A lone wolf can survive on his own, but its chance of survival is far greater in a pack.
The White Wolves co-founders Todd Burman and Chuck Feltner are a fresh new creative writing force, showcasing a first in constant collaboration. Each and every song features new artists and “single” releases exclusively.
Rock Confidential has partnered with The White Wolves to premiere their new video, “Burning It Down.”
We had the opportunity to catch up with Todd and Chuck to talk more about their exciting, limitless new approach to songwriting and recording new music.
Thank you for taking time out for this! How are things going?
Todd: We’re doing great, thanks for having us. Chuck and I are excited for the release of our single “Burning It Down.” It has been a crazy few months already recording the first few singles and videos!
Please tell us a little about The White Wolves and who is involved.
Todd: Chuck and myself are the two core members of The White Wolves. We had a vision of creating a new model of writing and recording. We write singles only and each single features a guest vocalist and guest musicians.
Chuck: I will always play bass and Todd will always play rhythm guitar. We write the songs and then source the vocalist and musicians we see as the best fit for the song. It’s a unique way to write and record as each time we go into the studio, we have all never worked together.
Todd: Essentially we want to capture lighting in a bottle. There are no boundaries on the project, we write whatever is inspiring us and go in and record and release the track. Same with Producers / Engineers / Mixers and Mastering Engineers.
How did that creative model evolve and do you envision the band using this format in the future?
Todd: It developed organically when Chuck and I started writing together last year, it just felt right. We decided to record one of the songs we had written – “Burning It Down.” We started to think who would be best suited to feature on the track and it just went from there. Brad Pemberton (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals / Steve Earle & The Dukes) came in to lay down the drums, he was our only choice, as he just is such a great drummer. We then reached out to our dear friend Jasin Todd (Shinedown / Fuel) to come in to add some guitars and color and he ended up producing. Terry McDermott’s (Driveblind / Lotus Crush ) vocal range was perfect for the song and I had a history of working with him in the past. We went in to Rivergate Studios with Engineer Chet Roberts (3 Doors Down). Friends had just recorded there and we just clicked with Chet. We recorded it over two days and the result is our first single.
Chuck: The beauty about our concept is we get to write and record any format of music we want. A typical band does not have the luxury of this because they are limited to what their frontman can do. We are allowed to push the boundaries, because we can always find the appropriate frontman for the song.
Todd: The format to us moving forward is endless. We want to be able to feature as many different singers and musicians as possible. Give them a platform to express themselves within our recording process. Everyone has a voice when we record, it basically comes down to whatever is best for the song. There is zero ego in the room, it’s all about the art and capturing that to tape.
Since you collaborate with so many different people, how would you explain the songwriting process for these songs compared to a typical band situation?
Todd: Typically for us, when we have been in a band environment, it becomes too many cooks in the kitchen. Chuck and I just have a really unique synergy when we write. We are at times complete opposites with how we approach writing, but we always agree on whatever is best for the song. In a band scenario, the message can get lost. We write the bulk of the track and then allow everyone to play without limits when we record. It’s wonderful when you give people the freedom to play, how incredible the finished track comes out. The guest singers and musicians are free to express themselves without limits. It comes down to the art of classic songwriting with musicians all together developing the song on the fly in the studio. Everything became quantized and about hooks over the last 15 years. We wanted to go back to song development and the art of writing.
Chuck: At the end of the day it is always about the song. If you keep that mentality whilst writing, it is very easy to check your ego at the door. Todd and I both bring a unique approach to writing.
We’re premiering the video for “Burning It Down.” What can you tell us about that track?
Chuck: The video for “Burning It Down” was filmed in Nashville. Joshua Mendez came in to direct it for us. We rented out a 50,000 SF warehouse downtown at 4 Wall Entertainment, it became the perfect enviroment for this video. The video is our representation of the song. The song is about the internal struggle of not letting your past relationships dictate your future relationships. It is about burning down those insecurities, so you could potentially love the same again.
What inspires you as an artist?
Chuck: I am inspired by true passion on all levels. And the desire to make something completely out of thin air. Being a musician is the closet thing to magic. Pulling an idea out of thin air and making something from nothing.
Who are some of your influences? Was there a particular artist that had more of an impact?
Chuck: Some of my major influencers are The Foo Fighters, The Killers, Coldplay, U2, Eric Church, Van Morrison. My biggest influence I would say is Oasis. By far, the most iconic songwriters of my time.
Todd: I have been influenced by everything from Led Zeppelin to INXS. The grunge movement played a major factor in my life growing up. I’ve been heavily influenced by British musicians as well.
What are your thoughts on how new music is promoted now?
Todd: Today everyone has the ability to release their art through Spotify, Youtube, iTunes. It’s exciting, as more and more artists are not chasing trends and releasing exciting new music. You have all the social media platforms for artists to connect directly with their fans.
Chuck: Artists have literally collaborated by sending a message to another artist about working together and viola! A lot of initial discussion we can have in The White Wolves can be done via reaching out and connecting to work together. This is far less smoke and mirrors and the fans really connect.
Do you have plans to tour?
Todd: Touring will be next year. We are going in to record our third single “I Won’t Be Around” in October and need to have the catalog together to perform live. Chuck and I love to play live, but our focus right now is on recording.
Thank you again! What would you like to say to wrap things up?
Todd: We are just finishing up mixing the second single “Revolution,” which will be released in October with a video to premiere with it. We are filming the video for that next week with Josh Mendez, who directed and filmed “Burning It Down.” We wanted to talk about the major changes and challenges we have seen in society with so many people being able to have a voice about the issues facing society today. We have nothing to loose by talking about it.