Words by David C. Obenour
Pop punk is a language spoken all around the world. Whether the angst is personal or political, groups of three or four people continue to find each other under a shared love of infectious melodies and upbeat tempos.
Translating the genre for the Netherlands is Rotterdam’s Lone Wolf. Having released a banger of a debut album last year on Stardumb Records, the band could be compared to such contemporaries as Lemuria or Marked Men. Even before the full length, a sling of tours around the world had fans, bands and labels all taking note. This led to an invitation for Mom’s Basement Records Passport Split Series and a shared release with Lookout veterans, Parasites.
While international quarantine may have temporarily shut down shows and releases, Lone Wolf is staying active and wasting none of the time at home for writing new material.
Off Shelf: How are you holding up these days?
Ox Accelerator: It’s has been challenging for some of us. Like all other musicians and music fans our whole plan for this year went into the trashcan. We had some uncertainty with jobs, battling mentally. But as we got more used to the situation it’s gotten better and better. Let’s hope it sets a new normal. Like what people eat, a more active lifestyle, less traffic, cleaner air. I try to stay positive.
OS: What has the band staying in touch looked like over stay at home orders?
OA: As we’re all good friends, in the first few weeks we hung out on Zoom. Did some beer tasting, watched a live comedy show. As the lockdown is loosing up we’ve started rehearsing again, which felt amazing after two months without playing music.
OS: Have you been working on any new music during this time? Any other creative outlets you’re exploring?
OA: I’ve started writing for the next album and we just started playing some of these songs. I think a lot of records will be out in 2021. [laughs] Besides writing music, I like to go out cycling, clear my head. We’ve been very lucky that we’re able to go outside and do stuff like that.
OS: Your latest album, Together Alone has a pretty appropriate title for the times we’re living in – but was written well before any of us could have even have dreamed of this world. How are playing or hearing the songs hitting you differently these days?
OA: Yeah it has struck me a few times. [laughs] Besides the title of the album and the song it does not resemble with the current situation. However this situation does help with writing new songs.
OS: Can you talk about how the split with Parasites came together? How familiar with them were you beforehand?
OA: Very familiar! We all love the Lookout bands from the 90s and I actually played with them in Europe in 2007. John, the man behind Mom’s Basement Records has this 7” series called International split-series. Dave Parasite and he where very excited to work with us so they reached out. We where honored to be asked and work with such a great band.
OS: Based out of the Netherlands, can you talk about how the punk scene is similar and different to what we have over here in America?
OA: The punk scene in the Netherlands is very small. We set up shows and contribute our part but it’s been very hard the last couple of years, though there are still some great places to play here I think that’s one of the reasons why we tour around the world a lot.
OS: I know the internet has made the modern world pretty small, but do you think there’s anything particularly unique about where you’re coming from that plays into the music you make?
OA: The punk scene hasn’t always been small here. Back in 2000 it was very alive and and especially in Rotterdam, the city where we live. One of the main bands then was The Apers. Actually the first punk rock show I’ve ever been to was The Apers. The funny thing is, now their drummer Ivo plays in this band. [laughs]
OS: Last geography question, I promise, but what do you think makes punk music translate so widely? It seems to be such a well-defined community, but one that can still be found in all corners of the world.
OA: I think because a lot of people are like-minded which make it easy to connect. I’ve made so many friends around the world just because we like the same bands. It’s amazing.
OS: I saw you just played the Boatless Booze Cruise – how did that go? Are there any other viral shows you’ve participated in over the last couple of months?
OA: We did it to support the struggling venues in Hamburg. I find it very hard to do cause I miss the connection with the audience, the band. I can’t wait to get back on stage to play songs with the people I love.
OS: I see you’re also set to play The Fest later this year – what’s the outlook on booking shows been like? Are there any additional complications trying to do things internationally?
OA: Let’s see how the world is doing in a few months. As it looks like right now, everything that falls through, we’ll do again next year. Let’s just start over again on January 1st.