With the release of their brand new EP We Are The Ones now here, Jeremy Steckel, of post-hardcore band Wolves at the Gate, was willing to answer some questions for CRR.
Christian Rock Rocks (Brooks Ginnan): Can you start off by introducing yourself and what you play in Wolves at the Gate?
Jeremy Steckel (Wolves at the Gate): My name is Jeremy Steckel and I play lead guitar.
CRR: The band is set to release a new EP at the end of January. Can you give details about that?
Jeremy: Yes! We're so excited to release our new EP We Are The Ones. It's officially available today, January 31st, and you can pick it up on AmazonMP3 or iTunes, or a physical copy at our Big Cartel page (www.wolvesatthegate.bigcartel.com). There are six tracks on the EP, five full songs and an intro track. We recorded the album in the summer of 2010, so we've been sitting on these songs for quite some time now!
CRR: The EP's first single, "Heralds," is an interesting track. What is the meaning behind the song?
Jeremy: "Heralds" means a lot to us guys in the band; basically, the song is talking about the journey we've been through so far as WATG. Colin's screaming parts are God's words to us, and Steve's singing parts are our response to God's call in our life. We believe that there is so much more than this world has to offer; God's will and direction in our life needs to trump anything we strive after. My favorite line in the song is "How we live and fight is who we are"; we as people are defined by what we believe in, and if that belief is anything other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it's simply a dead end.
CRR: How long have you all been playing music together?
Jeremy: We started WATG back in April of 2008, so it's almost been three years. Wow! Can't believe it's been that long. It's been quite a journey. Steve (guitar/vox) and our original drummer Ryan Connelly started jamming a few songs out, and realized they wanted to form some kind of band, so they hit up Ben Summers (bass) and myself to start something with them. Our first "real" show was at Steve's house, and Colin (screaming vocals) came up to us after the show and asked to join the band. After the first practice, we were pretty much sold on the idea, and here we are today!
CRR: Starting off and currently, who are some of your biggest influences?
Jeremy: Absolutely the first band that comes to mind is Thrice. We're all huge Thrice fans; they've shaped and influenced us as musicians since day one. As Cities Burn (RIP) are also one of our collective favorites. Honestly, between the four guys in the band, we listen to just about every genre of music you can think of!
CRR: Being a band from Ohio, how do you deal with playing shows in the winter, with all the bad weather?
Jeremy: Haha, great question! It can be a little rough sometimes, snow definitely isn't a traveler's friend. We've been blessed to not have any major accidents or anything so far, let's hope that continues! Because we all have jobs right now, we haven't toured extensively (yet), so shows have generally been in or around Ohio, which have kept the miles down to a minimum so far.
CRR: What one thing do you hope that listeners will pick up from your lyrics?
Jeremy: The one thing we want people to take away from WATG is the fact that God is real, He has a purpose and plan for your life, and He desperately desires a relationship with you. Our lives have been changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we simply can't keep that to ourselves. We're compelled to tell people about Jesus, and our lyrics strive to reflect that. We're very excited to soon release a digital booklet of all the lyrics from We Are The Ones; we give an explanation of each song and what they mean. The core of our band revolves around the message of the beautiful death and resurrection of Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago, and how that's still incredibly relevant and life-changing in our culture today.
CRR: Do you see WATG as a band or a ministry?
Jeremy: Can I say both? Haha, I guess that's a weak answer. Truth is, we're a band in ministry. Our tool is music, and we're passionate about it. We have a purpose to this band, and it's not to "define" the new sound of rock and roll or have the heaviest breakdowns possible... plenty of other bands pretty much have that locked down! We obviously love heavy music; it's passionate and raw and we love it! Ultimately though, at the end of the day, if we're doing this for ourselves, we're going to fail. I don't say that as a shock value statement; it's simply the truth. Our calling is to spread the wonderful, incredible, good news of Jesus to everyone we come in contact with, regardless of how it's accepted or how people treat us. It honestly takes the pressure off of us as band members to know that there's a higher purpose in this band, and it's not something we can build or tear down ourselves.
CRR: What albums are you currently into right now?
Jeremy: Haha, that's tough. I listen to so many different genres. As far as heavy music goes, it's tough to beat the new Norma Jean record. Also, the band Periphery is pretty amazing, just started listening to those guys. Ridiculous musicians! I really enjoy the most recent Temper Trap album Conditions... those guys blow my mind. As far as chill music goes, The Tallest Man On Earth and Bon Iver are always at the top of my list. Those guys are writing music that will outlast our generation. So good.
CRR: Any last things you would like to let our readers know?
Jeremy: Check out the new EP We Are The Ones on AmazonMP3 and iTunes, and come hang out with us at a show in the future! Thanks to Brooks for setting us up with this interview!