Weston Cage Coppola is a rare breed. Scion of a famous family revered equally for its unapologetic eccentricities and artistic contributions to culture, he has spent much of his life fearlessly carving his path while continuing to push his creative boundaries. His unique drive, determination, and ever-growing skill set continue to earn him the respect of his peers as a thespian and musician. Weston embarked on his journey as a professional musician in his teens, cutting his teeth as the charismatic frontman of Eyes of Noctum, the teenage black metal project he founded under the alias “Arcane.” The band would cut their debut album, ‘Inceptum,’ under the watchful eye of New Wave of Swedish Death Metal producer Fredrik Nordström (At The Gates, In Flames, Opeth) and toured alongside cult underground bands like Book Of Black Earth and Cattle Decapitation, before calling it a day.
Cage would soon strike out as a solo artist in his early 20s, pioneering a new subgenre called “Ghost Metal,” created with a blend of ancient instruments and postmodernism. The resulting album, 2014’s criminally underrated ‘Prehistoric Technology,’ is another impressive mile-marker in his creative growth. An advocate for recovery who went to the depths of despair and emerged with a renewed inner strength, his authenticity knows no bounds. Now a dedicated family man in his early 30s, he has begun to usher in an exciting new era with the release of “The Wolf,” a standalone single co-written with Keith Wallen of Breaking Benjamin. It’s a buzz-worthy track that continues to capture the ears of rock fans around the globe, as well as the watchful eyes of music industry movers and shakers. Cage’s music speaks with wisdom beyond his years, shaped by hardened experience. But even in the darkness, there were glimpses of light as he studied various instruments and philosophies. Now laser-focused and fully tapped into the creative source, he is setting the stage for what indeed will become one of the most fascinating journeys in rock history.
In a new interview with Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon, Wes Cage pulls back the curtain on his creative process and reveals glimpses into his creative trajectory! Strap in and prepare for the age of “The Wolf.”
How did music first come into your life and start to take hold?
I started to become a musician when I was about eight years old. That’s when I began to be able to construct melodies. I couldn’t compose yet, but I could play the piano, guitar, and drums enough to entertain the adults around me. My sacred artistic trifecta, The Trinity that came to me, was martial arts, acting, and music. It’s four things, as you could also throw cooking in there. I love cooking, and I’m quite a chef. The music came to me in a way where I was able to illustrate what I was envisioning for people and ask them where they wanted to go in regard to regions in the world. Then, I would play the scales congruent with the culture I was playing the music from. By the time I was 15 years old, I started to become a professional musician. By 16 or 17 years old, we did Eyes of Noctum. In my early twenties, I moved on to Wes Cage with the “Prehistoric Technology” album, which I wish people heard more of to see where I have gone before “The Wolf.”
You’ve brushed elbows with many incredible figures in the world of music who’ve had a significant impact on you creatively. Who has been a guiding light for you?
Rob Zombie definitely gave me a lot of incredible knowledge and wisdom. I don’t think he’s aware of how much he has affected me as an artist. He was around when I was a kid; my dad and him were very close. I started to see him as my awesome uncle who came by every once in a while. He introduced me to my manager, Blasko, and told me things I still apply to my music today. Also, being a thespian and musician, the techniques wind up transferring to each other. So, if I do a movie with someone that’s really profound, and then I go record something, that energy will be there.
As you’ve mentioned, you’ve been in a band setting in the past before moving on to your work as a solo artist. Did you have any reservations about taking that plunge?
It was difficult, especially noticing that fans felt they were being let down. I saw a recent article just a few days ago stating that I had abandoned Black Metal. That’s ridiculous because I listen to Black Metal constantly and just finished making a Black Metal track for a movie. It was refreshing to leave the group of guys that I was with, as they weren’t the most loyal people in the world. I had to move on, and I found this amazing band. With the first Wes Cage album, “Prehistoric Technology,” we won an award for Best Artist in Las Vegas in the Pearl room at The Palms Hotel. So, we did really well. As refreshing as it was to leave the group, transitioning was challenging. Yeah, Black Metal helped me find my identity, but this other style of music has lived in me since I was a child. So, Enya’s new-age vibe is something I wanted to put into a kind of nu-metal sound.
When you look back at your evolution, are there clear milestones for you?
As I mentioned, winning the “Best Artist Award” in 2014 at the Vegas Rocks Magazine Awards was pretty massive for me. We had Brandon Saller from Atreyu on drums and my two amazing guitar players, George Arguello and Patrick Morton. That was huge! Rudy Sarzo gave me the award. He’s amazing! He really is! That was a huge moment. I also did a record in 2015 that was really amazing. There were some songs there where I truly felt I expressed myself. I played every instrument, including the drums. Another huge highlight, probably the ultimate, is the sweetness of my labor to finally be working with Blasko. That’s reinvigorated me, and I was at the point where I felt I had reached a position where I could truly create, which led to me being signed by Pavement Entertainment. That’s huge for me!
You’ve been hard at work in the music business since your teens. What lessons did you learn early on that continue to resonate?
I’ve definitely learned to compose in a particular way. I’ve learned the art of connecting the sections of a song together to ensure that it’s a cohesive entity. That’s something I continue to hone and experiment with. I usually make ten songs a month. Songwriting and composition are the things I am continuously evolving. As for being a performer on stage, I’m sober now, so it’s really nice that I don’t have to worry about my voice changing because of severe drinking or drugging. That importance of our health, so that other people can enjoy the music for a long time, is something I am more focused on than ever.
Looking back on the amount of ground you’ve managed to cover in your career, it’s clear that you are extremely driven as an artist. How has that drive or focus evolved over time?
I had a lot of anger when I was younger. It was almost as if my drive was coupled with this extreme anger, but I was able to turn it into something more. It goes beyond me wanting my own justice, beyond the self and my identity. I want to help awaken the world with some things that I had realized from mysticism. I want to help cause another renaissance. I’m always making sure to go beyond myself with my drive. I want to see a world where art, science, and spirituality are inseparable. If I can even make a small community that does that, that would be awesome. Then, they will influence thousands of people themselves.
Your latest release, “The Wolf,” ushers in an exciting new era for you. As someone who follows your social media presence, your excitement for where you are headed is palpable. Tell us a little about how the ball got rolling for this new track.
In 2021, Blasko had me engage in a series of writing sessions with incredible musicians. One of those amazing musicians was Keith Wallen from Breaking Benjamin. We started to work together and talk about different concepts. I started talking about wolf symbolism. I receive melodies in a different way. I see a melody coupled with some sort of graphics. So, I am seeing a concept, basically. I felt more of the concept than the melody with this one, and he brought a lot of that song to life. With the melody ideas that he had, I thought we were speaking the same language. Our remote writing sessions were a huge success. Keith is a true gentleman. He really inspired lyrics in me. We were connecting and, in a way, riffing off of each other, which was awesome. We were bouncing ideas back and forth until we had formed this potent sphere that is the song. He brought out a lot in me creatively and is a kindred soul. I felt like I had known the guy for ages, and it was a very comfortable experience. The track was sent to Blasko, and he said that was the one! Blasko’s intuition, intellect, and expertise are of a tremendous magnitude. I trusted his vision and intuition. He was right; this song was the one!
What were your biggest challenges in bringing “The Wolf” to the masses?
The biggest challenge was getting everybody ready to do the video for “The Wolf.” It took a minute. It took a long time, actually! The way I like to work when it comes to the songs, I usually want to finish three songs a day in the studio. When it comes to music videos, I’d like to do two or three music videos a year. There was a long waiting period, but I’m glad because we were able to secure exactly what we needed. The hardest thing was to get that faction together to make the music video!
I love the visuals that you’ve created for “The Wolf.” Through the video, we get to see you work on every level. Tell us a little about your time on set and working with your team to bring it to life.
I was very thankful for being able to do this at Le Grand, which is the restaurant where we filmed. My fiance played a role as well. She is the woman I’ve been praying for my entire life, and am finally grateful to be united with her. She is an impeccable costume/fashion designer who did a fantastic job distressing the suit I was wearing when I played the guy stumbling around the streets. My friend Achilles McAfee did a great scene there, along with my friend Sean Larkin. It was a fantastic experience. I’ve done two other music videos that were never released, so knowing that this one would be released was very exciting.
I have to ask you about the mask you wear in the video and use for the cover art. It’s as stunning as it is intense. How did that make its way into your realm?
The mask was created by a very talented woman named Marianna Harutunian. She’s a fantastic artist. It was such an imposing accessory that we knew we had to utilize it to embolden the image of The Wolf.
What can you tell us about your vision for the future? How do you see things progressing both short and long-term?
The thing that I want to deliver most of all is power itself. I want to make some songs where I’m pulling from the source and sending something to people that can cause them to be ignited with even more greatness than what lives within them. I hope to empower people and that my music can change people’s lives. There are some songs that I haven’t released that are very powerful. I think that I can make an album that will give people quite a soulful experience. One of my dreams is to create an album where I do a music video for every track, kind of like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” where it would be a complete story.
Is there a timeline for a potential album, or do you plan on taking the approach of releasing your tracks as singles?
We’re going with the single approach, but I’m going to start putting together what I would like to play live with “The Wolf.” There are some songs that would give us some variance and be a nice contrast to the smooth, graceful clarity of “The Wolf” and how it was constructed. So, I’m definitely going to put some tracks together. I would really like to do an album where I re-release some tracks from “Prehistoric Technology” but also have “The Wolf” in there, along with some other new tracks. I also did a record with Ryan Green. I’m going to pull three or four of those tracks which haven’t been released. As we speak, I’ve been editing one track. It’s a track that was initially created in 2015, but now, in 2023, here I am editing it and recreating it!
That’s a great segue into my next question about your creative process. With so much unreleased material in your archives, what goes into capturing your creative output?
One of the most incredible things we are all equipped with is the cameras on our phones. I always remember that my occupation is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I’m working for the masses, so I will never let a melody go. If I wake up in the middle of the night and hear a melody from a dream, I will sing it into my phone, or I will come outside with a guitar and create the whole song. I will write down the structure of how many bars everything is. From there, I go straight to recording it. It does come from a very spiritual place for me. I can really feel some type of energy, and I want to release it as quickly as possible. I used to be very analytical. There was a time when I was so analytical that I wasn’t even creating music because I was analyzing it so deeply that I couldn’t get past an intro. I’ve gotten good at capturing something beyond me and releasing it straight into that DAW.
You’ve been involved in all parts of the recording process over the years. Are there aspects that you’ve fallen more in love with over time?
I really love working on vocals. That has always been my favorite. I also like mixing quite a bit, which is weird. It’s not something I expected, but I love playing with the levels to get a rich and viscous base sound connected with the drums. I love getting into all the separate tracks, but vocals are where I feel so much catharsis when I am singing a verse that was meant to be. That goes for every other section of the song as well.
What do you consider the keys to successful collaborations in this day and age?
The key to successful collaboration is trying your best to connect energetically with your writing partner at that moment. You want to feel where they are coming from, and you can really start to make this amazing rhythm happen. If you align yourself with two minds on the same subject, some beautiful things arise. Being open-minded is just as important as being assertive with what riffs they like or what they believe is correct for the song to keep their artistic integrity intact, but also be open-minded and not be too possessive over certain riffs, so you don’t run into disagreements and the track doesn’t go anywhere. It’s a true balance.
Speaking with you today, you are a great place creatively. What do you look for in the projects you invest your time and energy in?
Through all my artistic avenues and mediums, I’m trying to elevate the frequency of people to see if I can cause certain shifts that I want to see in the world to happen. With acting, let’s say I’m playing a villain; I really try to let people know how terrifying certain people can be. I play that character as nefarious and demonic as possible to let people know they should protect themselves and their families. If I play the good guy, a protagonist, I want everyone to know that there is light that exists in this world and there are great people. The same goes for my music. If I’m painting something like “The Wolf,” the dichotomy of the higher and lower self, I’m letting people know there is 100% a part of us that can say, “I don’t want to do anything anymore.” And lock the doors into a huge catatonic depression. However, there is also the part of us where an individual can be the President of the country they are in and wind up saving the planet and becoming an icon that can be worshipped for thousands of years. Humans are so powerful in either direction. I really wanted to show that with “The Wolf.” With emotion, energy, and consciousness, someone’s distortion could be so powerful that they could commit suicide. In other words, they could make a permanent decision because of temporary emotion. On the other hand, people could also use that energy and become a guru or awakened beings.
What is your take on the rise of Artificial Intelligence in the music industry? Has it reared its head in your world yet?
It has! AI should be used responsibly. It should be used in a very proper way where it’s not replacing artists. We can’t have AI making our tracks or scripts, but AI is great for analysis, to see what it says about your writing, and can validate things quite a bit. It can be used for other things musically, as long as it is used modestly and isn’t allowed to completely take over.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Wes Cage at this point in your career?
The biggest misconception is that I relied on nepotism. It’s actually an irrational statement people are making when they say, “This is nepo-music” or “This is nepo-metal.” It doesn’t matter how much nepotism someone does have because you cannot make someone a composer. Daddy and Mommy can’t buy a chip to put in their kid’s head to make them become Tchaikovsky. It just doesn’t happen. What people are saying is interesting to me. It doesn’t hurt my feelings because I go back home and play twelve instruments at the end of the day! But, yes, that’s a huge misconception. That’s for sure.
As I told you before we started today, I’ve been following your creative journey for many years. If people take some time and dive deeper, it’s easy to see the work you’ve put in over the years. I’ve never seen anything that doesn’t say to me that you have anything but an incredible work ethic and passion for the art you are creating.
Thank you, that means a lot coming from you.
From where do you feel your drive originates?
It comes from the same place I have been connected to as a child. It went away a little bit when I was in my early teenage years and came back again at 15. It’s the source that I am connected to. Whatever people might consider the intelligence of the universe that made everything so, I’m deeply connected to that. When I work with that energy, I effortlessly generate these songs, scripts, or ideas. I’m always pulling from that and putting my own stylization on it.
You’ve covered a lot of ground in your career, and you’re just getting warmed up from the sound of it. What is the best lesson we can take from your journey so far?
One of the best lessons you can take from me stems from excess self-analysis, especially when it comes to acting. It comes down to getting out of your own way and getting good at doing things spontaneously/extemporaneously to get good at being on your toes. The next thing applies to both music and acting. The only way someone can be flawless is if they are in flow. It’s like a river where an inch of water goes past us. It could be flawless or flawed, but before we can even think of it, another inch of water flows by us. As the flow continues, it’s perfect. That’s how I see energy and applying ourselves to music and acting. Flow is flawless; flawless is flow!
That’s an interesting way to view it and certainly relatable. Wes, I know our time is getting short. What else do you have on your plate at the moment?
I’m going to be doing a lot more acting, as well as generating a lot more music. I’d like to get an album ready to go and see how everyone feels about that. I’ve been an innovator; for example, I made my own genre with that “ghost rock” sound. I’ve also done a few other things that will be interesting. For example, I’ve been working in a martial art that I’ve been developing for a long time. I will probably be doing some directing as well, as my fiancé and I have written some scripts that are pretty epic. So, there’s going to be a lot of creative diversity. My Uncle Francis [Coppola] always says, “Stick to one thing.” That’s very true. If you stick to one thing, you will become a master, and other things will follow, but that’s something I’ve never been able to do. I’m always doing eight things at once! [laughs] I’m excited to see where it leads.
I’m rooting for you in all your creative endeavors. Thanks so much for your time today, Wes. I look forward to crossing paths with you again very soon!
Thanks, Jason! We most definitely will! Thank you so much!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.