Wolves At The Gate has established themselves as a staple in purpose-driven metalcore, consistently setting the bar for what it looks like to create heavy music with weighty messages. Much of that strong theological thrust has been propelled by vocalist Steve Cobucci, the band’s clean vocalist and guitarist.
Wolves At The Gate also happens to be one of Trevor’s personal favorite bands. On March 11, 2022, Wolves At The Gate is releasing their latest album Eulogies, which Trevor considers to be their best album yet. On this episode of the show, Steve joins us in conversation about the things that have to die in our lives in order to make way for a truer allegiance to the Gospel of Jesus. He reveals the ways in which this is the most personally reflective album he’s been a part of. Along the way, he offers priceless wisdom for anyone seeking to pursue their own personal calling.
Get Eulogies: https://watg.ffm.to/eulogies
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Steve Cobucci 0:00
Just talking about the gospel isn't a marketing tool. It's not something that I think is earning me points in heaven. It's not something that it's not for, it's not for my gain. I'm not doing this because I get I get something out of it. It's a great thing has been given to me. And I want to share that with others. It's just like when you go to a restaurant, and you eat really a really good meal, you want to tell everybody about it. And everyone does that.
Trevor Tyson 0:30
Welcome, and thank you for joining us for another episode of Trevor talks. I'm your host, Trevor Tyson. And I'm so thrilled to have you all here today for an episode that I didn't know if we were gonna get to do again or not. So this is the second guests that we've had on for a second run. And yeah, today we've got the visionary songwriter, lead vocalist and guitar mastermind behind the band wolves at the gate, Steve Bucci. Steve, dude, we're here we made it. Yeah, it's been about what maybe a year and a half since our last interview, and we got to talk about Eclipse and kind of how wolves at the gate got started. And now you have this. I don't want to get too excited, not gonna fangirl over it. But you have the best record of your career about to come out eulogies. And I'm blown away, astounded, which I think would be the right word for it. But again, I don't want to fangirl too hard. But I'm fully confident that this is going to be a number one record. So I'm pumped about it.
Unknown Speaker 1:29
Thanks. Yeah. Yeah, we're really excited about it, too, we feel we feel pretty proud of what we put together. And we're Yeah, just excited to be here on our fifth full length. And we're still just as excited to make and put out music as we were our first so
Trevor Tyson 1:49
well, it's wild to think about like you're putting out your fifth full length album. And obviously, you have a very strong faith emphasis on your work. It has to be weird saying that right now, like it you were, a lot of people start making music, and it kind of just falls away. But you guys stayed consistent. You stayed the course. And God's blessed you with a career to where you can now say, our fifth record is coming out. I believe it's purely going to impact people. Do you guys have anything? Well, obviously, there's a lot of unique things on this record. But what's the unique messaging that you have behind this, like the concepts with eulogies when I look at the cover art, you have what appears to be a flaming golfing of flour, but then also a hand that looks like it's pretty burnt up? Like, it doesn't get more unique than that. But what's the concept behind that? And then the record as a whole?
Unknown Speaker 2:41
What's cool, I think about the album art is, you know, we want I think we I think we assumed we knew that most people would assume that the flower is being engulfed by the by the fire, rather than because really, I wanted people to ask the question is, is the fire starting? Or is the fire on its way out? And so is the fire? What is revealing the flower? Or is the fire devouring the flower? And so that kind of ties into the concept of eulogies. I think the thing that's most unique about this record is it was fully self reflective and not necessarily thinking about how can I write a song to speak to this or to that it's rather Yeah, all the songs were really pretty much inspired by things that I had just personally struggle with songs, I want to hear songs, I want to sing truths that I want to be reminded of. And so it was really unique in that way. And, you know, a lot of artists, that's how they write their music, I've not always written in that way. And so it was unique for me. And so I guess it'd be unique for our listeners is to kind of hear things through a little bit more of a personal lens, but applying all of those same, you know, the elements of our faith that are so prevalent in our music, just trying to find a different way and angle and I think what I'm excited for is just to see, hopefully the ways in which I've learned a lot through my journey through failures and mistakes and brokenness and trials and difficulties. The the songs are all the truths that rose to the surface, you know, amidst those difficulties, and a lot of it is just finding things in myself that I don't like, and not like insecure things like things that are wrong objectively. You know, not like I don't like the way my hair looks or you know, I'm not that superficial things these Are Sol things these are hard things. And they were some of them were like beliefs that I held, things that I thought were true things that I thought were sound and doctrine but actually weren't and they needed to die. And so that's where the, that's where the title eulogies comes from. Because, yeah, it's kind of this idea of things that needed to die in. And it eulogies can be sad, or they can be positive. And so it's sad, you know, at any use for any funeral that somebody has to die. But for, for the believer, there's great hope that, you know, you no longer have to suffer in this broken world. And you're made new. And so there's a lot of different layers and ways that that album concept comes to beer through all the songs.
Trevor Tyson 5:56
And that is unique, because I mean, Ivan said, why it gets engulfing the flower. The flame is engulfing the flower, but it's actually the complete opposite. It's, it's fascinating to see like, obviously, there's a lot of Christian bands that fade out of their faith eventually, which is disheartening. But the one thing that I really admire about wolves at the gate is you guys didn't even know about Christ's core when when you got started. It wasn't like an angle that you're like, Yeah, we're gonna go join for today and sleeping giant and all these other bands. And you just kind of came out and you were honest with yourself, you were honest about your faith. And you started putting out music that the only aim for it was inspire people and to share them, share with them about your faith. Obviously, in the music industry, that can be a double edged sword one way like you're getting booked for the church events, there can be a lot more money in that for some people, but I've never gotten that vibe from you guys. I've never gotten that one time. And the consistency of the records from my favorite thus far has been a clips. And then now like March 11 eulogies is coming out, and it's going to impact so many more people. But one thing I do want to touch on is the song lights on fire. Because when I heard it for the first time, I was like, this isn't this can't be wolves. But then obviously it was I mean, your voice is very distinct, like people can obviously understand it's you. But it's a unique song for you guys in particular, it's catchy. It's I wouldn't call it radio friendly, because that would be kind of like a pop song. Right? But it's phenomenal. And it's unique. But I want to hear like what's the story behind lights and fire? And how did you challenge yourself musically to piece that thing together the way you did?
Unknown Speaker 7:42
Yeah, so lights and fire was a song that just the way that I got started was Joey, our guitar player and I were always like sharing like different. Like recording stuff and gizmos and gadgets, any anything to help the creative process, we're always sharing that with each other, whether it's a sample pack, or whatever, you know, drum libraries, guitar tones, but there is this really simple like app that Joe film called spire that you could do multitrack recording on your phone. And that, to me was super cool. I'd been using the Voice Memo app, you know, on my phone for as long as, as long as I well. As long as I had an iPod touch even back to before I had an iPhone. I was recording song ideas on that. And so I was like, Oh, cool. Let me play around with this. And so I just decided I was like, Alright, let me just play a chord progression. And so I just played a chord progression, first thing that came to my mind, and then I just, I looped it, and just started fiddling on the guitar. And that's where I came up with kind of the main melody of the song. And as soon as I did that, I was like, Whoa, this is so cool. You know, because yeah, new new gear tends to be inspiring, even though it's like, probably, like, yeah, I guess the least technical or what would be it? It's not as exciting as a guitar. But that's, uh, I don't know, it works for that moment. So that's what kind of created the heart of the song. But lights and fire as like musical piece was slower probably by 20 BPM, which is pretty drastic in music. And I just kept trying to figure out a way to like, now this doesn't work. I'm like, Well, this even be a wolf song. And then once I figured out the right tempo, you know, and really, the drums are super important kind of figuring out how we're going to drive this, because the vocals are very, you know, kind of, like bigger and, you know, anthemic sounding but I wanted to have the energy that our band communicates because I just that's what I love about music. You know, and so I just wanted something that felt Like it was driving and moving. And then eventually, the song came together that way, and then that I brought to the guys and we all kind of took it apart and put it back together again and made it what it is. So
Trevor Tyson 10:14
come on, and with the messaging behind the song, and obviously with peace, it starts the war, stop the bleeding, even silent anthem, there's always a positive message coming out of your music, no matter how angry the song might sound like there's always a silver lining. But for many people, they struggle with anxiety and depression, suicidal ideation, and all these internal battles on a daily basis. Is that something that you keep in mind, as you go into the writing process? Are the songs like personal for you? Like I've gone through this? Are you thinking of fans? Are you thinking of yourself? Or when you go into the writing process for some of these more vulnerable songs? What's on your mind?
Unknown Speaker 10:57
Yeah, kinda as what I was saying before is, I generally, generally in the past have thought more so about the listener. And I would say like most records, it was probably like, 70%, less thinking about the listener 30%, myself, like in the realm of songs, like amounts of songs. But, uh, yeah, this record, felt like pretty, pretty close to 100%. Myself, and I think one of the, I'm not sure if I talked to you about this on the last podcast or not. But something that's really important for me is that I don't, I'm not looking to be a leader, for anyone. I don't want people to look at me and, and have any sort of false idea of who I am. I want people to see, the equality that we all share is that there's no such thing as a super Christian don't exist. They're just great sinners and a great Savior. And so I want our songs to, to resemble that reality. And I just found this as another. When I did think about the fans, I thought about it in that way, as I've drawn great comfort from something the Apostle Paul said, which is he said it a few different ways. One way, he said is God, basically God used me as an example to show how merciful he is, right. Which I, you know, everybody thinks he was this. I mean, he was obviously, incredibly and powerfully used by God. But he knew who he was. And, you know, there's a quote from Paul, where he says, it's a trustworthy statement worthy of full acceptance. That Christ came to save sinners of whom I am the foremost I'm the worst, I'm the chief of sinners. And it's been such a comforting scripture for me, because I want to share that title with Paul, because I That's how I feel. I feel it in that way. And so, yeah, I want our music to communicate the reality of who I am. Not this idea of I am. I'm this like, world shaker, you know, Planet mover, you know, I'm just the man, you know, who's received this, you know, divine grace. And so I want people to look at that rather than myself.
Trevor Tyson 13:38
It's unique to find, especially a frontman in a band, not dissing frontman or anything, but just historically, when someone is in a band, they're like, Hey, look at me, you know, I want the attention. Like, this is what I'm here for. You don't you don't show that at all? Is that something that you've had to combat yourself? Like, internally? Are you just one of those people that's like, I don't want the attention. I don't want anything. I just want to reflect my feelings and let people know that there's a God that loves them.
Unknown Speaker 14:06
I'm obviously like, yeah, my, you know, my flesh. My flesh tells me go get that right. I think everybody's does and would even the most meek and humble men of the earth, you know, and women would have struggled with the same thing. But I just saw how destructive it is for people. Especially in music. How, you know, there's an old saying that says don't don't meet your heroes, right? You know, or say it on reason for that. Because that that person may just, they may not be mean or a jerk, but we kind of create these expectations of what people are like and make them out to be more than they are. And we're not really designed to put our hope in people in that way. Because we will. We will. Yeah, well, it'll be let down regardless. And so yeah, I think that's just something that I've carried with me. And I've also, I've been the recipient of that seeing people that I've looked up to, and appreciated their impact in my life. And that's the message they communicated to me was that that's how they carried themselves. And I just saw that as really beneficial and, you know, admirable to so.
Trevor Tyson 15:27
Come on, is there any song on the album that you're particularly excited to play live?
Unknown Speaker 15:35
Yeah. The song way to glory is just a lot of fun. Yeah, you know, we don't we it's been a while since we've written a song in that vein. But I think even this is just kind of like a, you know, steroid infused, you know, 2.0 version of anything we've done like that. So, it's a lot of fun.
Trevor Tyson 16:00
Nice, nice. And there's one song in particular that I really like you to dissect for us. And it's silent anthem, because, to me, personally, it brought a lot of peace, but it also expressed a lot of emotion in it. So when it comes to that song, in particular, can you dissect the writing process, the messaging behind it, and what you hope it translates to people?
Unknown Speaker 16:23
Yeah, once I, I'd actually, I'd had the music for that song, even before writing Eclipse, and I tried to make it happen on a clips, and it just, it didn't come together. And, and so I just went back to the drawing board for this album, and really love how it turned out this time around, you know, is just a much better version of the original idea. And I had written, essentially, what most people would probably come to understand as two thirds of the song because the song kind of takes a shift, you know, two thirds into it. And I'd written that section. And I started trying to write lyrics and realized what I wanted the song to be about. And that's when it kind of changed the whole concept. And that's where we ended up coming up with the the song ending idea. Because basically, it revolves around this concept of, you know, being, being a Christian band, in the music scene, has definitely provided some challenges for us. You know, we've had people in the industry, tell us, you know, certain things to do to be more successful, or certain things not to do. And, you know, I'm sure a lot of these people had good intentions, you know, there's also been those who don't have good intentions. They just want us to stop doing what we're doing. And as I, it's something that's like, yeah, it's, it's bothered me, for sure. It's been a hard thing to kind of process and kind of figure out how to deal with mentally not being upset, or yeah, not letting it affect me, or affect how I relate with with people. And so really, the song was kind of birthed from a lot of those those difficulties in it was kind of a way for me to explain who we are as a band and why we do what we do. That this isn't us talking about the gospel isn't a marketing tool. It's not something that I think is earning me points in heaven. It's not something that it's not for, it's not for my gain. I'm not doing this because I get I get something out of it. It's, it's I, a great thing has been given to me. And I want to share that with others. It's just like, when you go to a restaurant, and you eat really a really good meal, you want to tell everybody about it. And everyone does that. That's all I'm wanting to do with our music. And when we preach the gospel that our shows is, is just that I'm not trying to win people to my religion so that I can make money or gets like I don't, I don't benefit. It's for the benefit of others. Really, and maybe that sounds really, really humble, but like or like I'm really selfless, but it's when you understand what the grace is. It's not really being selfless. It's like I'm trying, I want you to share in this beautiful thing that's free. Because I didn't earn it. I didn't figure it out on my own I it's not by wisdom by knowledge or by strength or my you know, it's, it's this free gift and so, you know, as much as I think people have You know, tried to get us to be I guess, silent regarding this matter, you know, talking about Jesus with the gospel. Okay, we will go away one day, you know, one day we'll stop making music. And one day will be irrelevant. But the message of the gospel won't ever be, you know, it has been around. It's been a promise since the dawn of man, it became a reality 2000 years ago. And Christians have been telling this gospel message for 1000s of years, dying for it, dying to preserve the written word. And so it's not just because we go away, it doesn't mean it's going to go away. And in the book of Revelation is what really inspires the song is the anthem of Heaven is exactly what is said in Revelation five, and Revelation seven, which is worthy is the Lamb who was slain, hit, you know, the, the true Savior will be made known. And so that's really what kind of inspired the song is that? It's not really about, it's not really about us and what we and what we want to do, it's something so much bigger,
Unknown Speaker 21:18
and outside of us, but we've just, we're just this like tiny, tiny little speck in this massive history of redemptive history of what's going on. And so that's why in the bridge of the song, when people hear it's going to sound like we're being silenced, because we will, one day will die, you know, and we will, or, you know, our music will be irrelevant, or whatever. But the trueness of the song won't ever be
Trevor Tyson 21:51
the kind of closes up, as you said, like, eventually you're going to stop making music and you're going to be silenced. But for that next generation of not even just Christian metal core acts, but people that are creatives that have a message of hope, whether it's Christian, other religion, whatever, what would your message be to them? If they're in a season of like, I'm never gonna be able to make it music? Bah, bah, bah, is there a story that you can share that kind of maps out a time that you've wanted to give up that you've thought that maybe this message is too much for you to carry? But how would you relay that to the next generation?
Unknown Speaker 22:31
Um, if you don't want to do it, when no one's paying attention, then you don't want to do it. It's that simple. You know, we always, as a band, said that we, you know, you know, people say, Oh, if only one person was at the show, right? There's always like that classic, you know, you
Trevor Tyson 22:56
get on a stage in front of one person and tell me it doesn't hurt.
Unknown Speaker 22:58
Yeah. Well, we, you know, you sail those things. And I remember the first tour we ever did. We played a whole show to the bartender. So it wasn't even a paid customer. And, you know, like, we're setting up and that's all it was in there was the bartender. And you know, I think people in bands often forget that, like, it's, there's people at the show, but there's people that work the venue. And so I was just like, alright, this is a real shot to the pride, but let's do what we do. Because somebody is there, they turned on the speakers, they're expecting us to play. You know, and eventually, eventually, I think, you know, one or two people walked in, you know, three songs in but yeah, like, if you're really passionate, because there's a big audience, then that's not you're not actually passionate about the message, you're more, you're probably more passionate about who's paying attention. And so yeah, I would say is just really consider, what is it that you really want? What is your goal? And if your goal is to impact people, obviously, you're going to need people to do that. But the numbers, the numbers are irrelevant. You're not going to serve anyone, if you're expecting them to serve you by praising you and being present. And I believe I've most poignant ly learned that lesson from reading the gospels and seeing who Jesus is, is he said it, I didn't come to be served but to serve. That's why he came, you know. And so yeah, that's that's why I
Trevor Tyson 24:51
do this so good. And wolves at the gates new album eulogies will be out everywhere on March 11. Steve, thanks You so much for being here, dude. It's always a pleasure to have you. You're just so lacs, and it's easy to get questions out with you. And you always have great answers. I know you're always like, Sorry, that was long. No, like you have great answers and great insight, and people love to hear it. So you never, ever have to apologize for that, like, you're doing it. I appreciate you. I love the new record. I do think it's your best record yet. And the best is yet to come for you guys. So thanks again for being
Unknown Speaker 25:29
here. Thanks, man. Appreciate that. And for everybody
Trevor Tyson 25:32
listening and watching whether you're on YouTube or any of the streaming networks, just know that you're loved and there's always someone that is there to tell you that and our friends over at heart support have some amazing resources for you. You can also check out deaths the life.com death the number two life and there's so many resources for if you're struggling with your mental health, depression, anxiety, or maybe you're feeling suicidal, there's always hope you are loved and God loves you so much. We'll talk to you guys next week. Bye
Unrestricted by genre conventions and determined to raise the bar with each successive album, WOLVES AT THE GATE deliver music and a message with a firm commitment to passion and authenticity. Tirelessly seeking out the light in seemingly overwhelming darkness, the Midwestern post-hardcore group balances soaring melodies with unrelenting metal and emotional heaviness.
The band’s fifth album, Eulogies, arrives with confidence and forward motion born from reflection, introspection, and isolation. The small-town Ohio-based five-piece band built the foundations for the album’s 13 songs during the pandemic shutdown, shaping diverse tracks like “Shadows,” “Peace That Starts The War,” and “No Tomorrow” into stunning confessional epics.
Wolves At The Gate’s audience treasures each of the band’s best-known songs for the emotional depth, passionate catharsis, and evocative power contained in them, as evidenced by the millions of streams for WATG anthems. These include “Counterfeit,” “A Voice in the Violence,” and “Drifter” (from 2019’s Eclipse); “Asleep,” “Flickering Flame,” and “War in the Time of Peace” (from 2016’s Types & Shadows); “Relief,” and “The Bird and the Snake” (from 2014’ VxV); “Dead Man,” “The Harvest,” and “Slaves” (from 2012’s Captors), and “Heralds” (from 2011’s We Are The Ones).
Wolves At The Gate blaze a path combining seemingly disparate elements into a singular, cohesive identity. They harness ambition akin to Bring Me The Horizon, a progressive creative evolution in the spirit of Thrice, with postmodern rock accessibility rivaling Wage War or While She Sleeps.
Eulogies showcases the emotive force familiar to fans in attendance at WATG tours with bands like The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Fit For A King, August Burns Red, Born Of Osiris, Emery, and Red; and at major rock festivals headlined by a-list acts like Fall Out Boy, Switchfoot, and Skillet.