The accolades for British rock band Wolf Alice are coming – but they’re not letting it go to their heads | On tour | Detroit

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Jordan Hemingway

Hungry as a wolf: Wolf Alice.

In February, Wolf Alice won the BRIT Award for Group of the Year.

A few months earlier, the indie rock band had been named best festival headliner by the NME Awards.

In June 2021, he released his third album, blue weekend, to universal acclaim, earning a Mercury Prize nomination. It didn’t win that prestigious award for best album released in England or Ireland, but the band’s second album of 2018, visions of lifedid.

It’s no surprise, then, that the band – formed in 2010 as an acoustic duo by vocalist Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie, who were joined two years later by bassist Theo Ellis and drummer Joel Amey – received accolades such as “the best band in the UK”. .”

In late March, Wolf Alice came to the United States for the first leg of the band’s “Blue Weekend” North American tour, which continues with a second leg this fall. Ellis recently spoke with music writer L. Kent Wolgamott about the band, blue weekendand the visit via Zoom.

So how does it feel to be called the best band in England?

I think you probably don’t believe it. Or think about it too much because you’ve probably gotten a bit of a wanker if you say you’re the best band in Britain.

It’s very nice for people to say things like that, really cool. But we are a band in Britain. And we’re having a great time as a band in Britain at the moment. I don’t think there is any better or worse. There are other great, great bands hanging out right now. There are fantastic ones. So we are one of many.

What I love about your band and especially about this album — which is great — is that you can’t just catalog your music. Is it a dream pop or shoegaze band or a grunge band or a punk band? All of these things come into play. So how did these pieces fit together?

I think because we like a lot of different styles of music between the four of us. … We’re on the precipice of a generation where we’ve started consuming music in a non-gendered way. … Just because you listen to guitar now doesn’t mean you can’t listen to rap or listen to punk. I listen to pop and I can admire aspects of folk.

There is such cross-pollination, that we are inspired by many different things. I think there’s a danger of it sounding a little confusing when you do it, if you go too abrasive between genres, but I think the new record (shows) maturity (by) learning to touch on all those things we love without it sounds like chaos. And just be inspired, right, you know?

Did I read somewhere that you really didn’t play bass when you joined the band?

Yeah, but it’s a bit romantic because I played guitar. I didn’t play bass, but I played guitar. Joel is the most extreme case because he didn’t play drums and he just started playing drums.

You two seem to get along well. Do you feel like that, like it’s a real section?

I think we’re more of a section than individuals in a way because we picked up our instruments together at the same time. And neither of us really played with anyone else. It would probably be interesting to see what it’s like to play with other people. But I’ve only ever recorded and played with Joel. So we’re kind of united at the hip musically in that sense. It’s a shame we hate each other so much.

Of the band I saw at SXSW six, seven years ago, what do you think is the biggest change, the biggest development?

We got older, I don’t mean we like the fact that we look older but like, you know, we all learned doing this as a career, which allowed us to grow as musicians, songwriters and performers. So I think we’ve perfected the tools we needed to effectively get ideas out of our heads, if that makes sense.

We’ve kind of equipped ourselves better, whether it’s putting on a live show or knowing how to say something in a song backed by the right instrumentation… So in a way of saying, we’ve gotten better in what we do… I’m a better bass player than I was years ago. I just think we gained confidence that way. And I think we feel really strong as a band where we are right now. It’s really fun to be in this group.

How does live music mixing work? Can you do a show without it being ‘where the hell are they going now?’ Or is it part of the show?

I’m really proud of the set we’re playing right now. I wish you could come over tonight and get a taste of what the show is like. We have an amazing extra member on stage, his name is Ryan Malcolm… He does a lot of extra backing with keyboards and vocals and a whole lot of other stuff. So we kind of got a little more muscle from him. We’ve kind of chopped up the setlist based on the same way you would with a tracklist, to take you on an emotional journey or at least that’s what we think or try to achieve.

Between the two legs of your tours this year, you played in many cities in the United States, more than some British bands play.

I think it’s important for us to be able to go to as many different places as possible and, you know, play places we’ve never been before, because I think you can get stale by doing that. And, yes, America is a big-ass place. So if you want to go everywhere, you have to go everywhere. It takes a lot of time. And it’s really fun to be able to go and still experience new places that we shot on and off for seven years or something.

Wolf Alice performs at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 4 at Saint Andrew’s Hall; 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-8961; saintandrewsdetroit.com. Tickets are $30.

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