Mike Koniglio is the lead singer of the band Blood of the Wolf and after hearing the band’s brand new release: IV: The Declaration of War, I fired off some questions to him, and here is what he said:
Now how did you get into metal? What were some of the 1st bands that you heard? Are you still a fan of any of these bands these days?
MC: The first “metal” band I heard was Poison, haha. My sister bought “Look What the Cat Dragged In” in 1986. Though I certainly don’t consider them to be true metal. Shortly after my best childhood friend introduced me to Maiden, Metallica, and Anthrax. He had older brothers who showed us. I still like the good stuff from Maiden, Metallica, and Anthrax.
Now how did the sounds of underground metal enter your life? What were some of the 1st bands you heard? Are you still a fan of those bands these days?
MC: The first death metal band I heard was Entombed. I was in seventh grade. It changed my life. I’m not really a big Entombed, but of course, I still love Death Metal.
So now what led to you wanna pick up the guitar? Why not the bass or the drums? Were you self-taught or take any lessons? What are some of your favorite guitar players?
MC: I was always attracted to guitar. Sort of like metal in general, I was drawn to the cover art and logos. The same friend who introduced me to the bands I mentioned above had an older brother who gave me guitar lessons for a while. He got me playing. Since then I’ve done a few rounds of lessons, but I’ve just focused more on writing than practicing. Some of my favorite guitarists are the guys who have started and persevered with their bands like Morgan of Marduk, Henry from God Dethroned, Peter of Vader, or Kerry and Jeff from Slayer.
Now back about 20 years ago you were in a band called Rellik. Did you form that band or join it? Looking back how was your time in the band and what caused the band to break up?
MC: I started that band too. Looking back, those were great times and helped form my vision of how to lead a band. The band broke up because we were young, we had some immaturity issues, as well as changing priorities, musical tastes, and differing life goals. Nothing dramatic.
Now how soon after the break-up of Rellik did you start up Blood of the Wolf, which is the current band you are in? Did any members of Rellik join you over in your new band or were these all new members?
MC: I started Blood of the Wolf about four or five years after Rellik. One long-standing member from Rellik was in Blood of the Wolf for a short amount of time. Our current drummer, Max, was also in Rellik briefly. It was towards the end of Rellik. He didn’t do any shows or albums with us.
You also play bass on a 2012 release by a band named Kommandant. Was this in between Rellik and Blood of the Wolf?
MC: Yes. After Rellik ended in joined Kommandant. I had a great experience with them and I left because they had a lot of good live performances upcoming (Maryland Death Fest, a west-coast tour, and Kings of Black Metal in Germany) that I could not commit to because of my work.
Now you told me you formed Blood in 2013. How did the coming of that come together and did you go through many members before releasing your first demo in 2013?
MC: That’s the official “birthday” of the band. That was the year of the release of the first demo. I started writing material that became Blood of the Wolf in 2012, maybe even sooner. Before releasing the demo, we did go through one drummer. He just wasn’t as serious about his craft as the rest of us were.
What would you say are the biggest differences between Rellik and Blood of the Wolf?
MC: Sonically I’d say pretty similar. The direction of the music is very similar because I wrote most of the music for Rellik and all the music for Blood of the Wolf. The BOTW recordings sound much better! As far as the band as a unit, we are much more focused and mature, which just comes with time and learning from your mistakes.
How good of a singer do you think you are and what are some of your favorite singers?
MC: I think I’m pretty good. I have a range. I’d say I’m above average! I like Kyle Simmons (Hate Plow/Malevolent Creation), Glen Benton, Jason Avery (Monstrosity), Adam the First Sinner (Hate), Mortuus (Marduk/Funeral Mist) to name a few.
In 2015, you released you’re first full-length called “I: The Law of Retaliation”. Why this title? Where did you record this and were the songs pretty much ready to go right before the recording of it?
MC: I thought it sounded cool. There’s no deeper meaning to the title. We recorded this album with Joe Tiberi, he’s done all of our albums. I like working with him. Yes, all the songs were ready to go.
Was this self-released or did a label eventually pick it up? If it was self-released did you send it out to any labels to possibly release it?
MC: It was self-released. I believe I shopped it to labels, though I don’t remember which. Probably the usual labels you’d expect.
Did you start to play live shows I know Chicago has a great metal scene so did you share the stage with many bands back then?
MC: Yes, we started playing out in 2014. We’ve shared the stage with Incantation, Marduk, Belphegor, and Vader to name a few.
Now I know why you chose a Marduk cover on this, but why the particular song (With Satan and Victorious Weapons?
MC: It’s one of my favorite Marduk songs and I thought it would sound cool with some low vocals in there.
How did you come up with the name and logo for the band and who did the cover for your debut release? What are your thoughts on it today?
MC: I’ve had the band name for a while. Its origin is debatable. I created the logo and did the design for the first cover. It’s okay. I’ve since hired artists to do our covers and t-shirts.
In 2018 we saw album number # 2 get unleashed which was called II: Campaign of Extermination. Now was writing music getting easier for you over time? I see this was also an independent release. Was it at this time you rather just do stuff on your own and not rely on labels?
MC: I wouldn’t say it was any easier. I try to push myself to write more interesting music with every release. I think the second album is certainly more dynamic than the first. At that time, we were looking for a label and eventually found one, Horror Pain Gore Death.
How was the response to this locally and through the underground? I saw one review gave it a 100 out of 100. Were you getting more comfortable as a singer around this time as well?
MC: The response was good. We were still establishing ourselves at that time. I’ve always been comfortable singing and playing. I’ve been doing it for 20+ years.
Were there many clubs you could play at this time? Who did the cover for album # 2?
MC: Oh yeah. There are plenty of venues for metal in the Chicago-land area. It’s not hard to find a place to play and there are shows every weekend, it seems.
So how did you end up hooking up with Mike of Horror Pain Gore Death Productions to re-release your 1st 2 releases? Are there any bonus tracks on them?
MC: Clawhammer PR put us in contact with Mike at HPGD. He liked what he heard and we’ve been working with him since. He’s done everything he said he would and that is refreshing. No bonus tracks. The “double disc” has new art and a different layout.
A 4 song EP was also released by Mike. I assume you and he both liked what you were doing as a band. The EP was called “III: Blood Legend”. What was the reason behind that title and who did the artwork for the EP?
MC: “III: Blood Legend” is based on the epic of Beowulf. It’s probably the only “concept” album I’ll do. The artwork was done by Agus Wibowo. He has done a lot for us (covers, shirt designs, etc.). Great artist!
Now were you playing live a lot when this EP came out? Did you manage to make it outta town to play any shows?
MC: Not really. The EP was released in November of 2019. We did a few shows then COVID hit. Illinois shut down in March.
COVID hit the lovely world and live music was basically shut down everywhere. How did it affect you as a band at that time?
MC: It slowed down our ability to play live. We had to stop rehearsing for a few months too. It sucked.
How long were you in the studio for and now that it is out do you hope you can maybe go on some short mini tour to see how long music is exploding and all sorts of bands are touring, etc?
MC: A mini-tour would be nice. Any kind of tour would be great. It would be nice just to play in some new cities outside of Chicago and Milwaukee, where we’ve also played a few times.
Now are each of your releases gonna have a Roman number before it?
MC: Yes. Can’t stop now.
If you could record say 3 cover tunes what would they be and why those tunes?
MC: We already did a Marduk cover. Maybe something by Morbid Angel or Vader. But honestly, there probably won’t be any covers in the future.
Mike told me in his interview he hopes his bands can be a sort of stepping stone for bands on his label to get on a bigger indie label. Would you like to see that happen with your band?
MC: We are open to any possibilities that will encourage the growth of the band and audience for our music.
I see on the news a lot of shootings and crimes out of Chicago. Is it really that band out there or only certain parts of Chicago?
MC: I don’t know. I don’t live in the city proper. I’d imagine the violence is only in certain parts, like other major cities.
For someone who has never heard the band, what would you say you sound like?
MC: Belphegor, Hate, God Dethroned, Vader, Marduk. Late 90’s/Early 2000’s death and black metal is the main influence on my writing style.
What can we look for in the future from the band?
MC: More recordings. More live shows. I try to improve my writing with every album, so hopefully every new album will be better than the last.
Please plug any merchandise you have or any social media websites please. Where can please get your music at?
MC: You can contact us directly for merch through Facebook or Instagram. We have shirts, long sleeves, hoodies, CD’s, patches, and stickers. Our music is on all digital platforms (Spotify, YouTube, Bandcamp, etc.)
Mike horns up for the interview and best of luck with the band going forward any last words the floor is yours.
MC: Thanks for the interview!