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A Dirty Dozen with CHRIS HOFFMAN from WOLF RD – July 2022

| 13 July 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Wolf Rd (“wolf road”) is a rock band from Chicago, Illinois that combines an eclectic mix of influences to create a sound that is catchy and accessible, yet refreshingly unique. The group’s diverse sonic spectrum ranges from pop-punk party bangers with anthemic emo hooks to electronic dance synths, monstrous guitar riffs, and breakdowns that will have you throwing hands in the mosh pit. Wolf Rd’s gripping live performances have received critical acclaim from both peers and industry executives thanks to the group’s high energy stage presence and engaging crowd participation. The band has just dropped a new single “Way Down” along with a companion music video.” We get frontman Chris to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our new single “Way Down” has been doing really well! Fans and critics are digging it. This song is special because it’s the first time we’ve gotten into adding synths and more pop music production into our sound. The dancey vibes are super cool alongside the song’s big riffs and breakdowns. There is one thing in the second verse that’s a bit of a hidden nugget, I guess. We weren’t trying to hide it – but some people haven’t noticed the “no more bullsh*t” line that sounds like a girl yelling. My brother Nick wrote that lyric, and I got the idea that it would be fun to have a girl yelling it through a telephone – like the song gives you a front row seat to a couple’s breakup argument haha. I think we actually ended up using my vocal take from the demo on the final version of “Way Down.” I just yelled “no more bullsh*t!” in the most eccentric, valley girl accent I could and Nick pitched it up a bit to make it sound more feminine. I think we called the file “crazy ex-girlfriend voice” or something hahah.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I started getting into music when Guitar Hero came out. I was just sucked in by the magic of those songs, and that got me into rock and metal. Then I realized I wanted to be a musician for real when my dad showed me Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon. It’s still one of my all time favorite records. I was blown away by how it sounded and the things they sang about like money, politics, and philosophy.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Starting with Guitar Hero and Pink Floyd, my music taste as a kid was heavily influenced by classic rock. Eventually I discovered heavier music, and Avenged Sevenfold was kind of my gateway drug to post-hardcore and the Warped Tour scene. So I’ve kind of always been into riffy guitar music and breakdowns, and it actually wasn’t until later that I got into pop punk. Bands like The Story So Far and Knuckle Puck really sucked me into that genre.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would love to write music with John Feldmann. He’s produced so many of my favorite bands, and I feel like the records he’s worked on are always the catchiest.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

During the fall I’m really into football! Fun fact, I’m trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship with the Chicago Bears. I love watching all football in general though. I also love going to the movies! I still think there’s something special about seeing a piece of art on the big screen, with a great sound system – plus it inspires me to write music when I see a really good movie.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

If the person is into pop punk and metal, I’d say Wolf Rd is like if Neck Deep and Ice Nine Kills had a baby. Between those two bands you cover our riffs, catchiness, and there’s a lot of different types of songs ranging from party bangers, to heavy pit starters, to acoustic songs. If they don’t know that type of music – I’d probably just say we’re like Green Day or something hahaha. For comparisons I don’t like, I’m not a fan of when people say we’re “Easycore.” I am a big fan of bands people think are Easycore, but I’ve just never liked that word. It’s kind of hard to explain – I just don’t consider that an actual style of music. But, honestly, I think all genre labels are just made up crap. As long as you like my music then I like you.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Honestly if we’re hanging out we’re probably doing Uber Eats or hitting one of the awesome restaurants in Lakeview where we live now in Chicago. But I’d say Devin or Nick would probably be most likely to cook, because they’re the most responsible. I’m definitely the first person to get the drinks out haha, and Geoff is always the one who gets the guitar out first for “Wonderwall” or a Pierce The Veil song.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I’ve actually met quite a few famous people, so I don’t really get starstruck anymore. Probably the last time I got starstruck was when I was interviewed by Shane Told from Silverstein for his New Noise Podcast. I did that when Wolf Rd’s song “As Good As It Gets” came out. Silverstein is my favorite band, so it was pretty wild trying to wrap my head around Shane asking me questions about a song I wrote.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Playing live is definitely the best part. There’s just no feeling like the one I get when we’re ripping a gig and the crowd is into it. Giving us their energy. It’s surreal hearing people sing my own lyrics back to me… Playing music is definitely my dream job, but I’m also a lawyer for my current 9-5 gig. So I’d keep doing that if I couldn’t play music.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?… 582. The answer is 582. And I like answering questions so they’re all cool!

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

One thing I’ve thought about that I would maybe re-do is we decided last minute to work with a different producer on our first EP. The guy we ended up working with was great, and I learned a lot from him, but I made a hasty decision to change producers at the last second just because I didn’t think the first guy could capture the whole spectrum of our band as well. Now, I think I was just nervous and was overthinking. He was a great producer who worked with really reputable bands, maybe one day we’ll end up working together after all.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would love to be part of Ice Nine Kills’ The Silver Scream. That record is a perfect 10/10 for me, no skips. Every song is just so well-constructed – heavy af, but catchy and interesting too. Plus there’s the added element of every song being based on a horror movie. Everything about that album is just so perfect, it feels like every single lyrical and sonic choice was deliberate and really thought out. It appeals to my OCD big time hahah, so I just wish I could be there to see if every choice they made was really as intentional and perfectionist as it seems to me.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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