Volcano features Gabe Messer (Harsh Toke), Billy Ellsworth (Loom, Radio Moscow), Zachary Oakley (Joy, Space Nature), Matt Oakley, and Ake Arndt (California 666) of the visual arts collective Operation Mindblow. The band is highly influenced by European prog rock, especially wah-wah guitar-centered groups like Secret Oyster.
“It was a natural amalgamation of everything we like,” testifies Oakley, who also plays in Joy and Space Nature. “We listen to Krautrock, Zamrock, Northern soul, blues, and prog every day. I think before Volcano we may had been a little more narrow-minded in that we just wanted to put together heavy bluesy jam bands. Like hey, ‘let’s start a band that sounds like Blue Cheer or Captain Beyond.’ But with Volcano it’s a little bit of everything.”
A debut single dropped in December 2017, “10,000 Screaming Souls,” after which they performed at the 2018 Roadburn Festival lineup in the Netherlands. Their debut album The Island was released in February 2019 via Tee Pee and Kommune Records, preceded by a single and video for "Naked Prey." A stream of "No Evil Know Demon" made its exclusive debut on the Reader site, while "Acid-Washed" premiered on Popmatters. Tee Pee Records is also home to Painted Doll, Ruby the Hatchet, and Sweet Apple.
The album was recorded and engineered by Jordan Andreen (Earthless, The Damned, Rocket From the Crypt). “Gabe came up with the concept of the album being the story of a lost island and its struggles against outside invaders and the dark governing forces of nature,” Oakley explains. “The main lyrics and story were written by Gabe. There are also a lot of chanting and vocal melodies that we all came up with on the spot in the studio to fill out the tunes. Hard to say which individual came up with what chant or certain vocal expression, but it’s safe to say that it was a combination of everyone getting into the Volcano headspace and allowing stream of consciousness to take over.”