19: Music is Medicine and It’s All About The Crowd with Gabriel Wolfchild

Gabriel Wolfchild
Singer-Songwriter, Guitarist
Website | Spotify | iTunes | Facebook | Instagram

Gabriel Wolfchild is the lead singer and guitarist for the band Wolfchild. He began as a visual artist, but after experiencing the Rainbow Gathering, a huge gathering of people and artists in a national forest, he realized he needed to make music. Wolfchild describes the band’s genre as cinematic dream folk, and goes into more detail about what that entails. He is a big believer that music is medicine and it’s his job to share his music and stories, so that he can heal someone. Music to him is for the listeners, so they can connect with it. Gabriel talks about his struggles with finding a place to live and make music, and how life not being perfect makes for good music. He also discusses his experience on The Voice, finding a name for himself, and him and his brother experimenting with eclectic instruments and sounds.

BEST QUOTES

A musician can feel something, and literally just place that on another person, which is really cool.” --Gabriel Wolfchild 

I believe music is medicine. All art is medicine. That seems like the most direct pathway creating healing in the world.” --Gabriel Wolfchild 

What I’ve loved about music is that there’s this phenomenon that can happen where somebody has never met you, doesn’t know you exist, is miles and miles away, someone you’ll probably never meet, can somehow, create a piece of music that totally gets you.” --Gabriel Wolfchild

I could howl and somebody would howl back every time, no matter what. Nowadays it’s an analogy for what we’re trying to do. It is about facilitating that connection by shouting into the void and saying, ‘I’m here!’ and someone else saying, ‘I’m here.’” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

Find you and hold onto it with everything you’ve got. Don’t lose yourself. It’s a TV show, it has nothing to do with music. It can be challenging at times and it’s easy to get lost in it...just roll with it and enjoy it.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

Music comes through people, it’s not mine. Me just getting in the way of it and not giving it my everything is depriving the people that I’m trying to play music for, and they’re everything. That’s something I’ll never forget. It allowed me to realize, it’s not me dancing on a stage trying to entertain people, I’m really just doing my job to share stuff that means something to people and heals people.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

We are really just giant mirrors on stage, it’s all about the people in the crowd; it’s all about the stories that they’ve experienced and that’s why it means something to them.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

Do some touring with your pals locally. You don’t have to go huge first.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

Wilde Musicians Podcast - Gabriel Wolfchild-15_WEB.jpg

QUESTIONS FROM OTHER MUSICIANS

“What are you doing that is new and not traditional? How are you experimenting? How are you pushing the boundaries moving forward? [24:00]
Questions from ZKRY (Episode 9: Focus On the Art Because That’s What It’s Really About)

“I actually struggle with tradition a lot. I feel like a lot of musicians grow up falling in love with idols and having these musicians they want to grow up and be one day. That experience for me has always been really fleeting. I’ve fallen in love with artists for minutes, like there will be a CD, I miss the days of CDs. There would be a CD I would play on my walkman everyday and I would get really into that CD. I was always drawn to different things...I guess I would call them phases. Like I was really into Nirvana for a long time...that was a way for me to get to know people. I was always really interested in what they were listening to and what they were inspired by...For a while I was obsessed with acoustic guitar and I just wanted a really good sounding acoustic guitar, and that was it, and that was good for a period of time. Then I found my old 1961 T-100 Guild. I had this new instrument that I wasn’t very versed on and it had a bunch of different sounds that I had never experienced. It’s an old tall-body electric guitar...It was a fun exploratory process for me, exploring the whole world of electrified music and effects. Me and Eli, my brother, we could get pretty trippy with things. We got really into bowing instruments. There’s bowed guitar and bowed symbols, we would just kind of bow everything because it sounds really cool. Especially in this recording we have all kinds of weird, ambient sounds. Eli is a collector of world instruments. He’s got dilruba from India in there, and just very bizarre sounding instruments that aren’t necessarily from a culture, which I like that he’s brought into the music. That whole atmosphere component of our music we definitely like to enrich with sounds where you’re like, ‘woah, maybe I haven’t heard that before, I don’t know what that is.’” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“How do you make social media feel less like a chore?” [28:40]
Question from Heather Edgely (Episode 6: Facing Fear and Organizing Creative Local Shows)

“I don’t fucking know. I’m working on that because I see the potential of that and I see the overall coolness of it. You’re connecting, and there’s real feedback from that. It’s really cool that I’m making connections all over the country, all over, in Europe, Australia, and Brazil. It’s fucking cool. Yay social media. I just don’t like being on camera that much, but I can get into it at times, but it’s hard, especially when life is just kind of shitty...like I just spent all day moving an apartment building, do I want to just blast that all over the internet? ‘No I’m not a rockstar 24/7! I have a really shitty day job! And I just lost my house…’” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

Wilde Musicians Podcast - Gabriel Wolfchild-11_WEB.jpg

“What made you decide to become a musician?  ” [34:06]
Question from Scott Langdon (Episode 18: Music Can Literally Save Lives)

“It was that summer that I had after leaving college in San Francisco. I went to the Rainbow Gathering, which was very organic, but I also went to Oregon Country Fair, and Harmony Festival. I did really see the direct pathway of communication. A musician can feel something, and literally just place that on another person, which is really cool. A lot of art, you put all that energy into this object, or this painting, and someone witnesses it and then they can see it, but there’s a level of removal there, which is still cool. It’s another kind of way of communicating. But I really do love how direct music is and how you can share an intimate moment. You can share an intimate moment with a fucking stadium! That’s a crazy concept. That’s something, as an artist who’s trying to communicate what I was feeling. I believe music is medicine. All art is medicine. That seems like the most direct pathway creating healing in the world. That was all reasons why, but also life just took me on a rollercoaster saying you need to make music! Make music, stop hiding And I’m glad I did!” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“Are you focused more on building your following locally, globally, or online?” [44:17]
Question from Spence Hood (Episode 5: Expressing Yourself and Building a Cohesive Brand on Instagram)

“We’ve one a lot of work. This is a place where we need strategy. We have toured a lot, we’ve been all over the country, played sold out rooms, a bunch of sold out rooms on the east coast and LA...we actually haven’t been too much in Seattle, so we’re working on changing that and being more local here. There’s a bunch of market right in Washington area, that I do feel like it’s important to focus on. We just played in Spokane for the first time last month, which is ridiculous because they’re right there and they’re amazing. There’s amazing music in Spokane and a great scene. So yeah, I guess my answer is we have been focused maybe too globally. We playing in Amsterdam before I played any real shows in Seattle. It was really silly.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

Wilde Musicians Podcast - Gabriel Wolfchild-20_WEB.jpg

QUESTION FOR OTHER MUSICIANS

“What kind of effect do you hope your music has on the world?”

-- Gabriel Wolfchild

“I just know growing up, when I was a kid, or even a young adult, teenager, pretty much still today, what I’ve loved about music is that there’s this phenomenon that can happen where somebody has never met you, doesn’t know you exist, is miles and miles away, someone you’ll probably never meet, can somehow, create a piece of music that totally gets you. Sometimes, even your best friend, or your parents, or your girlfriend, can’t get you, and that’s a really cool thing. That’s something that I hope I can do someday.” 

--Answer from Gabriel Wolfchild

Wilde Musicians Podcast - Gabriel Wolfchild-1_WEB.jpg

HOW TO BE A GOOD FAN

“I really appreciate it when you share our music or come to our shows, seriously, I want to get to know you. I don’t even know if I like the word fan. It comes from fanatic. There’s a level of separation there. I believe we are all partners in this and we’re creating. They are just as much sharing with me as I’m sharing with them...Really the best thing you can do is if you hear something you like, share it with your friends. That really helps us so much. Just spreading love.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild  


FOLLOW GABRIEL WOLFCHILD
Website | Spotify | iTunes | Facebook | Instagram

Wilde Musicians Podcast - Gabriel Wolfchild-7_WEB.jpg

FULL TRANSCRIPT

0-10 Minutes:

“You could say, ‘oh I’m so mad at the tech revolution; Seattle should be old Seattle,’ but change happens. I believe if there’s more money in the city, that should mean more money for artists because there’s more people who have money to support art and go to shows.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“If the band has nowhere to practice, what’s the band gonna do. I realized what home really meant: a place where the band could practice.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“This is the first record that was really the bands’ in a way...we had been playing these songs for maybe a year at the time, and we stepped into London Bridge Studios and we put them down. It became this very large process. I was like, we are gonna do this in 6 months, we are gonna have a new record. It’s been 2 years, but it’s worth it. It took time to polish the stone. We are really proud of our record: The Earth is Seen from the Moon.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“It’s interesting because it has songs that are really personal and close, and then it gets real expansive and starts talking about cultural movements and change. ‘New York’ is about immigration, and that’s a real thing that’s happening today. Immigration is still happening. It happened when our ancestors came over, but we’re treating it like it’s this awful thing, or that they’re not even human when they’re here, busting their asses just trying to survive.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“My dad is Russian Jewish, he was born in Rhode Island, but his parents were Russian immigrants.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“We like cinematic dream folk (as our genre). Cinematic dream folk has a very storytelling core to it and it also expands a lot with synthesizers and a french horn players that plays with us at times, vocal harmony, and it definitely has a psychedelic aspect to it.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

10-20 Minutes:

“The cinematic part alludes to the big vocal harmonies and french horn punches. There’s a lot of builds and crescendos in the music. It takes a journey, the music, so it has kind of a movie feel.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“The dream folk: there’s a lot of reverb, very dreamy qualities, and lots of distorted sounds. We really like to create atmosphere. Atmosphere is a big piece of music.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“At its core, these are just folk songs; Simple songs I wrote on my old wooden guitar over there. There’s a really cool thing that is met between those worlds.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“I was in love with storytelling.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“I identified personally as a visual artist. I was a painter and a sculptor. That’s who I said I was and I played guitar on my own time. As things progressed, in my arts career, as went further, in San Francisco, especially, I would procrastinate by going to the stairwell and playing guitar.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“I ended up going to the Rainbow Gathering. It happens in a national forest somewhere in the world every year. It’s a gathering of 70 to 60,000 people. There’s no booked shows, there’s no schedule, it's literally just coexisting in the woods, in a community. The one thing that’s scheduled is final day, which is a day of silence up until noon. No one speaks to anyone, which is really hard to do when you’re around that many people. The whole entire 70,000 people get into a giant circle and they pray for world peace and then break the silence with a giant om. It sounds really hippie but it was good.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“Something I fell in love with at the Rainbow Gathering, was being able to feel like I was alone in a little gully or somewhere in the woods, and i could howl and somebody would howl back every time, no matter what. Nowadays it’s a perfect analogy for what we’re trying to do. It is about facilitating that connection by shouting into the void and saying, ‘I’m here!’ and someone else saying, ‘I’m here.’” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“I ended up going back to my parents’ place for this iowaska ceremony with this guru, Prembaba, who’s from Brazil, and I saw a lot of things. It was definitely a transformative experience and it was the first time I got a real hit that I was like, I need to do music and I need to be Wolfchild and I’m going to create a family around it.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“We are hoping to go all over the country and beyond...We are releasing one track every month of the eleven tracks we have of the new album.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“Yes, I was (on The Voice). It was a lot of things. It was beautiful and breathful, and a highly reflective process, diving further into finding your name, figuring out who I was, what I wanted to do, and how to really communicate that.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

20-30 Minutes:

“We spent so much time held captive in a hotel...but it’s amazing because you’re stuck in there with a hundred plus of the nation’s most talented musicians. It’s like bandcamp.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“Find you and hold onto it with everything you’ve got. Don’t lose yourself. It’s a TV show, it has nothing to do with music. It can be challenging at times and it’s easy to get lost in it...just roll with it and enjoy it.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

30-40 Minutes:

“You put the t-shirt box on the ground, and you fold your smalls on the bottom, and then your medium on the sides, and then your larges at the top, then your extra larges on the right side. Then down the middle you have your double extra larges. And when you stack them you can see how many of each size you have and grab them quickly and easily. It’s organized and you know where all the sizes are. It’s a lot easier to show visually.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“You gotta just ride it, and you can get bummed out, but this is the stuff that songs are written about. If it (life) was just easy, it wouldn’t mean as much, so I’m enjoying the little bit of grit I’m getting.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“I was really scared. As cool as it is to have an intimate moment with a stadium, it’s fucking scary. It gets scarier when it’s a room of 5 people...One person changed that all for me. I was in Valencia, Spain, at this Berkeley School of music summer program, and I had the amazing opportunity to work with Livingston Taylor, it’s James Taylor’s brother. He’s super charismatic, amazing songwriter himself. He was teaching performance workshops and he took me aside and was like, you need to stop being shy. I was like, what do you mean? And he said, it’s selfish, straight up selfish. And I had never thought about it like that, being shy as a selfish thing, but it is. Music comes through people, it’s not mine. Me just getting in the way of it and not giving it my everything is depriving the people that I’m trying to play music for, and they’re everything. That’s something I’ll never forget. It allowed me to realize, it’s not me dancing on a stage trying to entertain people, I’m really just doing my job to share stuff that means something to people and heals people. We are really just giant mirrors on stage, it’s all about the people in the crowd; it’s all about the stories that they’ve experienced and that’s why it means something to them.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“Right before we get on stage we get into a huddle, and we just one together. It sounds like a pr-show ritual, but it’s actually amazing how much better we play when we actually just take a minute and sing together and hear each other's voices, and really get resonate with each other.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

40-50 Minutes:

“Me and my brother were driving down the highway, and we were like, what if we just aren’t good? What if no one really likes our music at all? What if this is all crazy and in our head? It’s really easy to go down that pathway, and then you end up playing a random show in a tea room at some crazy psychedelic party, and you fall in love with everybody, and you remember what you’re doing it for.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“At the core of it (music), it’s a real medicine for us, to just get the shit out, and it’s a really amazing perk that it’s also happens to be medicine for other people.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“A really cool experience on tour was Nashville. We played the City Winery, which is this massive room in Nashville. There’s shitty wineries all over the country, but the Nashville City Winery is giant and it was loud and it was a good show. After that we all went back to this Airbnb, and it was my birthday, and we just had a really good meal and I was there with my friends and family. It was a good time. The following morning, someone had some acid, and we dropped some acid, and it was the 4th of July in Nashville. We went on this giant hike to downtown Nashville, high on acid, which I don’t know if it was a good decision. I don’t do a lot of drugs, but it felt like the right moment. There was fireworks.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

50-60 Minutes:

“Do some touring with your pals locally. You don’t have to go huge first.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“All those people at your shows, chances are they’re musicians. Get to know them, make some friends, and follow up. Really listen to their music, when they say check out my band, don’t just not check out their band, go check it out, maybe you’ll really like them. I’m totally surprised so many times when someone I don’t expect to be phenomenal, and they turn out to be my favorite artist. You never know.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 

“I would like people to forgive and give people the benefit of the doubt, and not be afraid, even when it’s really hard, just understand sometimes people are just doing the best they can. Sometimes they really hurt you doing the best they can. But know that people aren’t bad, necessarily. Don’t give up on people. It’s really easy to decide, oh, that person’s bad for me, or they’re just a bad person. I honestly don’t believe in bad people. I believe in sick people. I believe people can be sick or ill. Sometimes you do need to remove yourself from the situation, when it’s starting to hurt you. That’s an okay thing to do, but don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they’re bad or evil.” -- Gabriel Wolfchild 


PodcastChaComment