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PATRICK WOLF talks about his upcoming live shows, recent double album, plus his views of the music industry.
Ten years have passed since Patrick Wolf's debut album, Lycanthropy. Throughout his career, the London-born artist has constantly adapted his style to avoid being stuffed into a pigeon hole of buzz words and music scenes, to the frustration of some record labels. His most recent album Sundark And Riverlight, was released late last year and Wolf is now embarking on the 10 Year Anniversary World Tour. Included in the global performaces are eleven UK music venues, each full of character, and on the 7th February, Wolf will be gracing the stage of Liverpool's Epstein Theatre.
Bido Lito!'s Rob Dewis caught up with Patrick Wolf to question him about the upcoming tour.
Bido Lito!: Your recent album Sundark and Riverlight marked ten years as a recording artist and is a double header with previously unreleased recordings and acoustic versions of previous records. Do you see this album as a sort of musical biography to mark the milestone?
Patrick Wolf: I’d say more like a kind of portrait, self-portrait of my life really so far and it’s dark, it’s dark stuff. It’s funny I was looking at the fanzine today that I made with it and it’s very pessimistic in a way. In a way it is making a portrait of my youth. But it’s summing it up with an older person’s perspective. Actually it’s not pessimistic, that wouldn’t be the word I would use, I think it’s more melancholic - there’s a lot of sadness there and a lot of sorrow and darkness. It’s really defined as I would say that Sundark is hope out of optimism.
BL!: At your previous live shows, you would give quite an energetic performance. Do you find it difficult to adapt your live shows for this more stripped back record?
PW: No not really, it’s really easy to me. The album was recorded live anyway. I started out in folk clubs and playing in books shops and stuff like that, busking, so it doesn’t really make a big difference to play to a smaller crowd or a seated crowd.
BL!: You’re playing Liverpool’s Epstein theatre on the 7th February. During your UK tour you’re also playing further locations - the St. John’s Evangelist Church for example - that are a bit different to the generic touring circuit. How important is setting for your live shows?
PW: Well it’s important because... I really like places that feel like some kind of theatre moment, in terms of like a religious experience maybe.
BL!: In addition to the UK dates you’ve got European shows throughout February as part of your Acoustic World Tour. How do you cope with the stresses of a tour?
PW: I don’t really get stressed on tour. I see it as a long journey and an adventure.
BL!: You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that you ‘feel uncomfortable releasing music naked into the world’ and that ‘making artwork means to have a concept’. What do you think about the direction of music selling, with the emphasis now on digital distribution over the tangible hard copy?
PW: That’s a good question. I think that we need to adapt a little bit into the 21st century, definitely. We need to evolve the idea of what actual music is ; the music industry is only like 50 years old really. The technology is evolving a lot quicker than our souls and our spirits and we need to work out the best way to make technology more tactile, human and like it was to go into a record store, because record stores will all be gone one day I’m sure unfortunately. We need to work out a way that we can experience music through technology that feels the same way that it did when we went to the record stores, buying vinyl and CDs and going to listening booths.
BL!: On your records you’ve played a variety of instruments including the harp, the viola and the ukulele. How did you become such a multi-instrumentalist and do you have a particular favourite instrument to play?
PW: I really don’t have a favourite instrument. I am obsessed with the way things sound and the way that my songwriting can adapt or a song can evolve through a different instrument, so I can be inspired by a new instrument very easily. If I go to a piano I’ll write a very different song to a song I can write at the organ. The feels and the touch and the sounds of the instrument really changes and inspires the imagination - instruments are very important to me.
BL!: So you’ve dabbled in many a music genre, you’re a multi-instrumentalist and you’ve even worked outside of the music scene in the fashion world during London Fashion week - you clearly enjoy a new challenge. What challenges or plans do you have for the future?
PW: I like to paint and I like to draw pictures. I would love to do a garden, a sound sculpture of a garden - there you go.
BL!: Your own actual garden?
PW: Yeah an actual landscape garden - a huge kind of sculpture and sound illustration garden.
Tickets for Patrick Wolf live at The Epstein Theatre can be found HERE