TITLE: ALPHA WOLF // Vocalist Lochie Keogh Lifts The Knotfest Lid – “It’s Just A Huge Win For Heavy Music In General”

2022 has been a year of highs and lows for many of us. But for Melbourne-based metal faves Alpha Wolf, fresh off overseas touring, a recent split EP with Holding Absence, an upcoming Alpha Wolf-curated festival CVLT Fest, and the band freshly announced joining Australia’s very first Knotfest in 2023 – the fun is only set to continue. 

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Currently one of Australia’s hottest heavy exports, the ARIA Award-nominated quintet, originally hailing from Burnie in Tasmania, have tirelessly flexed their insatiable sonic wares over the years, with each tour and venue announced proving to be bigger and better than ever alongside continued adoration from fans and critics alike. And fresh off the band’s first entire week off from performing for the first time in a good, long while, Alpha Wolf vocalist Lochie Keogh caught his breath momentarily with Hysteria Mag.

“When everything happens smack bang one after another, it’s sort of hard to take in,” shares Keogh of the recent and ongoing Alpha Wolf excitement. “You just go to the place, do the show. But just right now, we’ve had an actual entire week off from shows since getting back from Europe, and I can take it all in a bit more and appreciate it. When you’re somewhere else, it’s hard for my mind to be excited for this thing when I’m just trying to survive.”

“But now I’ve gotten home, and I’m just like: All right, let’s go! Like, these new things are fucking awesome!”.

With the inaugural Australian Knotfest, the revered brainchild festival from metal veterans Slipknot, set for Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in March 2023, Alpha Wolf will be dexterously flying the Australian flag alongside a sweltering lineup of local and international acts, including Slipknot themselves, Parkway Drive, Lamb Of God, Trivium, Spiritbox and Bad Omens. And while Keogh may not precisely recall what series of events led to Alpha Wolf joining the first-ever Aussie Knotfest fray, he and the band are certainly extremely blown away by the end result. 

“I don’t even know what started all of this,” Keogh smiles. “I just remember there were talks of Knotfest coming to Australia, and we hit up our team, we were like: “We need this!”. I forget where we were when Scottie [Simpson, Alpha Wolf guitarist] got a very, very nice email – and it was the Knotfest offer! And we were just like …” Keogh mimes his head exploding before continuing.

“And it wasn’t even just that it was Knotfest, it’s all the other bands on it as well, I didn’t think it was gonna be that big of an event!”.

While festivals like Good Things, Full Tilt, Download and the like have tirelessly worked before and beyond the pandemic to keep the festival flame alive here in Australia in the absence of the likes of Soundwave, Big Day Out and beyond, Keogh also elaborated on Knotfest’s unique boost to the Aussie heavy scene.

I forget where we were when Scottie [Simpson, Alpha Wolf guitarist] got a very, very nice email – and it was the Knotfest offer! And we were just like …
[ Lochie Keogh ]

“Australia needs something like Knotfest bad,” enthuses Keogh. “I think any major festival event centered around heavy music at all happening – it’s just a huge win for heavy music in general. And it’s weird, everybody references Australia as being at the forefront of heavy music when we have like one heavy festival and maybe three other alternative festivals. So getting this sort of event seems like it’s been overdue. But at the same time, any attention drawn to it and any more people being able to go to these things is what you ultimately want.”

Having recently appeared at Blue Ridge Rock Fest alongside Slipknot, who will also throw down at Knotfest in March next year, Keogh has himself already been able to witness some of his favourite Knotfest 2023 artists live in action. But, as he points out, due to there being three Knotfest showings in Australia, he has a genius way to ensure he doesn’t miss out on any of the artists.

“Literally all of the bands I’d wanted to see at Knotfest happened to play with us at Blue Ridge,” Keogh laughs. “I have no idea what to picture for the Knotfest festivals, but if there’s three of them, I won’t have to deal with any clashing or anything like that, I can find time for every band across the three days. Every band on the lineup is a must-see.”

Recently releasing their split EP with Wales-based rockers Holding Absence, The Lost & The Longing, Alpha Wolf have had two new tunes to charm their audiences across the globe with; and the results have been pleasantly surprising.

“I swear the reaction to 60cm of Steel has been like our fastest reflection in the crowd to any song we’ve ever put out,” reveals Keogh. “Like, we say we’re playing that and then everybody’s just like: “Yeah, new song”, like they always do. And then it starts and people actually know the words! Like, people who are in the front who don’t know any other song but caught that one, they’ve just been like: “Oh, it’s that song!”. I’m really, really stoked with the reception that one’s gotten especially.”

“It was weird because we put it out when we were in Philadelphia or something like that and then we still had three more weeks of touring the US to do and we weren’t playing it. So every night people were like: “You gonna play it?”. But we hadn’t learnt it, we hadn’t properly tested it live as a band before because we’d been out a month and a half before that.”

“I think during our headliner at the end of our American tour, we started jamming it at our soundchecks before the show started. We’d just run through the song a couple of times and then we got it good enough and played it for the first time at our Europe/UK tour, in Wiesbaden I think.”

“It’s incredible to have had new music out too, it feels like you are actually working as a band.”

While Knotfest is undeniably a giant event looming in Alpha Wolf’s not-too-distant future, the band will also be launching their own curated heavy music festival CVLT Fest on Sunday 30 October. Featuring the band as headliners, the festival also boasts an array of local and international heavy acts, including Silent Planet, DEEZ Nuts, Currents, The Beautiful Monument, To The Grave, Bloom, Vengeance, and Future Static. A genuine labour of heavy music love, CVLT Fest is further proof of the band’s devotion to pushing boundaries and celebrating the heavy scene, with plenty of extras in store for attendees on the day. 

“We always wanna do a big sort of end of year thing,” Keogh explains, “or something that’s just a little bit more than a show, whether it be like a popup shop or some special thing to mark that “we’re done until next year” sort of thing. And doing our own fest has always lined up with that because we wanted to add different stalls for other things you can buy and have food trucks and everything like that; make it more like a whole day instead of just a night.”

“We started cooking up ideas, and then five emails later we started organising it and querying: “What do we do?”. There was a time when we were looking at a China tour with Currents and Silent Planet, and it never worked out, this was during COVID times. So we were just like: All right, how can we get back out there?!”.

Alpha Wolf continued plotting, but with nothing initially lining up in the early CVLT Fest planning stages. But then, lo and behold, other tours were announced from bands who would also be in Melbourne or close by at the time, and the band reached out to assort their eventually stacked lineup. And while the festival will ultimately pay homage to the heavier realms alongside various attractions, the end of year Alpha Wolf celebration was very nearly a much spookier affair, as Keogh revealed.

“I almost wanted to brand it like a Halloween thing,” Keogh says of some initial plans for CVLT Fest. “But as soon as I realised it, it was way too late for that. I might still dress up, but I’ll be the only one dressed up, I’m the only one who got the memo,” Keogh laughs.

CVLT Fest will also see each band on the lineup donate 10% of their merchandise commission to an organisation of their choice, with festival branded merchandise profits also being donated to a charity selected by Alpha Wolf. And while raising awareness for a large array of important causes, CVLT Fest will also offer fans a chance to connect with bands in person once again in a festival-setting; and for Keogh, the adoration for the return of live music has been palpable.

alestorm hysteria

“People have been really sick, since coming out of COVID, no pun intended there,” Keogh smiles before continuing,” But shows have been rabid, everybody’s supporting it and super into it, you can tell that they’ve missed the music and coming out of the time where nobody was doing anything. Since coming back, I don’t know if it’s just me, but people are way lovelier, and way more appreciative of what we all felt like we were gonna lose for a little while.”

With an insanely busy 2022 coming to a close for Alpha Wolf and 2023 already shaping up to be equally prolific, Keogh is keeping relatively tight-lipped about what fans can expect from the upcoming shows, and also keeping under wraps the possibility of him last-minute dressing up Halloween-style for the upcoming CVLT Fest in Melbourne.

“Well, see now that we’ve put this in motion, I don’t wanna spoil anything if I do dress up,” Keogh laughs. “We are planning some things for the show that probably won’t be as cool unless you see it or hear about it for the first time on the night.”

“Because we’ve played so many fucking shows in Australia, and Melbourne specifically this year, we wanted to be like: “All right, people know what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna come out there, we’re gonna play the songs”… but we wanted to do something else. We’re trying to switch it up a bit and just sort of make it more like a “show” rather than a gig … even though it’s the same fucking thing,” Keogh grins.

“There’s a couple of little things in the works, we’re still finalising the setlist. Actually we put out a poll and saw what songs people wanted to hear, and we actually hit 10 years of Alpha Wolf just the other day, so we want to try to reference that and maybe do things from every era of us.”

As to whether the song request poll results revealed any unexpected Alpha Wolf results?

“No,” Keogh answers immediately, laughing. “You could pretty much go into any one of our comments on any one of our photos, and people are just like: “Play this song next, play this song”. The poll was just that, but quantified a lot easier”.

“And it’s a thing, obviously when you play a song so much, you can get like: “Oh, I don’t wanna play this, I’m over this song, blah, blah, blah”. And then you stop playing it for a while and you almost forget about it. But then there’s this pocket of fans who are just dying to hear that one song!”.

Watch out for your favourite Alpha Wolf songs live in action as they finish off 2022 at their brand new festival CVLT Fest, before the band roar into 2023. Knotfest, we’re ready for you!

The Lost & The Longing is out now via SharpTone Records/Greyscale Records. 

CVLT FEST will take place on Sunday 30 October, tickets are on sale now from: www.destroyalllines.com


Friday 24 March 2023 // Flemington Racecourse // Melbourne
Saturday 25 March 2023 // Centennial Park //Sydney
Sunday 26 March 2023 // RNA Showgrounds // Brisbane

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