We got a chance to sit down and chat with one of the areas hottest young bands, Den of Wolves. The band consists of Drummer Savien Davis, 29, Bassist/Singer Tristen England, 22, and Guitarist Khalil England, 19, and they have been growing their fan base and are poised for a big 2017.
Let’s start by talking about how you all came together?
Tristen: We were in an older band, thats how we met Drummer and we jammed out for awhile. It was pretty cool but eventually that fell through and we didn’t have a singer and were just like ‘oh, what should we do now? You guys wanna keep doing and do a three piece?’
We all agreed to keep going as the three of us and then were like ok who is going to sing.
And they were like ‘you.’ and I was like ‘uhhh.’
So we kept going with the three piece lineup for awhile and it was pretty cool and we liked it. So that’s where we are now. Also brothers.
Plans for 2017?
Tristen: Going to start tracking our first full length record soon and have it out hopefully by the end of the year. No track listing and title yet set in stone. Plus play shows everywhere.
Tristen: We have played at Amos’ a bunch of times and it’s real scary as a local band to see places just dropping off the map. Places that are well know and solidified in the community closing because of development. Just like that they can disappear.
There are a lot of places that we love playing for different reasons. Like we played at the Station. Bar none a fun set.
Khalil: And that was just a fun set in general. As far as best sound Ground Zero in South Carolina or the Milestone.
There are a ton of local and talented musicians here. Who do you guys like to see?
Khalil: Fear until Fury is one of the bands I would consider our bands best friends. How often we play together. Death of August is another band we play around with a lot. Reason Define are a good Charlotte band. Cherbough Way out of Gastonia.
Tristen: These venues are one of the few things here keeping the local music scene going. And with local showcases you just put on a whole bunch of bands and musicians that people might not know and then you get people saying ‘oh this band is cool or that band was awesome.’ Amos’ used to do that a lot.
The Underground is trying to pick up some of the slack now that Amos’ is gone. But it’s all the bands in the region have to group together and say ‘hey come out and support us but also these venues and keep the scene alive.
You guys are all still pretty young. What kind of influences shaped your music and gives you inspiration?
Savien: Me growing up as a child and playing drums and being around church i just listened to local drummers but now studying it Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta) is one I listen to a lot. Other than him I don’t really listen to many others unless these guys throw something at me.
Tristen: For me inspiration was always from bands my dad put in front of me. Like Earth Wind and Fire, Brothers Johnson. Then I started finding bands I liked myself like Linkin Park and Slipknot and those kind of helped me solidify the groundwork for the style I wanted to play.
Khalil: For me sine I recently started playing guitar its mostly what I hear now a days. As far as intricate music is concerned guys like Jake Bowen, Randy Rhodes, guys like that that help pave the way for guitarists now a days.
Tristen: Sometimes I like when we are in the studio and are recording a track and might make a mistake hear but then we realize it doesn’t sound band and it gives you texture. I like to take inspiration from stuff like that.
Savien: That was pretty dope.
Tristan: It was us and just guys sitting around and playing and jamming. Then one of our first gigs was at the Evening Muse open mic. Which is an awesome way to get yourself out there. And we’ve seen old video of that performance. That night in the moment you’re like ‘ this was great, but you see old video and are like ‘oh my god what are we doing?’
Khalil: We looked real dumb on stage.
Tristen: But in the moment we thought we sounded great.
What else do you guys do?
Savien: Im pretty much a family man. I always have my daughter when Im not with the band. That and working.
Khalil: Right now I am kind of doing all the art for the band. Designing stuff like making logos and pretty much learning as much as I can to put more into this.
Tristen: Most of what I do is work and sleep and eat. Things I need to do to survive.
Places to check out around Charlotte. And Go!
Tristen: My answer usually for that is The Evening Muse because its such a chill place. You can go and listen to music, go to the bar, talk to great people. Ive met so many talented people at the Muse and its just a great place to meet and network.
Khalil: It’s not an intimidating venue.
Savien: I have actually seen people form bands there. Before I met these guys I would go with the old singer and we would play our two songs they let you do and people would start playing with folks they met there. Great place to network for sure.
Right now all our music is physical CDs you can purchase. Website is under construction. Easiest way to contact us is through social media. We are always on there.
Do you have a favorite song on the album “Castles?”
Khalil: For me the one I like performing the most is ‘Panic’ but the one that came out the best in my opinion was ‘Reaction.’
Tristen: ‘Reaction’ is really good, ‘Panic’ is my favorite track.
Savien: I like ‘ Buried Secrets’ on there.
How have you guys grown as a band?
Tristen: The music scene has done a great job of pushing us to be a better band. Like I said we thought we weren’t bad before but I remember the first time we saw Fear Until Fury and we were like ‘oh my god we are doing all the things wrong.. We see other bands and they are all trying to do their part to keep putting back into the Charlotte music scene.
After the first band fell apart we did become tighter knit and go out and see other bands together. We would go party, hang out and head bang a little bit. But you know the scene is teaching us to be a better, friendlier band.
Talk me through the song writing process briefly.
Tristen: Writing proses usually starts with Khalil and Savien coming up with something and build on that and the I come in and I put in my bass stuff and then once that is laid out Khalil and I say lets put some lyric to it and that is when we take inspiration from past and current experiences, things in the media or things we see that we like. Maybe inspiration from a movie or anything close to our hearts that we think we can talk about.
Khalil: For me its kind of a process I have to be completely inspired or influenced by something or else I am just up at 3am working on my skills.
Savien: Me. I mean they bring these crazy riffs to practice and I have to try and understand where he is coming from. Im kind of like…I mean his riffs … I try and change up my style so no song really sounds the same. It’s rough for me to answer that because I’m coming from a different direction but its a great experience.
For those who haven’t heard you, how would you describe your music?
Tristen: There are a lot of fantastic bands here. What kind of makes us stand apart is we take inspiration from all over. That is why we call ourselves and alternative-metal band. At our core I do believe we are a metal band, a really heavy band, but we do take from older rock-n-roll and some of the grooves from gospel and hardcore punk. We mix it to see what we can get to come out. That usually in the end brings us something unique. The EP has five songs on it but you can listen to it and they sound radically different but you can still tell its the same band.
Savien: Our songs can have you doing this, I know readers can see this (jumping motion) or have you just chilling and be laid back.
Thomas Muhammad (The band’s manager): Watching these guys grow.
You know like Tristan said when they first started out, they started out just having fun in a small two bedroom apartment, blowing the neighbors out with how loud they were and then they finally formed a five piece band and broke up due to internal issues.
But from that point until now. Their growth has been incredible. You know like when we lost the singer, everyone in the group was like thats the end of the band. But they Tristan started singing and we had no idea that what we needed was already in the group. He went out on a limb and started doing something he never did before and it was rough at first.
Tristen: Its rough now, what do you mean? ::laughs::
Thomas: But now the chemistry is great. No arguments no strife. These guys are like brothers. These two (Tristan and Khalil) are actually brothers but Savien is like part of the family. They have a good working systems now. But when they go to shows, I can’t believe this is the same band from two or three years ago.
Check out Den of Wolves online here.