When gothic folk artist Chelsea Wolfe took possession of her rustic new digs in Northern California a couple of years ago, she did it with businesslike aplomb. “I pretty much just threw some boxes into the house and then left on tour again,” she says. But after months on the road backing 2017’s “Hiss Spun,” she returned with a new appreciation for the secluded spot, not far from where she grew up in Sacramento. “I live at the base of the Sierra mountains, and it’s just beautiful,” she says. “There’s not many people, and it’s surrounded by trees as far as the eye can see.” So she felt comfortable disappearing there for a full year to write and record her eerie latest, “Birth of Violence.”
Your retreat sounds awesome. Do forest animals dress you there like a Disney princess every morning?
Well, we have a lot of deer up here, so I leave leftover kale for them and they come and hang out with me. And then I adopted two kittens this year. They’re basically like my little woodland friends. They’re both long-haired grays, and there’s Wisp, as in Will O’ the Wisp, and Faun, based in mythology, not the deer. Wisp was the runt of the rescued litter, like a little gray wisp of smoke.
How did you find this place?
I’d lived in L.A. for several years, but I knew that I wanted to go back to Northern California to be near my home town, so I started searching through nearby areas until I found this spot, which shall go nameless because it’s so tiny and private. But last year, the “Hiss” tour schedule was a really heavy one, and at the end I was feeling mentally and physically exhausted. So I knew I needed to take a long break before I burned out.
Never thought of you as a KOA campground kind of person.
I don’t think I am in the traditional sense — maybe it’s a bit more paganistic. And I’m not Wiccan, but I do identify with witchcraft and practice a little bit. But it’s been really cool to spend most of the past year here and watch the seasons change. So it was really important for me to make this record at home, because I didn’t want to hop onto another plane and go to some studio in another city. So I decided to just DIY it this time.
What was your daily routine? I started doing yoga and meditating, which I’d wanted to do for a long time, and I started taking nature walks. I was also just reading a lot, reading about witchcraft and honoring the moon cycles and the seasonal holidays, which was another great way for me to get in touch with where I live.
IF YOU GO
Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $28 to $33
Contact: www.theregencyballroom.com, www.axs.com