As Urbanscapes is returning to Malaysia in November, one of the highlights that we are waiting for is, of course, one of the most talented alt-rock bands of this moment—Wolf Alice. And before we get to see them slam the stage wildly, here, the fresh winner of Mercury Music Prize stops by at AsiaLive365 for a cozy and lovely chinwag on their first Mercury Music Prize, Asia visit, tips for bands, how to get a good sleep on plane and more.
Howdy AsiaLive365 readers! We are back with our latest piece of interview with one of the best alt-rock groups from Britain at this moment— Wolf Alice.
Wolf Alice consist of Ellie Rowsell (Vocals), Joel Amey (drums), Joff Oddie (guitar) and Theo Ellis (bass). The 4-piece rock group are best known for their variety and creative combinations in music ranging from dreamy vibe to abrasive guitars and teen-angst burst. Their chart-toppers include “Leaving You”, “Moaning Lisa Smile”, “Yuk Foo” and “Don’t Delete The Kisses”. Currently, the band are touring with their sophomore album— Visions of a Life, that brought them their first trophy of Mercury Music Prize 2018. (Listen to the album, here)
After killing it at Mangosteen Music Festival in Bangkok (read the review, here) and celebrating their victory for the Prize in September, Wolf Alice are almost ready to be back in Southeast Asia for Malaysia’s Urbanscapes this November. And before we’ll get to see them play their award-winning album live on stage, here they reveal us their feelings towards the prize, Asia visit, tips for bands, how to get a good sleep on plane and more.
Congratulations on your Mercury Music Prize! The performance you gave there was brilliant as well. So how do you guys feel about winning the prize?
Joel: It’s still sinking in… that was a special night for sure. With awards it’s a fine line because we don’t ever make music with the intention of winning them or being nominated or whatever, but to be recognised by The Mercury Music Prize was so unexpected and quite overwhelming that I think I’ll be digesting it all for a while longer yet.
Two years ago, you still played as an opening act for The 1975 and now you’re touring across the world on your own for like a whole year this year with two studio albums under your belt. How has it been going for you guys?
Joel: It’s been pretty amazing, to say the least. We’ve been to so many places that we’ve never been before, and been met with wonderful crowds to play our music to, and that’s kinda the dream really. If the crowds and fans hadn’t been so excellent it might have been a different story!
For “Yuk Foo”, it sounds like a song of a girl who’s angry and bored of her life to death. Also, the song has quite bold and stand out messages like “I wanna f*ck all the people I meet. F*ck all my friends and all the people in the street” What’s the story behind the song? Would you wanna do that though if you were that bored to death?
Ellie: Yeah it’s just about being so bored with a current situation that you have an outburst of rage. So no, of course, I don’t wanna fuck all my friends and all the people I meet, cos I’d probably die but you say a lot of hyperbolic things when your frustrated angry and in a bad mood. (Listen to “Yuk Foo” below)
Wolf Alice are always super energetic on stage. How do you manage that to happen after going through those long flights and crazily busy life schedules?
Joel: Well, it comes down to the audiences in my opinion. were quite like that when we have excellent crowds to feed off, especially for the heavier moments in the set; it’s sort of a two-way thing. You’ve always got to remember that every show is the only night for the people that are there; they don’t care what’s gone before or since. It’s about right there and then and it’s about making that show a night to remember.
After touring and seeing the world, which city you wish you could have stayed longer? Or any place that you really want to revisit after the tour?
Joel: I loved India, could have been there a while longer for sure. I’d like to head back to Thailand and really explore out into the country and I’d be happy to spend some time driving around Australia too!
You’ve attended so many festivals now, what are the differences you’ve noticed in the ones in Asia and the ones in the western world? And which kind of vibe do you like best?
Joel: I think I’d need more experience in Asia to really compare, but so far it’s been so humbling to come so far from home and see the reactions and meet people after the shows the way we have. There’s such a positive vibe at the shows in Asia that I really love. I can’t wait to get back and play some more.
How would you describe Wolf Alice’s musical style to someone who just came across your songs?
Joel: I wouldn’t usually. Taxi drivers tend to ask you what kinda music you play when they find out you’re in a band, and I tend to over complicate the answer or just say ‘it’s err kinda like a err rock band’. I recommend giving the record a listen to find out!
Which song is your favourite one to play on stage?
Joel: I really like “Visions of a Life” and still get a sweet kick from “Giant Peach”.
What’s your most memorable moment during the tour so far?
Joel: So many! I think coming out to Asia and playing to such wonderful audiences and experiencing the wonderful culture and atmospheres has been a real highlight.
What are the things that you guys can’t live without during the tour?
Joel: If we’re abroad we all really like to get stuck into local cuisine; tips and places to check out in new cities are most valuable for having the best time.
Any suggestion for time killing activity during the long travel/flight?
Joel: If you want to sleep, trust me, put the blanket over your head. I never used to be able to sleep but since going full parrot-mode and looking like a cartoon ghost, I’ve had the best sleeps of my life. Trust me. Blanket over your head. Chances are you will miss the in-flight meals as well, which is a big bonus.
It’s like a year now after the release of Visions of A Life, we would like to know if we are going to hear something new from you guys soon?
Joel: Not any time soon I wouldn’t have thought; we’re in no rush and we’d never put anything out for the sake of it. In due time, there will be sounds.
For some places in this region, it’s still rough for bands to find a venue to play their original pieces or get supports (either on venues, equipment or finance), even though the scene has started to grow better and bigger in these recent years. Have you guys ever experienced such things and how did you guys stay survive as a band? Any suggestion?
Joel: I guess we’re lucky in London that we had lots of places to play, but recently it’s become harder for those small venues to survive. Rehearsal spaces and just the cost of living in London and trying to do something creative is becoming so priced out that I can see people choosing to leave the city for more positive areas. I think with all limitations it encourages people to make the best of what they have, and can lead to some incredible and forward-thinking new sounds/clubs/bands/ideas. As long as you have a passion to do what you’re doing, and a sheer determination to make it work, then you will find a way!
Lastly, any message for Southeast Asian fans?
Joel: You’re all legends. thanks for wonderful experiences this year and can’t wait to see you soon!
Slated rock Malaysia’s longest-running creative arts festival Urbanscapes 2018: Unlimited Grooves Festival by U Mobile on Saturday, November 10, the Mercury Music Prize winner will share the stage at Chin Woo Hall with Brooklyn-based art-rock group BODEGA, Post-Mac DeMarco boy from Thailand— Phum Viphurit, and South Korean pop-rock band SE SO NEON. Moreover, the festival-goers will get to taste the original pieces from the country’s very own indie talents while enjoying all the art installations from internationally-recognised and homegrown artists. For further details on artists, see below.
Tickets now available via Galactix, priced at RM199 (Early Bird) / 239 (Pre-Sale) / 279 (Regular).
Special thanks to Urbanscapes.