I have been following Night Wolf’s creator Ryan Wilcox for…
a long time and he always provides sensational, immersive music full of atmosphere, beauty and mysticism. Having released a couple of songs recently, he is making steps and plans for the coming months. After traveling around the world – continuing to do so – there is no stopping the Night Wolf juggernaut. Not only travelogues and music but a lot of great news and unveilings are afoot – which is what the music world needs. Rather than try to describe and assess it all myself: it would be much more fitting the man himself explain it. Night Wolf looks at the artists that mean most to him – there is a LONG list – and why travel is so important.
Hey Ryan. How has your week been? What have you been getting up to? For those who are new to your work: can you introduce yourself to us?
My name is Ryan Wilcox. I produce under the name of Night Wolf and I am from Luton, U.K. (born In Milton Keynes). Currently working with The Music Jar (www.themusicjar.co.uk ) under a non-exclusive deal: I stock a selection of music for use in T.V./game/film & radio (opportunities). I have produced music for film trailer The Essex Boys Retribution – which was released to Netflix – music for the U.K. government and officially remixed Mark Morrison. I have also had my work used at other synch libraries such as Sky Rocket Records, Gung Ho Music; SumSerious Music and The Cutting Edge.
Having collaborated with many up-and-coming artists I have released 5 E.P.s (Watts the Time Mr. Wolf, Moonlight E.P.; The Co Lab Vol. 1, Nightmare Before Christmas and soon-to-be-released: Learning Pace of Travel. I have featured on a wide range of single releases and compilations.
You play around Hip-Hop and Electronica but incorporate so many genres. How would you define your music? What attracted you to this eclectic style and range? Do you think it allows you more creative freedom and possibility?
I started out in music playing the drums and piano: I was in various local Rock bands and produced the majority of the work. I moved into singing/songwriting from the age of twelve and have continued (to try to) enhance my skills in music production – all being self-learned.
I use little more than a laptop, a midi keyboard and headphones to produce the majority of my work – as I am not settled in one place for very long.
I would say and hope it catches different stages of my personality and feelings, in turn (hopefully) allowing others to reflect on their own. I like to think that you can either sit and think to some tracks whilst you can just have it as backing music for others. I like to experiment with many styles but it is really down to how I am feeling at the time when I create a new track and my surroundings. I would say my style is mainly Electronic – based on to how I produce the music – but it has elements of Ambient, Classical, Pop and Hip-Hop. It is always aimed more towards the use for film/game or T.V. projects – rather than trying to appeal to a more commercial use. I would like to continue to collaborate with new artists and musicians to be able to further produce new styles and influences.
I do like to work with artists with the intention of getting radio play and being commercially friendly but this is not what I am striving for in the long run. To be able to see my music alongside a story being told is by far more rewarding for me. But, of course, I will continue to try and balance my styles to be able to have commercial releases alongside stocking my tracks. I do enjoy trying to switch the main style influence with each new track I release after releasing a certain style.
I believe no one should settle for what sells and stop testing their abilities.
I love to experiment but this may also be my Achilles heel as It does not prove as easy to focus on one specific route to promoting and trying to build a fanbase in just one area. It certainly gives me my own freedom to make a track how I would like to hear it but maybe restricts its possibilities in other ways. I grew up listening to and continue to listen to – a very wide range of styles from other artists. My dad, mum and sisters all had very different tastes in music that influenced me growing up. I would like to say that I listen to and support anything that is good music; that has passion or breaks from the norm.; music that does not sound like it has been produced to a set format – just to sell to the majority of sheep who are willing to buy it. I do not have much time for clear fame-hungry, egotistical same olds who bring no originality to their art at all – other than rebranding an already -proven method someone else had success with as their own (just music that shows the artists’ personality). I am not saying that everything I produce is completely original – like it has never been heard before – but I do like to pride myself in knowing I am producing music I understand myself in better. I am trying to capture how I feel at that time so I am able to listen to it again most likely cringing in five years’ time and remember how I was feeling and where I was at that point in my life.
Good for Me is the latest track from you. Can you tell us about its creation and how you came to work with Elsadie?
Good for Me was originally a track titled The Tailsman. It was just an instrumental that I had already completed this year: I was interested to hear what it may sound like with a female singer. I have previously worked with Elsadie on track Move It On ft. J.A (video available here)
I wanted to see if she would be interested in writing to this track so I emailed her in regards and she sent me back a rough version. I think her voice goes so well with this track and she made it her own. I really enjoy how you can almost relate to the first track we worked on within Good for Me as it is like a sequel or prequel to Move It On – depending on how you want to see the glass! The track was completed in a small town in Hungary and vocals were recorded back home in Luton, England. This track will be released on upcoming E.P., Learning Pace of Travel.
Low Supply is another new song. What was the inspiration behind that and what does the song mean to you?
Low Supply is a song of frustration. I had been working with a company as a programme coordinator; traveling back and forth from Budapest to parts of Poland. I sadly lost my role due to a still unbeknown complaint about me to the Polish office by a volunteer! I am still working together with Hungary in these programmes but it was a shock to find out I no longer would work in Poland – as I had pretty much planned the rest of my year around these events; even planning on potentially moving there next year to continue the role. After a couple of days of feeling sorry for myself, I wanted to produce a track to reflect how I was feeling and for some kind of temporary escape from my own thoughts. It’s a mixture of depression and anger with an overwhelming feeling of failure whilst not knowing what the near-future now had in store. It has ominous undertones to it going along with my own thoughts! Again this song was created in hopes of it playing out to a certain scene and is now available for project download from The Music Jar.
Learning Pace of Travel is your forthcoming E.P. What tracks can we expect to find on it and what was the idea behind its title?
I titled the E.P. Learning Pace of Travel as it relates to my last year’s experiences. Learning Pace of Travel is a far more personal release that I have put out so far.
Its songs and lyrical content is a reflection of everything I have experienced during my travels and being away from ‘home’ for so long. From love to heartbreak; finding my own space and travel to money worries: it has tracks that are meant to uplift and remind you to keep your head up whilst others are more realistic in not always being a clear path to where you want to be in life. I love how I am not involved in the lyric-writing process for other artists. I send them instrumental ideas with my pre-existing own idea of what the song is about and what the subject would be. They seem to always be able to capture the underlying feel for the track: for instance, one of the tracks with AMRA being Bleeding Out Your Love was a song written by AMRA after I had sent her another instrumental that I created after a bad time in a relationship. She then sent me lyrics and we created a brand new song from it but she was able to capture what I was feeling without many words between us. The E.P. hosts eight tracks, being three extra than I usually (have released) on my previous E.P.s – with a good mix-up of styles. This is also the first of my releases where I have not only produced the music but I also have written the lyrics and sang on them too! The tracklist and artists are as follows:
- Take a Hit – Charles X – produced by Night Wolf
- Good for Me – Elsadie – produced by Night Wolf
- Bleeding Out Your Love – AMRA – produced by Night Wolf
- If I Were Too – Night Wolf
- Need That Money – MillZilla – produced by Night Wolf
- Music Is the Cure – Night Wolf
- Cindolina – AMRA – produced by Night Wolf
- Bitterness – Kite – produced by Night Wolf
(Would love for people to review this E.P.: my E.P.K. can be found one my website below. Whilst it is not ready for release just yet it is set to be released this year. You are able to stream and listen to the release on my website or you can watch and listen to a preview mix on my YouTube channel):
Night Wolf Website:
E.P. Preview Mix :
I truly hope that there is something for everyone on this E.P. and any fans of my previous releases will enjoy it whilst gaining new followers through this release.
I know you have been traveling and recording a song for each country you visited. Which country was especially memorable and what have you learned from your travels?
I have learned a lot from traveling and living away from home.
I have become a more open, more optimistic and certainly a less possession-orientated person! The more that I move about and have no solid base of my own the fewer belongings I have.
I have learned the importance of budgeting but have not mastered the balance yet of saving and enjoying – but this is down to my lifestyle maybe. I have enjoyed every place I have been: each has their own unique charm and each I have many fond memories of. I have learned that the world really is an amazing place to explore and I have learned that I will never end up in a nine-five desk job again. I want to continue to travel and see the world and meet new people and have new experiences.
I hate to feel uncomfortable in my surroundings but this is what makes it special (and what makes it a new experience) as you only find those once you step out of your comfort zone. I heard a saying but cannot remember the name of the person who quoted it: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable and find happiness in yourself”. I have been up to a lot since we last caught up properly. As you know, I set off last year with the idea to start recording a documentary called the Song of Travel. I have visited several countries in Europe – filming and recording for the project. It is still undergoing and I am not sure if It will have an end but the idea is to record people I meet; to a set tempo, 125B.P.M. on my little travel midi keyboard – at the end of the journey I will attempt to make one song out of all I have recorded. You can watch the completed film for England and France on my YouTube channel and can read what I get up to in my blog – which gives you a more in-depth insight to my experiences over the filming. It may be a long process to complete the full project and achieve what I would like but I am determined to complete what I set out to do. Even if there are long delays I will always come back to where I left off – this being a prime time example of needing to catch up right now! The blog will be updated A.S.A.P.! Hungary will be next and is in the editing process!
Song of Travel Blog:
How do songs come together? Do you start with a beat or tune or does it take a while for songs to coalesce?
I change the way I approach making a new track each time: sometimes starting with a beat and building from there and sometimes creating a melody and arranging before adding in other elements. If I have a good idea it usually starts to come together within the first session and I take a couple of days to go back and listen to it with fresh ears and work on it further. I tend to not mess around with a track once it has been completed – how I had hoped it to sound original and is full. I believe it to be like painting a picture: once the brush hits canvass and dries the outline for the idea cannot be changed easily. I like the feeling of knowing a track has been completed even if it has flaws. I can listen to my development through going back a few years.
I will usually create an instrumental before having lyrics and then send them to those I work with – to further the idea into a song – but I do have many songs completed the opposite way: creating around lyrics already sent to me.
I can usually hear which direction I would like to push the song within the first couple of hours and most tracks I have released commercially have been produced in one-two days – not because I am rushing them but I feel I would destroy the idea and feeling behind the song if I continue to alter and adjust after getting the main idea down. I am striving for a better sound quality for the next release. I have not had my works mastered professionally before (on my previous releases) so I would like to try and take it to the next level with sound quality. I would like the opportunity to compose with an orchestra and further my composing skills by working with other musicians; building more intense and full-bodied productions. This is something I am aiming towards for next year. I produce using only my midi keyboard, laptop and headphones whilst on the move but have produced the majority of my work like this. I had a home studio whilst living in the U.K. but sold nearly all my equipment when I decided to leave to travel again last year. I produce using Fruity Loops Studio as it is what I grew to learn and use from the revamp of my producing career in around 2012.
Which artists and musicians were important to you growing up and prominent with regards your upbringing?
My family had great taste in music and listened to their own individual taste. I grew up listening to Classical music, Rock & Roll; early Trip-Hop/Electronic music; Swing and Jazz. We grew up in the 1990s and I lived with my two slightly older sisters so this meant Backstreet Boys and Boyzone were being blasted from the walls over yonder – but they did have some good taste! I was influenced by a lot of different artists and genres of music growing up but it was not only the artists and musicians that inspired me but T.V. adverts; film scores, radio adverts and jingles caught my interest. I grew up listening to, and still listen to, many of the following artists (this will include some modern artists I listen to now as well!)
Jefferson Airplane, James Brown; Frank Sinatra, The Ink Spots; Edvard Grieg, Enya; Massive Attack, Enigma; Elvis Presley, Limp Bizkit; The Rolling Stones, Huns + Dr Beeker; Wu Tang Clan, Percy Sledge; Ike and Tina Turner; Whitesnake, Big Pun; Linkin Park, Ray Charles; Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman; Sheep Dog and Wolf, Halse; Jimi Hendrix, Nat King Cole; Joe Cocker, David Arnold; Mozart, Ferenc; Chopin, Brahms; Bach, Beethoven; Handel, Clint Mansell; Akira Yamaoka, Jeremy Soule; Hans Zimmer, Cypress Hill; Leftfield, Jim Johnston; Ohio Players, Cherry Poppin Daddies; Aphex Twin, Dizzie Rascal; Lana Del Rey; Etta James, Rage Against the Machine; Outkast, Roots Manuva; Sworn Enemy, Jurrasic 5; Andre Rieu, Del The Funky Homosapien; Peggy Lee, David Bowie; Slipknot, The Who; Underworld, Diplo; Skrillex, Knife Party; Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers; Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre…
Method Man, Redman; Depeche Mode, Pantera; Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Queen; Union Underground, Orbital; Bjork, Kate Bush; Kings of Leon, Stereophonics; Motorhead; Royce Da 59, Necro; Nas, The Verve; Carl Orff, Leon McAuliff; Primal Scream, The Jezabels; Faithless, Action Bronson; Aerosmith, Iron Maiden; Tenacious D, TroyBoi; Fatboy Slim; Destiny’s Child; En Vogue; Timberland; Gorillaz; Biggie Smalls, Tupac; The Beatles, Son Lux; Johnny Cash, Mos Def; N.W.A.; A Tribe Called Quest, Danger Doom; The Prodigy, ASAP Rocky; Jedi Mind Tricks, Damian Marley; Run-D.M.C., Wiley; BT, Ivan Torrent; The Raveonettes, Busta Rhymes; Mobb Deep, Snoop Dogg; Woody Herman, Hashfinger; Pendulum, Portishead; Radiohead, Utah Saints; Compton’s Most Wanted; Torae, Moby; Freestylers, Blur, Rakim; J. Doe, Bob Marley; KRS One, Desert Eagle Discs; (hed) PE, Arto Guthrie; Phaeleh, Michael Jackson; Yonderboi, C2C; NERD, System of a Down; Cannibal Ox, Bobby Franklins Insanity; Richie Havens, Canned Heat; Unicorn Kid, Basement Jaxx; The Fugees, Sway; Nirvana, The Righteous Brothers; Missy Elliott, Evael; Chuck Berry, The Communards; Hurts, Rob Zombie; Van Morrison, The Yardbirds; The Mamas & the Papas; Rob D., Sam Baker; AWOLNATION, Osanha; Apollyon Sun, Pilot; Guns of Navarone, Foreign Beggars; Nina Simone, Colin Towns; Gramatik, Foo Fighters; Garnet Mimms, The Specials; Bee Gees, Toots and the Maytals; Kay Kyser, Tyler the Creator; Ahmad, Ben E. King; Marlena Ernman, Rudimental; John Lee Hooker, Aqualung; Scissor Sisters, The Luniz; Das EFX, Craig Grey; Kasabian, Feist; Lung, Alanis Morissette and Al’Tarba.
I could go on for some time here: to be honest, this is the first time I have tried to get a mixture of what I listen to in one list – hence why I have always tried to avoid the question of influences and what kind of music I listen to/grew up with.
What more does 2016 for Night Wolf? Touring or any big plans ahead? Aside from touring and promotional duties: what does the rest of 2016 hold for you?
I have a couple of confirmed projects for a betting commercial and a film trailer completed.
I am just waiting to be sent the links to the completed project: hopefully, there will be more and more opportunities like this. I will just be working on making new material; working on a better sound quality for future releases and contacting new artists who have shown interest. Not too much on the release side this year. I am releasing Learning Pace of Travel and then will start to build for the next E.P. for next year and maybe a single release here or there. I will continue to complete projects and have them stocked at The Music Jar. I am actually seeking management and a record label to work with for future projects. I finished my contract with my previous label and would like to work with someone who is interested in promoting the music in the right way for commercial releases.
I will continue to add and complete The Song of Travel and continue to create music which I will release for streaming on SoundCloud and other various free streaming sites. I am now back in Budapest and am working on unfinished projects. I may be going to China for a year to teach, if so, I will use this time to gain influence from Asian instruments and music. The journey will continue either way. There is a lot to see in this world and I don’t like the thought of staying still too long allowing things to become stale. The rest of this year is set for promotion to a new audience and to further my name across the power of the Internet, radio and synch. libraries. I would like more feedback from people on my music so this is an area I will be working on – getting it in front of the ears and eyes that could further enhance it or promote it.
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I am just taking each day at a time and not rushing projects: taking my time to better research and develop my craft and sound for future releases. More traveling, more new experiences and friends around the world. It is unknown to us all how much time you have left on this planet and with the way tension is building between the West and the East – who knows how much longer our world will hold the illusion of sanity. I will complete Hungary Song of Travel soon and then there is plenty to catch up with on the blog! Promote, promote, promote!
If you had to select only three albums from music to take to a desert island (becoming a staple question for me) which would they be?
This is a very hard question and I am sure I would change this many times over – with more time to think about this question – giving it the proper attention it would deserve in such a crisis!
Leftfield: Rhythm and Stealth
Massive Attack: Mezzanine
Cypress Hill: Temples of Boom
Last, but certainly not least – and not technically an album – but I hope you forgive this for being included:
Fallout 3/New Vegas /Fallout 4 soundtracks and other gaming soundtracks such as the Silent Hill franchise (produced by Akira Yamaoka and Skyrims; soundtrack produced by Jeremy Soule) – and a host of film soundtracks would also be included from David Arnold to Clint Mansell and Hans Zimmer.
I would also have to include my own compilation album to sneak with me, packed with a broad range of styles and genres 😉 But I guess this is cheating and not really three, so I avoided answering this question properly! Sorry.
I am always impressed by your collaborations and the artists you join together with. Might be a hard question but is there a singer you have worked with you just know will go on to huge things?
I have watched Charles X grow in popularity over the past couple of years. He has warmed up for Method Man and Redman and has just been successful raising nearly 10,000 Euro to promote his upcoming album – which will also feature Take a Hit on release. I see him doing bigger and better things for sure: he is 100/% committed. AMRA is also a very talented songwriter and I can see our music relationship only strengthening and the music becoming more in depth. I would like to start to put together a live show for next year; bringing all those that I have worked alongside with me – hence why I would like and am seeking management to be able to get the right crowds and the right promotion for our music. I think everyone I have worked with will get to where they want to be if they keep on working on their art and craft it to what they see themselves a – minus the exception of working with Mark Morrison and Devlin, of course, in this question as they have already maybe reached their peak in their music careers.
Have you any advice for any new bands coming through – those looking to follow in your footsteps?
Just be original and yourself; promote like crazy; create a fan-base utilising social media and online platforms.
Contact radio stations and consider stock libraries where potential clients can search for a specific genre for their own projects. Create an E.P.K. and update it for promotional use and base. I would also suggest getting in touch with this blog and asking for a review as it is by far the best review I have ever had from a reviewer!
Keep on grinding and crafting!
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song (other than your own) and I’ll play it here…
Son Lux: Lost It to Trying (Mouths Only Lying):
Follow Night Wolf/Songs of Travel
Songs of Travel: