Interview with drummer Aaron Weaver | By Nicholas Senior

Sometimes, to move forward, we must recognize and appreciate that which came before us. Such is the case for Thrice Woven, the stunning new recorded ritual from atmospheric black metal group Wolves In The Throne Room, out now via Artemisia Records. By choosing to honor their familial, musical, and occult ancestors, the band have crafted their best work yet—really, it’s even better than 2007’s Two Hunters.

Thrice Woven is the group’s most focused record. There’s a purposefully improved recording quality that augments the already impressive atmosphere, and the band’s best riffs and ambiance come together to create a truly enchanting experience. It’s a wonderfully visual listen. The riffs are much more varied and forceful this time around, but drummer, guitarist, and synth player Aaron Weaver acknowledges that’s not on him. “I think the reason for that is [vocalist and guitarist] Nate [Weaver] wrote most of the riffs on this record, while for [2011’s Celestial] Lineage, I wrote most of the riffs,” he says. “Nathan’s influences are some straight-up metal, and that honoring of tradition and lineage comes through on this record.”

The album’s artwork evokes the medieval and occult, and these riffs feel like something one would hear 20 to 25 years ago, lending and oldness and otherness to the record. Weaver concurs, “Yeah, we’re heathen people. We’re tuned in to something that feels really, really old—that feels ancient. We’re trying to make music that reflects that in an honorable and good way.”

So, what did Wolves In The Throne Room seek to convey with Thrice Woven? “The themes of this record are honoring the ancestors, you know? Taking time every day to think about the ones that have come before us and having respect and love for them. That’s why [guest musician], Steve [Von Till of Neurosis]’s contribution to the record was so beautiful. He’s a mentor, a teacher, like an elder to us. Neurosis is a band that taught us so much about how to connect music and spirituality in a really beautiful way. We really appreciated having that wisdom that comes from Steve.”

This record does, indeed, feel particularly spiritual, but what does spirituality mean to Weaver? “It has to do with the freedom to choose how you want to live your life,” he says. “That’s what metal music is: music that teaches us about freedom and tells us to respect ourselves, respect our own voice. It means everything to us.” Weaver says that concept ties into the themes of the record by bringing it back to honoring the past. “It honors my grandparents,” he shares, “what they did to make my life possible, just having so much gratitude for everyone who has come before us.”

“There’s a connection to Irish and Celtic imagery and spirituality, which is something that’s really important to me and Nathan because that comes from my maternal grandmother who was Irish,” he continues. “It’s about her stories and her particular magic from that place; that is a big part of my life and a big part of my childhood. That Celtic spirituality—or paganism, whatever you want to call it—is just woven into our lives and into our music, and I really honor my grandmother for sharing that with me.” On his lyrical inspiration, Weaver states, “My lyrics come from the heart. I just listen to the music, and whatever images are there in my mind, I just write them down, and that’s what my lyrics are.”

If you’re tackling Celtic mythology, you’ve got to have a little bit of Scotch or Irish whisky, right? “Yeah, totally,” Weaver laughs. “Yeah, man, it’s important to drink a little bit when you’re recording a record. I was just shit-faced drunk doing a few takes, the best takes, on the drums. Yeah, man, it’s good to be a little out of control.”

Weaver shines behind the kit thanks to the great sense of emotion and abandon behind the way he plays. “That’s definitely something I’m aware of,” he confirms. “It has to do with really trying to be in my heart when I’m playing, not think about it too much. I try to think about being a conduit for something that’s deeper and darker and lower, rather than trying to be really precise.”

For Wolves In The Throne Room, the feeling is more important than being clinicians. Weaver agrees, “Yeah, man, there are stick clicks and slugs and all kinds of fuckups on the takes that make it on the album, but my favorite drummer is [The Who’s] Keith Moon. That’s what I want, that wild spirit, because I think that helps me open up.”

Purchase Thrice Woven here

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