Howlin' Souls Unleashes New Models For "Free & Young" Music Video

Howlin' Souls Unleashes New Models For "Free & Young" Music Video

We talk to the band about their hotly anticipated new album, and all about the inspirations behind their latest visuals.

We talk to the band about their hotly anticipated new album, and all about the inspirations behind their latest visuals.

Text: Christina Cacouris

The Howlin' Souls are an underground New York band, but they might look familiar: their drummer, Nate Lang, was opposite Miles Teller in Whiplash, the explosive Oscar winning drama. But where Whiplash was jazz, the band is rock and roll with a hint of blues and Motown—after all, their name is a reference to Howlin' Wolf, the iconic blues singer. We chat with Nate and bass player Robbie Sokolowsky about their just-released music video in anticipation of their upcoming album. Read on to hear about what to expect from their latest album, the influences in their model-heavy music video, and why ladies love bass players.

New York itself features heavily in your visuals. How does the city inspire your music?

Nate: New York City has a very rhythmic energy. It’s fast-paced and gritty. All you have to do is walk down the street and you can feel it—it has such a diverse cross section of people and music that you can’t help having it all rub off on your ideas when you’re creating something.

Robbie: The sound and visual style of New York is very important to the band. We are based downtown; we practice in Tribeca; we play in the Lower East Side. We have a song called “Chinatown” which is an upbeat dance tune that’s frantic and pulsing. It captures the energy and the excitement of downtown New York. If you can capture the vibe of the city in a song, you are doing something right.

Aside from New York, what’s the main inspiration behind the “Free & Young” music video?

Robbie: The song is an anti-establishment anthem about youth, freedom and rebellion. It’s strung on these colorful lyrics that [lead singer] Pete wrote about this vagabond type who is living up the high life without a plan, just living in the moment. It’s not a specific man or woman; it’s a snapshot of someone who is liking an uninhibited life. It’s a confident celebration about not giving a fuck when you are a kid. The video follows the lyric narrative with visual cues and homages to these nostalgic things we love.

So far the songs you’ve released have had a heavy disco or rock element to them. What else can we expect from your forthcoming album?

Robbie: While our songs may spill into different genres, our sound is what’s cohesive. On the new Howlin’ Souls album you will find a few ballads and a few country songs on top of the rockers. Our collective influences are well rounded so we don’t like to shy away from styles; our last single and video for “Anyway You Take It” was an ode to late 70’s Rolling Stones BeeGees style. The album represents the type of music we love to play and the incredible songwriting by Pete and Nate. Between the ballads and rockers, there is something for everyone on this album. That’s become evident at some of the recent shows we have been playing in the crowd reactions.

You’re also paying homage to several of the greats in blues and Motown; these are genres aren’t as frequently played by young people as much as rock or pop bands. Why do you think that young people have a hesitation to engage with them? Are you trying to make those genres more accessible by keeping them updated and fresh?

Nate: I think it’s about exposure. There’s no doubt in my mind that people of all ages would really appreciate and dig the blues if they listened. It’s raw, pure energy. It’s truthful. Everything they listen to today—pop, hip-hop, rock, it all comes directly from the blues. It’s a matter of exposing young people to the great blues musicians of the past. Hopefully that’s where we can help.

Robbie: Especially now in this moment of digital, we have access to everything. I think the hesitation to explore different music genres lies in the “liking what you know” rather than “knowing what you like” trap. A curious mind will open a lot of doors, and if we open that door for a few curious fans out there, I think we can turn a few ears on. But I would encourage anyone to open up Spotify and type in Otis, Tina, Miles, or most importantly “Howlin [Wolf]” and listen to the first few songs that come up.

Robbie—what made bass your calling?

Robbie: When I was younger I was told that ladies love bass players, so I bought a bass. Then I realized that ladies love bass players named Sting and Duff. (JK!) But really, it has to be the vibration and the resonance. There is a lot of power in the low notes. It also looks cool!

Credits: IMAGE COURTESY OF HOWLIN' SOULS/ROBBIE SOKOLOWSKY

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