A few months down the road and I am hooked. In a world full of X Factor aspirations Wolf People’s retro sounds are a strange and beautiful breath of fresh air. Think Lep Zeppelin jamming with Fairport Convention on the Wicker Man island. Their new record Steeple is in my Top 3 of 2010.
I caught up with them before the full moon…
What are Wolf People up to at the moment?
Joe Hollick (guitar): Turning an asbestos filled barn into a recording studio, planning some gigs in Europe and getting ideas together for new material.
What are your musical influences, who or what inspired you to start the band?
Jack Sharp (vocals, guitar): For me it was learning to play real instruments again after years of making hip-hop instrumentals. Me and Tom got into collecting records through sampling and that started us off listening to old psych, jazz, blues and folk records.
I think Tom got massively into Goblin and Marc Moulin’s Placebo at the same time I was getting into Pentangle and Fairport , but we were swapping mixes and finding loads of music that was completely new to us. That started us both off playing our instruments again, and eventually together again, as we’d played in bands together in our teens.
Joe: I’m not from the hip hop/crate digging background that Tom and Jack occupy but I was brought up on UK folk-rock as a kid, of which I’ve not been able to escape, so it was amazing to meet three people who shared similar influences. It’s like a giant Venn diagram, we all meet in the middle sometimes but then we can go off and take in each others’ stuff. What inspires me to play is the fact that I don’t really want to do anything else, all the sounds are in our heads, I just hope they all get out in time while the band still exists.
Your sound seems to be ‘influenced’ by the 60’s and early 70’s, was it a deliberate decision to sound ‘not of this time’ or was it something that evolved naturally?
Joe: Naturally – we just like those sounds. No attempt was made to ape them in any way, it’s just what pleases our ears. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying its retro, to me it isn’t, its just fuzzy guitars and saturated drums, and most of all, good songs. Maybe we could try and concentrate and do a really retro sounding record, but then it would most likely be shit.
Dan Davies (bass): Sometimes there is a kind of wondering ‘how did they do that?’ But if you start to pursue that in terms of trying to copy a particular sound or feel single-mindedly, it’s likely to result in failure…you have to just be receptive to what happens, be experimental and playful rather than too-serious or obsessive.
Jack: Sound-wise we just go with what we like, which tends to be over saturated, fuzzy stuff like Joe says. But with the songs, I’d like them to sound like they could have been written hundreds of years ago.
Steeple is a fantastic record, what will the new stuff after this sound like? Is your sound getting older?
Joe: We don’t think of our sound as old or new, it’s just us. If anything, we just want to have more time in which to make it.
Jack: I don’t think it will sound like our other stuff, we get bored too easily. Steeple was made very quickly with the resources we had to hand, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to stretch out and experiment more. That said I think we should write some shorter songs!
Dan: There’s a rather limited amount of time to get together to play and record at present, so we’ve been trying to make it count. Sometimes these kind of limitations help focus things, soundwise. You could whinge about it, but I think maybe it channels things a bit by forcing you to be pragmatic and just get on with it.