It would be easy to say that Windhand are a band of contradictions, but really, they’re a band of assertions.

With a famously vocal outlook on everything from their own music to their fans and beyond, Windhand are as unique on record as they are in conversation.

 

“The fact I’m sitting here on a Wednesday night talking to someone in Australia is pretty sweet,” says drummer Ryan Wolfe, sipping on a glass of wine as he talks down the phone. “I mean, this band, there’s a reason we play in this band and there’s a reason we’re here in life.

 

“We’re happy and appreciative that this many people around the world enjoy [our music] and wanna hear it – we’re not gonna exploit what we do, it’s somewhat humble and honest. The reward is being able to play music. To have the ability to play music.”

 

Windhand are often described as a doom metal band – even their Wikipedia bio uses the term – but Wolfe voices a few rough truths about such a description. “I hate that word – I hate it,” he says. “I’m not being mad at you – it’s something we’ve tried to shy away from. I honestly feel we’re rock’n’roll, but for some reason there’s a doom genre. But I don’t know; it’s just music to me, man.”

 

As the name suggests, doom is a particularly gritty subgenre of metal, and though it’s the label for which Windhand have become known, their songs have a kind of ambience that’s far removed from the imagery of blood, gore and destruction that the word ‘doom’ suggests. It begs the question, is there anything that makes Windhand metal at all?

 

“The pure volume,” Wolfe laughs. “We play fucking loud as hell. We’re really, really loud – to a lot of sound men in the world, to their disgust, we’re fucking loud.”

 

Though Windhand are presently flying high with success, their journey to this point has been bumpy at best. Indeed, their 2013 album Soma was met with mixed reviews (though Rolling Stone called it the third best metal record of the year), and though they’re quickly outgrowing the underground scene of their native Virginia, Windhand have certainly done the hard yakka to get where they are.

 

“It’s very humbling when you do see so many publications mentioning you,” Wolfe says. “But I don’t know – without whoever we’re playing to, without them, we’re nothing. But honestly, we’re playing for ourselves, even more now than before – we’re really trying to be selfish with our music.

 

“I probably shouldn’t say what I’m about to say, but… maybe I’ve had too much wine, but to hear what you’re saying, saying good things about us – I mean, you’re in fucking Australia, you’re on the other side of the world!

 

“We got slagged for our last album and then there are other bands who are ripping our stuff off, note for note – you’re like, ‘What the fuck?!’ [Then] all of a sudden you’re everyone’s darling and you’re what everyone wants to hear and then all these bloggers and writers need someone new. That was a venting – I’ve had too much wine. So many people talk shit about us: what have we done that’s all of a sudden so different that people fucking trashed us?”

 

Slagged off or otherwise, Windhand will not be discouraged, and their 2015 album Grief’s Infernal Flower cemented the group’s reputation for ruthlessness as well as offering a contradiction to all those ‘doom metal’ comments. 

 

“I feel like there’s draw from everywhere,” Wolfe says. “We don’t all strictly listen to heavy music – we’re all pulling in different influences from here and there; country, folk, psychedelia. 

 

“I saw [Windhand] play when I was just moved to town and I wanted to be their drummer,” he adds. “The first thing I wanted to do was to add a jam aspect – early ’70s Grateful Dead is a huge influence for me. The thought of putting that toward this heavy, steady, grungey type of music – for some reason I thought, ‘This can be good. This can be really good.’”

 

Alongside their musical spirit animals Cough, Windhand return to Australia next month with every intention of showing off that excessive volume and eclectic sound. “You said you’re in Sydney? OK, cool. That’s awesome. I. Am. Excited. 

 

“Last time we drove in between shows and I find out after we got there that flights were super cheap – why didn’t anybody tell me they were so fucking cheap?” Wolfe asks. “Coming down from Brisbane, a bunch of the highways are mountainous and I could see the fucking Opera House coming over the Bridge, then I played a show at a university and that’s all I saw of Sydney – so yeah, really excited.

 

“I feel like I’m about to fall in love again with my girlfriend. I don’t think I have any fucking idea what’s going on here but I really like it. Finally Australia is gonna talk back to me after I was talking to her all night.”

Windhand play Newtown Social Club, Wednesday April 5, with Cough.