Interview: Wolf Alice!

Music editors Joe Smith and Dominic Lee chat to Joff and Theo of the incredible Wolf Alice

multiple writers
31st May 2021
It'd been a while since we'd heard anything from Wolf Alice, no teaser of new music, no leaked tour dates, nothing. Fans everywhere were searching for any scraps of information they could get to see if new music would arrive. Then all of a sudden, the Wolf Alice Instagram posted a teaser image, the fans went crazy and then 'The Last Man On The Earth' dropped along with the announcement of their third album, Blue Weekend. Two of our music editors managed to grab themselves a copy of the album, listen to it non-stop, and somehow, have a chat with the lovely Joff and Theo, here's how it went down.

Joe: So guys, new album, hooray! It was recorded partially in lockdown, did this give you more time to experiment and finetune the record?

Joff: Yeah definitely, we started recording in January, and the lockdown kicked off when we were in Brussels for like four months, locked in the studio. So like usually when you’re recording an album you can usually let off like a bit of steam, go to the pub or whatever, but being in the studio in that environment constantly meant that you couldn't really escape it, it was always there in your mind, so we zoomed in with a level of detail that perhaps we haven't done before which was really interesting. Hopefully it paid off.

Dom: We think it definitely did pay off! So, you were working in the studio with the producer Marcus Straus on the album. Was there a particular reason as to why you wanted to work with Marcus, and what particular parts were aided by him.

Theo: One of the things that drew us to Marcus was just the scope of the projects he had worked on before. You know like Bjork records, Arcade Fire and then really broad pop stuff like Coldplay. His CV was just so wide and we felt he had the ability to work really well with any band as well, so we thought having someone who worked in those different mediums would be really well suited to us. And he was super lovely, really found a great way to work with us and all of our individual vocalisations of what we wanted stuff to sound like. Like when you spend so much time together you kind of get an unspoken language.

Joff: A tacit understanding. He was a real pleasure to work with. He‘s very detail oriented which works very well.

Joe: Something I’ve noticed with your music is that you create narratives very well. I’ve seen a lot of people they say they want their summer to be a “Don’t Delete the Kisses summer", so having this narrative that you and your fans can relate to seems to be very prominent, does this run through Blue Weekend?

Joff: Hmm, it’s hard to say. It’s quite difficult to set out to do that. I think that’s the test of all good music. If it evokes a response it works, especially with music being the most prominent artform we have at the minute, so if you manage to do that I think you’ve hit a home run really.

Dom: So do you think having the album bookended by ‘The Beach’ and ‘The Beach 2’, do you think this has created a single storyline, or more of a theme with lots of different stories in?

Theo: I think it’s probably the latter. I think the bookending is really nice and it touches on lots of different emotions and narratives being touched on in between these two beaches.

Joe: It’s just been announced that you’ll be performing at the Glastonbury livestream event. How does it feel being asked to perform at such a historic moment?

Theo: It’s amazing man. It’s actually done at Worthy Farm where Glastonbury would’ve been, so it’s incredible that we still get to perform there. It’s an honour to play there in any form and it’s a wicked selection of artists so it’s great to be included in that. Hopefully it’ll mean a lot to people.

Dom: So speaking of that, how do you think the new songs will translate into live shows?

Joff: Seamlessly.

Theo: Perfectly.

Joff: With great poise and aplomb.  

Theo: I’ve got no clue to be honest, it’ll be harder to write a setlist.

Joff: It would be interesting to see how we approach a livestream as well. It’s something that will be hard to do without an audience but we’ll see how it goes, hopefully we’ll be able to have fun again soon. 

Joe: Speaking of fun, tours! You’ve announced a huge string of shows for 2022, most of which are sold out, which is so sick. Do you have anything special planned for these shows?

Theo: The special things will just be playing live music again, but hopefully we’ll include something we haven't done before. I don't think we’ve ever had a tour with this demand, it’s just really shit how far away it is. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel for us though

Dom: Looking ahead to it though, there's a lot of different sounds on this album, which songs are you most excited to be playing live and why?

Theo: The easiest ones. With the least instrumentation and the least things to go wrong. ‘How Can I Make it Okay’ would be great to play, it’s my favourite on the album for sure. I’m excited for the heavier stuff too to see how people react.

Joe: I was gonna ask about ‘How Can I Make it Okay’, I loved the pluckiness of it and how it sounded a bit like an Enya song in some way.

Joff: Wahey, there we go! Ellie sent the demo and we were like this is going to be a big deal. We kept most of the original features as well. I don’t think she set out to write something like Enya, but all of us at some point were like “Ooo, bit Enya-ish”. Nothing wrong with a bit of Enya.

Joe: Nope, can’t beat her.

Dom: I thought on this record I heard some dream-poppy sounds, is that fair would you say?

Theo: Yeah, it is a very dreamy kind of pop song. I like what you said about plucky before, its got a really kind of taught beat. 

Joff: The string sounds were just Logic presets. I love this record because we used so many things we hadn’t before. We have real strings, fake strings and loads of other elements. Sometimes it’s just things we find in Logic making odd noises and cool guitar sounds. If it works, you don’t need all of the fancy gear because the tech is just so good.

Dom: And is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up?

Joff and Theo: Buy the album!

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