Sometimes the cliché is true: What you’re looking for has been right in front of you the whole time. What was in front of Camden County-based rock band WolvesMouth was a bunch of frappuccinos and vanilla lattes.
“Gabby (Bari, bass) and I worked together at Starbucks and we have similar music tastes,” says vocalist Justine Nowicki. “We kind of were joking one day about starting a band, and then we were like we have everything we need to start a band.”
They had vocals, guitar (Tyler Bari), and bass, and all the band needed was a drummer, but as in the case with many bands, there’s always trouble getting a solid drummer. WolvesMouth solved that problem by meeting Zack Kelly.
“Originally, Tyler asked me to join the band when they first started, but I was doing other things at the time so I couldn’t commit,” says Kelly. “They went through a couple drummers, and eventually circled back to me, and I was like, ‘You know what, let’s do it.’’’
Now that they had their drummer, WolvesMouth set forth to record their third EP and first with Kelly called Good Grief. After nearly calling the whole thing off during the early stages of the pandemic, the recording process—at Nada Studios in Montgomery, New York—for Good Grief was a rewarding one. On the walls in Nada studios were records of bands that WolvesMouth cites as influences.
“It’s where My Chemical Romance recorded their first album, and also where Taking Back Sunday and Brand New recorded albums as well,” says Gabby Bari. “Bands that I have looked up to.”
Recording in the spot where favorite albums were recorded can be a daunting task for any young band, but eventually the band was put at ease at Nada Studios.
“It was really intimidating at first,” says Gabby Bari. “Like I can play music, but sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing 100% of the time. I thought John Naclerio (My Chemical Romance) was going to be this really intimidating producer, but he’s a nerd. He kicked the door open and was like ‘Wolves motherfucking Mouth!’. I looked at Tyler, and I was like, ‘Oh my god’. Naclerio really put us at ease and was funny and easy to talk to. He’s great at coaching you at things.”
For Tyler Bari, it was a cool experience getting to record at Nada Studios, but he also cherished the time he got to focus on his passion, which is music.
“One of the major differences with this EP is that we drove to Montgomery, New York, and stayed there for five days,” he says. “We worked on music for at least 10 hours a day. When we were done tracking, we would hang out and sleep in the same room and we would talk about music and rehearse other parts. Our focus was on music for five days and I felt like it had a lot to offer to the recording process. We all have full-time jobs, and music can’t take up a large chunk of our time for that reason.”
And with time on their side, Good Grief is solid. The band prides themselves on having a wide range of influences from the aforementioned My Chemical Romance to Metallica to the Cranberries. All of those influences are evident on this EP.
What is also evident on this EP is the theme of grief, and WolvesMouth wanted each of the five songs on the EP to show one of the five stages of grief.
“The songs are about the stages of grief, and being represented in each song chronologically. Like denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance,” explains Tyler Bari. “We wanted to write the lyrics to flow, and not feel restricted. There’s this continuing theme throughout the EP. … Something that we all agreed on is that anyone who is listening to it, while they might not have experienced something specifically tragic happen to them, they have lived through the past couple of years, and this EP will be able to capture any individual scenario.”
Tyler Bari and Nowicki both had certain events on their mind with the EP as it relates to grief. For Nowicki, she got out of a bad relationship, and she details it in the opening track “I Dated an Edgelord and All I Got Was This Fucking Keurig.”
“I was in a really terrible, toxic relationship,” says Nowicki. “We had lived together and it was this whole big mess, and by the end of it I was like, ‘All I got out of this relationship was this fucking Keurig machine that I took with me when I moved out, and even getting the Keurig was a hassle.’”
Musically speaking, the different influences from which WolvesMouth have drawn inspiration are evident in the opening track.
“It has a lot of inspiration from grunge music, and ’90s kind of rock,” says Tyler Bari. “Our producer John Naclerio grabbed the guitar at one point, and he played a fifth octave harmony on top of the lead riff and it turned into an Iron Maiden song. It’s really a good example of all of our influences fusing together and things that shouldn’t work, working really well.’’
Another stage of grief that WolvesMouth explored on Good Grief is acceptance, and that is shown in the closing track, “Post-Mortem. “
“The song is about the loss of a person or relationship, and coming to terms with that,” says Tyler Bari. “You might not be totally healed and be comfortable with that idea, but it’s important to face it head on. The song is about acceptance at its core. “
For Tyler Bari ,that meant accepting the loss of his mother.
“I was coming to terms with my mom’s passing, which happened 10 years ago,” explains Tyler Bari. “I definitely didn’t cope with it in healthy ways during the majority of the time. Listening to the finished product of this EP was a huge moment in me being comfortable with all that and being in the acceptance stage. Now it’s something I can talk about easily, and not feel those other emotions.”
Looking ahead to the future, WolvesMouth has plans to make a music video for a song from Good Grief, and would like to hit the ground running on future music.
“We want to write new stuff, and do it quickly,” says Tyler Bari. “I don’t want to fucking wait two or three more years to hang out with John again at the studio.”