The End: Chelsea Wolfe on Endings and Death
"I love nature, so I am okay with the idea of becoming part of it after death."
Dec 11, 2015
Photography by Ben Chisholm Issue #54 - August/September 2015 - CHVRCHES
To end out the week, we ask Chelsea Wolfe some questions about endings and death. The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/guitarist recently released her fifth album, Abyss, on Sargent House. It's a collection that includes dystopian love songs and tracks about being stuck inside a dream, unable to wake up. Such stark imagery is backed by ominous crunchy industrial beats that segue into soaring choruses. It's gothic music with searing metal flourishes that don't threaten to box it into any one genre. Abyss is a dramatic album, music that gives you the sense that stakes are high and much is on the line, so it's no surprise that album opener "Carrion Flowers" has already backed two Hollywood trailers, including one for The Walking Dead companion TV series Fear the Walking Dead. Read on as Wolfe discusses her favorite endings, one of which does involve the hit zombie show.
What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?
Whatever song makes the people I left behind happy and helps them remember that life is endless. I think my favorite song is "Vietnam" by Abner Jay, so maybe that one sung by some friends-that's a really nice thought, actually.
What's your favorite ending to a movie?
Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog. The beautiful shots under the ice in Antarctica with magical seal sounds playing after a version of this quote by Alan Watts: "Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence."
What's your favorite last line in a book?
Towards the very end of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, I really resonated with this line: "I was the chain that bit into my ankle, and I was the ruthless guard that never slept."
What's your favorite finale episode of a TV show?
Definitely The Walking Dead season four finale when the sheriff guy [Rick Grimes] bit some other guy's throat out. In the episode it was all he could do to save his son. I would do that shit, too. I'm a biter.
What's your favorite last song on an album?
"I'll Read You a Story" on Colleen et les Boîtes à Musique by Colleen, it's a total lullaby.
What's your favorite way a band broke up?
I don't know. My bandmate just told me that Frank Black faxed his bandmates to let them know he was quitting the band [Pixies].
If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?
A perfectly ripe avocado, black pepper, and a sharp knife.
What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?
Becoming moss on the side of a mountain somewhere beautiful like Hawaii or Iceland. I love nature, so I am okay with the idea of becoming part of it after death.
What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?
I don't think it's good to say things like that out loud!
If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?
Probably something that can run really fast, like a cheetah, or I also think it would be nice to be a raven. Flying would be amazing.
What song, album, or achievement would you most like to be remembered for?
Maybe that I helped someone be more at peace with something through my music. The world is so heavy, and I'm trying to confront it and escape it at the same time.
What would you like your last words to be?
Maybe just a hum or a strange sound. Or "I love you."
[Note: This article first appeared in Under the Radar's August/September/October 2015 Issue. This is its debut online.]
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