Favorite s**t: CHELSEA WOLFE on archery, oracle cards, cape dresses and more | Revolver

Favorite s**t: CHELSEA WOLFE on archery, oracle cards, cape dresses and more

Gothic singer-songwriter shares the personal stories behind the things she loves
Chelsea Wolfe favorite shit lead 1600x900, Kristin Cofer
Chelsea Wolfe
photograph by Kristin Cofer

Revolver has teamed with Chelsea Wolfe for an exclusive vinyl colorway of She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She. Only 500 made — order yours.

Chelsea Wolfe feels reborn — that much is clear from the opening moments of "Whispers in the Echo Chamber," the first track off the artist's new album She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She.

In it, a bass-quaked bit of industrial beat-scaping burbles beneath hushed, hyper-personal murmurings about "bathing in the blood of who I used to be." While ultimately reflective of Wolfe emerging into a healthy new era, it also hints at the messiness of her journey up to this point.

"It's been really painful and … really joyful," Wolfe explains of the personal and artistic renewal she's experienced through the making of the album, which is her first on Loma Vista Recordings.

"It's kind of a badass image to think about, bathing in the blood of the past self, but it's also really fucked up and visceral.

"I very much feel like I'm in the rebirth process, and I'm actively taking steps to move to a more aligned place in my life and career."

Helping guide her down this path, it turns out, are her past and future selves. Wolfe reveals that hypnosis therapy has allowed her to foster a dialogue between all versions of herself, which has improved her corporeal present.

"I've had actual experiences during these sessions where I [encountered] either a younger or an older version of myself," she says.

"I'm interested in the ways that you can reach back to your past self to offer guidance, or how your future self can reach back to your current self."

She also adds that those internal voices haven't always been so supportive. She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She notably marks the first solo release from Wolfe since she got sober following the tour cycle for 2019's Birth of Violence.

This feat is hinted at a few times throughout the album, with new songs like "The Liminal" presenting a figure clouded by negative thoughts and uncertainty. Eventually, Wolfe recognized the need to leave this unhealthy stasis.

"Before, the nebulous nature of time, and my boundaries in general, had a lot to do with this sort of blur of alcohol," she explains. "Now that I'm more clear-headed, I'm actively working on where my personal limits are, and how I want to treat people and how I want to be treated by other people."

She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She reunites Wolfe with longtime musical partner, multi-instrumentalist Ben Chisholm, as well as drummer Jess Gowrie and guitarist Bryan Tulao.

The musicians converged upon TV on the Radio member Dave Sitek's Los Angeles home studio for tracking, and while Wolfe is careful not to characterize the sessions as having been "easy," they all came together to deliver one of Wolfe's most staggeringly inventive releases yet.

"I learned a lot about communication through this record, and more so my downfall in that area," Wolfe explains. "I had to learn to follow my instincts and speak them aloud, and go forward with what I needed to."

In practice, this meant stripping away a "traditional rock sound" in favor of a synth-and-breakbeat approach that alludes to the grittiness of Nineties trip-hop.

It also meant Wolfe stood firm when the initial mix wasn't quite up to her standards, leading the artist towards extra collaborations with Grammy-winning producer Shawn Everett (The Killers, Adele).

After exiting the liminal with plenty of purpose, and a dynamic new album to boot, Wolfe graciously invited Revolver to her home in the mountains of Northern California to reveal a few of the totems that have kept her from falling back into the void.


I'm essentially in the mountains of Northern California. I feel lucky to live here. Since the pandemic started, I've been home more, and I work from home a lot. I have my writing room, and I write and record ideas here. But it's nice to take a break and get outside.

Shooting arrows became a way for me to do that. I set up the basic hay-bale target in my yard during the pandemic and started shooting arrows. It's a way for me to process thoughts and allow ideas that I've been working on come together while I'm focusing on this target.

It's simple meditation, really. My bandmate Ben's dad actually makes these longbows. That's how it got passed on to me.


The Wild Unknown Archetypes Deck & Guidebook by Kim Krans
Archetypes have proven to be very healing for me. I think that when you're feeling lost, archetypes can be a guide to cling to.

It's also very personal, because you start to find that archetype within yourself as you spend time with it. The forest card from this deck has been my favorite for a long time… But the flame is the one I'm holding up in this photo.

I don't know how to say this without sounding cheesy, but I'm reminding myself to keep that fire lit — to keep going no matter what. When things get hard, giving up can start to feel tempting.

There were times when depression was reaching for me, but I was like, "I'm not going to let it get me right now." I know that's not always something you can choose, but I really felt this pull that was different than others I'd experienced before.


Guild Guitar
This was my dad's guitar. He played music in local bands when I was growing up.

He and my stepmom had a band called El Dorado, and they would open up for acts that would come through Northern California, like Trisha Yearwood. His influence is obviously what got me going.

When I was a kid, I was just writing poetry. One day I wandered into his home studio and asked if he could help me make a poem into a song.

I would play that guitar when I was a kid, and eventually when I started getting serious about music, he gifted it to me. It's from the Seventies, and it plays nicely. I've written a lot of songs on it.


She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She Vinyl Test Pressing
Getting your test pressing is always exciting because there's always this feeling of completion. This one just felt especially meaningful, because it's our first album with our new record label, Loma Vista, who have been super supportive.

I'm not a total vinyl junkie, but I do have a record player. It's something old, donated by a family member, and I found the speakers on Craigslist ages ago.

I'll put a blanket on the floor, lie next to the fire and listen to a new record; but I don't sit and listen to vinyl a ton, if I'm being honest.


Taschen Witchcraft Book and Angel's Egg DVD
Taschen did a series of books called the Library of Esoterica, and they asked me to contribute a short essay to their Witchcraft volume.

In that book there is a Marjorie Cameron painting called The Black Egg that I felt really drawn to. When I thought about why, it was because maybe a year before I had been introduced to this '80s anime called Angel's Egg.

It's this really interesting film with this girl who's protecting this mysterious, ominous egg. You don't know exactly what's inside of it, but you can tell that it's important.

I got attached to [the idea of an] egg being representative of the new possibilities that I was trying to create for myself. My personal egg was my creativity, my authenticity, my sanity, my health.


Chandler Limited REDD
Dave [Sitek] let me borrow his. It's definitely a lot nicer than any mic that I own. It has this nice, grainy, high-end edge.

I really wanted to have an ASMR-like quality on a few songs, so I was very much up in the mic, trying to capture all of those little sounds and breaths.

When I was recording the vocals to "Dusk," I actually didn't realize that one of the tubes in the microphone was dying, but I ended up getting attached to the sound. There's a crumbling, raw texture to those vocals. I felt like it fit with the energy of that song.


Fetal Skull and Two Red Flowers by Jackie Dunn Smith
Jackie Dunn Smith is a painter, and also a really beautiful tattoo artist. I have a couple of her pieces. I really feel a dark, divine, feminine energy from them, and a strength.

There's obviously some kind of hardship — you know, a dead baby on your shoulder, whatever this represents — but there's still a peacefulness and beauty to it.

I lost my cat in April, so sometimes I think about my little dead cat on my shoulder, guiding me — in a sweet way, though. I really miss her.


SOMA Laboratory Pulsar-23

This was something that Dave Sitek turned us onto. You can create beats with it, as well as drones, soundscapes and melodic lines.

It's just a really interesting instrument; it became the real star of the show on this album. It made it onto a few songs, like "Dusk," "Unseen World" and "House of Self Undoing."

We got one so that we can sort of continue the work; Ben is basically the musical director for the live show, and he's been adding more of the Pulsar here and there.

Antique Sand Timer
I got it at a thrift store ages ago. I've always been enamored by sand timers, and their energy. I use it as a writing tool.

If I'm feeling any sort of resistance towards working ... I'll just turn the sand timer over and be like, "OK, for this hour I'm going to work on this thing."

A helpful thing for me has been to just begin — just jump into something, even if it's messy. That sounds so simple, but I think we sometimes forget that that's how it works with a lot of things in life.


Designed by Jenni Hensler
Jenni Hensler and I have been collaborating for a long time. Every album I'll send her a list of inspirations — keywords, themes of the album, colors, textures — and she creates a collection for me to wear.

I bring them on tour and use them in music videos. She's just a total wizard when it comes to styling and costume design. For this record, [the wardrobe look] was also inspired by Angel's Egg.

I wanted everything to be minimal, interchangeable, a little bit sheer. Long, flowing silhouettes. She created this interchangeable cape/dress that's really interesting. I've been able to wear it a lot of different ways.