These days, it’s quite hard to get attention from the global music world when you don’t do stylish and pumping electronic music, heart-breaking singer-songwriter stuff or at least get undressed on stage. The mainstream charts are overdosed with soulless electro tracks and howling songwriters singing about their failed relationships or the struggle of their sensitive existence. It’s a disease that partly also spread into the independent music sector. The music world needs a bang. Fortunately, one band from London doesn’t care about that and sticks to the idea of creating their own sound without compromises. WOLF ALICE are everything you’d like to see in them. Tender dreampop meets rough indie rock with nods to folk and grunge. A catchy mixture of alternative and indie rock with isn’t afraid of catchy melodies. And Ellie Roswell plays the leading role in that equation. That itself deserves a bit more attention. Sure, we live in a time where feminism plays a big role and should be seen as normal by now. Women in the western world got the same rights as men and do the same jobs, but let’s face it: there aren’t many ‘boybands’ with such a charismatic female singer these days.
WOLF ALICE make music together in the current formation for three years now: Ellie Rowsell on the vocals, Joff Oddie as the guitarist, Joel Amey on the drums and Theo Ellis as the bassplayer. Before this, Ellie and Joff already performed together as the latter one told us in our recent chat with him: ‘It started maybe five our four years ago with Ellie and me playing folk songs in small venues. We did that for a couple of years and got slowly bored and started to make louder music.’
They got Joel and Theo on board and quickly WOLF ALICE emerged. The first two singles Leaving You and Fluffy followed soon and helped the four-piece to get the attention of various music blogs and magazines, amongst others famous British musicmag Clash. It has also been Clash who wrote about the four-piece that they’re ‘The lovechild of folk and grunge’, a statement on which Joff can’t really agree today: ‘I think that might have been the time when we started in the very, very early days. Kind of when we were just in the moment of transition and still playing a bit of folk music. I think our music sounds different now, maybe they need to update the description a bit.’
Afterwards – in the year 2013 – the band released an EP (Blush) and another one in 2014 (Creature Songs) featuring the strummed, kind of dirty Giant Peach which assured all the critical left overs of their musical skills. In a few days , on the 22nd of June, it’s finally the time for their debut record My Love Is Cool. It’s a record everybody will talk about in 2015 whether they like it or not. But if grunge and folk aren’t the right words anymore, how would WOLF ALICE describe their own sound?
‘Like a controlled car-crash’
What kind of sound did you want to create on My Love Is Cool?
We were very focussed on making the pop songs sound like pop songs and the rock ones sound pretty rocky. We were looking for a variation in the production. We didn’t make one linear record with only one dominant sound. I think that would have been a bit boring for us.
And how would you describe your music to a deaf person?
(Thinking) It sounds like a controlled car-crash.
Who does the songwriting?
Ellie chooses the words. But we all do the rest, I mean WOLF ALICE is the four of us, we’re a band.
Must be sometimes hard for Ellie to be in a band with three guys, right?
(Laughing) No, we’re lovely. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
You’ve been supporting ALT-J back February. How was touring with them?
Really cool and quite interesting. I don’t think we’re the most matching bands, you know not the ones with the most similar sound. But I thought it was kind of good that we were able to play to an audience that doesn’t expect such a sound. I like that. It’s incredible to go on tour across Europe with ALT-J lads. They’re lovely and this kind of iconic band. It was really special.
‘Passion is definitely a driving force’
As we’re talking about touring, do you prefer the studio or the stage?
I think when you play live you’ve got a kind of more emotional reaction towards what’s going on, you kind of loose yourself in it. But in the studio it’s a lot more about looking deep into the things, you don’t look at the way you perform and can concentrate on other things. It’s impossible to say, we love both, that’s why we do both.
What’s better? Playing festivals or normal concerts?
Well, I don’t know, they’re very different. They’re definitely very different. I haven’t played a festival in probably about six months, so I’m gonna say festivals. But the thing is, when you finish the festival season in September you want to go for playing in clubs. (laughing)
You’re booked for quite a few festivals this summer? You’ll be at Berlin’s Lollapalooza, for example.
Yeah, I know we’re playing quite a lot in Europe the next months. There’s the Best Kept Secret in the Netherlands for example and also plenty of events in the UK: Reading, Glastonbury, Latitude. It’s going to be a fun summer, that’s for sure.
And what do hope and passion mean to you?
I hope that I’m passionate enough. Okay, that was such a rubbish answer. (laughing) I think it’s everything you need as a band, you need to have hope and passion to make it. I mean in the first time we played to kind of no one and if we didn’t have that kind of hope and the knowledge that it can change we wouldn’t have make it. And passion is definitely a driving force.
Lucky for us that the band believed in themselves, didn’t stop to make music together and especially didn’t change their raw, honest sound to get the music world’s attention quicker. WOLF ALICE is a good example of a band with attitude, one that shows that you don’t need to sell your heart to a record company or a casting show: if you got hope, passion and enough endurance, you can make it on your own. And you can deliver such a strong, diversified and crafted debut as My Love is Cool. This will be their year and we from NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION aren’t the only ones saying so. Feel happily invited to join the buzz.