NEW NOISE: Wolf Alice interview

February 28th, 2013

We spoke to rumpled rock kids Wolf Alice after they announced their slot at Secret Garden Party. They tell us about inspirations, meeting on a trampoline and why rap lyrics make the best material.

Wolf Alice music band

Smashing the grungy vibe, London four-piece Wolf Alice are beginning to cause quite a stir. Progressing from more folk-angled niceties to an intense soured rock, their new single ‘Fluffy‘ is fodder for headbanging junkies everywhere.

So who are the hotly-tipped Wolf Alice?

Ellie Rowsell, Joff (yep, just Joff), Joel Amey and Theo Ellis.

What kind of music do you play?

We play all kinds of music, but mainly rocky pop.

Where did you guys all meet?

I actually met Theo on a trampoline when I was about 14 – he had big Horrors-esque hair and asked me if I read poetry. But I only figured this out like a month ago… Joff and I met Joel at one of our gigs at Powers Bar in Kilburn. We were really scared of them ‘cos we’d never seen real live people turn up to our shows before.

So what’s the deal with the name?

Many moons ago when Joff and I wanted to make a Myspace page we decided it just had a ring to it. Now I realise that’s because everyone under the sun called their band Wolf something or something Wolf. But ultimately, it’s a short story by Angela Carter about girls growing up, which is exactly what Joff and I were doing when we started.

Who and what are the inspiration for your music?

We all have different inspirations really. Theo’s a QOTSA fangirl and Joff fancies Willy Mason. I don’t listen to much rap but when I do it always motivates me to write a song because, if you write your lyrics like you’re writing a rap, you’ve got a hell of a lot of words to choose from. You feel really productive like you’ve just written a mini story or something. I think that might sound really stupid but I’ve done it a few times and they’ve always been my favourite lyrics.

You seem to have turned away from the folk-tinged sounds of previous tracks such as ‘Wednesday‘ recently. Is this more rocky progression here to stay?

Not at all. The stuff we’re playing now is loads more fun to play live but we’re all writing loads of different kinds of material. I think our old sound was more folky because of the limitations we had – we didn’t have any electric guitars or amps and we didn’t know anyone who could play drums!

Far from being a feather-coated pop song as the name suggests, ‘Fluffy’ has a pretty grungy vibe. What made you write such a raw, ragged track?

I never really saw it as a 90s grunge song. Then again, maybe ‘cos it’s female vocals and overdrive pedals and stuff, so yeah I guess so! We just wanted to write something quite aggressive. Joff and Theo have itchy feet and they used to jump around to soft songs like ’Wednesday’ so we had to write them a song they could headbang to.

Your live shows are pretty thrashy, energised affairs. How do you get hyped before shows?

We don’t really. We’re always so nervous and just sit rocking back and forth with sweaty palms. I think that means getting on stage is such a relief that we let go completely.

What bands are you listening to at the moment?

We really like Best Friends – they’re playing with us on the 11th at The Waiting Room. They’ve got a cool Black Lips kinda garage sound going on. Black Tambourines as well. We love MANS and Carousels are cool.

Where do you hope to achieve in 2013?

Fans…

Wolf Alice are playing at Club NME at Koko on 22nd March. soundcloud.com/wolfalice

Words: Angus Griffin

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