Wolf + Lamb are currently one of the hottest names in house music. From their New York headquarters they have been pushing a sound that has one foot firmly in the realm of 4/4 beats and the other somewhere completely different.
With a casual attitude towards collaborations, parties and nurturing new talent, the list of names who have been associated with the label from Seth Troxler to Soul Clap read a like a who’s who of dynamic, exciting house music. However, at the heart of all that is, Wolf + Lamb are Zev Eisenberg and Gadi Mizrahi, two long time friends who were chipping away at the coal face of dance music, way before their productions, record label and parties became NYC’s hottest property.
In fact, I must admit that I was somewhat slow to catch on to Wolf +Lamb. A lot of what I heard was not chiming with my expectations, and none of their more obtuse tracks had caught my attentions. That was the case until I bought the first Double Standard Release – Wolf + Lamb’s Vinyl only offshoot. From there I had found my entry point to the world of Wolf + Lamb and as they saying goes, I haven’t looked back since.
I caught up with Zev and Gadi to find out what’s what in NYC, the Marcy Hotel and everything in between.
Hey Zev, hey Gadi – Wolf + Lamb were one of the breakout acts (and labels) of last year. What were you doing before your success?
We’d been throwing parties in New York and patiently trying to make a dent on the music world with our labels. We had been cultivating our artists for the world stage as well.
I have read in the past that you are often switching your style of music – do you become bored easily?
I don’t think it’s that we get bored, it’s just the nature of constantly playing out and also getting a stream of new influences and ways of using them from the music we buy and the music our label artists are making in their laboratories.
How is the Double Standard label coming along?
It’s been off to a perfect warm welcome by the vinyl community and it’s up to its third release. So far the feedback has been perfect.
Does it become tiring having to explain about the Marcy Hotel – is it still a creative hub? Do you actually live there?
It does, but we’re honoured by the interest! I (Gadi) still live there and it’s certainly the creative and spiritual hub of the label. No Regular Play is living upstairs and the energy of the thousands of people who have laid it all on the line over the years is there to fuel new ideas all the time.
How difficult is it to balance the label, your joint and individual projects and all of the party’s?
Actually that’s the easy part, we’ve always gone by what we feel like doing. Like waking up in the morning and do we want to find new music to DJ with and do some touring, or are we tired of that and maybe some of the artists sent new music that’s blowing our minds open and now we need to focus on putting out music. Sometimes we’re just bored with one aspect of Wolf + Lamb, so we focus on another!
What comes first?
The chicken nugget.
How do you continue to be inspired?
I’m (Gadi) inspired by listening to different genres constantly, for me it’s hip hop and R & B right now. Zev’s inspired more by life in general and somehow manages to channel it all into music when it’s appropriate. Also the creative output from all of our artists has been a big inspiration for both of us, and whenever we’re a little low maybe one of the artists will hit it our of the park and get us both excited about the possibilities.
Do you ever think you will move away from music that has its roots in ‘beats’?
We already have at times. Gadi finding ‘The Student’, which launched Nicolas Jaar’s career with us had no beat! Dancing is a massive part of the social fabric of our community and the parties have been so instrumental in passing on the vision and the context for the music that it will probably always have some roots in beats of some kind. That said, there’s no telling with us, we just follow our hearts and ears where ever it may lead!
What have been some of the highlights of the past year?
Definitely the W+L Experiences & Showcases all over the world, having the vision and feeling from the Marcy and our parties in New York translate in new countries with thousands of new people was something we were worried about for many years leading up to it, but they turned out to be pure magic. A lot of the music that came out on the label, as specially some of the edits on the black label were real high points as well.
Is it important for you to nurture new talent?
It’s very important, it’s something we’re very proud, but the kids have grown up and are off to college so there’ll be no more of that for a while. We get a lot of new music sent to us every week and there’s some gems among them but we just can’t take on any new artists at whatever level they are since we’ve got our hands full!
How do you discover new artists for both yourselves as DJs and for the label?
For ourselves, we find artists on Beatport like the rest of the world! Some from promos we get from labels we like and from friends. For the label, each artist has a unique story – some we’re through friends, some were from demos we got of mostly local artists when we were still accepting and listening to them. The key was that we felt connected to them and wanted to have them as a part of the family deep into the future.
Any plans to be back in Berlin soon?
Absolutely, I (Gadi) will be staying there for a lot of the summer, and Zev’s coming to play at Cookies on July 20th.
Tell me about your album Love Someone – what’s the meaning behind the title?
I think at the heart of Wolf + Lamb is love, in whatever form it means to the listener or the person that’s receiving it from us. It’s what’s motivated us over all these years to keep on pushing forward, and to anyone who’s been to the Marcy or our parties, you get sense of that more than anything. Zev and I are not always in love, but when we come together to do our art, it’s always in that context. So the album, which is a year of our work together, while touring and sharing our music with others, takes heavily from that and the title seemed appropriate.
Are you happy with it?
Very much so, I think we were humbled and a little surprised by the reception and the excitement around it, but we worked countless hours and went through a lot to make it happen – there’s an amazing feeling of closure now that it’s getting out – also in a way clearing space for the next generation of ideas that are coming in now.
Are you selling many lamb burgers for room service?
It’s fallen out of style with the new health craze in New York, Zev’s organic garden burger’s been doing a little but better – but time will tell..
Wolf + Lamb – Love Someone is out now