Weird Wolves is the perfect name for the Austin duo of Ava Gore and Raphael (Raf) Colantonio. Neither one is an Austin native (but who is these days?), nor are either of them even originally from the US. Colantonio is a Frenchman who moved to Austin back in 2005 to expand his game company Arkane Studios, while Gore came from England by way of Santa Barbara, CA. The duo met when Colantonio was creating music for a video game he was working on and asked Gore to sing on a track. They hit it off musically and the rest is history.
Well, not actually. The band started off as an acoustic act but, over the last few years, has morphed into the gritty, dark, electro-goth band they are today. If you happened to catch them at SXSW in 2019, you may not recognize the duo playing this week. Both Gore and Colantonio are multi-instrumentalists, contributing bass, guitar, and vocals to their songs. Each will play a different instrument in their music videos. Their influences vary from Gore’s love of Patsy Cline and Ray Charles, to Colantonio’s 80s post-punk upbringing with Sisters of Mercy and Joy Division.
“I think the first band that really, really hit me right in the chest was Sisters of Mercy,” Colantinio says. “I was into The Cure, Joy Division, those kinds of guys, and then later on trended toward Marilyn Manson and System of a Down. So it’s kind of always dark stuff that is a little more ‘sophisticated dark’, I would say.”
Appropriately, their favourite place to play in Austin is Elysium, a local club known as a home for the goth and industrial music scene (writer’s note: I’ve been dancing there and can confirm its greatness). Ultimately, neither of them likes to consider just one genre when defining themselves or their influences.
“I think it’s always hard to pigeonhole the band,” acknowledges Colantonio.
Weird Wolves has worked with SXSW alumni Battle Tapes and Austin-based producer Choose Hellth, both of whom also come from a background in video games.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where the name comes from, “We’re both weird and we both like wolves,” Gore says matter-of-factly. “It’s as simple as that.”
Their motivation for playing at SXSW again this year is simple: acquiring new fans.
“Our fan base is mostly in Europe as of right now,” says Gore, “and to just gain a fan base in Austin so that when we play, we have a bigger audience.”
As for Colantonio, “having fun” is priority numero uno. But he’s also hoping to gain new followers.
“Maybe some people that want to put us on their playlist or anything that can boost our popularity.”
Looking forward, the band is gearing up to release a new single and video entitled “Nightmares” on their new record label Out of Line. As for the video, Gore tells me, “It was a lot of fun, but also stressful because of how intense it was. But it fits with the song theme of nightmares.” Their music can also be found on the soundtrack to Colantonio’s newest game Weird West, out on Xbox, PS4, and Steam March 31.
Weird Wolves plays at The Iron Bear on March 16 at 1am. Watch the full video interview below:
By Stephanie Robinson (Stefny! at the Disco)