If I discovered the House of Wolves album, Fold in the Wind, when it came out last year it'd definitely would have made my top ten list. This is by far the best album I've listened to in the last couple of months. HOW moniker, Rey Villalobos is a delicate flower who's soft crooning will rattle your soul and his knack for creating long sustaining/layered sounds will cause tears to waterfall down your face.
Rey Rey (we have pet names for each other) was nice enough to answer some of our questions. We dive into the guts of his Fold in the Wind and come out all slimy.
SYFFAL: This is how I describe your sound to my friends: Heart wrenching layering that causes you to vomit unicorn tears. How do you describe your sound?... in Haiku form please:
Rey: Oh shucks Tom, please don't make me answer this question. I usually just say: Hazy nostalgic melancholia music.
SYFFAL: Come on Rey. You are so close; you actually already have the first 2 lines. I'll write the third:
..And it rhymes; you are welcome. Seriously though, every time I listen to Fold in the Wind, in preparation for the tears, I must equip myself with a box of tissue and a spare shirt. I now have to do my laundry every third day, therefore increasing my green footprint. Mother Nature thanks you. Are the stories behind these beautiful lyrics fiction or drawn from personal experiences?
Rey: Personal experiences, everything I write comes from something that has happened to me or is happening to me. I write the lyrics with a mix of total honesty and symbolism.
SYFFAL: The album is littered with long sustaining notes that vibrate up and down my spine; they give the album a haunting feeling. I'm also a sucker for sad sounding trumpets... ..DAMN YOU for taking advantage of my emotions.
Rey: I totally wrote this album for you Tom! I was like: "how could I Fuck with Tom's emotions? Oh, I know, horns and long sustaining notes." Just kidding. It's funny you bring this up because I love, love, love, long sustaining notes; especially from the horn and piano. And I love to use my voice like a keyboard.
SYFFAL: When writing, do you imagine the entire composition in your head or do you slowly layer the sounds until you achieve the desired result?
Rey: Before I even write a song I usually envision how I want to end up sounding. I have about 90% mapped out in my head and the other 10% changes in the studio when recording.
SYFFAL: Be honest with me Rey, on Ageless, is that vibrato really you, or did you create the effect in the mixing room by quickly and repeatedly turning up and down the volume knob?
Rey: That's my voice 100%; no effects at all. When John Askew (producer) and I recorded the album we tracked everything live on tape with no comping or over dubs. Later we added drums, horns and other instruments like piano, viola etc...
SYFFAL: I hear that you are a classically trained pianist. How many times can you quickly say 'pianist' before you say 'penis?'
Rey: Zero, I just say I'm a classically trained penis.
SYFFAL: I can't correctly say penis either... I mean penis. I mean Penis. I mean Pe---nis. I mean Pi-a-nist. There we go. Will a piano be more prevalent in future songs?
Rey: I've been dreaming of living in a big old Italian villa in Tuscany with a piano, and writing a full album... all on the piano. However, I have already written then next 2 albums worth of song ideas on my acoustic guitar, but at this point they are in the super early writing stage, so who knows where it will go from here.
SYFFAL: It is a shame... A SHAME that more people don't know about House of Wolves. What are you doing to combat this? What does the future have in store for 'The Emotional Mexitalian', Rey Villalobos?
Rey: Thanks T, but first things first. I need to find a U.S. booking agent so that I can get do some more tours in the States. I also have some collaborations/duets in the works, and I'm making some more videos to the songs on Fold in the Wind.
SYFFAL: You need to come to Chicago so that I can see you live and get ridiculed for crying in public.
Rey: Actually a Chicago club, The Empty Bottle, reached out to me and said they'd love to have me play there. So, I'm thinking about putting together a mini Midwest tour this late spring. If anybody has any club or house show suggestions please post them on my facebook page.
SYFFAL: Awesome, The Empty Bottle is a great venue. I can't help but imagine your music playing in the background of some shitty television show like Grays Anatomy. Have any songs been featured in movies or television?
Rey: None of my House of Wolves songs as of yet, but you are either very intuitive or just a rad google searcher. In my former life, my last band (The Coral Sea) had a few songs on Greys Anatomy and some other TV shows.
SYFFAL: I'm actually just very intuitive. They call me in intuitive Tom. You must be very intuitive for noticing my intuitiveness.
Speaking of Television though, I stalked your FaceBook page and saw that one of your 'liked' shows is True Blood. Now, be honest, do you watch it for the storyline or the crazy vampire sex?
Rey: For the C.V.S. (crazy vamp sex)
SYFFAL: Who doesn't? Sooki: Hot or not?
Rey: She's got her thing going on, but I'm way more into the redhead vamp Jessica!
SYFFAL: I'm with you there; the vast gap between Sooki's teeth kinda weirds me out. It makes me want to kick field goals. Is House of Wolves a house full of real wolves or shape shifting wolves?
Rey: Real old school wolves! There's all kinds of crazy shit dating back hundreds of years to Spain that I cant talk about.
SYFFAL: Team Edward or Jacob?
Rey: Team Jacob! once in a wolf pack always in a pack.
SYFFAL: What was your favorite television show or movie growing up?
Rey: A documentary about the Beatles called "The Complete Beatles." I'd watch it over and over again.
SYFFAL: How about covering the theme song for SYFFAL's amazing feature: Pop Cultures Collide?
Rey: Love too!
SYFFAL: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being bobbing for apples in a port-o-potty and 10 being the worst thing you've ever done. How would you rate this interview?
Rey: This interview is rocking my world!
SYFFAL: Rey, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Thank you for enduring my shitty questions. You have earned 3 plugs. Go for it:
Rey: Just last week my album was released in Spain on Moon Palace Records.
Look out for next EP (of b sides and demos from Fold in the Wind) coming out soon on Bleek Records
My European booking agency Antistars has started booking September 2012 tour in Europe that I'm excited about. It starts off in Netherlands at the Incubate Festival in Tilburg, then a Wishfulmusic Presents show at The Groningen Museum, and a few shows at Documenta 13 in Kassel.