‘If I wasn’t wearing any pants it would have been like a recurring dream’: An Interview with Wolf Alice

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Wolf Alice have shot to fame in the last few years following the release of their debut EP ‘Blush’ in October 2013. The Edge caught up with them in Bournemouth this April, to discuss their new album, ‘My Love is Cool’, released 22nd June 2015 and what they’ve been up to in the last year.

For those who might not have heard your music, how would you describe it?

Joel: Distorted pop…we came up with that.
Joff: Everything…other than that we seem to dodge that question a lot these days.

What’s the story behind the name “Wolf Alice”?

Ellie: It’s a short story by Angela Carter, which is part of a collection of books called ‘The Bloody Chamber’, which are adult fairy tales and it’s the last one in that series.

When you released “Leaving you” online on Soundcloud as a free download in 2012 were you expecting such a positive response? 

Ellie: I don’t think we expected that kind of response no. I don’t think we expected anything to come from that. 
Joel: I remember the sense of pride we had when we heard it played in a cab on the way back from one of our shows…11200814_813768368672477_5332561399250027708_n
Joff: Yeah! We recorded it really “ramshackley” so any kind of positive feedback we got from that was really mental.

It was on nme’s radar…

Joel: I remember that, we got into the top of the radar column, we were like whoa we’re at the TOP of the column…

Did you have a decent following before then?

Ellie: No… we had a tiny weeny live following, maybe a few familiar faces at live shows, but not really.

I noticed that you’ve taken Fluffy and Bros off Spotify  How comes?

Ellie: We will be re releasing those two songs so we have to take them off the internet before we re-release them so they’ll come back. We’ve re-recording them so it’s a slightly different format

What was your favourite moment of 2014?

Joff: Finishing our album and then knowing that we had a couple of days at home for Christmas before we went to Australia for the first time!
Theo: The expectation of going there and getting there is like wow… knowing you’re even going there is amazing.

What was it like supporting Alt-J at the O2 in January? That must’ve been a big step up, venue wise. 

Ellie: Yeah it was great. It was a really cool experience to play such a huge venue like that and not have the pressure of it being your own show. I don’t know it was an unusual expeirnce, all the fun bits and none of the scary bits.

As a performer how does it vary playing huge venues like that compared to smaller venues?

Ellie: It’s a completely different kettle of fish you can’t really compare, but they’re both good in their own separate ways.

Have you ever played shows like that before?

Ellie: No, never.
Theo: That’s the biggest venue in the uk? Its like the biggest one with a roof. Quite scary.

And you went on a European tour with them after that, how was that?

Ellie: Yeah it was good. It was our first European tour and obviously we are quite different to Alt-J so we didn’t really know what to expect but all the crowds were really good – well better than I thought they would be, just because I thought they wouldn’t like us but their response was quite pleasant and Alt-J are really nice guys.

Do you have a fan base out in Europe?

Ellie: Not too much, there were a few people but we’ve never toured there before and it was our first time so maybe now there will be. We need to go out on our own soon…

It does seem like a cool place to tour, apparently the German crowds are particularly enthusiastic?

Joel: Yeah to be honest it was the best response we got was around like Hamburg and stuff, they are very receptive even if they don’t know your band.
Theo: Milan was great as well, Italy really was. There were a few places where people knew our name and were just intrigued.

This is kind of the last leg of your UK tour, how have you found it? Are you totally knackered or ready to keep going?

Ellie: I’m tired but I’m still enjoying myself, it’s nice to be back in the UK, it feels like we haven’t done a UK tour for so long. Its really really fun and all our fans are so nice and its so nice to be here and at home.

Are you getting any downtime between now and festival season?

Joff: Literally none (laughs)

Best date so far?

Joel: They’ve all been good in there own little ways, even though I didn’t play very well I did really enjoy Scotland because it set a good precedent for the tour. They acted so mentally I was just like “whoa”, usually when you go to Scotland its really chill and I just got this amazing Scottish crowd and that put me in a good mood for the rest of the tour.

So, do you prefer mental crowd?

Joel: Yeah like within reason, it is great when everyone is going like crazy and taking in what you’re giving out… rather than just like throwing shoes and beers, which after a while can be like ok…

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Joff: Our album is out on the 22nd of June so we’re kind of just gonna be playing in support of that as much as we can, we have festival season and we’re doing Reading and Leeds, T in the Park, Latitutde, Longitude, and a few more that aren’t announced, some european ones and we go back to America as well in two weeks for a month!

You guys are playing a lot of festivals this year. I saw you were playing Best Kept Secret? 

Joel: Best kept secret is an amazing festival! You’re the only person who has actually brought that up. It’s only in like year three and honestly its so good, that will definitely be a laugh.

Ellie: Honestly its in the most beautiful place, you know how in festivals they kind of leave you to it, well best kept secret really looks after you, like on a tree there will be some suncream hanging from string which you can just take. I know that sounds really lame but its so nice.

Safety first! Do you prefer festivals or more intimate shows?

Theo: They’re so different, again its quite hard to compare. Festivals are exciting because you get to reach out to people you don’t know and intimate shows are fun because you’re all sweaty and with the crowd.

There has been a lot of stick given to festivals this year for a lack of female fronted bands/female artists. Do you agree with the criticisms? Or do you think that female fronted bands are breaking out more often these days?

Ellie: It’s a shame I guess but we always say, it would be more of an issue if people were putting female fronted bands or female bands in the line up just because they are female. That isn’t equality because there are people who are better suited. It stems from something much larger like encouraging girls to pick up a guitar or a drums or singing.

11123931_1609396132634848_118181224_nDo you think female bands are on the rise or do you think there is still a lot of work to do?

Joel: I have no idea, there is some good stuff out there, like Sunflower Bean.

Ellie: It is more like, there isn’t a lack of female fronted bands – there’s a lack of girls playing guitar or a girl playing guitar. You just have to make it not so much of a big deal and then bands will become mixed gender because there are lots of girls playing instruments, which there isn’t, which is no ones fault.

How did you put the new album together? Is it relatively old material or can we expect something new/different to your usual sound?

Joff: Some of them are a couple of years old some of them are brand new, maybe a month or so old.

I read that you told NME is not a grunge record. What kind of genre would you pin it under?

Joff: I don’t think an album has to be any single genre it has loads of different bits.

Funniest/most embarrassing experience you’ve had as a band?

Joel: The other day, which did actually make me blush, I left the stage and Theo jumped up at me and went to walk off…and I didn’t see this like light fitting… and we both fell over! The whole crowd was going “wayyy” and I just heard a big section of it go “waaya…ooooh”. I was like “oh shit”… that was kind of embarrassing. The first person I saw was my mum… if I wasn’t wearing any pants it would have been like a recurring dream.

Biggest goal for the upcoming year?

Joff: Number one in every country.
Joel: don’t fall off stage.
Theo: I would love everyone to really appreciate the album and really listen to it. That’d be great, and carrying on doing what we’re doing and growing the way we’re growing.

Any advice to bands trying to make it now?

Ellie: If it’s a band kind of set up I’d say play loads and loads of gigs.
Theo: Yeah, sometimes I feel like people say don’t play loads of gigs and don’t put music online but I think playing shows is how we’ve learnt 90% of what we’ve done, we literally just fell out into the little bit of lime light we had and was like “blaaah”.
Ellie: Its better to practice your live show in front of no one then your first show to be in front of 500 people and you screw it up
Joel: So yeah gigs…gigs everywhere. 

Do you think London is a good place to break out?

Joel: Yeah it is the easiest but its hard…

I find its quite concentrated…

Joel: Oh yeah, I don’t think people take the music scene very seriously, they just think theres so much of everything.
Theo: And its quite naff, a lot of places you’re at you’re like “this is terrible”, and then you go to small places with like 4 bands and theyre killing it, and its like “wow”…And you can go see 100 bands in London in one night and be bored at every single show.

Apparently its better to break out in Brighton and Bristol now because London is…

Joel: I’d love to be one of those Brighton bands, there’s always a jealous complex over those brighton bands who have made it.
Ellie: They have a sense of scene and stuff, whereas in London it’s like “we’re in the London scene” and you almost feel like you’re not allowed to be there.
Theo: London is just like a melting pot of people coming there to break out.
Joel: It’s quite interesting that…. there’s no London sound at all… 

Ellie: There seems to be a burgeoning on something happening in south London, with plama violets Childhood, King Krule and Fat Whites.

Ok, last question, If you were only allowed one word to describe your new album what would it be?

Joff: Good.
Ellie: Amazing.
Theo: Finished.
Joel: Supersonic.
Ellie: Yeah we’ll go with supersonic.

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Features Editor, Third year History Student and sarcastic Landlady for The Talking Heads.

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