Interview: Wolf Alice

2015 was quite the year for Wolf Alice. The release of their debut album My Love Is Cool was met with great praise from fans and media alike. After a busy year comprising of touring, festivals, Grammy nominations and yes, more touring, we caught up with Ellie to reflect on all this and look forward to what 2016 holds for the band. 

Firstly, congratulations on an amazing 2015, it was obviously a great year for you guys, what was your personal highlight?

I have a few I guess, I really enjoyed the week that the album came out. We were all really excited and had just been to LA to shoot the ‘You’re A Germ’ video which was really fun and then went to Glastonbury and spent the whole week together in a car and it was just a really excitable time for us obviously. I also really enjoyed the last UK and US tours we did where we toured the new album for the first time, we weren’t too sure how it was going to go but it went really well and it was super fun.

‘My Love Is Cool’ was released in June, have you been pleased by the great reaction that fans and media alike have had to it?

The most important thing was that the fans liked it. You can never really tell what people would think but the fact that the shows went well and people said online that they enjoyed it came as a relief, and the reaction from the press came as a big compliment too. I don’t think we expected anyone to hate it but people saying nice things about it is great.

What was the writing/recording process like for ‘My Love Is Cool?’

We wrote everything sporadically and didn’t set aside a specific time to write songs for the album. We recorded it in London at a studio in Wood Green, taking out five days a week for a period of almost five weeks. It’s quite nice to go away sometimes to record as you fully immerse yourself into it and you have no distractions but it was also quite nice staying in London and it went well nevertheless.

Are there any specific songs on the album which you find more fun to play live?

I tend to find all of the upbeat, fast, ‘guitary,’ heavy songs more fun to play live just because thats what they’re there for, whereas the more slower songs like ‘Soapy Water’ are more powerful on record rather than playing live as its harder to recreate that.

You must feel a world away from the early days of the band, what with all the success of the past few years, has it come as a surprise?

I think lots of things have changed, mainly our tours are so different now. Not in terms of what we play but just by having a crew and playing big venues in front of lots of people rather than small venues with no people. It’s a lot more comfortable now and so that side of things has really changed and does seem quite a world away. But I feel like the four of us are still the same and I still come home, in fact I still cant even afford to move out of my parents house so that really hasn’t changed at all.

Obviously you guys are touring, you head to Europe in February and then to the UK in March, are you looking forward to touring again? 

Yeah definitely, I’ve been at home for Christmas and most of January and i’m kind of bored of it now, I’m ready to go back.

What’s life like on tour for Wolf Alice? Is it as ‘rock n roll’ as touring life seems or is it a more subdued affair for you guys?

It’s weird because you’d think the more successful you become as a band the more ‘rock n roll’ you become but I think we’ve gone the other way. We were ‘rock n roll’ in the early days as we were so excited, just setting of and trying our luck with broken equipment, staying out every night and staying on peoples floors but now we have more responsibility as we’re playing to a lot more people and it’s something we do every day for the majority of the year so we’ve actually taken a step back, but that doesn’t mean to say we don’t have a good time.

From afar it seems as if you are constantly on the road, what is it you like so much about touring?

We love touring because it’s how you get an instant replication that your music is enjoyable for other people, it’s also fun and you get to see the world, meet new people and give them a good time. It’s how bands survive nowadays, if you can afford it it’s the best way of getting yourself out there, going to as many places as possible to play your songs and almost force them down people’s throats in a way. The industry is changing but the touring aspect hasn’t changed, you can still go and play a show and pick up some fans. It might be hard to get your stuff noticed in the wide world that is the internet but you can still go to a little pub and play to ten people and pick up ten fans. That’s why we do it so much, because it’s the best form of exposure.

Where do you like to tour the most?

The UK is always fun, it’s where we have the most fans and we start to recognise people who come back to every show, its like a little family and is really nice. America is also exciting, new and fresh and its always buzzing. But I don’t really have one favourite place in the whole world, I like lots of places.

Just leaving touring for a moment, how important is fashion, clothing and more importantly, glitter, to the band?

If you enjoy it then it’s important and I think its nice to consider and make an effort with all those things, but it’s completely secondary to music. It’s not important in the long run but if you can have fun with it then it’s a good thing.

Away from your own music, what new stuff are you listening to these days?

Lots of stuff, I love the new Grimes album, the new Maccabees, Swim Deep and Drenge albums. I like some new American bands too such as Alex G, Made Violent, Gateway Drugs. So yeah, lots of stuff although I need to find some new music now as I’ve been listening to the same stuff for a couple of months now, but there’s definitely lots of cool music coming out now.

Do you ever get the chance to see any bands between touring, especially at festivals?

Yeah I do, sometimes we’re lucky and we can stay up all night and get to watch loads of bands at festivals, although other times we only get to see the bands who play before or after us. I’ve seen a lot more live music than I ever did now I’m in a band.

You obviously played loads of festivals last year, do you have any plans for the summer of 2016?

We’re playing our first in America at Coachella and I think we’ll be doing a few around Europe. Hopefully the UK festivals will have us back, but who knows.

Going back to the UK tour, you play Nottingham’s Rock City on the 23rd March, are you looking forward to coming back? 

Yeah definitely, Rock City is a great venue. We played the Dot to Dot Festival there a few years back which was great fun. I think we had one of our first ever mosh pits in Nottingham so it has a special place in our hearts; it was a 1am gig too at the Bodega and at this point we’d never had so much moshing a show before so since then we’ve always been excited to keep coming back to Nottingham.

Finally, what does the future hold for Wolf Alice?

I have no idea, it would be pretty amazing if I could answer that question. Hopefully, we can continue to do what we’re doing but just bigger and better. I want to be able to play some new tunes as well, I’m bored of the old ones now…

Ellie from Wolf Alice was speaking to Charlie Barnes 

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.

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