Sea Wolf‘s Alex Brown Church has been a busy man for the past year. In fact, he has only been home in LA this past summer, and he is already jumping back onto the road for a solo acoustic tour.
The Sea Wolf following is growing, whether it be from touring with French indie rockers Phoenix, or landing a coveted spot on last year’s New Moon soundtrack. But the growth has been steady from humble beginnings. Church attended film school at NYU before even trying out music.
“I was in LA for about a week right out of film school,” Church recalls. “There were two things I wanted to do: One was start a band, and the other was work in the film industry and see if I liked it.”
Within the first week of working in the film industry, Church found members that would soon form his first band.
“I realized that music was something I felt a stronger connection to,” Church says.
Soon after his first band, he created Sea Wolf, named after the Jack London novel. If you love Bright Eyes and M. Ward, Sea Wolf is definitely your cup of tea. Like Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and M. Ward, Church has lyrics that paint a picture for you, but in Sea Wolf’s case, it feels as if you are looking through a lens. His words are full of imagery, a dramatic story and a script you wish would never end.
Sea Wolf released a sophomore album, White Water, White Bloom, in September 2009. Church describes the sound as a “folk/pop-rock extravaganza.”
“It’s more dynamic than the first record,” Church says. “There are sort of peaks and valleys as always with whatever I do, but for the most part, there are more drums on this record.”
Church spent a lot of time in Montréal during the making of the White Water, which he admits had a huge impact on the imagery of the record. But just because Church was in a state of writing, doesn’t mean writer’s block didn’t happen.
“All the time,” he laughs. “I constantly have writer’s block, and then every once and a while, a song pops out. I have no idea how it happened and then I have writer’s block until the next one.”
A month after releasing White Water, Sea Wolf was on every teenage girl’s iPod with the release of the New Moon soundtrack. Yes, that vampire movie that everyone has been talking about. However, compared to his other songs, Church doesn’t feel that special connection with “Violet Hour.”
“Every single song I’ve ever written is just for me, where as for ‘Violet Hour’ I wrote with the movie in mind,” Church confesses. “It didn’t come from the same place as the rest of my songs, which is perhaps why I haven’t really played it.”
Songs that are permanently among Sea Wolf’s set list are “Black Dirt” and “You’re a Wolf.”
“’You’re a Wolf’ is one of my favorite songs,” Church says. “To me, that’s kind of the Sea Wolf anthem, so I love playing that song.”
Although he’s been playing some of these songs for years, Church still has brain farts on stage.
“Every single show I forget lyrics… I’m kind of notorious for that,” Church says. “When I’m singing the song I’m like, ‘Which one is this again?’ and then by doing that I forget entirely.”
While playing a homecoming show earlier this year, forgetting lyrics was the last thing Church had to worry about. The show was at the Autry Museum of Western History in LA’s Griffith Park, which had never held a concert before. The stage was so small that only the drums could fit, so that meant the band had to play right in front of the crowd.
“It was strange singing like 2 feet away from people who were just standing there staring at you,” Church says.
There was also a problem of being able to see the crowd at all.
“During that show, the power blew out like two or three times completely and we had to stop and wait for the power to come on,” Church says. “I had to yell out to the crowd to keep them entertained.”
Don’t worry though, Sea Wolf won’t have to work to keep you entertained at the show tomorrow. Church will play a solo acoustic show at The Rhythm Room with Patrick Park and Sera Cahoone. And Church admits that he doesn’t know when he’ll do another solo acoustic tour, so this is a chance you won’t want to miss!
The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Midtown. Doors are at 7 p.m., and tickets are $13 online or at the door.