Howls of the Wolfmann
(taken from Manila
Standard, Danger Room section, April 23, 2004)
by Mon Castro
Independent recording artist Wolfmann stalks the
nicotine-stained walls of hole-in-the-walls and
posh-yuppie-haunts. Inundating the ears of the numbed, the
ocho-ocho crowd. Taking them on, on his own. Here's a
lowdown on the man and his music:
give us a lowdown on how you came to be where you are now.
a lot of people! I'm corrupt! Ahahaha! Seriously, the
Wolfmann outfit was an offshoot of me wanting to do a solo
rock act, pretty much like Dunkan Sheik, but since my
ugly voice couldn't give me the deals I wanted, I decided to
go instrumental. I first started working with software like
mixman, groovemaker, and acid, with house and trance as my
initial genre. Soon, my rock roots took over. I became very
influenced by The Crystal Method, BT's Old style, the
Prodigy, and the Chemical Brothers. I invested on hardware
(grooveboxes and synths) in preparation for my live act.
started playing live in November 2002. The next year was a
good year for me because I was able to play in both dance
and rock venues. My first live electronica act in a rock
venue was at Mayric's, which paved the way to other rock
gigs (thanks to some guy named Mondo Castro). The release
of my first single "Fish N Chips" on NU107 and my remix of
Cambio's "DV" gave me some following. Prominent figures in
the industry also helped me in promoting my work, people
like Raimund Marasigan, Twisted Halo's Vin
Dancel, Francis Reyes, Electronica Manila, and
again, some guy named Mondo Castro.
the secret to my success is being lucky enough to get a
monthly gig from promoters and airplay from NU107, which
again was kind enough to release my second and carrier
single (off my album Diner) "Piniritong Dalagang Bukid"
featuring Ebe Dancel of Sugarfree which has
stayed in the Midnight Countdown for over two months now.
mom and dad give you this name?
name is Wilfrid Hernandez. My first name was a
derivative of my dad's name (Wilfrido). People back in
college called me "Wilf" but there was this one friend who
insisted on calling me "Wolf" because it was easier to say.
I added the word "man," making it "Wolfman," because an
Internet service provider required seven letters for the
e-mail account I was applying for. Then, finally, this
obsessive compulsive friend of mine, insisted that I add an
"N" at the end to make it look German and at the same time
give it balance. Hence, the name "Wolfmann."
are you all about?
about love, hate, aggression, oppression, disillusionment,
abuse, confusion, optimism.... multiple personality
disorder. Buy my album Diner, read the lyrics, and you'll
know pretty much what I'm about. Organized chaos, dude!
genre could the general populace box you and your music in?
Electronica. But if you want to be specific, it's breakbeat,
funky breaks, big beat, and NU Skool Breaks. Kinda like the
music of the Crystal Method and Prodigy.
idiots would say that artists of your kind (sounds racist,
ey?) aren't "real musicians," that all you guys do is
cut and paste. Do you agree with this conclusion?
completely disagree. I am not a cut-and-paste type of
electronica artist. I feel that using someone else's drum
loop, sample, etc. would make me less proficient. I belong
to a group called Electronica Manila, where the main
objective of the group is to prove to people that we do our
own stuff. We write our own songs. We compose our own
music. It's the live element that makes it look like we
just pressed the "play" button, but behind it all, like most
composers, we went through a painstaking stage of
programming each and every element of our music, from the
kick drum to the keyboards and synthesizers to the sound
your craft be considered as conventional songwriting?
some point. I'm a songwriter and a trained musician. How I
write my lyrics and arrange my songs are no different from
how rock/pop artist write theirs. But sometimes, I start
writing a song with a drum program I've created. I guess
that's one thing that you can consider as unconventional.
much have you spent on your equipment? Kindly explain their
use in layman's terms.
P400,000. This includes my computer-based home studio,
groovebox/samplers (where the drums, vocal samples, and
effects come from), keyboards and synthesizers (where all
the bass lines and melody lines come from), a live mixer (so
I can plug all the gear into the mixer and therefore
simplifying the whole plug and play process) the carrying
case, keyboard stand, cables, monitor speakers, and other
your glasses essential to your alter ego? You know, the
unassuming everyday man who's really a rabid beast
underneath it all?
I'm the Clark Kent who's dumb enough to keep his
glasses on when he turns into Superman. Haha! I won't be
able to play properly if i don't have my glasses on, because
there are so many knobs I have to tweak and I probably
wouldn't recognize them, if I didn't have the glasses on.
it working with yourself so far? Do you argue a lot with
like dealing with Mr. Hyde sometimes. Having no bandmates
leaves you with nobody to blame but yourself. This
becomes very frustrating when I screw up in the middle of my
live set. But so far, my alter-ego's been very good to me.
many albums have you made? Was the process arduous? Did you
steal a lot of samples from obscure albums?
done two. Compared to my first, the second album Diner
required more time, comtemplation, and patience because I
have a lot of collaborators in it. It took more than a year
to finish. No, I did not steal any samples from obscure
albums. I use preset sounds from my modules and then make
them complicated. I don't want to wake up one morning with
a subpoena at my doorstep. I start my songs from scratch,
and that's how I intend to do it in the future.
are your plans for the future? Any new music from the
to be able to play at the Wembley Stadium, but since that is
a bit far-fetched from now, I'm gonna do more tracks and
plan out my third album that I intend to release next year.
I want to do more collaborations with other artists, pretty
much like the concept of Diner, but with a twist and a lot
of experimentation. I just want to reinvent myself while
keeping my signature sound every time I release an album.
you do a gig on those intellectual noontime shows? Please?
question is, will they ever book me? My music may be too
profound for their taste. I'd like to participate in one of
their games, though... haha!