I had the privilege of interviewing Steve Cobucci, vocals and guitar with Wolves at the Gate. His bands new album “Types & Shadows” comes out today on Solid State Records. Their new record shows a shift for the band lyrically and musically. Their new music is heavier and more convicting. The lyrics make listeners think and analyze their lives.
It is always great speaking with Steve. He is a humble guy that’s passionate for spreading the truth of Jesus through heavy music.
Rob: So what made this new record different from previous releases?
Steve: It definitely was like every time you make a record. As we get into the recording process, we’re already thinking about the next record. People often think that when you are making a record, the creative process is going on in the studio, when actually most of the creative process is prior to that. You are recapturing that past creative process in the studio. So, for us there is always a dynamic thought process shift while we are recording. We then come out of the studio thinking about how we want to do things differently and better than the last time we recorded. Part of the creative process for the next future album comes from the one we just did.
There has definitely been a good progressive shift in the band but I think it was an even bigger and more dynamic one from “V x V” to “Types & Shadows” There is a realization that we are constantly growing as musicians. It’s funny the songs that we made on this record were the songs that we wanted to make eight years ago but were just not skilled enough to get to that point. I think we definitely feel like we have finally gotten to where we want to be and can’t wait to grow from this place where we are now. We have kind of abandoned all thoughts of what is current per se and how people define terms. There is a way that people define heavy music but we don’t agree with that. The scope is so much bigger than what is defined.
On this record we were able to get more and really the hardest of what we have been trying to do for the last eight years. Learning about gear and tone and learning how to use our ears and voice and then put it all together has been critical in this album.
Rob: So which life experiences influence your new music?
Steve: Well, one thing is that I got married right after we put out “V x V”. It’s funny; I always took music very seriously and when I was single spent all my time writing music because that’s what I love doing. I had less time for writing after I got married because I wanted to spend time with my wife. I had to become even more focused in my thinking about what I wanted to do with music because every record could be our last. We are not promised anything; we are not promised anybody likes what we are doing; we are not promised that people are going to buy it.
I think getting married really made me think more. If my wife is going to be okay with me spending time working on music and not spending time with her, my invested time in the music must be focused productive time. I want to make sure that it is really music and art that we are putting out. My wife has listened to every demo that I have worked on and her thoughts are important to me. It’s nice to have an extra set of ears listening to what I am creating in the studio. Her critiques are honest which is what I need.
Rob: Where does the title of your new record come from?
Steve: Types and Shadows is a theological term but we don’t mean it in that exact sense. Basically types and shadows is everything God was doing before sending his son Jesus to come into this world to show man’s need for a savior. This album is taking a look at my life and taking a look at the way other people live their lives.
This album takes modern thought on human experiences and then looks back on the fact that a savior was destined to this world 2000 years ago and how that affects us even today. I’m 30 years old living in 2016. I still needed that savior to come and do his work of salvation for me that’s even impacting me to this day if that makes sense.
Rob: It makes total sense.
Steve: Artistically the title is related to the fact that all these songs are stories. All these songs are written in a story format. They are all types and shadows I have realized and then try to personify through musical imagery.
Rob: What types of stories?
Steve: For example, the last track on the record is called Great Bigger and it is the story of a man who wakes up every day and his whole world revolves around his own thinking and self. He thinks he is singing to build his kingdom, but what he comes to realize is that he has just been digging his own grave the whole time that he will one day rest and die in. At the climax of the song he comes to the realization that even though he has dug his own grave he doesn’t have to lay in it.
That is all imagery coming through the gospel and how we all live. We all live digging our own graves with sin and yet God is willing to stand before the host of grave diggers and say, “Though you dug your own grave, I’m willing to lay down in your own grave for you so that you don’t have to.” It is then that you can enjoy life and life with him..
I hope that people listen to the songs and hear the stories and think. I want people to think when they listen to our record, not just get this instant gratification and say, “That track was cool and that part was great,” and be done with it. We want to give people layers of things to enjoy and to listen to again and again and hear something different lyrically or in the message each time. We want listeners to think about the reality and truth of the gospel.
Rob: What is your favorite song of the new album?
Steve: That’s tough, obviously, but as a band I think I think our favorite song was “Slowly.” It just captures everything that everybody in our band is into. I guess for sure it has got all the dynamics we love in music and lyrically is probably the one that is most identifiable for everyone collectively. So yes definitely I think that’s it. I would pick that also because I think everybody else loves it so much too.
Rob: What is your vision for the band?
Steve: It’s tough because we have never been a band that’s very good at looking to the future and planning it. I would say one vision for the band upon which we would all agree to is that we can’t wait to make a better record than the last. We want to continue to grow and be creative as long as we have an audience and are able to work together.
Our vision and hope is for people to be able to hear the Gospel, the reality of who we are as people – that we are not right before God naturally and we have done much to deserve a very awful demise but that’s not the end of the story. There is so much beauty in the fact that God will extend mercy towards us and offer a way for us to have a life and salvation in him. That’s who and what we want people to see.
There is nothing about us that people should focus their attention on apart from the fact that a great grace has been offered to us and completed for us. We want people to hear what God has done and he is planning to do for those that come to him. That would be the music and the message that’s our vision.
Rob: What advice do you have for up and coming musician?
Steve: My biggest advice would be, “Honesty in everything.” Very few people can actually be honest in their music. I think a lot of people want to appear to be honest but are not. There are a lot of people who are very disingenuous trying to be transparent because that’s what sells a lot of times, but it just becomes a gimmick. While singing about the Gospel, I can be transparent about who I am and what I am and knowing that I am flawed and so flawed. I don’t glorify that; I don’t praise that but I’m able to embrace it because I know that I’m fully forgiven despite who I am and what I have done. My account has been cleaned white because of this awesome work of God through Christ. But even just for anybody who is an artist, honesty is so important because I think so many people are trying to be someone and something they are not.
Rob: Describe music in three words?
Steve: Feelings, thoughts, and expression. There is an aspect where you feel music and there is an aspect where you think about music and there is an aspect of it is an expression.