Wolf Alice: “I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can speak for myself because it’s what I believe in”
Lead Guitarist Joff Oddie talks politics, progression and pursuit ahead of the release of their highly anticipated second record – Visions Of A Life.
Wolf Alice are back. After two years spent writing their second record, it seems that Wolf Alice will always be somewhat beautifully unconventional. So far, it’s been an exceptional career for the band, with nominations for a Brit, Grammy and the Mercury Prize on the table, as well as winning the NME Best Live Band Award, providing signposts for their achievements. The quartet have become known and loved for their surprisingly refreshing rock sound that breaks the omnipresent mold that shapes so many artists. However, Wolf Alice don’t simply influence through their musical creations; the four-piece joined the super-group Bands 4 Refugees that supported the refugee crisis by playing charity gigs last year. They have truly become a band that exudes a degree of progression and acceptance that we can only hope to see mirrored in contemporary society.
“I have my beliefs as a human being and a member of society – it’d be lovely to say that everyone needs to express their liberalism”
It seems that with experience comes liberation, and Visions Of A Life has broken the “glass ceiling” that was in place for My Love Is Cool. The leading single, ‘Yuk Foo’, says it all really; when it comes to rules, Wolf Alice just “don’t give a shit”. Following ‘Yuk Foo’ came the steady love song ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ and the high spirited ‘Beautifully Unconventional’. All three songs are as bold as each other for equally as powerful reasons.
“It’s bolder, it’s a little bit braver”
Speaking to Circulation Magazine, lead guitarist Joff Oddie revealed what we can expect from the second album, their creative ventures and upcoming UK tour.
How does Visions Of A Life differ from My Love is Cool, whether it be stylistically, lyrically or technically?
I think the extremes of the album are more extreme than My Love is Cool. I think there was a glass ceiling of where we were willing take things stylistically, and in terms of production and stuff like that. We really tried to push ourselves further with the new record. It’s bolder, it’s a little bit braver – we just wanted to make something that felt a little bit more big, grown-up and tough.
Songs from previous releases such as ‘Blush’ and ‘Every Cloud’, just to name a couple, hold great sentiment and emotionality for many fans – did you happen to feel any pressure to re-create such songs in your latest album?
No. The song writing just happens, and it’s our job to dress the songs and make them worthy for people to listen to. It’s never a case of “we need that song” or “we need this song”. It’s a cycle, and I’m sure it just seeps out regardless. We aren’t consciously thinking that we need this song or we need that song.
A lot of people have described ‘Yuk Foo’ as a bold single. What made you decide to lead the album with that song?
It’s visceral, it’s a bit in your face and it’s nice to come back with. It’s only two minutes long, and it’s a fun thing to play live. The first time we heard it in a half-finished state, it was a real moment in the studio: it felt very Wolf Alice. We were all jumping around the control rooms. There were lots of little reasons leading to one.
You recently released the ‘Yuk Foo’ video where you collaborated with Adam Powell, who’s best known for working with artists such as The 1975 and Charlie XCX. What made you decide to work with him? What vision did you have for the video?
Hahaha, we know Adam well through touring with The 1975. He’s a lovely bloke. We like his style – we thought he has something special, and he was excited to do it. It’s not really that deep.
All three singles that you’ve released are seemingly quite different to each other. Do you view Visions of a Life as a cohesive album, or rather a sequence of standalone tracks?
It’s a cohesive album, definitely. What people have heard are the extremes from the album. Once you hear the thing together it’s a body of work.
We’re living in uncertain times, with many young people feeling somewhat disillusioned by our current cultural and political climate. How do you feel artists within the alternative music scene should respond to this?
You know, I’m in no position to kind of say what other people should think and do. I have my own beliefs and my own thoughts about how I conduct myself. I have my beliefs as a human being and a member of society – it’d be lovely to say that everyone needs to express their liberalism, but that’s not how things are. I mean, I can’t speak for everyone else but I can speak for myself because I believe in that, and the politics of Wolf Alice are fairly left leaning.
Do you feel that translates into any songs from the latest album?
It’s a very personal record this one, I think. So anything that has any element of struggle or strife and things like that, you know, that’d be fairly subliminal.
Could you tell me a bit about your latest single, ‘Beautifully Unconventional’? What was it in pursuit of?
It’s a song that Ellie wrote: it’s an ode to one of her friends, one of her oldest and dearest friends. You know, a celebration of friendship and that particular girl’s eccentricities. It’s a short little tune, we fiddled around with it for a very long time going “do we need to make it longer? Is it too short?” In the end we actually shortened it for emphasis.
Where did the album title come from?
Visions of a Life is a lyric in the song ‘Visions of a Life’. It works on a micro level in the song – it fits. On a macro view of the album it kind of sums it up. The record was written over a couple of years, through lots of things happening to us. All of the songs are snippets of those two years, so the name felt appropriate: like every song was a vision of that two-year period.
You are shortly embarking on an extended UK tour – which location are you most looking forward to, and why do you enjoy touring there so much?
Every place is slightly different to be honest. It’s always exciting to go somewhere you’ve never been to before, to play to an audience that you’ve never played to. But there’s a certain magic in the UK, it’s been our homes and we can get away with playing the biggest audience of the year, and you know, they’re just nuts. Playing places like Birmingham or Glasgow and seeing kids flying around rooms is pretty cool.
Visions of A life will be released on the 29th of September and is available to pre-order here.