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  Wolfmann's Album Diner available in the following outlets:

1. All Music One and Tower Records Outlets

2. All Admit One Gigs in Freedom Bar, Anonas and Saguijo Cafe, Makati

3. BigSkyMind, Dona Juana Rodriguez St., New Manila

 
 
 
  Download your Globe Wolfmann Ringbacks!

Keyword/Title

DA097 - Piniritong Dalagang Bukid

DA077 - Fish N Chips

DA067 - Baked Mussels

To download: text (keyword) to 2332
ex. DA097 send to 2332

 
 
 
 
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  Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (from the July-August 2004 Issue of Unwind Magazine)  

By Delfin Bassig

This meek-looking indie electronica artist is a rabid animal out to spread electronica awareness and infect the local music scene

Somewhere past midnight, the electronica artist known as Wolfmann still seems stressed. He has just capped the launch for Diner (aptly named since all the songs form a menu of sorts), his second full-length album, held at Temple Bar last April 16. He’s fixing last minute arrangements with the bar cashier, a bit giddy.

Despite the stress, Wolfmann still looks like a bespectacled, bright-eyed high school graduate. He and his girlfriend Sheryll were quite grateful on the event turnout. They were more surprised that Temple was open to the idea of housing the launch, since Wolfmann’s niche has been canted more towards the rock scene. True enough, this urbanite bar was transmogrified for a brief moment to be a filled haven for rock hooligans amidst the society-laden Greenbelt 2 complex, like a Borg infection.

And what an infection in was, initiated by the head-bobbing sounds of Squid 9 and the rash riffs of Cambio. After their brief performances and a few fun and games, Wolfmann took the stage and did his own crowd-pleasing. Tapping on the blinking buttons of synthesizers and tweaking on level knobs, he started the set by playing Fish N’ Chips, his first regular single on NU 107, and eventually morphed it into his other track Clamchowder, as if he transformed a sinister black Mercedes cruising on an evening highway into a Ferrari rushing on a curvy mountain with the sun rising in the horizon. A simple tempo change on his beat box paved the way for the neat segue.

Unclothing the Wolf

Wolfmann, or Wilfrid Hernandez outside the music scene, has been a musical arranger for TV and radio commercials at Roadrunner Network for quite some time now. While he has mixed toothpaste soundtracks and whatnot during the day, he has spent his nights doing gigs or creating his own music at the comfort of his home studio.

His moniker went through a gradual mutation: a college friend named Jack couldn’t mention his nickname (Wilf) right, and ended up calling him Wolf. Wolf didn’t quite sit in with the name, but opted to use it as an email address requiring 7 characters, thus making it Wolfman. Then at a drinking session, two friends said that the name didn’t seem balanced, suggesting another “n” to the end thus making it sound European.

His music has had a wide yet equally gradual growth as well. He started as a guitarist for a high school band in 1992, reveling to the tune of grundge legends like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Before the end of the millennium, he discovered trance music. “I was trying out to go solo, kasi mahirap maghanap ng banda, so I put up a studio to make music on my own,” he says. But after a month, he discovered that trance music wasn’t really much of what he calls a “muscular” sound, and eventually fell in love with breakbeat acts like Chrystal Method and the Chemical Brothers. He also cites other not-so mainstream acts like Wagon Christ, Aphex Twin, and Bill Laswell as his influences.

A DJ he is not however. He takes the label of electronica artist seriously. Unlike DJs who mostly just spin records, he turns and pushes buttons on programmable synths and samplers, so he could process the sound to cater to the crowd. The synths are hooked up to his personal mixer (apart from the main gig’s mixer) that he tweaks appropriately for the venue. His recording process is much more complicated. He utilizes his studio, composed of a computer with a Yamaha audio interface, keyboard synths, guitars, and other audio hardware, assembling music through software like Acid Pro, Soundforge and Cakewalk.

Don’t let his seemingly meek and frail frame fool you though. True to his grundge roots yet fully embracing electronica’s technology, Wolfmann is very much an ardent and driven individual just like his moniker. “A wolf is a rabid creature. It shows no mercy. It will eat even humans,” he shares. And the same anger-driven self, he says, he manifests through what he calls the “organized chaos” that is his music.

The Wolfmann’s Howl

Angry music? Not quite, if your definition of angry is as wicked as Aphex Twin’s Come to Daddy or as vociferous as Slayer’s Angel of Death. But Wolfmann’s synth symphonies assembled by pitch-bending notes, modified samples and sharp, quick beats result in songs pleasing to the ear yet still prevalent of a rocking rush. Clamchowder, Mushrooms (featuring Squid 9), Calamares (featuring Reg Rubio of Greyhoundz), Fish N’ Chips and Chocolate Cake are among the tracks that best embody this.

Other songs tend to be viable for cosmopolitan settings like that of Greenbelt 2. This he proved that night by turning songs such as Fillet Mignon into background music for a catwalk of Girbaud clothing, modeled by some of his rocker friends like Myra Ruano of Brownbeat All-Stars and Marc Abaya of Sandwich. A mish-mash of rocker and chic it was.

There are also other tracks that are a bit toned down and ambient. Porkchop and Water (a song dedicated to the love of his life- just look at the first letters of the lyrics) are two of the songs with a more downbeat color. Baked Mussels is what he considers his most mass-friendly song. Featuring Angry Aspilet of Imago and Kathy Meneses of Daydream Cycle, it starts as a mysterious tune then turns into a bubble-gummy pleasant piece punctuated by high bleeps, thin beats and the serene voices of two of the best singers in the local rock scene nowadays.

The Hunting Ground

Serenity and acceptance in the local music scene is what Wolfmann is aiming for. There already has been a closeness within the electronica scene forged by the online community Electronicamanila, whom Squid 9, Morse, Silverfilter (all of whom guests in Diner) and Wolfmann are members of. As for acceptance, Wolfmann’s had his share aplenty of “Sellout!”s and “You suck!”s, yet is happy to be accepted by the general rock community. “They embrace us like we were family,” he reveals, “[because] most of the people in the rock scene are indie.”

His song Piniritong Dalagang Bukid (featuring Ebe Dancel of Sugarfree fame) is testament to such approval. This melodic song, capped by Ebe’s smooth vocals and Wolfmann’s melodic appregios and guitar skills, has been in NU 107’s Top 12 Countdown for many months now, even clinching the number 1 spot for a few weeks. Before playing it live, Wolfmann introduced it as a political rape song about a fine country named Pilipinas, commenting on how the government manages to control it even to queasy proportions and how “bumabalik na naman [tayo] sa Spanish Era.”

National-level gripes aside, Wolfmann is still grateful for a lot of things. The album launch, for example, was just a tap away from cancellation. The closure of a previous venue, emotional stress, sickness, and even the conking-out of one of his equipment the night before stoutly tried to prevent the event, but with fate on his side (as well as a lot of willing friends), they were able to surpass their expectations. Beer, the only track in his album played by his band supported by Buddy Zabala and Whannie Dellosa, best conveys such gratitude with the lines “This bottle of beer is for you, Thank you.”

And to give back, he plans to continue creating and playing music to support the indie and electronica scenes. “Being indie is a humbling experience, but it is as rewarding as being a signed artist,” he expresses. He also shares that local record labels don’t have the budget for experimentation, so more artists do it themselves. “You do everything. I feel very blessed to produce something for the masses.” As for the electronica scene, he claims that we are at par with foreign counterparts, to the point that “we can do better than that [some foreign acts]. I want people to have awareness of electronica music… ‘Yun na yung contribution ko sa scene.”

“As long as I make people happy, my music will never die, kasi ako ‘yon.” True enough, the album Diner is now out to serve the public with breakbeat dishes. At the same time, such signals the start of this hungry wolf in sheep’s clothing on his main course: musical appreciation from the mass that is the Filipino people.

“Don’t play the music, be the music.” Wolfmann’s album Diner is now out in all Music One and Tower Records outlets in Metro Manila.. For more information on Wolfmann, log on to http://www.wolfmann.net and http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/wolfmann.

As of late, Electronicamanila has been able to book a set of gigs at Temple bar. For more information on Electronicamanila, log on to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/electronicamanila/

UNWIND MAGAZINE July-August 2004, Volume 1, Number 1

 

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