Aby Wolf bares claws, drops single, performs at Hell's Kitchen tonight
A. Wolf & Her Claws is Aby Wolf's current electronic-fused experimental project, and the lead-up to the April release of her self-titled album has begun in earnest. "Zero to 60," a soulful track with a skittering beat is Radio K's featured track of the day, and it represents the latest of many expressions of one of the Twin Cities' most powerful voices. Hip-hop heads will remember Wolf from her vocal work with Dessa and Brother Ali of late, but the Her Claws project is in its own lane.
Gimme Noise caught up with Wolf on a break from waitressing at Origami to discuss the self-titled album, her delightful hair, and a side project that'll blow everything to kingdom come.
How do you classify your hip-hop collaborations vs. the stuff from the Claws?
I wouldn't classify the stuff I'm doing now as hip-hop. Inevitable that a lot of the influences have infiltrated what he and I are working on. It's one of the biggest influences from working with people like Dessa, but it's a lot more pop-oriented. The songs now have a verse-chorus-outro sort of feel to them, whereas my first album was closer to something like folk. The song structures were more in their own world, less pop. This is more poppy, more forward and more aggressive.
Writing a hook vs writing a song isn't the same approach, or is it?
I spent a lot more time trying to distill my ideas into simpler formats, like writing strong hooks and interesting verses. A lot of things have to be trimmed down to fit into the [hook] format, and you only have four to eight lines to get your idea across. Instead of letting a song have its own way and meander, which is where I was before. It actually feels really good now. It feels like there's more structure in the songwriting process.
Those lines shaved into your head kinda look like claw marks. Coincidence?
That's how hardcore I am. It'd be funny to say that there was, but it's just a coincidence in real life. They're not shred scars or anything.
Seriously, though. Do you feel as though you're putting your claws out with this material?
My first album, Sweet Prudence, I played guitar on and I was sitting down when I'd play at shows. Currently, I'm standing up with a microphone. It feels more active to me. I'm more engaged just focusing on vocals, which is what i want to be doing.
Other irons in the fire at the moment?
I'm doing an electronic duo with Grant Cutler. It's called WolfLORDS, which is a combination of both of our titles. Grant's solo project is called Grant Cutler and the Gorgeous Lords. It's this slow, R&B-flavored epic and lush and minimal stuff. Grant's production with my singing over it. We're playing at Barbette on March 11. It'll be our third show.
I'm also in something of a rock band with a couple of other guys. That doesn't have a title yet. It's a little further out. It's sort of Deep Purple meets Yellow Magic Orchestra. It's definitely untitled as of yet. It's gonna be pretty heavy. I'll be playing synthesizer and singing.
For the uninitiated, here's a recent performance at McNally Smith:
A. Wolf and Her Claws. With Father You See Queen and Vouka. 10 p.m. Friday, February 24 at Hell's Kitchen. 612.332.4700. Click here.
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