Running with the pack... had a chance to speak with American Wolves Nikki Zell and Rob Lundy just after their first stop on tour.
A mystical creature one feared and revered both by old and young alike. Folklore of old pronounces a level of unity, courage, loyalty, strength and success. Tales have been told among the many nations and historical patterns through the ages and here they are, a pack, hungry, growling, and ready to bring your heart and soul into American Wolves rock n roll!
American Wolves have certainly been crossing the boundaries of rock and pop as they leave their scent trail along the way. Fans are growing daily, and the numbers continue to escalate. Calling Philadelphia, Pa home their sound is fresh, their lyrics true, the band stands for a variety of colours collectively that run tight. They are a reverent bunch and as their pack grows in legions it seems to spur on this magical force that draws you into their sound and bites down hard so you don't ever want to let go.
They are young, they've come a long ways and still have room to develop and feel their way among the worlds of rock n roll. Not accepting boundaries is probably the largest ordeal of truth for freedom to be what and who you are is American and the loyalty of a pack is the wolf... together these band of mates Rod Pires, Nikki Zell, Rob Lundy, and Tyler Blinn are American Wolves.
Song River: We use the internet for everything nowadays. We can buy our clothes, books, music, order our food, heck even stream our film favorites... and 'shop' for our band mates. Tell me how does one go about shopping band mates?
Rob - It was quite an extensive process between myself, Rod and our manager. We discovered Tyler through his YouTube covers, specifically his rendition of Eminem's "Rap God" (which recently broke 1 million views). As for Nikki, our manager found her through Facebook after seeing pictures of her performing solo at a music festival.
SR: Any advice both sides can offer to musicians looking for others and for musicians putting themselves out there to be connected?
Nikki - From personal experience, social media plays a huge part for connecting with other musicians. If it weren't for social media, I wouldn't be in American Wolves. Networking in person is also super important. I'm lucky enough to live in Philly which has a huge local and national thriving music scene. Playing lots of shows, supporting other artists by going to their shows, collaborating and songwriting with other artists, going to industry events, and much more is extremely vital to get connected with others.
Rob - When you find the right people, you just know. It felt like four puzzle pieces coming together when I met and jammed with Nikki & Tyler for the first time.
SR: All of you hail from a variety of different locations- where is home for each of you, where you grew up mostly?
Rob - Our singer Rod was born in São Paulo, Brazil and moved to Rhode Island with his mother & three brothers when he was 12. I met him when we were both 18 at a party and now we both live together in Providence, RI (where I'm from) and float back and forth in between there and Philly when necessary.
Nikki - I was born and raised in a small town outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tyler grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and has recently relocated to the east coast so that the band can be together more often. He floats back and forth between RI and Philly.
SR: Tell me how did your homelife/upbringing lead you to choose your desire to play in a band?
Nikki - I grew up in a musical family - my dad, aunts, and extended family playing in bands together and whatnot - so I never knew any different. My entire family has always been so supportive of me pursuing a career in music. My parents are both diligent, hard-working people who instilled the values of working hard and obtaining your dreams from a young age.
Rob - My dad always took me to concerts at a young age - the first one ever was New Found Glory and Goldfinger playing an outdoor show in Providence probably sometime around 2001. I think those experiences shaped my young mind and left a lasting impression on me. That same year I ended up getting my first guitar for Christmas and the rest is history.
SR: Home base for the band is Philly? If so, why did you chose Philadelphia to be home base for you as the rock band and do you all actually live there permanently now?
Nikki - Philly is becoming one of the best music scene cities in the country. Most of us were living on the east coast when the band formed and I've lived here all of my life so it made sense to make Philadelphia our band base for now. We float back and forth between Providence, RI, and Philly.
SR: How have you found stationing yourself in Philly to be advantageous?
Nikki - I'm very hooked into the local scene so the band has many fellow music friends, connections, etc. in this area. In terms of location, it's a great place to be positioned on the east coast. We're close to NYC which we frequent for press. We're also close to major cities for shows and touring opportunities.
SR: In the opening vocals of your first single/video release "Part of Me" I couldn't help but hear at the beginning a touch of Enrique Iglesias come from Rod's voice.
Rob - (laughed) I haven't heard that one before! We certainly draw influence from all genres of music whether it be rock, pop, hip-hop and much more.
SR: However, as the song quickly progressed the sound of AW all of the sudden took in all of the personalities of the band as a whole. You've really created quite a diverse line-up.
Rob and Nikki - Thank you! That has always and will continue to be our intention.
SR: Climbing out and standing true seems to be the buzz in the rock industry now... climbing out of the saccharin masses.
Nikki - First off, I determine the word/term "saccharin" to mean fake or synthetic. However, I don't think it's possible to judge the authenticity of an artist or their music in such a black and white way. There's more to an artist or band than their genre - which is why we as a band try our best to be open minded and pursue growth wherever possible.
SR: Compare saccharin to raw sugar. (metaphorically)
Nikki - They're both sugar. They both taste sweet. The only difference is some people prefer one to the other.
SR: Your EP is spinning... which song in particular as a band do you all love performing live off your album?
Rob - It's different for everyone, but our unreleased song "Out Of Our Minds" is a favorite among all of us.
SR: This question is for Nikki.
Nikki how do you put up with a bunch of guys all the time? LOL! Seriously, you know the girls in your audiences are going to be very curious as to what it is like traveling, practicing, performing with a bunch of guys. What is your relationship like with the guys in the band?
Nikki - Growing up, I tended to gravitate towards being one of the boys because I always understood and related to guys more than girls. So being in a band with dudes is fairly natural and easy for me. In general and on tour, I'm basically band mom since I'm the only female figure. Thick skin, a strong stomach, and an open mind is necessary. Rod, Rob, and Tyler are true gentlemen toward me. They always have my back. It's like having three older brothers. I believe a band can be more powerful when you add a woman into the mix - both male and female genders working side by side together as equals is a beautiful thing.
SR: Finally what is it you see down the road?
Nikki - Our goal was to release our first single and follow that up with a sick tour - which ended up being Highway to HellYeah Tour with Escape the Fate and Get Scared. As far as the future, we have many upcoming plans which you will just have to wait to see.