Editor’s Note: This past Friday, New Zealand’s own Written By Wolves released their latest record entitled “The Collab Project.” “The Collab Project” is an ambitious project featuring Trenton Woodley of Hands Like Houses, Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D., Sydney Rae White of The Wild Things, Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens. Michael Murphy of Written By Wolves sits down with Madness To Creation to talk mental health, “The Collab Project” and some of his favorite moments in his career. Fans can find Written By Wolves on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their official website.
Michael Murphy: This track has been one of our favourites since the moment we wrote it. It is a staple of our live show and is a burst of tongue in cheek energy. When I was writing the lyrics I had in my head the idea of an old school, cheesy, 80’s game show but you open each prize door to find that you get nothing. I wanted this to be a metaphor for life – that no matter what you did you were gonna get screwed and no one gets out alive but to let that be a lesson to not take things too seriously and try and live a little.
When we reimagined the song we decided we wanted it to feel a bit darker so we got in this incredible choir called Stellar Singers to track the intro. Trenton’s vocal took it to whole new level again. The dude is an absolute legend and we are so stoked to have him on board!
Madness To Creation: How do you manage your social media accounts to keep your audience engaged?
Michael Murphy: We try to interact with our fans and followers as much as possible. We spend hours every week going through every account and trying to reply to as many comments as we possibly can. I think we are also starting to take some of our own advice to not take things so seriously and have started to post more of what we are like outside of the music – trying to give our fans and followers a look at what we are like as people and what we are like when we are all together as a band.
Madness To Creation: What do you like and dislike about social media?
Michael Murphy: Social media is an ever evolving beast and I suppose in some ways a necessary evil. For us, being from New Zealand, we would not have the international following we have without it. The fact that we can be all the way down here in New Zealand making music and engaging with fans all over the world is incredible. There are obvious downsides to living life online though and the mask we all wear on social media is a huge contributor to the mental health crisis that we are facing worldwide right now.
Madness To Creation: How do you keep yourself mentally balanced in order to achieve your purpose in life?
Michael Murphy: That’s a great question, and I think the honest answer is that I don’t always keep myself mentally balanced. I am still learning a lot about myself and my own mental struggles are and I think it’s impossible for people to be mentally balanced at all times. A key is knowing what your triggers are and finding coping mechanisms to help bring balance back when you find yourself slipping. I feel a lot of pressure to keep the band operating at as high a level as possible and sometimes that can get too much, however I’ve found when this happens, if I slow things down and start ticking off one job at a time I can get myself back to where I need to be.
Madness To Creation: What are some personal and professional goals you have to get through each week?
Michael Murphy: These vary from week to week depending what is coming up with the band and what projects we have on. At the moment we are gearing up for the release of our EP ‘The Collab Project’ and our next single ‘Forever & Always’ so a lot of my weekly goals right now focus on making these releases as successful as possible and making sure everything is coordinated and in place to make those releases run smoothly. Personally, my weekly goals generally revolve around being the best Husband and Father I can be.
Madness To Creation: Do you diet or exercise? If you do, what are some regiments you use?
Michael Murphy: Not nearly as much as I should haha! My exercise regime consists of high energy live performances and running round after my 2 insanely energetic young kids and my dieting regime involves trying to avoid the desire to eat Fried Chicken and Burgers all the time…
Madness To Creation: Question I always ask my guests: Have you had fans come up to you and say “that song changed my life or saved me, ” what was that story and experience like for you?
Michael Murphy: We get messages almost every day from fans telling us that our music has helped them to get out of dark places or in some cases saved their lives. This is an incredibly humbling experience and is one that we feel very privileged to have had. It is actually where the idea for The Collab Project came from. We basically asked the question, how can we do more. How can we do more to help our fans and followers with their own struggles and demons and the answer we came up with was The Collab Project, a mental health initiative to remind our fans and followers that no matter what they are going through they don’t need to do it alone and to help change the way in which mental health is viewed and to try and break down the stigma attached to it.
Madness To Creation: Now let’s flip the script, what are some songs or artists or genres you go to when times get difficult in your life?
Michael Murphy: Lately I’ve found myself going to 2 albums whenever I feel this way either, Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal or Mac Miller – Circles. Both for completely different reasons but they both generally have the same effect.
Madness To Creation: Any concerts or shows coming up? What can fans expect from a Written By Wolves show?
Michael Murphy: We are playing our first ever all ages headline show this coming weekend and we are pumped! A WBW show is all about energy. We want you to get lost in the emotion and energy of the show and forget about everything else for that hour or so. By the end of the show, you will be sweaty and have blown your voice out but you will be stoked about it!
- Sidenote: This release show was postponed to December 31st, 2021 at Capitol Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand. Check out the Facebook event page here.
Madness To Creation:The moment you decided I wanted to make music for a living was when….
Michael Murphy: I was 14 standing on a massive rubbish bin at a New Zealand festival called Big Day Out watching the Foo Fighters play. I can still remember it incredibly clearly. I was so engrossed in everything that Dave Grohl and the rest of the band did and I remember thinking, this is what I want to do with my life…
Madness To Creation: What does getting out of your comfort zone mean or look like to you?
Michael Murphy: Right now it is being open and honest about my mental health struggles and opening up publicly about what I am feeling. With everything we are trying to do with The Collab Project and trying to normalise talking about these things rather than keep it all bottled up inside I have had to lead by example and really go outside of my comfort zone to talk about these things.
Madness To Creation: Fun question: You have a contract obligation where you have to collab with one hip-hop artist and one rock band for an EP, who do you pick and what’s the EP title going to be?
Michael Murphy: I think right now I’m gonna go with Joyner Lucas and Bring Me The Horizon… I reckon we could come up with something pretty badass… We could probably call that one The Collab Project Part 2.
Madness To Creation: I’m giving you the floor to plug the next big thing coming up for the Written By Wolves camp.
Michael Murphy: The next big thing for us is the release of our next single Forever & Always feat. Becks. That comes out on August 18th and our EP, The Collab Project comes out on September 17th. Featuring some incredible collaborations with some amazing artists including Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D!
“The Collab Project” EP Review by Madness To Creation
Heartfelt. Love. Brokenness. Making the most of a terrible situation. The word association game that I just played are how I feel about “The Collab Project” by Written By Wolves. Songs such as “Better Luck Next Time” featuring Trenton Woodley of Hands Like Houses tell the listener to make the most of it in a bad situation. I love how they brought the Stellar Singers in for the reimagination of “Better Luck Next Time.” The collaboration with Sonny of P.O.D. was masterful. I really want to see Written By Wolves be featured on a P.O.D. song in the future. The interlude for “Stories” was heartfelt and made it so relatable as it deals with the topics of mental health. The collaboration with Sydney of The Wild Things was heartfelt, yet presented in such a unique fashion. The interlude for “Hope” shares a personal account on how talking to a therapist is okay and that it’s okay to not be okay. This EP by Written By Wolves is absolutely brilliant. If you are feeling down, give this band a chance! It’s criminal that Written By Wolves are not blowing up all over the world! Check out “The Collab Project” by Written By Wolves via Spotify here.