Wolf Alice back with a roar
A gold certified debut album. A glut of award nominations. A two-year mega tour spanning the globe.
Wolf Alice, considered for so long a breakthrough act, are now anything but.
Second album ‘Visions Of A Life’ arrives September 29th and with it a band ready to scale even crazier heights...after a spot of daytime TV, of course.
“I was sat here before watching Bargain Hunt thinking, ‘oh this is how life used to be’,” laughed drummer Joel Amey, speaking to me from his mum’s house in Surrey. “It’s nice to decompress, have a break but it’s not long before you’re thinking about the next show.”
The band have just finished a run of intimate shows in America and are enjoying a short break before embarking on a similar size tour in the UK from Wednesday.
“The US tour was amazing,” said Joel. “It was purposely a small venue tour and we knew they were going to be high intensity shows. We were playing bars, halls, even pubs. You could see the whites of people’s eyes.
“It was great seeing the reaction to the new material. I always think it’s easier to gauge the reaction to new songs in a small venue. By the time we were half way through the tour we were comfortable with the setlist; we knew which songs should go where.
“We began the tour opening with ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’. It was incredible looking down at the front and seeing all these people singing back all the words. Even I don’t know all the words yet.”
‘Visions Of A Life’ is fundamentally a personal album, and one of great growth for the band. From the opening ‘Heavenward’ – a cloudburst of shoegazey guitar and vaulting vocals – through to the epic eight-minute closing title track, it’s an album, like 2015’s ‘My Love Is Cool, packed with surprises.
The already released ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ - a sweet, dizzyingly romantic track - and the riotous, untamed ‘Yuk Foo’ demonstrate perfectly the band’s ability to balance subtle poignancy with unbridled, fierce passion.
“Like with the first record, we did it on a song-by-song basis,” said Joel. “We went to LA with 16/17 tracks, which we whittled down to 12 - the 12 we consider the strongest. How the producer, Justin (Meldal-Johnsen), got us out of there in four weeks with an album is incredible.
“It’s still quite fresh to me. I’ve been involved in the process of making it for so long I’ve had to detach myself from it now and listen to it again; not listening out for each high-hat or cymbal.
“The four of us are always writing on the road so when we got to the studio we had a Dropbox full of material. We love being in the studio. It’s where you get to experiment and invent and that is one of the most exciting aspects of music.”
As the band’s popularity continues to soar, so too does the size of the venues they play.
A full UK tour at the end of the year will see them take in dates including Manchester Apollo on Thursday, November 9th followed by their biggest headline show to date - Alexandra Palace, on Friday, November 24th.
“That was an ‘oh my God’ moment, when we were booked for the ‘Ally Pally’. We’ve played to bigger crowds at festivals, but this will be the biggest show under our own name. It’s going to be an amazing experience. The whole tour will be.”
For some, non-stop touring can become a grind over time, but for Joel it’s still a dream come true.
“Waking up in a different town or city every day, it’s what I dreamt about. I’ll never get bored of waking up in New York or Prague or wherever.
“It’s special as well because all four of us have wanted to do this completely and we are doing it together. It’s been five years now. We were in our early 20s when we started out, Ellie even younger. We’ve matured a lot in that time, grown together and I think that shows in the new music”
For the full list tour dates, visit www.wolfalice.co.uk.