Tuesday, 25 November 2014

10 Questions with... Wolf Alice


It's been a long time since I fell in love having encountered them at a festival, but London's Wolf Alice were that treat back at Beacons 2013, an intoxicating mix of punk spirit, 90's-tastic delivery, and a genuine passion for what they are doing. In the past six weeks alone, they've been announced as the opening act for Alt-J's 02 Arena date, selected for Government export funding and released a free download of a 'Storms', a song that only serves to further exacerbate the desire for their debut record. But just who are Wolf Alice? After a few false starts and a lost set of questions, we caught up with lead singer Ellie Rowsell for a quick chat about festivals, living the dream and teenage angst...

Hi Ellie. With December fast approaching, it's been a pretty cracking year for you and your band, especially in terms of public perception and reviews, what has been your biggest pinch-yourself moment thus far?
For me it was when we went to America and played South by South West. I'd never been to America and it was like stepping into a movie! So to be invited there for "work" was a dream come true. Our shows were all really fun and people seemed to really enjoy themselves so it was a big success too.

You've built up a following through EPs before you release a full length album; do you think this is important for new bands?
It's a good idea for some artists but not necessarily for others. It gives you time to develop, get studio experience and build a fan-base, but it also adds pressure on your debut as you've been waiting so long to do it.

You signed to the Dirty Hit label earlier in the year, why did you decide to go with them?
They're a small label at the moment so we knew they would have lots of time for us; they give us a lot of creative freedom and their enthusiasm for music was very apparent.

You're named after an Angela Carter story; have any other writers had influence on your work? What inspires you lyrically?
Yes, I find it incredibly inspiring in terms of writing lyrics to read a lot of books and watch a lot of films. It means I can write lyrics about other people and experiences other than my own when I don't want to write or think about myself.

I caught your sets this summer at Leeds Festival and 2000 Trees, how did these shows go for you? Do you prefer northern or southern crowds?
2000 Trees was a really nice surprise for us. The crowd were amazing and we had a really good time. Leeds was a dream come true and lived up to all our expectations. Sorry to be boring but I like northern and southern crowds and haven't noticed much difference.

Who would headline a Wolf Alice curated festival?
Miley Cyrus fronting Deftones …

You all grew up in London and even found out that you were at the same Horrors gig aged 14 before you'd met each other; how do you feel about all ages gigs? Do you think there should be more all age gigs/festivals for young people to get into music?
Joff actually grew up on a farm in Cornwall! But, yes, when I was growing up I went to lots of all ages concerts and it upsets me that it's not such a huge thing anymore. I know some concerts are 14+ but to have shows curated specifically for underage kids was incredibly exciting; and drew people to music who would maybe not bother go to a normal gig, and therefore give them an experience they might otherwise not have had.

As a female fronted band, you're often lumped into regressive 'women in rock' round ups; what do you make of this sort of thing? Do you think feminism in music is as big an issue as people make out?
Some people put more effort in to talking about the role of women in music than they actually do writing and playing good music, and I don't think that's a good look, but feminism in music is an important issue. As for the women in rock round-ups, I don't mind them as long as they don't call us girl rock.

'She' is pretty much teen angst encapsulated in a 3 minute rock record – how do you describe your teen years? What advice would you give to teenagers struggling with growing pains?
I found my experience as being a teenager very emotional, and that's why up until now most of my lyrics were about that period in my life - very internal, personal and introspective, which is fun to put into poetry or lyrics and helps in some way to release and understand what you are feeling. So I guess I'd say channel your growing pains into something creative, because your brain is thinking about some of its craziest stuff that deserves to be heard!

Imagine if Wolf Alice were a person. What would be your bio on a dating website?
Wolf Alice enjoys holding hands and long walks on the beach. Also enjoys lager and marathons of the Simpsons.

Download 'Storms' for free from Wolf Alice's soundcloud on the link below.

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