Interview: Chelsea Wolfe Talks Metal Screams and Ghostly Visions
When we interviewed Chelsea Wolfe, for our Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock issue (See page 46), we discussed several topics, including the supernatural, ghosts, and magick.
Unfortunately, due to space constraints, we couldn’t include all of the interview. But that’s what the Internet is for! Read what she has to say below!
REVOLVER Your music, while not “hard rock” or “metal” per se, resonates with a lot of fans of heavier music. Why do you think that is?
CHELSEA WOLFE Around the time my first album, The Grime and the Glow, came out, I did a cover of a Burzum song, just for fun, then put it up on YouTube and forgot about it. Writer Brandon Stosuy picked up on it and posted about it so that ended up being the first time a lot of people heard about me. Generally I sing about reality and the two sides to any story, and sometimes that can get pretty heavy in subject. I’m into and influenced by everything from old country to trip-hop to metal.
What are some of your favorite metal bands or albums, and how have they influenced your own music?
Black Sabbath is top of the list for me when it comes to metal and rock bands. I adore Ozzy’s voice and they have so many good songs. Gaahl-era Gorgoroth, Motörhead, and Metallica are also up there. Also, my friends’ bands Russian Circles and Deafheaven are both killing it right now and they’re both so good live. I love a good metal scream, like in Slayer’s “Angel of Death,” Pink Floyd’s “Careful with that Axe Eugene” and Gorgoroth’s “Of Ice and Movement.”
Do you believe in the supernatural?
I acknowledge the spirit realm in my own way and it doesn’t seem strange for me to imagine that there is a spiritual world coexisting within and alongside the physical world. I believe that the amount of the supernatural you experience depends on how much energy you put towards it.
Do you believe in the Devil? If so, what form does he, or she, take? If not, why not?
The devil and demons are something I explore sometimes in a distorted way. Most often I approach them as characters, or something that comes to you in dreams. You know when you’ve stayed up for a couple days straight and your emotions are running high and your vision starts to get blurred and you can’t think straight? That’s when you start to see demons.
Have you ever seen a ghost or otherwise encountered one?
I’ve told this story before, but when I was a kid I had a keyboard that I would record song ideas with, and one time, something recorded a song on there for me. I had this idea I that I’d started working on, a simple four-note piano pattern that I gave up on and left alone for a long time. When I finally went back and listened again, it had been formed into this dark and beautiful piano piece, very strange and very sparse, but beautiful. It was nothing I could have come up with myself as I am not and was never a very good piano player, unless I was possessed I suppose. I took a recording of it with my little hand-held recorder to save. I found it again a few years ago and put it onto my computer. It gives me chills every time I hear it.
Do you believe in Heaven and Hell? If so, what form do you think they take? And which one do you think you’re going to?
Whatever put us here on this Earth has a peaceful place for us to go when we die. Whether it’s back into nature or a spiritual world. Those who spend their lives doing evil and harming everything and everyone around them will experience a self-haunting when they die. Or maybe they will come back continually as a housefly, destined to live a short and meaningless life over and over. I don’t like to define my beliefs on the afterlife or such matters publicly because I haven’t fully defined it yet for myself obviously and maybe I will change my mind eventually.
Have you had any experiences with fortune-telling, divination, curses, or other forms of magick?
Human energy can be pretty magical. Being around a lot of people can be overwhelming for me some days if I’m feeling especially susceptible to it, because at a show I’ll meet so many people and feel all of their energies and it’s a lot to take in. Growing up, I stayed at my grandmother’s house a lot after she moved back from this mountain retreat where she learned aromatherapy and Reiki, which I think is more about being a vessel to transport life force energy into another person. She practiced Reiki on me and would read my aura to find which essential oils were right for me and then she’d make me tinctures. I’m glad I was exposed to this sort of thing at a young age because it opened me up to something different. I wasn’t raised in any religion or belief system but was always curious to learn new things.
What’s your astrological sign, and do you think it fits you and your life well?
My bandmate Ben would say that Earth wobbles so astrology is bullshit. I don’t know much about it myself, other than astrology-inclined folks saying, “Oohhh, of course you are” when they find out I’m a Scorpio.