INTERVIEW: Wolf Alice | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Once in a blue moon, a band come along equipped with the power to capture the hearts and ears of all they encounter, to invade your Spotify playlists and emblazon your bedroom walls with their photographs. Not many achieve such prodigious levels of acclaim, but it’s a feat that appeared an easy breeze for the four-piece that boast the name on everyone’s glitter-tinted lips, Wolf Alice.

North London’s finest export, they began as a duo (Ellie Rowsell on vocals and Joff Oddie on guitar) back in 2010, before recruiting a bassist and drummer in the form of Theo Ellis and Joel Amey two years later. Their rise to the limelight has been a mesmerising affair, a snowball of dedicated ‘Wolfies’, sold out shows and Grammy nominations practically falling at their Dr Marten clad feet, but Ellie insists they’ll never allow the immense attention to go to their heads. “We’re very happy and flattered, our fans give me the drive to continue to do bigger and better things.”

A vital attribute to the so-called B-town scene in 2014, their friendship with fellow upcomers such as Swim Deep and Peace gave indie music the kick up the arse that it desperately needed. “It was great to have other supportive bands around you that you can learn from and be inspired by, you can take each other on tour and big each other up and that’s so important in music.”

I’ve had a few negative experiences being a girl in the band. I feel a certain responsibility to set a good example but I think everyone should do that anyway

From the release of 2015’s debut My Love Is Cool, Wolf Alice’s sound and image has taken a slightly heavier approach, which is evident in the form of Yuk Foo, the first single birthed from their second album Visions Of A Life, released back in September. “We’ve got better at our instruments and as songwriters, and far more confident as performers. With Yuk Foo, I just wanted to write a short, fast and heavy punk tune. We had a lot more time with this album, recording it in LA instead of London made it a lot more laid back in that sense. It was less scary but it was mounting pressure as we were determined to make it better than our first.”

Branching out even further than their six strings, Ellie’s advocacy for the recent general election and the band’s part in creating the Bands 4 Refugees campaign has catapulted her into the eyes of the public, and cemented her as a strong female lead in a largely male-dominated industry. “I’ve had a few negative experiences being a girl in the band, people sometimes have expectations of you that I’d deem as unfair. I feel a certain responsibility to set a good example but I think everyone should do that anyway, regardless of their platform.”

With an awe-inspiring performance on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage already tucked under their belt, Wolf Alice describe their main dream as headlining a festival. Although delighting the masses has its perks, the importance of staying in touch with reality is just as rewarding. “I think supporting small independent venues and playing intimate shows is vital, it’s the best way to reach out to your fans,” cites Ellie. Despite their roaring success and indisputably bright future, the outfit’s humble aura is endearing and she modestly shrugs off any praise: as she puts it, they’re still “just a rock band”.

Wolf Alice play Newcastle’s O2 Academy on Monday 13th November.



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