While the range of what is categorized as ’emo’ has seemed to widen into a fairly vast spectrum of sounds, styles, and what’s involved, plenty of tropes tend to remain across the associated genres and, generally speaking, it’s typically quite easy to identify when you’re listening to an ’emo’ band. That said, with things like ‘Midwest emo’, ‘screamo’, ’emoviolence’, and other stylistic nomenclature being applied to various acts especially in recent years, they all may be expressing emotions, but the sound behind it can get just a little…different, so to speak, depending on who it is you’re listening to. Today, we feature an RVA-based collective who actually has a whole article via RVA Mag that introduces their very own brand of ’emo’, of which the author described, adequately so, as ‘sweet, yet aggressive, melancholic yet energizing‘. Please welcome Campwerewolf as this week’s Weekly Featured Artist!

A band forming from the ideas of one, Campwerewolf were brought together as a collective effort amongst friends when songwriter Alejandro Cruz decided it was time to bring demos to these friends and see how they could be expanded upon amongst them. Soon thereafter, they would find a refined version of the sound Alejandro was going for, citing acts such as ‘Alex G, Pianos Become the Teeth, and La Dispute‘ as ‘biggest influences‘. Clearly developing well as a unit with good chemistry and likemindedness, the band would make many more moves after that Spring of 2020 refinement, and begin making themselves a household name within the RVA seen once live performances returned post-COVID lockdown.

Alejandro: ‘Campwerewolf started as a bedroom emo solo project for me during quarantine. I released some demos over the spring of 2020 and brought them over to Nate, Pat, and our then drummer Sam Partridge to see how they would work in the context of a group. Sam Moved to Cali to tear it up on the West Coast. We then solidified the line up with Charlie as our permanent drummer and added Kian as a third guitarist.’

While these demos, heard on the March 2020 release Soft Sculptures//Spring Demos, feature a sound quite different from what you might hear by the band in more recent form, the atmosphere of the album sets the tone of the kind of deep expression Alejandro conveys by way of songwriting. Described as a ‘Meditation on Growth and Grief‘ via their Bandcamp, even with the limited timbre and less-than-polished production quality (keep in mind, the word ‘demo’ is used for a reason), this project paints a soundscape that sounds, to my ears, like someone with plenty to write about. The somber, melancholic, yet cheerful aura finds its place in your nervous system the way you’d expect a good, acoustic/bedroom emo record to do. This being the quintessential ‘starting point’ of Campwerewolf, it was clear this was set to go somewhere big from even its earliest conceptions.

Moving forward with a fully-involved 5-piece band, the band’s April 2022 EP, I, would feature a stronger emphasis on dynamics, plenty of attention to melody, and a bit more complexity within the songwriting just to heighten the shine of an already brightly burning flame of passion. Songs like “No Harm” and “Something to Scream About” present a great continuation of Alejandro’s visceral lyricism, while giving the song a unique boost within the instrumentation, which only emphasizes the overall mood. Fans of virtually any wave of the emo style will find plenty to come back to through this EP, as well as future releases to be seen by the band.

Charlie: ‘The majority of the songs have come about by Alejandro (or Nate or Kian but mostly Alejandro up to this point) coming up with the main structure, riff, or chorus; then we as a group add on our own parts and come up with ideas that can change the whole vibe of the original idea altogether. Having three guitarists makes restraint and subtlety super key aspects of the songwriting; we definitely want to have a super full sound without it being a mess.

On what the important focus of doing music is for the band, Alejandro divulges, ‘Trying to approach it [the music] with sincerity. Whether it be in songwriting or performing. I think it’s easy to grow cynical as you get older, but I think I’ve got a few more years to work with haha.

Yet another phenomenal RVA act to become apart of the Fisher King Records roster, whom I also understand is working on recording and production of new releases with the band as well, Campwerewolf found their way on the 2023 edition of the legendary MACROCK Fest, which only broadened an already increasing audience for the band. Playing out often, engaging within their community, and continuing to spice up their live performance, it’s easy to see why the band became a point of interest for both locals within the Richmond, VA scene and elsewhere.

As pointed out in the RVA Mag article previously mentioned at the beginning of this WFA, the band seems to be driven by a focus on sincerity; Their set features everything in line with ‘moments of rage and screaming lungs out onstage are followed by soft guitar lulls and soothing vocals‘. The nature of the band, both live and recorded, seems to center much more around the expression and connection with one’s self, identifying and coping with the reality of what’s in front of you, as opposed to any idea of throwing caution to the wind and living recklessly. As the author also points out, this is capture viscerally within their performance: ‘To engage with their music is to feel intense, varied emotion within the span of a half hour.

On the experience of performing live at MACROCK 2023, Charlie says, ‘It was pretty surreal to be honest, in a good way. It was an honor to be accepted to play and we made some friends that we’ve had the pleasure of playing with again in Richmond and in Virginia Beach. We were the first band of the first showcase on the first day so that was a little hilarious.‘ Charlie also spoke on the experiences had at live shows and while playing other places; ‘We’ve been incredibly lucky to have played to some very energetic and enthusiastic crowds; and what always astounds me is when people recognize the lyrics, either from the demo EP I or from seeing us live previously, and start singing along. It really makes you feel like you’re connecting with a whole room of people in a sorta magical way. Shows like that always leave a lasting memory.

A month ago, Campwerewolf premiered what is the first single off of an upcoming release they’re working with Fisher King Records on releasing in the near future. The single is an updated version of sorts of their song “Faded, if you Forgot”, and features a much more polished, refined, and breathtaking representation of how far the band has come as a collective. While the energy of this band, as well as the maturity, have seemed to be present even from the early stages, Campwerewolf march into a new and exciting era that I believe is only shaping that sincere, genuine foundation they’ve built upon all the more. They’ve already remained quite busy over the past couple of years alone, but as this new release nears, and if this single is anything to go off of, we’ll only be seeing them get busier and likely going further; With high hopes that others will quickly recognize and catch on to the profound spirit of the band.

Alejandro: ‘“Faded” is the first single off of our upcoming album Soft Sculptures. It had actually previously been released as part of a collection of demos, but we’ve since taken them down in preparation for the album which will include what we feel will represent the best versions of those songs, along with a few new additions.

This album is 4 years in the making and we can’t wait to share it with everyone. We hope that whether you’re a newcomer or someone whose stuck with us for this long that you’ll connect with it. We have an album release show we’re looking to play around May as well as a small tour slated for June. We will also have another single releasing this month. There’s a bit more we can’t share at the moment.

Don’t miss out anymore on Campwerewolf. Perhaps we could coin them…’sinceremo’? (Patent pending, but also probably not). All labels and categorizations aside, this band is another real-deal batch of humans pouring their souls into their craft, which, as I keep saying amongst every WFA, is a huge part of why I will write about them and others, and continue to follow and support what they do. Nothing hits quite as hard in music as a soul with something to say, and even if they do it in a more complex, esoteric, whimsy fashion with lots of twists and turns – Campwerewolf are truly out here doing the damn thing, and doing it well.

Starve yourself of a genuine, heartfelt, emotional waterfall of passion no more. Follow Campwerewolf on Instagram and Bandcamp today! You will not want to miss out on any upcoming events they have planned, especially as they expand their territory outside of Richmond, VA. Sometimes I wonder about reasons to stay in this city that much of my life has been chronicled in for many, many years; But, bands like Campwerewolf, and just the real people behind each instrument, remind me that there’s always new things to find, love, and feel excited about, even in places you’ve been over many times before. Alejandro’s words about the scene and what it does for the community here are a nice part of that reminder…

I think Richmond’s music scene is one of the best things about the city. It’s so broad and welcoming, the DIY scene and the people who organize the shows are unsung heroes for sure.

 Campwerewolf is…

Alejandro Cruz – guitars, vocals
Nathan Cox – guitars
Patrick Allen – bass
Charlie Best – guitars
Kian Khalilian – drums



Easygoing weirdo with a love for life, music, art, culture, outdoors, meeting new people, seeing new places, and trying new things. Oh yeah, and I guess I never shut up about the things I love, too. That’s a quality!

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