, i can’t wait though.
What’s the most rewarding part of being in Alpha Wolf? Are there any accomplishments you’d like to highlight, whether personal or on behalf of the band?
Simpson - The whole experience really, and if there’s one thing i’m thankful of for covid its perspective. I’m sure most musicians start out at a young age looking up to people in bands who put out albums, sign to a label, tour the world, and you know we’ve done that? Which is crazy! We’re fucking living it man, and although its never exactly how you imagine as a kid cause well there’s a whole lot of business that comes with it, and a whole lot of bullshit, but man sometimes you just gotta take a step back and realize hey, that thing i wanted to do as a kid? Yeah we’re doing it. Unreal, honestly.
What are some aspirations you all hope to achieve now that there’s some sort of normalcy reintroduced in your lives with live music?
Simpson - Play shows, everywhere and anywhere that will have us. That’s what we do best, and we just want to get back to that. Finish that damn USA tour we got 5 shows into! haha.
Is there anything you’d like Alpha Wolf fans to know or anything you’d like to plug?
Simpson - Check out out Patreon page, we spend a lot of time over on there connecting with people and the more people the sicker it gets. Besides that hopefully the world can get back to normal soon and we can come hang out in your town and rip a show.
Stream the band's intimate documentary 'Spirit Breaker' in full below.