There are no products in your shopping cart.
There are no products in your shopping cart.
Wolf People talk to us ahead of Liverpool Psych Fest
In terms of wizened, organic, blues driven rock and roll which has the potential to absolutely surround and drench you with its psych-rock cocktail, there's no finer band than WOLF PEOPLE. The English four-piece have been plugging away with quiet industriousness and mind expanding results since 2006, and received some just rewards for their efforts in 2010 when they became the first British band to sign to legendary US label Jagjaguwar. In a way, the band are both completely counter-cultural, and entirely in the lineage of Britain's great rock music. Whilst the prevailing model for new bands is one of early attention, unjustified hype, and signing to a record label for an exaggerated fee, Wolf People did things in what might be described as 'the good old way'. No unwarranted attention was fleetingly attached to them, instead, they got on with the underrated job of just being a rock band, learning and developing from their successes and failures. Perhaps that's why the sound that you hear Wolf People make today is one which is so rich and complete, so fully-informed, wise and experienced. Perhaps its why in 2010 they released two such lauded albums, and perhaps it's why we're so excited to hear that they're working hard on the follow up.
But before we will get to hear the fruits of Wolf People's recent labours, we will be lucky enough to catch them as one of Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia's headliners. As they prepare to have an album finished for the start of next year, this might just be one of the few chances that you'll get to catch their expansive sound live in the foreseeable future... We're therefore understandably very excited to be able to welcome them to Liverpool on September 29th, so much so that Phil Gwyn fired over some psychedelia-shaped questions to frontman Jack Sharp to find out everything Wolf People-related from the men themselves. And this is what they said.
Bido Lito!: Were you surprised to be the first British band signed to Jagjaguwar?
Wolf People: I'm not sure we knew that until press started coming out to be honest, we were just glad to be on a label that we had a lot of respect for. It's an honour of course but more importantly it's a lot of fun. It's feels like we're working with friends rather than a company, and that's a really big part of it for us.
BL!: After signing, did you feel like anything changed?
WP: It was quite a natural progression really, things certainly got a lot smoother once we had more good people involved in organising us. Audiences have got bigger and more varied but it’s happened over time and a lot of gigs, and not as the result of a flood of press and hype. I think the fact that we’re not a cool or buzz band has done us a lot of good.
BL!: In 2010 you put out two albums, both Tidings and Steeple, how did you end up releasing them both so close to each other?
WP: Jagjaguwar were really keen to retrospectively release the singles we’d done for Battered Ornaments and Sea Records, so we did that first while we finished the first album, so they ended up coming out quite close together. It seems like that’s quite a common pattern for bands now; to be nurtured by the DIY labels before catching the eye of larger labels, it’s replacing the artist development that the big labels can no longer afford.
BL!: After touring so much and playing so many different countries, do you feel like that's changed the band musically?
WP: Definitely. We are finishing work on another album now and I think you can really hear the result of a lot of gigs playing together. The funny thing is you don’t really notice it so much at the time, but you just get more and more locked into each other.
BL!: You seem really popular abroad - any idea how that came about?
WP: Hmm, I’m not sure to be honest. I would love to think it’s because we represent something very English that is appealing abroad, but I think the more likely explanation is that we draw on a style of old heavy rock music that has never fallen out of favour in those countries like it has here. I think the press over here and the UK’s perceived greatness as a musical nation actually stops people plainly enjoying things for what they are. Other countries don’t tend to analyse stuff nearly as much, just get on with it and enjoy themselves. That’s not to say we haven’t done OK over here too though.
BL!: With the popularity of bands like Tame Impala, and the emergence of festivals like Liverpool Psych Fest, do you feel like there's a resurgence in the popularity of psychedelic music?
WP: It seems so. My own hunch is that it’s trickled down over the years from record collecting trends, people making mixes and comps of psych, Krautrock, early electronic music and old stoner stuff, and of course people like Andy Votel and DJ Cherrystones unearthing incredible things and making them more widely available. A lot of newer stuff can be traced back to Dungen as well. They were certainly a signpost for us when we were in the early stages of starting to play instruments again.
BL!: Do you deliberately try and have a psychedelic edge?
WP: I don’t think we are particularly psychedelic really. We don’t use a lot of effects, and we don’t make much use of drones or repetition. All our stuff is just folk or blues based songs with loud guitars and drums and the occasional (!) guitar solo. We try to concentrate on the playing and the songs a bit more than the sound of things, and we do strive to play and sing naturally and without too much affectation.
BL!: What is it that you find so appealing about that psychedelic sound?
WP: There is a certain joy to be got from listening to loud fuzzy guitars and really heavy tape recorded drums that I can’t really begin to explain, it’s some form of ancient sorcery that those elements put together can sound so satisfying! But if psychedelic means that it transports the listener to a different mood or state of mind, a form of escapism, then I’d suggest that’s what all good music should do anyway. When you play or listen seriously to music you’re looking for some form of transcendence, and I don’t think that’s exclusive to any one type of music.
BL!: Psychedelic music live can often be really transportative, do you try and achieve that with your live shows?
WP: Like I say I think music should always be immersive unless it’s meant to be a soundtrack or background to something, so that is naturally what we’re aiming for. But our sets are based around songs with a bit of room for improvisation. The goal is to engage the audience somehow, and I’m never quite sure how until it happens. The songs seem to evolve very gradually over time, and we find it’s good to let that happen, I always liked Alasdair Roberts’ description of this as being like “the way years of footsteps gradually and imperceptibly wear down and remould a staircase.”
BL!: Your Liverpool Psych Fest performance is an all too rare UK appearance, is it good to be back?
WP: We’re really excited to be back playing again, it feels like too long. And it’s a really long time since we’ve been in Liverpool, some of our really early gigs were there. We’ve got some new stuff to play and we’re planning on hanging round a bit to see some of the other bands. Mugstar are top of the list!
BL!: Whilst you've been on tour have you been writing and trying to record?
WP: Writing on tour is something which has always eluded us, but we have almost finished a new album in between tours and work. Should be out early next year...
The Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia takes place on Saturday 29th September at Camp & Furnace. Tickets are priced at £20, and can be bought exclusively from bidolito.co.uk HERE.
Read our interview with another of the festival's headliners, The Time And Space Machine's Richard Norris, HERE.