Interview with LyricWulf, a top furry Youtuber who shares the positive power of music.
by Patch O'Furr
“If you’re someone who’s got something to share with the world, there’s no better time than now”
See more at LyricWulf.com
LyricWulf is one of the top furry Youtubers with over 100K subscribers. What’s special about his music?
Art, fiction and costuming are full of furriness. Music isn’t always recognized as a fandom thing, but a lot of other stuff depends on it. Dance and music videos are a big gateway for newcomers. Con dances are a crossroads for goers and might get the lion’s share of production budgets. Live events are glue that makes fandom stronger than just internet relationships, and furry dance parties are some of the biggest local meets where they happen.
Unlike other things in fandom, a lot of the music comes from outside (although that’s changing). But back in the 1970’s and 80’s, nerdy conventions featured “filk” music – folk songs with fandom inspired lyrics. That’s rare now, and dances are more like a hybrid with separate subcultures (like rave and DJ party culture), which makes “furry music” hard to define.
A recent series at Dogpatch Press asked 10 furry musicians “what is furry music?” It’s hard to say more than “it’s made by or for us”, but think about how it can evoke feeling by using visual aesthetic, being a soundtrack, or even representing animal sounds like Peter and the Wolf does.
A great response came from indie-pop artist ABSRDST. His cartoon aesthetic (gay ducks with romance lyrics) wasn’t made for fandom, it was just welcomed after he got started (and that was mutual). He put it on a shirt that was especially popular. One of the team for a certain cartoon duck show even wore it to work. That seems like pure furriness, coming from inside rather than intentionally made for a certain target.
Some of the biggest mainstream names who have associated with furries are in music. Many pro musicians use fursuiters in music videos. Jello Biafra (ex Dead Kennedys) and Margaret Cho (from The Masked Singer) did the biggest interviews on Dogpatch Press. For unusual genre crossover, Ronan Harris of cult band VNV Nation gives special appreciation to furry fans, and metal band Periphery let a fursuiter fan sing for them. The biggest names who have used fursonas may be Violent J of ICP and Andrew WK (a wolf). Heavy metal can go well with wolves.
Today’s guest isn’t a metal wolf, he’s the cute and cuddly kind! Let’s look into why music matters with him.
(Dogpatch Press:) Hi LyricWulf. Do people ever get mad about false advertising because your music doesn’t have lyrics?
(LyricWulf:) Haha, I get a few remarks now and then but they’re always in good spirit. Sometimes I end up doing some singing on live stream, and a few people will always say “Finally, LyricWulf sings lyrics!”
What are you most known for? And do you have any favorite music to mention, or stuff that influences you most?
A little bit about me, I’m a self-taught pianist and composer of 6 years. I’m a strong believer in free music education, so all of my services and files (sheet music and midis) are offered completely for free. I keep it up only with the support of donations and ad revenue.
I listen to most types of music, but I really like video game soundtracks, like the OSTs of Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and even more modern games like Ori and the Blind Forest. They have so much emotion and the composers are very talented. There’s always something to take away from listening to those.
I’m pretty well known for playing the crowd, for example, all of the song covers that I have ever done are based on requests that I get from fans.
That’s great interaction. Let’s get back to that, but first how did you get into music? And where do you want to take it?
I really don’t have much of a background in music. I only really started when I was in high school as a distraction from the rest of my life at the time. Maybe it sounds a bit edgy but it was a good way for me to positively cope with a bunch of emotions that I was going through at the time. So in a sense, music has been sort of an escape for me. As for where I want to go with it, I just want to help make people happy. There’s a smile that you can see on people’s faces when they recognize a song that hits close to home for them, and then you know that the nostalgia hit them.
That reminds me of being a heck of a collector in the days of tape trading. Discovery was very different before everything was online. A kid without lots of cash could trade rare music in the mail.
I can imagine that. When I was in high school I pretty much knew only what I heard on the radio, since I wasn’t really given much access to the internet.
On Youtube, you’re doing well! You have videos getting up to 5 million views, which seems very notable among furry content. And you reached 100K subscribers, which puts you in the top tier of furry Youtubers. It’s interesting because I hadn’t known you before getting a tip to chat you. I don’t game but I’m guessing that a lot of people, furry or not, want to learn keyboard music that goes well with games.
Do you notice anything special about who makes up your audience? Are they often furries, or do you get broad crossover with non-furs?
I definitely have a very wide fanbase, and I know a lot of them are furries but also a lot are non-furries. It’s hard to say if there’s more of one or the other, but most are at least accepting of furry culture. Video games and music both have a way of unifying groups together. I think video game music bringing such wide demographics together just speaks to how much of a positive influence creativity can have on us.
I always try to promote positivity and creativity in my community and I think it definitely shines through since there’s a lot of people making new friends and posting their creations in my Discord server.
You don’t do exactly what other most successful furry Youtubers do. It’s often light fursuiting videos or opinion. Sharing and learning music seems more engaging, and it’s really positive. Have you seen any special ways that people engage with your work? Do you have favorite examples?
There’s a lot of furry YouTubers making furry content. I’m just a furry YouTuber making music content, and I’m still proud to call myself a furry creator.
About engagement, there are creative people making many different things based on my content and even my personality. I’ll list a few. There are of course performances based on my arrangements. And some people mix and mash it up with other songs, sometimes the original:
Even past music, I get fan art on my character, sometimes it’s a drawing of just my character but often it’s based on our shenanigans on live streams. Here’s art of guitar and singing on stream, chair spinning, and “concern”. And even people that don’t draw characters like to pitch in.
Do you have any thoughts about using Youtube as a platform? They’ve made some tricky changes.
As far as YouTube as a platform… Well, It hasn’t been too bad for me personally but some of my friends definitely had some unfair things happening to them because of the current state of YouTube. I run a community on Discord for piano YouTubers and I read a lot of stuff happening to them, such as false music claims and even being demonetized completely, and for no reason whatsoever. Even YouTube themselves have admitted some of these mistakes but the lack of communication means that it doesn’t feel to me like a stable platform to make a living right now.
Music is pretty non controversial and I see you doing creativity that looks extra wholesome. Do you have any thoughts about wholesomeness, like using it to counteract badness in the world right now?
I always try to be a positive beacon wherever I can, be it online or in real life. Sometimes when I’m feeling under I will live stream just so we can all be positive and have a good time, and that always gets me really high energy and in a good mood. I know that there is a lot of bad going on in the world right now, and I’m definitely not trying to be ignorant of it, but I think there is enough trouble that everyone has to go through on a daily basis. So I want to make something that people can be happy about, whether it’s myself or my content, because not everything is bad and we don’t have to feel bad.
Furry can be like that, not always but if people make the effort. Got any story about how you got into furry? And any favorite furries you want to mention? And if you could hang out with any one furry who would it be?
I’ve always really liked cutesy things and animal characters, and maybe that’s because I grew up on games like Pokemon and Spyro amongst other similar series. As far as other furries, I really like Tenkitsune. His music always makes me happy and has really helped me through some tougher times.
And if I could hang out with any one furry… Fox Amoore comes to mind since he is also a furry musician, and it’d be cool to jam together. I really admire his ability to play the piano with paws on, it’s hard, I’ve tried!
If you had to define “what is furry music” in a few words what would you say? And do you think any musical genre goes especially well with furriness?
It’s hard to define furry music, since I’m a furry musician but a lot of people wouldn’t really consider my songs “furry music”. I think furry music would be anything that plays to some common themes in furry culture, mainly in the form of themed lyrics or cute/animal sound effects.
I think furries would tend to like future bass because it can be really cutesy and positive. It’s often filled with cute sound effects and the positive vibe can be conveyed even without lyrics.
Ever thought of any funny furry band names? Or lyrics like changing “girl” to squirrel? How about “Nine Inch Tails” (all-squirrel industrial rock).
“Linkin Bark” comes to mind. Dogs get edgy when you don’t feed them on time.
I'm a big fan of nine inch tails— Corduroy (@Corduroy_doggo) February 17, 2019
Being a music professional seems hard, whether you’re indie or mainstream – do you have any wishes for going farther with that? Or advice for others?
Well, music is really a passion of mine and I would love to make an entire living off of it. If I could ditch my school and work for it I totally would! I think it will always be a hobby for me, but I know that there are people more talented and dedicated than I am who have the ability to take it even further. I have a friend who does music on YouTube as well and one day he quit his job as an accountant to be a full time YouTuber.
Does he ever talk about if it was a good decision or how hard it is? Turning a labor of love into a job can be a mixed bag sometimes.
There are downsides with the online platforms nowadays, namely their instability, but one of the boons of the newer platforms is that you can always make a hobby of it first and you can be successful without committing your full time to it. It that sense it can be a great way to gauge how realistic it would be to be able to make content full time.
He’s definitely a lot happier with his current job as a YouTuber. It affects his drive and passion a bit but overall it’s more of a blessing for him than a curse.
If you’re someone who’s got something to share with the world, there’s no better time than now. That’d be the first step to turning that passion into a career.
Can you reveal what you’re in school for?
Right now I’m in my third year of college, pursuing my Masters in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Is there anything we missed that you want to mention?
I’m being told that I should mention that “I’m a dog.”
A musical dog! Thanks for this look at your creativity, and keep making people happy.