Aaron Weaver of Wolves In The Throne Room, who play Whelan’s on Thursday night, talks DIY touring, compound life and Raifteirí an File with Ian Maleney

Aaron Weaver is somewhere in the mountains on the long road between Nashville and Atlanta. Our connection is tenuous but usable and the 34-year old is in a talkative mood. The isolation of a Wolves In The Throne Room tour is quickly made evident as mention of some recent events “We don’t have any contact with the outside world on tour” he says. “The only things we know anything about are playing music every night, driving in the bus and sleeping. It’s very similar to being in a monastery really. That’s the way I look at it because I’m not the kind of person who likes to party and drink beers and carouse around very much. I like to look at a tour as an opportunity to be very focused on music and try to make something very positive out of it and a big part of that is being completely unaware of things that are happening in the greater culture. It’s not that I don’t care about those things but when we’re focused on music, we like to focus only on music.”

This particular Wolves In The Throne Room tour of the Sntates is a little different than those in the past. This time the band have gone underground, choosing to work with truly DIY promoters across America and playing in warehouses, town halls, gymnasiums and outdoors. Unfortunately such an undertaking has proved impossible on the more fractured European tour circuit, but the effort is commendable. In the USA however, facilitated by fans and powered by the band’s own sound system, the tour is unique for a band of their stature. Wolves’ seven-man crew put in hours of work, before and after the show, to turn innocuous non-venues into an intense and immersive experience for the fans. As becomes clear, the Weaver brothers don’t do things by halves. “This is the first time we’ve been able to do the kind of tour we actually wanted to,” says Weaver of the trip’s DIY nature. “There’s not really much precedent for it, I don’t of any other bands who have done things this way. The only other band on our level who have taken their own PA on tour was Black Flag, towards the end of their career. Then maybe the Grateful Dead, who are like a bizarre inspiration for us. Not because we like the music at all – or the floppy, hippy, dead-head culture – but because we love the idea of creating a culture which is totally disconnected from the mainstream and it’s only in the underground. That’s definitely what we aspire to with our band.”

Of course, for all their wishes to be completely underground, Wolves are a band that command serious media attention. With Pitchfork premièring the first song off Celestial Lineage and the supposedly middle-of-the-road NPR providing an exclusive first listen of the album, Wolves manage to nonchalantly spark the kind of (relatively) mainstream interest that any buzz-band worth its salt would chop off their fringes for. Clearly, the Weavers’ ambition to be totally underground, doesn’t extend to actively shunning the indie media. “Yeah, we can’t really control that kind of thing. If people want to stream our record on the internet or if a journalist takes interest in it, it’s not as if we can stop it. It’s not something that bothers me at all.”

Weaver then goes further. “All that sort of stuff just takes place in a fantasy land as far as I’m concerned because I don’t pay attention to the mainstream. I’ve no aspirations to be part of the greater culture, we don’t want to be a professional, big-time band. We have our own small, strange little thing going on and we stick to that. If people from the mainstream are interested in it and want to talk about it or write about it, what am I going to do? They’re welcome to do that.”

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