Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell on fun sweaty gigs and her band’s new album

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IT takes a special band to sell-out a venue the size of Brighton’s Concorde 2 without having released an album – but Wolf Alice did just that last night.

The four-piece’s thrillingly varied set combined crunching riffs metal legend Tony Iommi would be proud of, with ethereal vocals and true Riot Grrrl attitude.

Before the gig, I caught up with frontwoman Ellie Rowsell to talk touring, Wolf Alice’s upcoming debut album and her favourite artists right now:

How has the tour been so far?

Ellie: It’s been really really good. Really good crowds – brilliant, packed, sweaty and fun.

What’s been the best date?

I really enjoyed Sheffield. I liked the dressing room there (laughs).

It was really fun. It was a good crowd – they were good at being quiet for the quiet ones and crazy for the loud ones and we had Eoin from Drenge come on and play the guitars with us which was really exciting and fun.

Do you prefer the reaction to quiet songs or the more rocky tracks?

I think we always wanted a crowd that’s mental. When you play loud fast songs and watch people stand still it can be disheartening, so now when people get into it a bit more it’s really fulfilling for us. But it’s always really special when you play a quiet song and the crowd go silent.

Is Giant Peach (latest single) reflective of the sound of the album?

No. I don’t think one song would be reflective of the album as a whole because it’s quite different.

Giant Peach is in a similar vein to Moaning Lisa Smile but maybe a step up, in terms of it’s braver, and also we really enjoy playing it live we really wanted people to benefit from the live experience.

How would you describe the sound of the new album?

We’ve got quite a sonically varied sound so no one song is like the other really, so it would be really hard to pigeon hole ourselves. I wouldn’t want to say we’re a grunge band and then all the people who hate grunge never listen to us.

There’s two songs that we’ve released before but they’re new versions.

Are you playing many songs off the new album live?

We’re playing quite a lot. We’ve been playing some songs off the album for years now but there’s two new songs which we’ve never played before so that’s quite special.

What does it feel like selling out a venue before you’ve released an album?

We’ve played lots of tours now where there’s been less than half the people in the venue so it definitely feels like ‘gosh that wasn’t going to always happen’, it’s a relief.

We weren’t ready to put out an album two years ago. We’ve hopefully matured. We take our time making sure we’re 100 per cent happy with the songs rather than just putting it out.

Is there a defining moment of your career so far?

I think it might be this tour, like ‘oh my gosh, we can go to Cambridge and sell out 800 people’. It hasn’t really sunk in.

What’s your favourite debut album?

Probably ‘Is This It?’ (The Strokes). It’s not my favourite album but it’s probably the best debut.

Do you feel any pressure following up the success of your EPs?

I think you’re always going to get people who will say I preferred them before. It’s like they’ve grown an attachment to it, it’s their thing, especially if the band were really small when they put it out.

As long as you’re happy and you feel you’ve done your songs justice then try to take much notice of other people’s reviews because it’ll make you quite sad.

What current artists are you listening to?

I really like the band we went on tour with on the first leg of this tour who are a band from London called Crows. They haven’t put out much music but they’re quite a live spectacle. They’re like the best new band at the minute I think. They play dark and heavy Stooges stuff.

I really love the new Run the Jewels album, I love the new Ice Age album, the new Drenge album, the new Kendrick Lamar album. It feels like a good year for music.