Since 2009, the Denton-born Virgin Wolves have seen many incarnations, starting off as the husband-and-wife team of Chase and Jaimeson Robbins, armed only with a Macbook and a guitar. Three years and two EPs later, they have ditched the computer and added drums, bass and a second guitar, fleshing out a hard, bluesy sound.
The five-piece is finally releasing their debut full-length, Pretty Evil Thing, on Friday at Hailey's Club, with support from Trebuchet, Mothership and The Phuss. Too bad it's also the end of the world. What a bummer.
We spoke with singer Jaimeson Robbins and bassist Kristin Leigh, as they shed light on the band's new release, the end of the world and how far they've come. Watch their new music video for Pretty Evil Thing's single, "Black Sheep." It doesn't disappoint.
In what ways is Pretty Evil Thing different from the work the band has done in the past?
Jaimeson: I like to think of this as our first real introduction. This is what we want the world to think of when they hear the name The Virgin Wolves. This is the first thing we've ever recorded that we feel represents us accurately and we're fucking proud of it.
Kristin: We are finally set as a band, with our lineup, and have worked out the development of our sound over the last three years. We wanted to start fresh with our national debut, so to speak, with this record. We wanted something solid that captures the energy and vibe and sound of our live show.
Why the title Pretty Evil Thing? Is there a concept for this album?
Kristin: The title comes from a line in one of our songs. This is a very emotional record for us, but there is no overarching concept. We wanted to produce a solid, energetic, cohesive record that defined our sound.
Jaimeson: I think the main thing we wanted to accomplish with this record was to really capture the sound and energy we have in our live shows. We are definitely a band that comes to life on stage and we really feed off of each other's energy. That's a serious challenge to capture in a recording studio, but Matt Aslanian really did some fantastic, kick-ass, impressive work for us at The Track Studios. Capturing that sound was as close as we came to a concept. We didn't want to do anything kitschy, just to put out a solid, rocking album that really sounds like who we are. The title came from a lyric in "Crooked Smile." It just had the right ring to it.
Describe the recording process for the new album. How long has it been in the works? Did you use Kickstarter?
Jaimeson: Many of the songs that made it on to the album have been part of our live set for a long time. Years, even. Some of them are songs we've revamped and re-recorded from our previous EPs and many of them are completely new. So, I suppose you could say that the album has been in the works for years. We did a lot of work to prepare for the recording and knocked it out in only a week in the studio. We were all kind of shocked at how efficiently we worked with Matt guiding us. We paid for the record ourselves. And we've busted our asses to do it. We do, however, have an IndieGoGo campaign currently to raise money for merchandise. We've gotten lucky that we have some extremely talented friends that have donated their services along the way. That, as well as the love and support of our fans who show up, show after show, and allow us to get paid. Music ain't cheap.
Why did you choose "Black Sheep" as the single?
Kristin: We feel the energy of this song was the perfect introduction to us, on a larger level. It's something that shows exactly what we sound like, look like, feel like, our vibe, etc. It's fast, strong and loud!
Jaimeson: Choosing a single was pretty painful. We actually whittled it down to two songs that we thought captured the right energy, then we let our fans vote. It was pretty obvious that this was the right choice.
Tell me what you think about the music video for "Black Sheep" and that whole process. Are you happy with the way it turned out?
Kristin: We went with our friend Jonathan Finley and his company White Cane. He's done our last two videos, and knows us very well. We wanted to take the energy of our live shows, along with the energy of the song, and have this be kind of a "this is The Virgin Wolves" video; something where people who have never heard us or seen us live can get a feel for our live show and who we are. It's so hectic and fast-paced and we love it!
Are you excited about your release show? Why did you choose those bands to share the bill with, and why a 12/21/12 release date?
Jaimeson: Fuck yes, we are. We chose the bands because they're all fantastic. Trebuchet, Mothership and The Phuss, I mean, c'mon, that's a lineup with teeth. We also chose these bands because if the world actually does end, we want to spend our last night rockin' and rollin' with our closest friends, and these guys fit the description.
Kristin: It's the end of the world! If it's going to end, you might as well kick it off with your best friends. We are so lucky to be around this time in the Dallas music scene. Now, more than ever, is real, true rock 'n' roll exploding.
What have the past three years been like?
Kristin: Awesome. We've developed into the mature version of ourselves that we have been working toward.
Jaimeson: We've grown into something unlike anything I've experienced before, personally. We function so much like a family unit that it's a little freaky. We love the shit out of each other and I think it shows, onstage and off. We've grown and grown up and our music has done so with us. I think it's a unique opportunity to do what you love with your best friends, and that's really what we've been doing.
What are the plans for the future?
Kristin: Keep playing. Keep making music that we love, and love to play. Whatever that means, wherever that takes us, I know we will be happy.
Jaimeson: We will probably just continue to pillage and plunder until someone locks us up. That's the plan, anyway.