Back in 2017, I had the chance to go see an Issues show in downtown Atlanta. It was revealed last minute and one of my friends got wind of it. Undoubtedly, I was all in. That night, I had the chance to see the band To Speak of Wolves (TSOW) play for the first time. If you are reading this today, I think the title of this interview speaks for itself in terms of the impression TSOW gave me.
I had full intentions of seeing Issues bring it that night. What I did not expect was to see the opening act, TSOW, tear the place to the ground before the band everyone came to see even picked up a mic. Frontman Gage Speas brings an unparalleled energy to the group and his bandmates are equally incredible. From that moment on, I wanted to begin my venture here the only way I know how: ask the golden boy from TSOW for an interview.
Let there be no question that Gage Speas is one of a kind. This guy is the definition of a frontman in every sense of the word. He started out as a merchandise guy for Oh, Sleeper until he took over lead vocals for TSOW back in 2011. No disrespect, but the band changed that day and every song they have put out since is absolutely remarkable, both lyrically and musically.
I was honored to kick off our interview series with Gage Speas of To Speak of Wolves. Want to get to know him? You have come to the right place.
When and where did you get your start in music?
“I got my start in music when I was probably 12 or so. A friend of mine showed me Blindside and Refused and it was game over for me. I learned to scream in his room while listening to Earth Crisis. All I wanted to do was be a frontman. I started going to shows every weekend in town. I’m sure I was pretty annoying to all the bands I met. But I didn’t care, I just knew they were where i wanted to be, so I drilled them with questions.”
Who or what influences your music the most?
“That’s a good question! Lyrically, I just like to write about personal experiences or stories that I’ve found to be interesting. As for melodically, I mostly listen to country music. Lately I’ve been jamming Ruston Kelly’s new record, and John Prine. But my all time favorite band is Oh, Sleeper. I rip Micah off like no other.” [chuckles]
When you took over lead vocals for TSOW, what did you want to accomplish the most?
“I had 3 goals for TSOW. One was to buy my own record from the store, be in a magazine, turn the TV on and see my music video. I got to do all of those things before I was 22. It’s been a pretty unreal journey, man.”
TSOW featured in Revolver Magazine for their single “Haunt Me”
Credit: Hear To Speak of Wolves’ Crushing New Track, “Haunt Me”
If you could describe TSOW’s music in one word, what would it be and why?
“Brutal. I think it’s brutal in so many ways. The songs are fast and relentless. I try to write honest and deep lyrics. I sing about some traumatic stuff I feel like no one wants to sing about.”
What is the proudest moment in your life, either musically or personally?
“Probably my daughter being born. That was an insane experience to see this little human come into the world. Or being main support for Oh, Sleeper.”
What was the transition from metal vocalist to family man/father like? Have you faced any unexpected obstacles?
“Ehhhh I don’t know if it’s a real transition. I’m still the same dude. I just get to show my daughter awesome music now. It will be weird when she’s older and listens to my bands songs. Or sees pics of me singing and flipping the bird.” [chuckles]
If you could give a young, aspiring vocalist advice, what would it be?
“Practice your craft. Do it everyday. I’m your car, in the shower, when you’re alone. It doesn’t matter, just practice. Write everyday. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a cheesy little poem, story, song, just write. I also think it’s good to listen to music that isn’t the genre you want to make. So you can pull influences from other places. Go to shows, meet people, and just be a nice person.”
Where do you see yourself in five years? Should fans expect to see TSOW on the road/in the studio again?
“In five years, I’ll probably have won the lottery. So I’ll be poolside at my house, listening to Nirvana, and sipping on some cold beer. If that hasn’t happened, I’ll still be the lead singer of TSOW. [chuckles]
Yep! Andrew (Gaultier) and I have already started on some demos and we’re just taking our time writing right now. So we’ll probably play some shows this year.”
Photo by: Clayton Holyoak