In The Middle with Wolf Alice
London four-piece Wolf Alice are ready to take 2015 by storm. A new single here, an album announcement there, all amongst a long list of live gigs across the UK. Yet they are still struggling to get to grips with their growing popularity.
“It’s what we have always wanted, it’s a dream come true” a softly spoken Ellie Roswell talks about the ever-expanding Wolf Alice following before gearing up to play Manchester’s Ritz. The current UK tour began only 3 days after finishing a jam packed US tour. With a further set of US shows and a summer full of festivals, the dream isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Unfortunately when asked about any more festival announcements, the Wolf Alice lead-singer kept tight-lipped; “We have announced Reading & Leeds and Latitude [and now Glastonbury], as well as a few European festivals, but I don’t think I can say much more than that”.
Gaining the reputation as one of the biggest live bands hasn’t come without constant hard graft. Recalling pre-show jitters, Ellie admits “sometimes I get nervous really randomly, I’m not sure why it comes and goes”. However at possibly their biggest show to date (supporting Alt-J at their headline gig at the O2 Arena in London) the nerves subsided. “I guess when it’s not your gig you aren’t so nervous, you haven’t got anything to lose, but once I was up there I was like oh this is large” admits Ellie.
As a band hotly tipped to be a future festival headliner, the recent uproar over the lack of female featuring acts at Reading & Leeds is a high priority for Wolf Alice. Whilst the focus has mainly been on this one line-up, Roswell believes “we need to go back a few steps and go into schools and music classes and encourage girls to pick up the guitar and encourage girls to play the drums”. Looking back to her own school experience, Ellie’s school “was much more why don’t you try the flute or violin. It would have been cool to play the drums instead of the fucking flute”. It is clear to see that this is something that needs to be struck head on, with only 10% of headliners at Reading & Leeds featuring female members in the past 15 years, perhaps Roswell’s example is something to go by.
Despite her loathing of the flute, she does appear to play the instrument in the band’s latest video for single ‘Giant Peach’. The video features cameo appearances from Tony Gardner (yes that is the dad from My Parents Are Aliens) as a crazed manager and Ewen MacIntosh as the video’s director. However getting them down to shoot a video was as simple as the band looking back at their twitter followers and calling them down after spotting they had the two as followers. Although the video is “just a make believe story”, it matches up with the song perfectly, a beautiful mess of jacked up guitar riffs, meshed together with walloping bass lines. The whole song gives you a unforgettable sucker punch.
If the unmistakable growling riffs from ‘Giant Peach’ seem to be all over the place and mashed up, that’s because that is what it always was. “It’s actually two old songs in there” Ellie reveals, “we kinda wanted a song that was more jammy with a not so conventional structure , we needed it for our live show cause the live shows felt like a load of 3 minute pop songs”. They certainly achieved an “unconventional structure”, and it works. You can also now listen to the B-Side of the single – ‘I Saw You’, an entirely different track, a simple acoustic guitar and relaxed lyrical hooks. So is this what we can expect from the upcoming album ‘My Love Is Cool’?
“We definitely have a lot of different types of songs on there, covering both our singer/song-writery side and our heavier side”. The long awaited debut album will be released on June 22nd and has been a long process for Wolf Alice. “We started recording in November and finished in December and it’s a huge relief, we have been working towards this for a few years”. According to Ellie we can expect the album to “solidify themselves as a band. Everything before that you know, you could say anything because people don’t really know you till you put out your first album”.
Even if you know nothing of Wolf Alice, the recently released artwork for ‘My Love Is Cool’ is enough to get your attention. “It was taken by a friend of mine and she was on tour with us, and I was looking through the pictures on her computer and I found it”. The picture is of a woman showered in specks of sparkling golden light with a pitch black background. “it’s actually a still from a moving image, and she has thrown glitter on herself and it sort of ended up looking like she was on fire, it was really cool” Ellie excitedly exclaims.
So if you get just excited at people looking sort of on fire as Ellie Roswell does then pick up a copy of their debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ and try to catch them on their live circuit, you won’t regret it.
Photo by Jenn Five