Interview with vocalist Jake Wolf | By Nicholas Senior
Pardon the pun, but there’s a good reason for Twin Cities, Minn., based band Reflections to be reflective going into their upcoming third album The Color Clear. The album—which was released on Sept. 18 via eOne/Good Fight—is a startling look at despair, depression, and the darkest recesses of the human soul. Musically and lyrically, The Color Clear is a clear departure from Reflections’ past.
Vocalist Jake Wolf has been through so much the past 18 months. Wolf has battled addiction, and lost his roommate and close friend in a fire that destroyed his home. On top of all that, Reflections have had significant lineup changes, with guitarist Charlie Caswell and drummer Cam Murray leaving. All of that would topple most bands; instead, Reflections’ upcoming third album is a triumphant return for a band and a man seemingly lost. The Color Clear is technical, ferocious, and refreshingly honest.
Wolf is quick to reflect on what caused the band’s changes: “After Exi(s)t came out, it was a real disappointment. It didn’t feel like a band when we wrote it. The album was half written by me and [guitarist] Patty [Somoulay], and half written by [guitarist] Charlie [Caswell]. It lacked character, body, and depth. We didn’t work as a band; it sucked.” He continues, “I’ve had a problem with drugs and alcohol for a while, and it wasn’t until 2014 when my friend past away in our house fire that I quit drinking. It was such a crazy experience, all the things that went wrong and the aftermath: having to go on tour right after that and knowing that there was nothing to come home to and one of my best friends was gone. So, I started using LSD therapeutically instead of recreationally and it changed my entire world, the way I think and see things and what I look for in the world. It made me look at the things that go completely unnoticed. Honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to hold myself together if it wasn’t for that.”
The Color Clear is not for the weak-hearted, as it tells the tale of person at their lowest, then proceeds to delve deeper into the darkness. “The writing process this time around was super emotional,” Wolf says, refusing to shy away from the truth. “I am depressed every single day of life. It sounds weird, because I’m not saying it in a way to get you to pity me. I hate who I am, and that sounds super weird to say that so comfortably. You come to terms with certain things, and I’m just not happy. I do appreciate the things I get to do, because through those things, I hope to get people to not feel the way that I do. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not still laying in bed wishing I didn’t have those things I hate about myself.”
Unlike on previous albums, the lyrics on The Color Clear aren’t obscured with clever devices. “I did not want to be metaphorical when writing the lyrics,” Wolf says. This album is meant to be brash and cathartic, an album for people who are going through depression and dealing with the darkness. The best way to counteract the darkness is to let it all out, and there’s no question Wolf let everything out on this record. The Color Clear is devastating, both musically and lyrically, and it’s easily the best thing the band have done.
Reflections put just as much time into the overall presentation as they did the music. Wolf shares, “The album is going to be just as much about the art as it is the music and lyrics. My tattoo artist did all the artwork. He’s very into sacred geometry and the conscious third eye; it’s very in-depth. Every song’s art directly correlates with its lyrical content and song atmosphere in one way or another. Hopefully, people appreciate it, because we put a lot of time into this. We’re planning to go through it in depth after the album’s release.”
Of the album’s concept, Wolf explains, “The color clear is something that is all around us, but we don’t see it: the air we breathe, the water we drink. It’s just the earth and everything that’s right in front of you that you can’t see or hold, but it’s there. I really like the title because it’s different, and it was fun to explore that.”
The band hit theroad this September with Toothgrinder and Exalt, with many more dates in the planning stage. For those looking for an energetic and chaotic live spectacle, Reflections offer that in spades. Their live show is a dazzling display of passion and instrumental precision, allowing them to fit right in with prog, tech, and aggressive lineups with ease. If you’re looking for a new favorite metalcore band, one who appeals both to your primal and higher sensibilities, Reflections are a perfect fit.