Far away from here, wherever you’re reading this, is a tree that’s slowly inching towards a cliff. Inside this tree is a vibrant ecosystem, vast and complex, filled with bugs and birds and squirrels and event smaller organisms just trying to get by. And then tree will go over and it’ll fall and this will be a small Apocalypse. So it’s fitting that we’re getting a few words in with Chelsea Wolfe, troubadour, artist, vagabond who is releasing her sophomore album Ἀποκάλυψις (pronounced "apokalypsis") sometime in August on Pendu Sound Recordings. Ms. Wolfe talks about body art, Greek mythology and maybe some music.
Smashed Chair: If your life had a twist ending, what would catch you off guard in the end?
Chelsea Wolfe: I'm sure I'll look back at life and say "WHAT THE FUCK" in any case. But hopefully in a good way.
Chair: Are there moments when you’re writing lyrics and feel, “no, this is too personal,” and start over?
Wolfe: No.. my lyrics aren't personal in a way that I would be uncomfortable with.
Wolfe: I have a little creature named Moon. He's rad. A black cat. I saw him on the side of a gnarly street, we made eye contact and I was like, MY CAT. He has huge orange eyes and there was an orange moon that night. I thought he was a girl and would put this pink fabric on him and call him princess. Then I took him to get "spayed" and they brought him right back out and looked at me like I was an idiot and told me that she was a neutered he.
Chair: Pet peeves?
Wolfe: Having roommates.
Chair: Favorite mythological creature.
Wolfe: I read about this wild hunter named Atalanta in this little book "Heroes and Monsters of Greek Myth." She was abandoned as a child and raised by bears. She was like a smart, feral goddess. Metal.
Chair: What makes you a hermit and what do you do that makes you the best hermit that you can be?
Wolfe: Being ok with being a hermit is the first step
Chair: Do you have any tattoos and what was your mindset when you got them? Wolfe: I do. They're like jewelry forever. One is a tribute to my friend (and one of my favorite artists) Steve Vanoni. He ran an art collective called HorseCow that I spent a lot of time with. He paints these huge, colorful pieces with mouths and trains in them. I had him paint a small mouth for my arm. I also have part of a Sylvia Plath poem on me and the word "hermit" in Russian (appropriate).
Chair: Is one life enough for you or are you hoping to come back as something else?
Wolfe: One is enough.
Chair: What was the writing process like for 'Apokalypsis'?
Wolfe: Natural… I had some time traveling and being unemployed and was reading a lot and getting inspired… So I would write a song and work it out with my bandmates by playing it live, then we recorded the album over about a week in a studio.
Chair: You have a reputation for being a bit gloomy, so would it be too much to ask for a joke from you? Please.